Lies and False Advertising in the Videogame Industry

Videogame Industry

Fans were outraged when they finally got the chance to play NBA 2K20 last week. 2K Social Media manager Ronnie Singh had promised several game-changing features leading up to launch. However, almost none of them appeared in the final product. Even now neither Ronnie or 2K have addressed these lies or even given a basic apology. Of course, those familiar with the videogame industry know this isn’t the first-time fans have been lied to. We live in a culture of false advertising.

Spore

SporeElectronic Art’s big 2008 release came in the form of Spore, an evolution simulator. The concept seemed incredible. You would start out life as a single atom and work your way through the many stages of development. The final goal? Reaching the center of the universe.

Early versions showcased a seriously impressive variety of stages. Thirteen in total. It also promised to be realistic and a legitimate education tool. Limitless ambition suggested that, if done right, Spore was in contention to be one of the greatest video games ever made.

Spore’s release was crushing. The original thirteen stages had been cutdown to just five. Evolution in Spore didn’t even make sense anymore. You went straight from being a cell to a fully-fledged land reptile in a single stage. No bacterial stage and no Aquatic stage.

Even the aesthetics of Spore were a lie. Early demos showcased real looking cells and beautiful, natural-looking creatures. What we eventually got was far less natural, far more kid friendly. Spore’s creatures featured googly eyes and weird cartoon like noises. Any fragment of Will Wright’s original vision had been vaporized.

To its credit, Spore is not a bad game. Many still enjoy its content but it’s hard to forgive all the lies. Spore should have been a complex, evolution simulator offering the complete experience of nature. Instead, it ended up being yet another generic kid-friendly creation game.

No Man’s Sky

No Man's SkySean Murray has damaged his reputation beyond repair. Despite Hello Games’ attempts to fix No Man’s Sky post-release, it will always be remembered for its painful beginnings. Sean Murray was at the front of No Man’s Sky’s failures. It was his lies that led a hate campaign against Hello Games and their awful game.

One of the most hilarious lies links to No Man Sky’s tragic multiplayer. Murray described the likelihood of two players meeting as “incredibly rare.” Despite this, he did reiterate that it was technically possible for two players to come across one another. This was not true. No Man’s Sky had zero multiplayer support on release. It was not unlikely, but rather impossible for this to happen.

No Man’s Sky’s initial procedural generation was thought to be complex. A focus on planetary physics was emphasized early on. The terrain was supposed to be affected by gravitational strength. Planet based factors would have impacted the types of gatherable resources. None of this was in the final game.

So why did all of these lies surface in the first place? It was likely a mix of two things. First of all, the pressure Murray had to deal with. The hype for No Man’s Sky was crazy big. Failing to deliver on it would have Hello Games named and shamed. His desire to deliver a great game probably led Murray to promise more than he should have. Secondly, time. Most interviews with Murray seem surprisingly genuine. It seems Hello Games just weren’t given enough development time.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens Colonial MarinesSay hello to the granddaddy of false advertising culture. With both Spore and No Man’s Sky, many still consider them good games in their own right. Despite their failure to deliver the promised product, their respective development studios did an okay job. Especially with No Man’s Sky which is being updated today. The same cannot be said about the disaster that is Aliens: Colonial Marines.

The most significant lie Gearbox told was regarding Colonial Marines’ visuals. In early cinematic trailers, it looked gorgeous. We’re talking one of the best-looking games ever made. It did not live up to this. It wasn’t even close. Colonial Marines released with early PlayStation 3 looking low res textures. Its particle effects were edging into PlayStation 2 territory. Remember, this launched in 2013. The same year the PlayStation 4 came out. Colonial Marines is an ugly game by all definitions.

It’s easy to forget, but Colonial Marines was supposed to be a horror game. It badly failed at doing this. Great horror games make resource management a key feature. Wasting resources like ammunition can leave you vulnerable at the worst of times. In Colonial Marines players are so stacked with weapons this is never a concern. Aliens struggles as an FPS too. Gunplay is dull with each new weapon feeling the same as the last. The complete lack of fire feedback or recoil ruins the gameplay flow entirely.

The development of Colonial Marines was lazy. We know this because of a bug that ruined A.I behaviour. This bug made the A.I in Colonial Marines not properly track and follow targets. James Dickinson, a talented modder, fixed this by changing a single letter in the game’s code. A mistake this obvious would have been spotted immediately if Colonial Marines was properly tested for bugs.

Verdict

NBA 2K20 won’t be the last example of false advertising we’ll see. Developers often go unpunished for their lies and won’t even bother to explain what went wrong. Just look at how well Gearbox is doing today despite Colonial Marines. Unfortunately, it’s something us gamers have to live with. The best you can do is keep informed about the videogame industry you are looking forward to. Don’t trust developers on everything they say and wait for reviews instead of pre-ordering.

Videogame Industry and you

Do you trust the videogame industry? What other examples of false advertising can you think of? Let us know in the comments if a publisher has ever tricked you into buying their game. I’m know there’s many examples I haven’t spoken about out there.

 

NBA 2K20 Review

NBA 2K20 Review

NBA 2K20 is the latest of 2K Games’ annual basketball simulation series. Expectations going into yearly released sports games are not overly high. Limited development time tends to lead to repetitive and uninspired products. Given this, it’s actually an impressive feat how poorly NBA 2K20 has been received. People aren’t wrong to hate though. This is one of the worst sports games ever made.

MyCareer

MyCareerNBA 2K19 and 2K20 next to one another. It’s frightening how well they line up.

MyCareer is NBA 2K20’s largest game mode and the primary focus of development. It’s your standard create a player and live an athlete’s dream experience. Considering this is supposed to be NBA 2K’s primary game mode, the lack of innovation is concerning.

The Neighborhood is almost identical. A handful of buildings have been redesigned but don’t expect any meaningful changes. Park players are stuck with the exact same courts as last year. Rec and Pro-AM have received mild visual enhancements but function, or often don’t function, the exact same as last year.

A big selling point leading up to release was NBA 2K20’s new approach to archetypes and badges. 2K Games promised the archetype system had been abolished and replaced by an open choice player creator. The reality? Not exactly true.

The new pie charts system has you select a build based on its overall strengths. If you want a build that focuses primarily on shooting and playmaking, you can do that. Unfortunately, likely due to gameplay balance, this ends up operating very similarly to archetypes. An NBA 2K20 Inside-Outside Scorer isn’t any different to an NBA 2K19 Slashing Sharpshooter. Different name, same outcome. That’s a reoccurring theme of this entire game.

To the developer’s credit, the new badge system is very nice. Players are free to tweak badges to suit their own specialty. I have an Inside-Out Facilitator with Hall of Fame Catch & Shoot. This lets me be a primary slasher with a secondary focus on three-point spot shooting. Alternatively, I could have invested badge points into Difficult Shots and gone for a shot creator type. Earning these badge points can be a little slow but long-term this system seems to be an upgrade.

That Classic Pay-to-Win Smell

That Classic Pay-to-Win SmellNaturally, as with just about everything 2K published game, we need to talk about the business model. It’s bad. Player progression is still tied to Virtual Currency (VC) and VC is far too difficult to get legitimately. Marginally improved endorsement offers help somewhat but the grind is still painful. It’s clear that MyCareer is designed to make you cave in and hand over your credit card.

A lot of reviewers miss how awful this practice actually is. Think about it this way. If you go into a Park or Rec game on a new player without spending money on VC, you will lose every game. It doesn’t matter how good you are either. A 60 overall cannot hit shots, cannot defend, is very slow and lacks fundamentals like basic dribbling. You straight up don’t feel like a professional basketball player.

The price of upgrading a new player from a 60 overall to an 85 (the highest overall you can reach the start)? Just short of 200,000 VC. Or, in actual meaningful terms, roughly £39.99 or $49.99. With the game’s retail price included, that’s $110 to start online with a competitive player.

It isn’t just MyCareer that’s caught a nasty case of 2K virus either. MyTeam, NBA 2K20’s inferior interpretation of FIFA’s Ultimate Team, uses the ever so prevalent RNG Card Pack model. A Base Pack costs 3000 VC, around £1. Of course, drop rates in Base Packs are awful so don’t bother. A Deluxe Pack is 9375 VC, around £3. Still not great odds. So what does it cost to get favorable odds?

The Deluxe Spotlight Series 1: Dwyane Wade 20 Pack Box. Yes, that’s its real name. Price? 168,750 VC. Effectively, £35. That’s £35 for some virtual cards that become worthless as soon as the next batch is released. Talk about value.

Same Game, New Bugs

Same Game, New BugsYou would think by not changing your game much and keeping the same engine there would be one benefit. Stability. These assets and features have been around for two, if not three years. So how on Earth are they more broken than ever before? The loading times pre-patch were horrendous. Upgrading your player could take 2-3 minutes. Same for viewing people’s 2K Cards. Both features were instantaneous last year. A patch did drop to alleviate this somewhat, but other issues still exist.

Crashing is far too frequent. Players can get stuck in the Gatorade Training Facility due to an invisible wall in the doorway. Randomly, player progression will just stop working entirely. You can even get negative progression, effectively taking away Badge and Attribute Points from you. MyLeague Online can freeze at the end of games, not recording the result. On the PC version, they initially didn’t even bother to update the thumbnail icon! It still said NBA 2K19. How fitting.

Lazy game design is injected into NBA 2K20’s veins. I’m genuinely not convinced they play-tested this at all. I can’t even cover the majority of present bugs as there’s just too many. Judging by past NBA 2K titles, most of these will never be fixed. Probably not even by NBA 2K21.

If You Can’t Do It Right, Just Lie

If You Can't Do It Right, Just Lie2K Community Manager Ronnie Singh has a lot of explaining to do. He’s been known in the past to lie about game features. Back before NBA 2K17 launched, Ronnie promised underwater parks in an interview with 2KTV. They never showed up and he later claimed this was just a joke. This year, he has gone above and beyond to aggressively scam gullible fans.

When called out on his stream about The Neighborhood being the same, he claimed it wasn’t. Stating that NBA 2K20 would not share the same Neighborhood as NBA 2K19. He lied. Later, when questioned about 2K’s aggressive microtransactions, he claimed you could respec builds to save VC. He lied. He claimed the team was going to add more pie charts and buff small forwards after community feedback of the demo. He lied.

An official employee of 2K sat there on-stream spouting lie after lie knowing exactly what he was doing. The backlash has been huge. Both #Fix2k20 and #FireRonnie2k were first and second on Twitter’s trending section. 2K let Ronnie keep lying because they knew full well it would trick people into buying NBA 2K20. They had a responsibility to shut down the lies but they didn’t care about us enough to bother. In their eyes, Ronnie’s lies were an act of heroism that pocketed them a little extra cash.

Final Verdict on NBA 2K20

Final VerdictThis is one of the worst sports games ever made. It severely lacks ambition and passion. It’s all too happy to take your money and leave you lying on the side of the road. I don’t believe for a second Visual Concepts will patch this game enough to make it legitimately good. Best case scenario, maybe it becomes playable in the future. Any minor improvements are greatly outweighed by the countless issues. Only the most passionate of basketball fans should even consider picking this up. Even then, I’d recommend instead just praying that EA steps up their game with NBA Live 20.

You though on NBA 2K20

Be sure to let us know what you think of NBA 2K20 so far. Is the backlash fair or is it actually better than people are making out?

Gears 5 Hasn’t Had the Best Start

Gears 5

Ahead of its launch on 10th of September, Gears 5, the latest entry in the Gears of War series, has been plagued with issues causing players to disconnect from various online multiplayer games.

While Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers have had access to the game for longer, it was the influx of more players over the weekend that seems to have caused the issues. Many were no doubt excited to try out the game’s campaign in co-op, or partake in a few multiplayer matches in either the classic Versus mode, delectable Horde mode, or brand new and vicious Escape mode. However, what actually happened was widespread server disconnects, with many players reporting that they’d been dropped from games in the middle of a match.

The issue is particularly noticeable during Horde matches. Horde mode requires five players to take on increasingly challenging waves of enemies, and should a player die it’s imperative that the others revive them, or suffer the consequences of playing on without one of their team members. With players getting dropped from matches left, right, and centre, Horde mode became almost unplayable over the weekend.

The Gears 5 loading screen has become something of a meme over the past two days, since it’s the only thing you can see when you’ve been kicked out of a multiplayer game in the middle of a match. The fact that the screen’s main colour is blue doesn’t make things any better, with most referring to it as the blue screen of death.

Even the Gears 5 campaign isn’t safe from these disconnects. With co-op campaigns players can choose to play with friends online, or locally in splitscreen. For those opting to play together online the campaign would often disconnect one or both players, halting progress and preventing players from being able to enjoy one of the best parts of the game. Apparently there is a particular issue with Act 2 which causes players to be sent quite far back in the campaign, only to have no way to move forward since enemies don’t spawn, and companions refuse to move at all.

According to the developer, The Coalition, they are focusing on server-side updates to make the game more stable. After this they’ll be looking into other issues that are causing issues for players. The Coalition encourages any players experiencing problems to visit the game’s status page for information on known issues and bugs that are being worked on.

Let us know if you’ve been experiencing any issues that are mentioned here in the comments.

Top 5 Pokemon that Everybody Hates- Honest Review

Pokemon that everybody hates

We have recently shared list of Pokemon that everybody loves but what about the pokemon that everyone hates? What pokemon are out there that the vast majority of people despise? And well today I’m here to answer said question. By giving you guys the Top 5 Pokemon that Everybody hates. Now of course not every pokemon on this list is hated by everyone, because that’s literally impossible to have. But these 5 pokemon are some of the most infamously hated in the entire series by a vast majority of the community.

Number #1 Male Combee:

Coming in at the number 1 spot we have a pokemon that has been the bane of my existence since its introduction in generation , Male Combee. Now if this were a list of pokemon that I personally hate, then this pokemon would be way higher up on the list. Just look at this video here if you need proof of that, but since this is about everybody’s opinion I’ve decided to have it just barely make the list. The reason why its lower is because I feel that male combee is kinda underrated in terms of hate, as not a lot of people even really remember this pokemon to begin with.

But for those who do remember this hot piece of garbage they can go on for days as to why this pokemon sucks literal ass. Firstly if we take a look at purely its design you can’t argue how dumb and stupid it looks. Objectively it’s literally just a honeycomb with wings and three stupid faces. But not only does its design look trash but stat wise combee is just as bad if not even worse.

Sure Bug buzz is great but you don’t get that move until level  and by that time you should already have a vespiquen. Oh yeah but that doesn’t really matter since the only way to get vespiquen is to have a FEMALE COMBEE. Yes that means if you have a male combee, you’re essentially stuck with it for the rest of eternity.

I wouldn’t even wish that on my worst enemy. But honestly this wouldn’t be that much of a problem right? I mean how hard is it to catch a female combee? Well, considering the gender ratio is about % female let’s just say your going to be spending a long time slathering honey on trees. This might sound contradictory towards my stance on Salandit and Salazzle, but Salandit by itself doesn’t take hours to get, as well as the fact that you are able SOS chain them, making the process of finding a female salandit or salazzle much faster.

Number #2 Regigigas:

When it comes to Legendary pokemon, they’re always viewed as larger than life beings that can pretty much destroy anything without breaking a sweat. And in most cases that reigns to be true with the likes of rayquaza, mewtwo, dialga, palkia, zekrom, and of course the titans. But one of, if not the biggest disappointment out of all the legendaries to be introduced to the series has to be none other than the king of the titans, Regigigas. I mean it’s just not good is it.

Regigigas was hyped up to be this absolute monster by gamefreak telling us that it moved continents and created the regitrio. And when you take a look at its stats, it definitely seems to look like that’s the case. I mean base 160 attack and no statline besides special attack under 100, where could you go wrong? And well there’s two words you need to know, slow start. For those who don’t know slow start is an ability that halves the attack and speed stats of regigigas for 5 whole turns.

So that jaw-dropping  160 base stat is pretty much useless for  5 turns and that’s plenty of time for people to capitalize on that and take him out. I mean I know gamefreak had to nerf this pokemon, but did you seriously have to make it that weak. It’s literally unusable. And I have to say, it’s also kinda sad when your own creations, regirock, registeel and regice are literally stronger and more useful than you.

Number #3 Garbodor:

So we all know how much gen 5 gets ragged on for having bad pokemon so you gotta know that at least one of them were going to show up on this list. And since there are so many that are hated from the black and white games I’ve decided to limit the amount of gen 5 pokemon to just one. That may not make sense in the grand scheme of things, but its my list I do what I want. And with that said, this next pokemon, may sound contradictory considering it was in last weeks articles, but yes even though I like garbodor as a Pokemon I can’t deny the amount of hate this pokemon receives.

You cannot go to a single “Worst Pokemon” list on the internet without seeing this thing make an appearance. I mean out of all the quote unquote bad pokemon that came from unova most of them to people have some redeeming qualities. With the elemental monkeys it’s that simisage looks pretty cool, and with vanilluxe it’s got some tie ins to american culture, but Garbodor? Literally nothing about it to people is redeeming. It’s ugly, its garbage, and well its really ugly.

Even though that’s kind of the point people are repulsed by how much gross detail there is on garbodor’s design. I will say the pigtails and mouth can be a little much at times too, and these gross noodle fingers that shoots out liquid its just euhh, It’s disgusting! But at the end of the day it’s a pokemon based on trash and like it or not people don’t like looking at trash, that’s why naturally it’s always thrown out.

Number #4 Unown:

Next pokemon on the list somehow finds a way to top it. I mean, when it comes to disappointments, I can’t say there’s any bigger one than the Unown. I mean do we really have to go into it? These things have to be the most useless pokemon in the entire franchise. They’re weak, they know one move, and they have very uninspired designs. I mean they’re literally just letters and punctuation marks nothing much else to them.

Sure they didn’t need to be amazing designs and not everything needs to be competitively sound, but can they at least have some value in the game. I remember watching the rd pokemon movie with entei and the unown and saw how powerful all of them were and thought, hey maybe catching all of them would mean something. I mean they’re important enough to get there own movie, they gotta at least have some sort of relevance in the game right?

I spent days trying to catch all the unown, thinking that it would unlock me some super secret special event, but no I just wasted days of my life. And I know this is something people did as well as I see many posts online from people complaining about how worthless and useless these stupid things are. And considering you had to solve a puzzle to even find these things just adds up to it being a giant waste of time. Seriously gamefreak what was the point of all this?

Number #5 Zubat:

Yes, the number 5 pokemon that everybody hates has to be zubat. Now honestly there really isn’t much to explain here as it’s pretty much self-explanatory. Ever since the gen 1 games zubat has always been a thorn in peoples side simply because of how often you run into this pokemon in the wild. Especially when traversing through a long and annoying cave like Mt Moon or Rock tunnel. At these points in the game, you’re likely not going to have much money as you just haven’t battled enough or you’ve spent most of it on Poke Balls and potions, so it’s almost guaranteed you won’t have many repels to fend off these terrors of the dark. I mean look at these numbers. You have a 79% chance to run into zubat in Mt Moon and a 55% chance in Rock Tunnel.

That’s absolutely insane!

And if there’s the off chance you don’t have flash and you get lost in rock tunnel, you could have to deal with this (zubat cry) for a REALLY long time! And it’s not just the original Kanto games. Almost every single pokemon game ever made has Zubat appearing at least once, but usually more. It’s literally been torturing multiple generations of players, old and new. And if that wasn’t bad enough, in the only games that that zubat doesn’t appear in, being Black and White, we were cursed with it’s Unova counterpart Woobat, who appears pretty much just as often in caves as Zubat.

No matter where you go or what games you play, you cannot escape it’s curse. And even when you try to fight them off, they constantly hit you with annoying moves like Leech life, Supersonic, Astonish, and confuse ray. I’m convinced this Pokemon was 100% made with the intent to drive the player insane and I’m willing to bet anything that the majority of fans would agree. There’s no denying it, Zubat HAS to be the most hated pokemon of all time. If you are looking for best pokemon games and reviews you must visit Pokemonlog Blog

Persona 5: The Royal Is It Worth The Wait?

Persona 5

Altus has unveiled what is sure to be the game of the year in 2020. The world is waiting for it to reach their corners of the globe. Persona 5: The Royal, will be released in Japan in October of 2019. But, the western world will not see it until 2020.

In 2016, Persona 5 was released for PS3 and PS4. While the games were in development for a very long time, when they hit, they rocked the virtual world. Altus earned a reputation for releasing major revisions to the game. Then to make it more agreeable, they added new characters and new features. If this bothered the fans, they kept it to themselves and they are lining up for the new version. But, players are a little concerned. They are hoping there will be no repeat of the revision battle. We do not delay so we are hoping everything will be ready for us.

Reviews have given us tidbits of information about the new edition, and so far it seems to be the game everyone is talking about. The intro of the gives the gamer the feeling that it is the beginning of a very thick book filled with anticipation, twists, and turns. Just when you think you have a handle on it, it turns again.

How does it compare to Persona 4?

As it always is, reviewers are across the board. There are those who love Persona 4 and see little difference, except when they are.  You have those who say the fights are too hard and those who think they are too easy. So, let’s just take a look and you can decide for yourself if you want to hold on to your money for the 2020 release.

In the first few minutes of Persona 5: The Royal, you sense the intensity of this game is intense. Persona 5: The Royal takes its time introducing the various threads and the overall mechanics built into the game.

The last Persona had two school semesters. They went from Fall to Winter and from Winter to Spring. Persona 5 had a third semester which we assume will take you through to summer

Changes

Okay, everybody wants to know what is new. You will see enough of Persona 4 to understand it is in the series. But there are many different that will soon make an appearance, which includes the new characters and scenes. To watch the trailer, click here. Another exciting difference is the enemy’s no longer are like humans. They all have super-powers.

You will feel amazing and complex themes throughout the game. They are co-complex that you will find it hard to put the game down. Persona 5 themes include core values like freedom, identity, and pride which are massively woven throughout the stories. The themes help you identify with the game on a higher level.

How does it go?

The story begins with a team of Phantom Thieves. The travel into an alternate universe/world. These thieves have supernatural abilities and while in the alternative world, they steal hearts.

What “Stealing hearts” is explained as finding high-profile bad guys and helping them see the errors of their ways and admit to their crimes. This process is never rushed. You are drawn into the game and you slowly watch your team emerge. There is yet another twist. As your team gets more well-known more members are recruited and bigger heists happen. Bigger villans are chased.

The places you enter are based on someone’s perception. For example, a school coach may have a perception that the gym is his palace and the pupils are his subjects, created to serve him.

You spend your time selecting your targets. Then you must uncover their perceptions. All while dealing with the consequence of your stealing which is a major part of the theme. You will enjoy new scenes and new characters.

Photo credit: Rawpixel

A couple of surprises and a few twists

The twins get to go out into the world! Justine and Caroline were only let to hang around the entrance to the velvet room. Now they can get out into the world!

Players split their time between high-school, making and keeping friends, and fighting bad guys. You can see how this is going to go. You will find small victories that will propel you into bigger scenarios

There is a new party member named Kasumi Yoshizawa. She is a transfer student to Shujin.

You will get to see Kasumi Yoshizawa with Ren in an aquarium. That is something you have not seen before and it is super cool. This is the first time we saw the aquarium in Tokyo.

To help all of these budding romances, there are places you can take your friends to for date night. There are lots of new places to go and things to do. You will find a place to play darts and snooker. And you can spend as much time dating as you do fighting. You will find It is the combination of all of these different things happening at once that keeps you on your toes.

Atlus Release Date

Those of us in the west will see the game the first half of 2020 according to Atlus. They can’t or won’t be more specific. The game is going to be available on October 31, 2019, in Japan.  Trailers and teasers are popping up everywhere. One thing is for sure, there will be one heck of a rush getting a copy,

There will not be a Persona 5: The Royal for the Nintendo Switch. Or, at least not that we know of. However, they have announced Persona 5: Scramble. This is a horde-fighting action-packed game. The game will also be available for the PS4 platform. They did release a teaser this month. It is just enough to let you know that you have to get this game!

Stay tuned folks. 2020 is pretty far away. Keep your eyes and ears open for updates.

Super Mario RPG: The Mario Game Nintendo Forgot

Super Mario RPG

Super Mario RPG

When Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars came out in March of 1996, I was nine years old. Back then, I went to the video store with my parents and literally judged games by their cover. This game had Mario on the box. I was in.

I didn’t know this particular game was very different from the usual platforming, hop-and-bop gameplay you might expect. For one, it was an isometric game. Yet when I loaded up the save file of whoever played the video store cartridge last, the first thing I did was jump on a goomba. When the game screen wiped into a completely different area that had Mario on one side and the goomba on the other, I knew what kind of game this was.

It was like EarthBound.

Mario at Bowser's Castle
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7279025226/

It was another turn-based game with lots of text (even though Mario never spoke a word) and memorable characters. Developed by Squaresoft (before they merged with Enix and became Square-Enix), it had classic Final Fantasy gameplay with a Mario twist. The game had timed hits and timed blocks. Both Princess Toadstool and Bowser could join your team.

As a kid whose first video game ever was Donkey Kong, and first console game ever was the original Super Mario Bros., this game was insane. The graphics were amazing (for their time), and the world of Mario became so much more than just floating platforms and turtle dragons. There were towns. There were regular people, with regular jobs.

This was a Super Mario World I wanted to live in.

I fell in love with characters like Mallow the cloud prince, and Geno the battle-puppet. I still hum the game’s soundtrack to this day. And the timed hits system was so ahead of its time, when games like Legend of Dragoon came out, it was old hat to me.

So how come very few people seem to remember this game?

Mario RPG World
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/10594718535/

Easy answer? Squaresoft broke away from Nintendo to join the Sony squad. The PlayStation was simply the best console for Final Fantasy VII. So while Nintendo may own Mario and his friends, characters like Geno and Mallow belonged to Square.

In short, these characters would never come back in a Nintendo game. Even after Square-Enix patched things up with Nintendo and started doing the Crystal Chronicles thing, Mario RPG was old news. And we all know how much Nintendo hates their old beloved SNES RPGs.

While we might see it on virtual consoles for Nintendo systems, the franchise has effectively been replaced by Paper Mario and the Mario and Luigi Superstar games. Which, if you ask me, are vastly inferior.

I will not stop clamoring for Geno and Mallow to become Nintendo regulars. Why can’t I punch Mallow’s fluffy face in Smash Bros? Why can’t I blast tennis balls from Geno’s arm rockets? I want my beloved childhood back. In closing, life is unfair. And so is Nintendo.

EarthBound Inspiration

earthbound

I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that my love of storytelling didn’t come from literature, or even film. Not originally, anyhow. It came from video games.

It bothers me to no end that I have to defend games as a medium. Truthfully, I don’t even like to call them games. I’d sooner call them interactive media or the like, but that just makes me sound like I’m calling porn “adult entertainment.”

I could go on forever about the medium. But I’m here to talk about one game in particular, and how it influenced me growing up.

It was called EarthBound

earthbound screenshot
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14086391369/

A cult RPG on the Super Nintendo about a thirteen-year-old kid in contemporary America (called “Eagleland” in the game) alongside his best friends, saving the world from cosmic horrors. It’s one of the goofiest, trippiest games to come out of Japan at the time, and that’s saying something.

In a time when most RPGs were sword-and-sorcery fantasy, along comes this game where the hero uses yo-yos and baseball bats, orders pizza from payphones to heal, uses the ATM to get money, sleeps in hotels, travels via buses and bicycles, gets homesick, goes backstage of concerts, and fights hippies, taxicabs, pedophiles, ramblin’ mushrooms, wild ducks, possessed tents, and more. All done to a jazzy, ‘60s-’70s Western pop music inspired soundtrack. You can practically sing the Beatles lyrics along with some of the game’s soundtrack.

All this plus themes of courage and friendship and adventure. It was about leaving home and seeing the world–and not your usual fare of dark forests and magic castles, but of suburbia and big cities and wintery private schools and beachside vacation destinations. Ness, the hero, came from a small house in a suburb with his family. He had a baseball cap and a scruffy dog. He was me. And he had best friends that he saw the world with. This was my On the Road in the 1990s.

EarthBound was the first game that I’d played that was so chock-full of text that I might as well have been reading a pile of books

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It had a quirky, but heartfelt story that I fell in love with. And from then on, I needed my games to draw me in with the story and the setting and the characters–a fact that continues to this day. “Fun” is secondary to aesthetic and narrative. I want art and I want story. Games got me drawing and they got me reading and they inspired me to create my own stories.

When I was in grade, oh, four or five, I did one of those reading evaluation things that teachers give you. They told me I read on a college-grade level. I was a quiet kid who had little use for books, but I read more than most book-lovers. After all, the games I loved were filled with words, back before everything was voice-acted. My reading skills came from games.

And EarthBound was the start

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It made me want to run away and have adventures. To write screenplays about psychics and mad scientists and aliens invading the suburbs. I wanted to build a house in the woods and listen to the Beatles on the radio all day long. I can think of so many beautiful, iconic moments in this goofy kids’ game that I could make this post go on and on and on.

Ultimately, EarthBound gave my mind a fictional wanderlust. Even though it was a game, it made me appreciate the beauty of the world outside my house. I look at the stars or smell the earth after it rains and I remember this dreamy feeling of wanting to put on my trusty baseball cap, leave home and save the world. Games like EarthBound provided this imaginary escape–the same kind books like Huckleberry Finn would do for readers. It was freedom. And that freedom is why I play games.

5 Reasons Why Players Should Check Out Night In The Woods

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Night In The Woods

Platform: PC, PS4 Digital

Release Date: February 21st 2017

I have been playing a lot of story intense games over the last few weeks. 2017 has been churning out some real winners at the start of this year. Tales of Berseria has tugged at my heart strings and so has the critical and commercial darling, Horizon Zero Dawn. However, the game that I want to talk about today may have flown under the radar since so many great games have arrived. That game is called Night in the Woods and I present to you 5 things you should know about before you start.

Night in the Woods Is An Adventure Game

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Image Caption: http://www.nightinthewoods.com/

Not an adventure game like Horizon is an adventure game. More like how Broken Age is an adventure game. It’s a side scroll game that has player take the main protagonist Mae through her hick town. Just about everything can be interacted with but may only open up once you reach certain parts of the story. It has been great searching around the town to see what new things you can reach. I make sure to travel everywhere before I make any major commitments to see what pieces of dialogue I may uncover. Mae is able to climb on wires and roofs of buildings so make sure to look around.

It’s a Grown Up Zootopia

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Image Caption: http://www.nightinthewoods.com/

Or Daria for the new millennium whichever you prefer. Even though the characters are animals the commentary is surely not cutesy at all. The dialogue tackles some serious issues like being a college drop out, failing to meet parental expectations, bad break ups etc. You name it and its in here. The dialogue is smart, witty and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Even if all the plot points don’t resonate with you I’m sure someone in town will.

There Is Also Rhythm Game Play Involved

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Did I mention that the Mae was in a band before she came back from school? Well she was and her friends are psyched to bring her back into the fold. I wasn’t prepared to be thrown into a rhythm game where you needed to coordinate 3 buttons. And unfortunately I don’t believe the difficulty can be adjusted for it. There is no real penalty for failing but I’m sure there is a trophy for being successful.

The Possum Springs Is A Town Is Full of Personality

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Image Caption: http://www.nightinthewoods.com/

I’m not from a small town but I could imagine if I was everyone would know your name. In this town everyone does know your character which is refreshing because of their dialogue. They also have distinct personalities so u may find yourself liking the townsfolk better than Bea. I especially enjoy the bear who writes poems or the penguin right next to her that has nothing but asshole stuff to say to you every day. Mae also has a computer that you can use to interact with your friends which gives a real sense of immersion.

There Is A Mystery Afoot

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Image Caption: http://www.nightinthewoods.com/

From the very beginning of the game there is an a sense that before Mae left something went down. Some of the towns people mention it but they don’t ignore you because of it. The main character herself makes it seems like it’s something that shouldn’t be talked about it. At some point this comes to the forefront so you will be thrust into that part of the adventure as well.

I am totally in love with this game and cannot wait to see how it all ends and the relationships I build. Have you checked out this game? What have you discovered? Do you play adventure games? Let us know in the comments below.

Horrifyingly Fun Game You Should Try, If You Can!

Horrifying Fun Game

Horrifying Fun Game

All doctors take an oath and vow to help all people who need it. A strict code that determines the appropriate means of treatment. Any doctor found facilitating the decline or mistreatment of a patient would be a horrifying atrocity. Not to mention a huge crime. Well—what if I told you there’s a game out there that aims at just that?

There’s a game out there that has been designed for android and iOS devices that will surely shock and amaze you. A game unlike any other you’ve ever played. A game that makes you into a truly evil doctor.

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Live…and Let Die

Imagine a game where a completely healthy individual is destined to die based on your choices. Where your sole purpose is to methodically and strategically diminish this person’s health until they finally die. You will get to see how the body systems decline with each choice of your twisted mind.

It gets better–while you continue to terminate the patient, the kind doctors are hard at work trying to diagnose all the patient’s problems. It’s a race against the clock. Each decision will be crucial to your success, or failure.

Tell Me More

With each new level and patient, the game will intensify and challenge your mind. Thousands of possibilities lie in front of you. From diseases, faulty medications, to lifestyle effects.

Biomedical Plague allows you to play  however you see fit. Attack a certain body system will full force, methodically attack each body system together, or set the patient up to fail with a poor unhealthy lifestyle.

Final Breath

The game ends with the death of the patient, or by your failure to kill them in time. The tools are all in front of you. The choices left only in your hands. The Doctor of Death is officially on call. Only question left to ask is, “How do you plan to play it, Doc?”

Do you have the nerve to play this game? Only person it’s going to hurt if you play is the patient.

So, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts on the game. Likes, dislikes, my choices. Leave all your comments below! Remember, share the page with anything you’d think would be interested in this game.

6 Most Anticipated Games of 2017

most anticipated games of 2017

Most Anticipated Games of 2017

As gamers, we sit patiently awaiting news of upcoming games. It gives a purpose. It allows us to spend hours and hours online researching potential storylines, features, release dates, and characters. We become the crazy ex-girlfriend or boyfriend we swear we aren’t. However, one thing is certain. We live in anticipation of the future.

2017 is here, and with it brings a whole new crops of games for us. Some that gamers have waited years to finally get their hands on. Although, we do have to keep waiting for most of these, it doesn’t hurt to talk about the 6 most anticipated games of 2017.

Horizon Zero Dawn

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The PS4 exclusive is visually stunning. A truly breathtaking piece of art designed in awe-inspiring 4K format, has anyone who’s watched the gameplay trailers vouch for its beauty and violence. Making many XBOX ONE users strongly consider going to “the Dark side” (figuratively) after the E3 gameplay drop.

Horizon Zero Dawn follows the story of Aloy, a tribal woman who’s been out-casted by her tribe and begins to search for the secrets of the forgotten past. Setup in a post-apocalyptic world where technology reigns supreme wild across the lands and people have reverted to more uncivilized styles of life.

Aloy is equipped with a staff that also can be used effectively as a sword. Not to mention, she has a bow and some highly technological arrows that can explode, shock, as well as be upgraded to even more options. Also, did I forget to mention that this world is full of metal beasts made from technology? In addition, Aloy can climb and hack this machine to use to her advantage. You will hunt, track, scavenge for upgrades from fallen beasts, and hack the wild beast throughout the land.

Sold yet?

Prey

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It’s arguable that the most anticipated game of 2017 is Prey. Imagine a game that is has alien creatures that have the power to transform into any object, can easily kill and take control other people, and are being tested secretly aboard a space station above earth. Now, imagine that these creatures escape their containments and begin killing the people aboard the ship–and it’s up to you to stop them before the ship returns to Earth. You can’t tell me you don’t want to play this game after reading that.

You play lead protagonist Morgan Yu, aboard a space station in the year 2035. Your mundane life takes a unique turn when you awake one day to find a black, alien creature attached to your arm. This encounter of the third kind leaves you with the creature’s alien powers. Including mimicking objects.

You can tap further into these powers while using an assortment of advanced weapons right out of a Sci-Fi thriller movie. Not to mention, this game is an open map. Meaning you can go forwards and backwards without locked doors or long loading screens. In addition, you can venture outside in space to get to other parts of the space station.

Space, aliens, powers, high tech guns, and must save the Earth—who wouldn’t say yes to that?!

Vampyr

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Vampyr probably not as well known to you as some of the others on this list. However, don’t be fooled. Vampyr will transport you into the dark gothic life of a vampire.

Vampires are not just for teen romances anymore. Vampyr has sucked you into the post WWI world of London, England. Where London is plagued by the dreaded Spanish flu. In ironic fashion, you play a doctor who must kill to drink blood to live. You must use your vampire powers to investigate who will be next on your menu. Equipped with supernatural powers like, gazing into anyone body to check their overall quality of life. Allowing you to decide whether it’s a righteous kill or murder.

Also, you can transport from spot to spot. To hide in the shadows or for the quick kill. Not to mention, you can summon a death spike that penetrates your target from the ground and kills them. Also, as with traditional Vampire lore, you can control people’s minds and actions.

To kill, or not to kill? Vampyr is a game of choices. Where each choice can change how the rest of the game plays out. Sound up your alley?

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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Fans of the Mass Effect series have long awaited the next instalment of this franchise. And, Mass Effect: Andromeda looks to be the real deal in 2017. The Sci-Fi RPG shooter begins where Mass Effect 2 ends and before Mass Effect 3 begins.

In the beautiful crystal-clear 4K format, Mass Effect: Andromeda looks to be more movie-like than an actual game. As the lead antagonist, Pathfinder, your 600-year cryo-sleep has rudely been prematurely ended thanks to a devastating event in space. As Pathfinder, you lead your crew through the exploration of the Andromeda Galaxy.

If you recently watched the gameplay trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda, you’ll see some of the new improvements an enhancement to the Mass Effect franchise. Including some new skills within the skill tree. Also, the newest and most requested feature from past games, crafting is now available. Your trustee weapons also have some nice enhancements, allows you to open a nice can of chaos. Not to mention, the interface within the game appears to be 3D now. Making it visually spectacular. Prepare for an epic ride solving puzzles, battling monsters, and jetpacking your way through the worlds in the Andromeda galaxy.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands

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Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands is already receiving a lot of attention for being one of the candidates for Shooter of the Year. Jam packed with over 60 weapon choices, 60 vehicle choices (including helicopter), and some handy side tools like drones.

This RPG shooter can be played any way imaginable. With precision and stealth, to bullets flying in a blaze of glory. With improves features to weapons, explosive, and drones, upgrades and improvenements can make or break each missions success.

We can’t leave out its multiplayer mode. Designed to set it apart from Call of Duty and Battlefield, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands will give its players a new feature called “Synch-Shot”. This features allows the team leader to assign a target to each player on the team and label each target for its destined player. As a result, giving you a more military-like style of precision for kills.

If stealth-based shooters are you bag, this game will sure deliver everything and beyond to keep you hooked.

For Honor

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For Honor is quickly approaching its release date. It’s a stunning masterpiece of design. From its environment, body motion, attacks and defense.

Set up in a Viking aged era, For Honor puts you square into a never-ending battle between 3 clans; Vikings, Knights, and Samurai. The clans clash for power and honor as an evil ruler, Napoleon, looks to conquer all 3 clans.

Choose your clan. Fight your way through the bravest and toughest warriors of each clan, called “Heroes”. In a one of kind combat experience, For Honor offers a truly unique melee and attack system. Something not yet seen in video games. You can adjust the angle of each block, parry, and swing of your weapon. Giving your Hero an improved chance of an advantage in combat. Also, you can chain your attacks together to give your Hero a smooth attack from opponent to opponent without stopping. Not to mention, For Honor include an all new environment effectiveness. Meaning you can use aspects of the environment, such as walls, cliffs, and rocks, to your attack or defensive strategy in battle.

Get your copy now before they run out!

To Conclude

The anticipation is not over yet. 2017 is still waiting to blossom and with each day we get even closer to emptying our bank accounts. But you have to admit, these games look amazing! I find hard to believe if you haven’t at least preordered 2 of these by now. Let’s hope all this anticipation is worth it in the end.

How did you enjoy the article? Did you agree or disagree with our selection? Any game you felt didn’t belong here or games that should be here instead? Comment and let us know! Share with your fellow gamers.