Category: Gaming

Fallout 4 got dogs right.

Well, right-ish.

I’ve yet to use a companion other than Dogmeat (a dog companion) for my forays into the wasteland. I’ll probably encounter similar behaviour off them when I start using them for what I assume will be a greater carrying capacity.

Anyways, from having once had pet dogs, and allowing Dogmeat to accompany me on my travels, I realised just how much in common with the real thing Dogmeat has:

  • About to loot something? Nope, Dogmeat is right there, demanding attention!
  • You will never go down stairs without Dogmeat being in your way. And then refusing to move.
  • Barks at the most inappropriate times.
  • Is unable to find loot that is right under his nose.
  • Runs off to play elsewhere at random. Usually when you want him.

Good work, Bethesda!

Fallout 4: On the Moove.

Yup, another Fallout 4 post. Guess what I’m spending my free time on?

So, I’ve been wandering around Sanctuary a lot, as I have made it my main base of operations. Trashcan Carla (a vendor) occasionally comes to visit, with her pack brahmin. For those not in the know, brahmin are basically 2 headed cows. They moo a lot.

Fast forward some gameplay, and Trashcan Carla has wandered off elsewhere. But I can still hear the incessant mooing of a brahmin. It was doing my head in, so I spent about 10 minutes trying to find the thing so I could just get rid of it.

Here’s a question – in these games, how often do you look up?

Fallout 4_20160111203031
It failed to jump over the moon.

That would be a pack brahmin on the roof of the workshop in Sanctuary. I love bugs like these. I didn’t have the heart to kill it. It’s still there on subsequent reloads. I am now accustomed to the incessant mooing in Sanctuary. I would miss it if it wasn’t there.

Things I’ve done in Fallout 4

Following the main story is for wimps. Here is what I’ve been up to since I started playing yesterday:

  • Started making settlements. Everywhere I can.
  • Using said settlements, I have started my purified water empire.
  • Cooking all the things.
  • I found a legendary rolling pin off a legendary enemy. This is now being upgraded and will be my main melee weapon.
  • I upset Codsworth a lot by feeding up the granny with loads of drugs.

Main story line? What main story line? I’m level 10, and I’ve only advanced it so far as arriving at Diamond City. So long, life!

PlayStation Plus November 2015 Free Games – I love this month!

I know we’re already quite a way into November, but I only got around to checking out the PlayStation Plus offerings this weekend. I was pretty impressed.

In the free games section for Plus subscribers this month, we can pick up The Walking Dead season 2, Magicka 2 and Dragon Fin Soup.

Now, some may not be too enthused by this, but me? These games are all totally up my alley. I’ve yet to finish The Walking Dead season 1, but that is a game that is firmly on my ‘to play’ list, so I’m very pleased.

As for Magicka – the humour in this game feels like it was put there with me in mind. Just check out the trailer here. I may have watched it quite a few times, as it makes me giggle.

Dragon Fin Soup is one that I know little about – but from the trailer alone, the words ‘Tactical RPG’ stuck out, making me very excited at the prospect of playing this game.

I feel like this months Plus was aimed at me personally, which is great. I’ve only had a brief foray into Magicka 2 so far, and I’m finding it thoroughly enjoyable and hilarious. Keep your eyes peeled – I’ll be having something to say about all these games in the next few weeks.

Revisiting old haunts

Quite a few years ago, I spent a lot of time playing an online game called Guild Wars. I wasn’t that great at it, but it was a lot of fun. I played for about seven years. The thing that kept me playing wasn’t the game itself, but more the people that I was playing the game with. I fell in with a fantastic group of people, who have in part remained online friends even now. Some, I’ve even met in ‘real life’, so to speak.

I did play Guild Wars 2 for a while, but it just didn’t have the same draw for me as its predecessor did. That said, I still occasionally get the urge to log on, if only to ‘see’ some of the people I used to play the game with. Which I guess is odd – I’m not getting the urge to log on to play the game. I’m getting the urge to log on to just virtually hang out with some awesome people.

Many of these people, I never met in real life. Which I guess means that just because you’re not interacting with people physically, it doesn’t make the whole experience pointless. Many of the people who I have only ever met online are people I hold in high regard.

I’ll probably try to log on over the weekend when I have some free time. And probably give away all the loot I accumulated on the trading post whilst not being online – before I stopped playing, I was playing the ‘trading post’ game to get rich with no real purpose. I’m hoping to run in to some of the familiar people who made Guild Wars such a fun time of my life.

5 retro games with awesome music

I’ve recently been playing some of the old retro games I used to love, and it got me thinking about how so many of them bring out the nostalgia in me through the music alone. So, I figured I’d list my favourite ones:

Pre-ordering computer games is for mugs.

I won’t even buy new games on release day any more.

If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that games are more and more often being released before they’re ready. It’s long made more sense to me to wait a couple of months after the release, knowing that by then the various bugs will be fixed, and the game will probably be cheaper to.

Granted, I miss out on the pre-order bonuses. But then again – am I really missing out on that much? Why would I pay for a broken/buggy game in a pre-order just to get a shiny digital hat or something? Now, extra content would be more interesting – though then I’d be very irritated if extra content was available as pre-order only. Surely such content should have just made it in to the game fully? Otherwise, it looks to me like a pretty blatant cash grab.

Like many, I do not appreciate being ripped off. And that is the direction that game pre-orders have been going in for quite some time. Now, working as a software developer myself,  I can appreciate that it would be nigh on impossible to squash every single bug. I’ll quite happily over-look little bugs. It’s the game-breaking bugs, or flat out unfinished games that are the problem here.

So – dear game companies*:

Thank you for keeping me entertained for years. But please stop taking the mickey. I don’t think I am alone when I say that I would rather wait a bit longer for your game to be awesome than to get disillusioned when I play something you haven’t had the time to make work properly.

Dear fellow gamers:

Stop pre-ordering. You know this is a problem. Vote with your wallet, and maybe the publishers will start pushing for quality over a crazy short release date.

* Yes, yes – I know there are a very small number of game companies out there who are not guilty of this. There are always exceptions.

Why I like to win all the things.

I am my fathers fault. Especially when it comes to my competitive streak.

This started when I was young. He would buy a computer game for me as a christmas or birthday present about a month before the event. Then he would ‘test it wasn’t broken’ every evening after he had sent me to bed. On the day of receiving the gift, he would play against me once on said game. Predictably, he would win – due to all his practice. Then he would promptly retire champion, and never play against me on that game again.

The one exception to this that I remember is Micro Machines 2, on the Sega Mega Drive. My father and I were incredibly competitive on the time trial sections. Shaving 0.01 of a second of the others time was cause for a rather loud victory dance in the living room. Between us, we must have evenly split the time trial records for every track. Our spare time was spent attempting to disrupt that balance by pinching the others record. I never beat his toilet seat record – but he couldn’t beat my bathtub record. My poor older sister just couldn’t compete. In the end, wanting some records for herself, she wiped the records. This could have been an opportunity for my father and I to restart our records, but it just didn’t feel the same. Plus, Micro Machines ’96 was just around the corner, so we had a whole new game to compete at. The latter game just didn’t feel as awesome as the former though, and I don’t think we ever reached that level of competitiveness in a computer game again – partly, I suspect, due to the changing nature of games then. We moved more into single player territory, and the multi-player games were designed very differently.

I think it is these two experiences that make me a somewhat sore loser and rather graceless winner. Being beaten by my dad at a game meant having my face rubbed in his victory until I could surpass it. Winning was the opportunity for revenge. I should probably thank him for helping me to develop that ‘win at all costs’ mentality. But he’d just be all smug about it, and that would be unbearable. I should also admit that I’d probably be the same without my dads intervention, as the feeling of winning is just too awesome.

I’ll stick to just trying to hunt him down on Destiny, if either of us ever pick that game up again.

I miss that old spark

I spend a lot of my time watching play throughs (or playing) some of the old games of my childhood. Sonic the Hedgehog, Brian Bloodaxe, Shining Force, just to name a few. The thing is, however, is that I often come away feeling slightly disappointed.

I miss that old spark of playing something that is truly ‘new’ to me.

I think back to the very first time I played Sonic the Hedgehog at my aunts, and just remember how exciting it was. I’m not sure if it was just because I was young, or if it was the very first time I’d seen something like it – or even if it was just down to fluking the entire first level on my first try.

This is pretty much a conversation I have with my Dad at times. Never again will I be able to get these ‘first time’ moments. Too many of the ideas have already been done. That first time playing Tomb Raider, I remember dropping the joypad when the T Rex that had been hinted at first appeared (Yes, I subsequently died). Marveling at that cut-scene in Final Fantasy VIII, where there are feathers and hair blowing across a field, and thinking that *this* was the pinnacle of graphics. (Ha!). Even laughing at the cheesy dialogue in Resident Evil was a defining moment for me.

I’m not sure if I’m just too old to feel that kind of excitement with a new game, or if I’ve just become immune to the awesomeness that a new game should be. I came close to that old feeling with Dark Souls 1, but it still wasn’t what I’ve been chasing.

I guess I miss the feel of that old spark I used to get with games. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll still blow hours of my life thoroughly enjoying the games I am playing. But that old sense of ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before’ seems to be gone, and that makes me very sad. Games have lost that sense of ‘Wow’, and it’s still a feeling that I chase – and I admit, I’ll carry on chasing it, just because. So, my own main personal ‘wow’ moments are below:

  • Pacman (Atari) – A-mazing.
  • Brian Bloodaxe (ZX Spectrum) – my first introduction to 2D platforming. The bees knees!
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Megadrive) – OMG, cartridges that load almost immediately! No tapes! Gotta go FAST!
  • Dune 2, Battle for Arrakis (Sega Megadrive) – my introduction to real time strategy games. It blew me away. I was always House Atreides.
  • Tomb Raider (Sega Saturn) – my first venture into 3D platforming. What was this wizardry?!?
  • Resident Evil (Playstation) – Possibly the first survival horror game? It was at least the first one I ever played.
  • Final Fantasy VIII (Playstation) – Those graphics. Surely they could get no better?

This list is by no means complete for all my defining gaming moments, but they are the main ones that come to mind when I’m overcome by nostalgia. Think I’ll go download some emulators now and get all nostalgic again.