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Posts Tagged ‘gaming’

This past weekend, still recuperating from a kick-your-teeth-out head cold, I didn’t have much energy for anything beyond breathing, so I figured maybe I’d play Valley, the new game I’d purchased. Aside from that, my one major expense of energy would be to accompany my wife (who had also succumbed to the Killer Cold) on an errand to the mall. The mall is one of my least favorite places, but I managed to muster enough oomph to assist her, and I’m glad I did because whilst there, I was able to try out the Oculus Rift.

These two items — Valley and the Oculus — pretty much peg the spectrum of gaming costs. At an online sale price of $8, Valley was a superb bargain, while the Oculus headset rig ($499) is about as dear a peripheral as you can find, especially when you factor in the current requirements for both a high-end gaming PC (the model I used in the demo was $1499) and the Oculus Touch handsets ($99/pair).

Now, there’s no frakking way I’m going to plunk down over two grand for a gaming peripheral. Ain’t gonna happen. Nuh-unh. After spending ten minutes under the VR headset, though, I was tempted. Sorely tempted.

On the other hand, my expectations for a video game that costs eight bucks were low. Very low. Like, I expected to be bored within an hour, low. That didn’t happen, proving that even my jaded sensibilities can still be wrong. (more…)

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Because A.J. wanted a follow-up…

KRAG’s Law of Hype Lensing:

The Perception of an Object is distorted by the sum of the object’s anticipatory Hype and the engagement level of the observer’s Imagination.

The hype for No Man’s Sky was intense. As if three years of visionary promises and a truly groundbreaking approach weren’t enough, when Sony opened up its gargantuan wallet and bet its money on Hello Games — a tiny, 15+ person development company with only a cheesy little platformer app to its credit — all speculation was punched into warp-drive.

Usually, in such situations, I see the hype for what it is (i.e., marketing) and my Imagination compensates, essentially canceling out the effects of Hype. This way, when the game is released, it’s pretty much as I expected and disappointment levels are kept to a minimum.

In the case of No Man’s Sky, however, I made a tactical error. I figured that a small, independent company like Hello Games, run by a plucky band of earnest boys and girls from Surrey, would not yet be infected by the callous, avaricious cancer of corporate greed. I took them to be sincere lovers of games who were trying to be transparent about plans and features.

My bad.  (more…)

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On Release Day, I spent a few hours playing No Man’s Sky.

It’s not perfect, but damn, it’s close. (more…)

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Tomorrow’s the day.

No Man’s Sky, the game that tipped the scales and convinced me to buy a PS4 console delivers tomorrow.

The hype for this game — in my little world, anyway — has been intense, and with good reason. It’s truly unlike any other game, both in construction and in scope. Nothing exists until you (or someone else) discovers it. Planets, environments, flora, fauna, it’s all built on the fly, procedurally, the moment you encounter it. Once a gamer has discovered it and uploads her findings to the “atlas,” it becomes permanent and available to all other gamers.

It’s been a long wait — more than a year, for me — but as usual, some spoonhead decided to spoil it for others.

(more…)

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Chairman MeowLet’s take a break from news about my career change (because there’s no news to report) and turn to a quandary solved. I speak, of course, of the answer to the crucial question: “Xbox One or PS4?”

I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now, but with the cut in income that this career change will inevitably bring, the issue has reached the fish-or-cut-bait point. In the past, “Both” would have been a viable answer, but now that’s no longer an option. I must make a choice, and soon. So…this one? The other? Or neither? (Yes, neither is an option.)

Currently, I have an Xbox 360 and a PS3, acquired over the course of several years (I am not an early adopter), and I can’t say I favor one over the other. The differences are largely insignificant to my playing style, and those differences are far outnumbered by the similarities (both good and bad). As a result, I really don’t have a preference, leaving “Neither” as the strongest option.

As an Old Man Gamer, I don’t have large circles of online friends with whom I go RPGing or MMOing or FPSing. I occasionally run with a couple of guys on Xbox Live and a couple of other folks on the PSN circuit. That’s it. I’m more of a lone wolf, in that regard and thus, when pondering the question of console upgrades, knowing what my peeps are planning to do carries some, but not a lot of weight (especially since none of them are planning to upgrade anytime soon). So, again, “Neither” looks to be the best answer.

With this in mind, you might then ask me why, last week, I suddenly decided to purchase a PS4?

Answer: game availability. Specifically, one particular game. (more…)

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Video games rarely surprise me. Disappoint me? Often. Surprise me? Rarely.

Journey, a PS3 game from Sony and thatgamecompany, surprised me.

First off, it’s rated E (Everyone) which usually means one of two things: good old-fashioned family fun or cartoon characters and jaunty tunes. This is neither.

The plot of Journey is simple: you are a wanderer in a wasteland, and your goal is to reach the top of a mystical mountain, seen in the distance.

That’s it. See that mountain? Go there.

Simplistic? Yes, but therein lies the beauty of this game. (more…)

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I am that rare thing, that forgotten demographic, that chimera of the gaming world.

I am a guy with an Xbox Gold Membership and an AARP card.

‘Struth. Even though my twitch-muscle response time took a nosedive during the Reagan administration, even though I often win the FIFO award during multiplayer gaming sessions, I still enjoy a little mayhem now and again.

The First-Person Shooter is my go-to genre in gaming, and as such, I’ve followed several of the big franchises over the years. This year saw long-awaited releases for three of them: Halo, Gears of War, and BioShock. I’ve played them all, now, and I am therefore qualified to say that there’s only franchise that did it right.

Now, since I am Old Man Gamer, my yardsticks are not the same as those freshly minted TwitchMaster 2000 players. While I appreciate the diverse weaponry and multiplayer modes and splatter-factors, I put greater weight on story line, set design, innovative gameplay, character realization, and what I call the Immersion Factor. I also care about how women are portrayed in video games, not because I’m a prude, but because I’m just sick and tired of females only existing in video games to up the titillation quotient.

So–assuming I haven’t lost you completely at this point–my findings.

(more…)

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