Monthly Archives: December 2015

N64 Goldeneye — Thank you for 20 years of memories!

Most of the recent 007 flick, “Spectre”, is not bad.  The last 30 minutes, though, is the worst James Bond I’ve seen.  It got me nostalgic for old school Bond.  And Judi Dench.  And of course, N64’s Goldeneye.  It was released in 1996, which means a golden 20 years since I spent time playing when I should have been studying for finals.  Yes, good old days.  Here’s a full game playthrough by Sam Radford, who’s definitely a cool dude to revive these retro greats.  He’s got N64 Zelda, too.  Thanks, Sam!

That Dragon, Cancer — The Game that Needs to be Played

Why would anyone play, “That Dragon, Cancer”?

The game is about the developer, Ryan Green’s son, Joel, who died in 2014 at the age of 5 after battling cancer for four years. We experience what they went through. Green said the game gives players “the opportunity to meet my son and meet our family, and kind of walk with us in our shoes, but from a safe place.”

As a father of a toddler myself, it was difficult to get past the first minute of the 3-minute trailer. It’s tough seeing a child with cancer, but I kept picturing my son’s face on the faceless toddler in the video. I don’t know if I could play through an entire game like this.

But that, really, is why I should play this game.

We play games for escape. To live fantasies, to experience an alternate reality, to forget about our bosses and bills and all the crappiness of life. We don’t play games to experience pain…right?

Now, I don’t think “That Dragon, Cancer” is a game about pain. Based on the trailer, I see a game about joy, and the Christianity in it tells me there’s a story of hope. It’s also about time. We often play games to kill time, to speed up the clock. “The Dragon, Cancer” reminds us to slow the heck down. When I see my kid growing at a million miles per hour, I want to do just that. If I knew he was dying, I would want to slow it down even more. The game is slow-paced, poetic, and often dives into a child’s imagination. All things that we need to do more of in our lives.

that dragon cancer video game

Based on Green’s reasons for making the game, it seems like he needed to do it for himself. Much like a writer needs to tell a story or an artist’s need to paint. Nothing wrong with that, but what’s in it for the player? Is this a game that needs to be played?

Yes, most definitely. A game like this is the ultimate escape. It will help us forget about our bosses, and the bills, and all the crappiness of life…AND help us to remember why we forget all those other inconsequential things.

“That Dragon, Cancer” is out January 12, 2016 on Steam, Windows, Mac, and Ouya.

Valiant on Kickstarter — Virtual Reality, Virtual Brutality?

Technology will take us to the past…to experience all the wonderful brutality of human history. Medieval warfare, for example, was especially cruel. Take the Battle of Visby, for instance. Knights hacking away peasants. Fun times! It won’t be long before we see all that chivalry in action first hand. For now, we have Valiant.

Valiant is a virtual reality medieval warfare multiplayer. It’s spent the last year in the D-League, now they’re taking it to The Show. Or hope to. It’s currently on Kickstarter at $2K of $11K with 23 days to go.

valiant video game

The game itself won’t make you say, “Beauteous!” At least not yet. Actually, what’s there right now doesn’t look much more than a game of tag on horses. But of course, what’s interesting about this is the VR. The experience of immersing yourself. The game doing what good entertainment in all mediums do well…suspend disbelief. That’s the true fascination with Valiant, and why it should be funded.

If you’re looking for true medieval gameplay, For Honor might be the one waiting for.

Unravel: Story Trailer — Spin it, spin it real good!

Yarny is the next Lara Croft. He climbs, jumps, repels, swings from cliff to cliff…to go where no yarn has gone before. He’s that cool. Yarny is the hero of Unravel, a “physics-based puzzle platformer” coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One on February 9, 2016.

Yes, Yarny is literally a string of yarn clumped together to form a squishy imp-like creature who shoots out yarn from his hands to thread together the memories of a lost family. The trailer shows an old woman reminiscing.   She drops a ball of red yarn which unravels to form Yarny who takes the opportunity to do what any yarn would do – go on an adventure outside the safety of home.

There are puzzles and obstacles he must overcome. Kites to hitch a ride on and tree limbs and construction equipment to get from left to right in this side-scroller. Game is simple, but looks highly satisfying, and rewarding. And the rewards are more precious than rare artifacts. Lost memories. Lots of them. Collect them all to paint a picture of true happiness.

Let the memories (and the puns) begin – spin it, Yarny!

unravel video game

Yakuza 6 Gameplay Trailer — More knives, less curry bar, please

Anyone who hasn’t played Yakuza will probably watch the new trailer and think, “Okay, GTA in Tokyo”. That was my first thought after watching the first trailer more than a year ago. The PS4 exclusive, due in January, has one major difference….

Guns.

That is, Yakuza don’t have as many. Or at least they shouldn’t. This is Japan, after all. Sure, we’ve seen Takeshi Kitano blow out a few brains, including his own, but guns for civilians have been banned there since 1965. That means less guns, more melee, especially knives and clubs.

It actually enhances the brutality of gang warfare. Up close and personal. Guts spilling to the floor, limbs hacked off. Yeah, guns do damage, but I assume it’s much easier to pull a trigger than to stick a knife into flesh and bone.

Remember that fight scene from “Old Boy”? Okay, that’s a Korean movie, not Japanese, but same thing, less guns, more knives…and clubs…and hammers…more awesome.

The new trailer for Yakuza 6 shows us some of the melee action, though no knives in this one. It also tours us through a bar and restaurant. Whoopee! There’s also some gameplay such as moving around on roof tops. More whoopee!

If you’re a game developer and game marketer, focus on what will set Yakuza apart from others, especially in the U.S. Don’t need to look at curry bars. The combat, the brutality of a knife fight — that’s the competitive advantage here. Put all your resources into that, make it something truly unique, and go from there.

Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes Review — The Force is with you…and your mobile device…always

Game Experience: High

Game Value: High

Total Score: 6 out of 6

Quiche’s Recommendation: This IS the F2P you’re looking for….

As F2Ps go, doesn’t get much better than Madden Mobile. But another mobiler from EA, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, comes pretty close.

star wars galaxy of heroes

Light vs Dark in Galaxy of Heroes.

Galaxy of Heroes (GoH) is essentially a card game. Collect your characters through play and purchase, upgrade and train them, and unleash them on the enemy. The game modes are not unique to GoH. In fact, it’s very similar to Madden Mobile, et al. There’s a campaign mode, head-to-head, ranking, challenges and others that unlock as you advance in level. Daily rewards and achievements keep you coming back for more, and then back for more…again. It’s that addictive.

star wars galaxy of heroes

Battle it out at your favorite Star Wars spots, like the Death Star!

And it does what Madden Mobile does so well. It’s playable without real cash. There is an energy meter but it’s not so limited that you spend less than ten minutes playing it at a time. Graphics are clean and detailed for a mobile F2P.

But more than anything else, what makes this game so addictive is…Star Wars. That makes me biased, I know. I freaking love Star Wars! So the characters, and collecting them, is the hook and bait. I’m caught! The characters span all the movies and includes those from the animated fillers as well. Clone War clones, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers from the Darth Vader era, to the First Order…. There’s even that X-Wing pilot that Luke talks to for like 2 minutes…what’s his name? Why was he even in the movie? Yep, they’ve even got him.

star wars galaxy of heroes

Upgrade your characters to make them more awesome.

And of course, there is the Jedi. They’re not as powerful in GoH as they should be. For example, a regular grunt droid from Phantom Menace can take out my weaker Jedi with a single shot. In the movies, those droids got taken out like Lego blocks. But the Jedi are still pretty cool regardless. And then there are the Ewoks. They’ve still got bows and arrows, and they’re still huggable, but they’re capable of serious damage. So, okay, the characters’ abilities are not exactly “realistic”, but they’re still cool to collect and battle with.

star wars galaxy of heroes

Improve your characters for victory.

The game rocks, one of the best this year. I could just be over-jazzed about The Force Awakens, but I’m loving this game!

star wars galaxy of heroes

Use strategy to defeat your foes.

The Walking Dead: Michonne — ’bout time girl got her own series

I love Clementine, but no one is more memorable in The Walking Dead than Michonne. She’s memorable because she’s mysterious. I haven’t read all the comics but I do know she’s got a dark past, much more than what we see in the TV Show. I mean, she’s got a katana and two jawless walkers in tow!

The TellTale Games series, The Walking Dead: Michonne, tries to unravel some of the mystery. We see what happened “between issues #126 and #139” and “what took her away from Rick, Ezekiel, and the rest of her trusted group…and what brought her back.”

The VO Talent is Samira Wiley, from Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.

The trailer shows Michonne at an old beach front campsite, probably the scene of a traumatic event in her life. Then we see her on a boat, hacking walkers, and then captured by non-walkers. There’s a gun to her head. Good stuff, can’t wait.

The Walking Dead: Michonne – A Telltale Games Series is out in February 2016, downloadable to PC, Mac, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, and Android.

Allexiur on Kickstarter — What exactly is TechNoir?

Technoir just sounds cool. That genre alone might be reason enough to fund Allexiur, a fetus from noob developer, Black Ark Games. It’s currently on Kickstarter at $244 of $7,551 with 24 days to go.

Allexiur is described as a “tehcnoir (sic) mystery adventure game”. What exactly makes technoir technoir? I know anything noir-ish with sci-fi elements, or vice versa, is called technoir, but I want a harder definition. The word itself makes me think Humphrey Bogart with an iPad.

According to the Allexiur Kickstarter video, the game has all the elements of film noir – the P.I., the gal, the office, even file cabinets. What makes it “tech”, I guess, is that it’s set on a colony on the moon. Yes, literally, the moon. Sci-fi Noir sounds more accurate than Technoir. BladeRunner is Sci-Fi, really, but it’s noir-ish at the same time, so Sci-fi Noir. I wouldn’t call it Technoir just because it has science fiction in it. Technoir needs to be more technology-driven. Like hardcore sci-fi versus casual sci-fi. Can’t call something Technoir just because it’s set in the future.

Back to Allexiur: to fund or not to fund?

One turnoff right off the bat are all the spelling errors. If I’m investing my hard-earned cash, I want assurance these guys are professional enough to do a basic spell-check. And have a little bit more attention to detail.

allexiur video game

Another turnoff are some of the 2-D graphics. It not only looks like a flash game, but it lacks any original art direction. You want noir? Make it dark. Mysterious. Even black and white is better. Think Sin City with a sci-fi twist. And really, what’s with the file cabinets? It’s a futuristic, digital, limited-space environment. Get rid of the file cabinets!

allexiur video game

File cabinets on the moon!

The bright spot is the concept art. It’s interesting. Not the most original yet but there’s promise, especially the metropolis encased in an atmosphere dome with the crescent Earth in the distance. Some possibilities there.

I won’t be backing this one, but I do want to see the game funded, just to see what exactly is technoir.