Sunshine Blogger Award – Part 1 — The Grimoire of the Rainbow Mage

I was nominated by Alex Sigsworth with an award! My very first award in my whole blogging life. 😛 Though I have a long overdue blog post in the works, I’ve thought that this would be also fun! I was asked to answer some interesting questions from Alex, and provide back some questions as well.

via Sunshine Blogger Award – Part 1 — The Grimoire of the Rainbow Mage

Pico here, answering my nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I was hesitant about whether my questions were too weird or specific, but Pico seems to have got some answers out of them.

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Don’t let the PlayStation Classic’s nostalgia fool you

FOR THE PLAYERS!

Sony have announced that the PlayStation’s upcoming 25th anniversary will be celebrated with the release of the PlayStation Classic – a recreation of the PlayStation that’s 45% smaller. This sounds like a dream come true, which is why the problem is that it’s actually not.

The PlayStation Classic is in fact Sony’s attempt at perpetrating a marketing gimmick that ultimately exploits the nostalgia factor of PlayStation players old enough to remember the original model.

The main flaw is that the PlayStation Classic will only be able to play 20 pre-loaded games. These aren’t an initial wave of launch titles, they’re the PlayStation Classics’ entire discography. A games console is only as worthwhile as the games that it can play, and the PlayStation Classic can only play the equivalent of a bundle.

Really, we should’ve seen this coming. Look at PlayStation’s history. The PlayStation 2 is still the best selling games console, and one of the reasons for that is its backwards compatibility. But when the PlayStation 3 came along, that backwards compatibility was replaced with PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games being available as purchasable downloads on the PlayStation Store. They were called PS one Classics. There are a few of us who’ve kept our PlayStation 2s in working order, with its compatible games. But for most people, that just wasn’t practical. For them, continuing to play PlayStation or PlayStation 2 games meant effectively buying them all again.

Finally, when the PlayStation 4 was released, there was similarly no backwards compatibility there either. PlayStation Network was released with the premium PlayStation Plus. Slowly but surely, everything PlayStation were outputting was being replaced with a fee. And even then, PlayStation Plus only listed games for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2. PlayStation games had disappeared entirely. With each generation of consoles, PlayStation eliminated access to the past, and this culminated with the PlayStation 4, when PlayStation games finally became off limits.

And it would seem that this was their plan all along. It’s completely consistent with their market behaviour so far, which is to become ever more cynical – and now, PlayStation games are only available on their very own console, and there’s only 20 of them.

I’m not being fooled by the cheap nostalgia ploy, though I suspect many will. The 1990s never went away for its generation, but for everyone else, in the week in which the Captain Marvel trailer opened with a Blockbuster Video, it would seem that the decade is getting back in – and the more popular it becomes, the more you’ll be charged for admission… but how much will it live up to expectations? Well, about 45%.

Brotherly Sunshine – A Response to Awards from Neko Jonez and Moe Gamer — Adventure Rules

I was nominated for a couple of blogging awards- here are my responses to their questions!

via Brotherly Sunshine – A Response to Awards from Neko Jonez and Moe Gamer — Adventure Rules

Yesterday, I answered the questions set to me by Pix1001 of Shoot the Rookie when she nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Today, I’ll be the answering the second set of questions put to me by Robert Ian Shepard of Adventure Rules when he did the same. Just as before, I’ll be nominating 11 more nominees, with my own questions for them.

  1. How would you pitch your content to someone who might be reading it for the first time right now?
    Most of the time it’s about video games – often driving games – but sometimes about the Marvel Cinematic Universe if I need to fill space (because I’m not ashamed of doing that).
  2. Do you prefer beginnings or endings?
    Endings, definitely. I’ve started every video game I’ve played but reached the ending much less often. Like any good story, the ending is the most important part.
  3. What video game or series do you not like, but wish you did?
    The only games I tend to play are titles that I can already tell I’ll like but if I ever wanted to branch out, I’d start playing Final Fantasy. I only “don’t like it” in the sense that I haven’t played it, which is as close to an answer as I can get to this question.
  4. If you could choose a character type to be in any game world (e.g. an RPG class), what would you be?
    The getaway driver. The actual job I’ll leave to the others, because I’m not good at confrontations, but nobody’s better at getting them out of a tight spot than me (so long as I get my cut).
  5. Have you ever stopped having a crush on a character you used to? What changed?
    No, I’m still a sexually repressed creep.
  6. If you could revive a fallen franchise, which series would you choose?
    I’m currently in the final stages of editing a documentary about the Driver series and why it deserves to be brought back.
  7. If you had to stop being human but could choose a video game race to become, what would you choose?
    Night elf from Warcraft. I mean, come on! They’re so sexy!
  8. If you could port all of the console exclusives off of one of the big three (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft) and put them onto another console, which ones would you choose?
    All the Xbox exclusives onto PlayStation. There’s such little difference between them apart from corporate ownership anyway, and I’ve little interest in Nintendo products.
  9. Which universe from another medium (film, comics, etc) do you want as a well-executed video game?
    The plot of Avengers: Infinity War as a fighting game. Think about it…
  10. What magical item or technological marvel from a video game would you use for completely selfish purposes in real life?
    The P-JAK Multi-Tool from Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. It can hack basically any computer device, which means, applied with appropriate intelligence, I could use it to bring the world to its knees or become a modern Robin Hood.
  11. What video game quote do you bust out in normal life most often?
    “Why hasn’t someone sensible shot you yet?”
    Trevor Philips, 
    Grand Theft Auto V

I nominate:

  1. Bandicoot Warrior at Bandicoot Warrior Blog
  2. ClanGeek at ClanGeek
  3. Mr. Panda at Mr Panda 2002
  4. Jay Borenstein, the Spoony Bard Mage at Nerd Speaker
  5. Sublime Reviews, the Midnight Mystic Mage at Sublime Reviews
  6. the Well-Red Mage at the Well-Red Mage
  7. Geekritique at Geekritique
  8. HideNGoShauna at HideNGoShauna
  9. Dan Hastings at Nerd Burglars
  10. GG at hungrygoriya
  11. Recreational Hobbyist at Recreational Hobbyist

And my questions:

  1. What’s the silliest mistake you’ve made in a game?
  2. Which game are you good at that you most want people to see you playing?
  3. What’s the best 10 minutes you’ve spent playing a game?
  4. Do you have a favourite Let’s Play video?
  5. Is there a video game that’s changed your life?
  6. What’s the most passionate yet unimportant opinion you have about gaming or a particular game?
  7. Which video game character would represent your life as a gamer in spirit form?
  8. What game have you been wanting to start for a long time but still haven’t?
  9. How would you design the flag representing the online gaming community?
  10. Which game was the most different to your expectations of it?
  11. Has any game influenced the way you see the world?

Remember to link back here if you take part.

Sunshine Blogger Award, Part 1.

via Sunshine Blogger Award, Part 1.

pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie has nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. So has Robert Ian Shepard from Adventure Rules, along with the Brotherhood of the World Award. So that’s the next three blog posts sorted.

I first became involved with pix1001 when submitting Batman from the Batman: Arkham series for the Video Game World Cup Blogger’s Eleven (it’s unbelievable, Jeff!). She’s given me some questions to answer, followed by my own nominees for it (if I know enough).

Who is your favourite video game character and why?
Trevor Philips. He’s a very complex character combining outrageous humour with truthful social commentary and an emotional core.

Would you rather hang back and cast spells or charge in with a sword?
Definitely hang back and cast spells. In a physical confrontation, I’m less than useless.

What is your favourite piece of video game music?

Is there anything worse than Spring Mario? If yes, then what?
I had to Google what Spring Mario is, so I guess not.

What’s your favourite type of video game (e.g. RPG, FPS, Driving etc.)? Be as specific or non-specific as you like.
I’m all about driving games. Not “racing” games, since they’re not all about racing specifically. But anyone who knows me will be able to answer this question. I’ve probably played more driving games than anyone else. I’m glad pix1001 picked up on that distinction in the question.

Playing as the healer. Yes or no?
It’s an important role, and I’m a team player.

If you could have a video game animal as a pet in real life, who would you pick?
Any Nintendog.

What is your go-to party game (include non-video game games if you wish)?
Buzz! The Big Quiz

Do you have a (possibly irrational) preference for any of the commonly used ‘elements’ in video games (by elements I mean things like Fire and Ice)?
Yeah, for some reason. I think it’s because it’s a simple way to define a power set without much explanation being needed.

What character would you love to see in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that will never ever be in it?
Thanos.

Green or purple?

The questions for my nominees:
01. How do you hope you’ll change as a gamer in future?
02. What game kept you up at night?
03. Which solution to a video game level are you most proud of having devised?
04. Have you ever pirated a game?
05. Have you ever lied about playing a game in order to impress someone?
06. What game do you regret not playing?
07. How does gaming give your life meaning?
08. In what way do you think other gamers would be most critical of you?
09. Have you ever regretted investing so much time in a particular game?
10. Has any game ever made you feel anxious?
11. Which genre of game do you wish you were better at playing?

My nominees are some of my newer Twitter followers:
01. Mr Backlog, the Badly Backlogged Mage at Mr Backlog
02. Hundstrasse at Hundstrasse
03. Khinjarsi at Upon Completion
04. Ryan Cheddi the Hyperactive Coffee Mage at Games With Coffee

05. Skyler-Mei at gamergal.exe
06. hungrygoriya at Hungry Goriya
07. geeksrr at Geek Sleep Rinse Repeat
08. Matthew // Normal Happenings at Normal Happenings
09. Overthinker Y at Overthinker Y Blog
10. CheapBossAttack at CheapBossAttack
11. Pico the Rainbow Mage at Grimoire of Rainbow Mage

Remember to link back here and ask your nominees their own questions!

“Captain Marvel” releases first trailer

“I’m not what you think I am.”

The first Captain Marvel trailer premiered earlier today on ABC (owned by Marvel Studios parent The Walt Disney Company).

To say that Captain Marvel is still six months away, this first trailer establishes the tone of what we can expect: a sci-fi action film about the most powerful hero in the universe.

It doesn’t make me as excited as Marvel Studios’ other initial trailers, but that’s to be expected when I have nothing invested in it so far, other than the production logo. That’s why, following six months and over two years of pre-established characters, there’s an uphill struggle in marketing this. So I think we can expect to become interested over time as we get closer to the film’s release.

After all, this trailer will be the first time that many people are aware of the Carol Danvers character, who first became Captain Marvel in July 2012’s Avenging Spider-Man #9. That means that, before anything else, the fundamentals have to be established. And this trailer shows us that Danvers is a human enhanced by aliens to become a powerful hero. That’s all we’re being shown so far, but that’s all we need to be shown.

“Grand Theft Auto V” 5 years later

Five years ago today, on 17th September 2013 – following a last-minute release date delay – Rockstar Games published the long-awaited fifth main instalment to the Grand Theft Auto series. The initial edition was available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. 24 hours after the midnight launch, total profits had already reached $800, 000, 000 from players who’d only seen 20 minutes of preview footage overall. Upon release, Grand Theft Auto V was scored by Metacritic at 97, tying it as their third best reviewed game. One of the main selling points of the game was the ability to play as three characters – Michael de Santa, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips – by switching between them during missions and when exploring the open world. This cuts down on the time taken to travel across Southern San Andreas, the largest video game overworld ever developed. It also means that high-scale action set pieces can be experienced from three points of view. This keeps missions more interesting and less predictable. The player is given the ability to work through each level with their own preferred method. It’s more strategic than conventional shooter games. The player never misses anything by being somewhere else. The story is structured as a series of increasingly ambitious heists. Each of them is like its own blockbuster film. Every heist exists as two possible missions. The player only experiences one. They can choose to play the heists’ “loud” or “subtle” approaches.

Each approach, when chosen, unlocks its own setup missions. The setup missions must be completed in order to properly begin the heist. During heist, all of its setup mission pay off in their own ways. The decision to structure the game around these heists is what makes Grand Theft Auto V stand out from the series’ previous instalments. It’s different from them. Rockstar thus show a prioritisation of creativity over repetition. As developers, they treat the players as intelligent people. The player is allowed to decide for themselves what kind of criminal they want to be. All play styles are embraced here. The missions have been given checkpoints. Failure no longer means restarting the whole mission from the beginning. Grand Theft Auto V is still being played five years later. That’s because of the story and its characters. Michael is a retired gangster who just wants to help his family. Franklin is an up-and-coming criminal who’s looking for a shot at his big break. Trevor leads a gang war against some bikers in the desert. Each character embodies the greed, ambition and insanity of American life. How their stories intertwine and influence each other creates the different possibilities that makes playing the game so exciting. They each bring something different to the game.

Each of them are likeable for their own reasons. Michael is the part of me that can often overlook others in pursuit of my own desire. Franklin is the part of me that is full of big-dreaming idealism. Trevor in particular is my favourite character. He’s the part of me that understands the pointlessness of everything. He laughs in the face of darkness. He’s the most complex character. Surprisingly, he’s also the one who relieves Michael and Franklin’s self seriousness. A lot of the humour derives from their total exasperation with his antics. He’s so far beyond psychotic as to verge on the absurdist. Each character’s contrasting personality is the secret to what makes them so well-written. They shouldn’t work as a group but do. Their ability to compromise and tolerate each other makes them a family. On the surface, they’re like the friends you knew at school. Beneath the surface, they have the ability to understanding that comes with age. One of the most emotional moments I’ve ever experienced in a game is the ending of Grand Theft Auto V‘s story. It was the moment that I realised it was the last time I’d see these characters together. It’s like a great TV finale or last day of school and it truly speaks to the power of fiction and how much it can mean to us.

It’s these characters, combined with the heist structure, that makes Grand Theft Auto V a better experience than many of the films that inspired them. The best moments in the game so complex that they couldn’t possibly be achieved in cinema because there simply wouldn’t be the budget. There is absolutely no doubt that the non-linear game-play, choose-your-own adventure style narrative, multiple story perspectives, environment design and literary themes makes Grand Theft Auto V one of the best video games ever made and a milestone in culture. The photo-realistic graphics are the best I’ve ever seen. The load times are surprisingly quick compared to the size of the world. The draw distances are flawless. The weather feels real. The lighting brings it all together. Los Santos feels as big as it looks. The countryside is as open as it can be. The heat of the desert comes off the screen. Each location has a distinct personality. Southern San Andreas is the honorary fourth character, inviting you to do anything. The fictional video games, television series, films, radio stations, news programmes, politicians and products bridges the distance between playing the game and living in it. The line between fiction and reality is blurred.

The sound design is so believable that I often caught myself thinking that certain background sounds were coming from outside. The performances of motion capture actors Ned Luke, Shawn “Solo” Fontano and Steven Ogg are a watershed moment for performance art. They considered the medium legitimately. The detail in which they’re brought to life is the most minutest yet. The original soundtrack is understated but considerably enhances the sensory experience of the game. The licensed radio station tracks are well-suited for each play style. The songs couldn’t have been better chosen. Nothing better defines the experience of being young and dreaming of flying over San Andreas in a Cuban plane. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to state that it’s the best use of licensed music in any entertainment product. All of it enhances the atmosphere of breathing fresh, wild air. Maybe one day I’ll write a post, or series of posts, about some of my favourite songs in the game. Even the driving physics have significantly improved. The weight of each vehicle is more tangible. Each of them has their own identity, strengths, weaknesses and suited applications and scenarios. So too improved are the shooting physics. They’re much more refined and easier to handle.

The targeting system is more precise. Everything in Grand Theft Auto V is a developer’s encyclopedia of what can be accomplished with a video game. It’s a player’s love letter explaining why we can’t stop gaming.

It feels as though it so definitively showcases everything which makes video games great as it to be the ending to the first chapter of the medium’s history while laying the ground work for what comes next. Grand Theft Auto V. It’s a novel. It’s a TV drama. It’s family. It’s friends. It’s a fairy tale. It’s overwhelming. It’s beautiful. It’s full of possibilities. It’s life.

A complete numerical breakdown of Grand Theft Auto V performance can be viewed on my Rockstar Games Social Club profile.

GamersUnitedGG Community Event: Video Game Reality House! — GamersUnitedGG Blog

“I didn’t ask for this.”

Happy Friday Players! GamersUnitedGG will be launching our 2nd Community Event on October 1st. We are starting a Video Game Reality House and the interview process for the characters to be accepted is brutal. You can help us narrow down the characters that will be admitted into Season 1. To participate, post a blog […]

via GamersUnitedGG Community Event: Video Game Reality House! — GamersUnitedGG Blog

Luna at GamersUnitedGG has opened submissions for contestants in what can only be described as a Big Brother role play series with video game characters. The fact that Channel 5 has today announced the end of Big Brother makes it either completely appropriate or completely ironic that my submission for this contest should also be published today. I don’t care, though. If I wanted to watch a group of people living in a house together, I’d just play The Sims. Which I do, sometimes. But my submission isn’t for a Sim. No, it’s the Deus Ex Universe’s Adam Jensen.

Jensen is a Matt Bellamy lookalike and espionage agent who’s work includes the anti-terror unit Task Force 29 and global hacktivist group the Juggernaut Collective. As the protagonist of a non-linear, choose-your-own-adventure game with a moral code determined by the player, Jensen has a multi-sided personality, which provides lots of material for a competition of this nature. He’s adaptable to different situations due to the ability to be anyone he needs to be. Side characters can count on him to complete quests for them (eventually), which makes his a worthy ally to have during tasks. His ability to improvise the various methods of going about these quests has given him an agile aptitude and as a result, he can understand that there’s always another way of doing something (an underrated way of thinking). As an intelligence gatherer, he also appreciates the value of finding out everything that can be learned, which makes a mission much simpler to grasp by revealing all the options from the beginning. His childhood experiences, particularly his relationship with his mother, has imbued into him a desire to help others – in other words, he’s a real team player. Jensen has a strong sense of loyalty and is willing to trust someone if they’re prepared to reciprocate that trust. In terms of skill, almost his entire body has been augmented with cybernetics, effectively making him superhuman. Theoretically, there’s nothing he can’t do. All he needs is find the way the right modification and manage his power cells efficiently. He can even scan someone’s personality in order to calculate the best way of interacting with them.

And if none of that convinces you, there’s always this:

Deus Ex is owned by Square Enix
Adam Jensen is voiced by Elias Toufexis