So the new Call of Duty trailer and release date of is out, and, not surprisingly, I’m not impressed. I doesn’t take five seconds to realize Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is going to be, by far, the most grandiose of all of the CoD game to date. With empowering exoskeleton suits, fancy ship cloaking and—let’s not forget—House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey, this new installment to the franchise is gearing up to be a “testosterone filled, action-pumped joy ride to the extreme”.
The DreamCast team has yet to discuss the trailer, but the rest of the guys have never been much for loving this particular gaming series, if anything I’ve been the most supportive of it with a couple of random purchases here and there. There’s no denying that the CoD games are good—great single-player and addictive multi-player tend to do that for a game. The issues stand in the multi-player experience. Many players, including myself, claim that the multi-player side of the game is a rehash installment by installment, logically, issues have arisen as Activision releases one on a yearly basis, but here’s the thing, I don’t blame them.
The FPS genre doesn’t really allow for a huge level of diversity, it always come down to “Have this gun, now go kill something.” Also, the fact is they’re making money, any smart business would continue to milk this as long as there’s a profit involved. Quite frankly I also agree with what the CoD fans that say “if you don’t like it, then don’t buy it.” It really all comes down to preference, CoD is going to keep doing what it does well, shooting stuff and making players rage, and, though I’m not going to dish out $60 for an experience I’ve already had plenty of times, anybody else is welcome to do whatever they want with their money this November 4th, free country and all.
Recently I’ve developed a fear. I’ve been playing video games for a long time and I grew up in a scene where single player and split-screen multiplayer was the go-to experience—presently, it’s not quite like that. Since the advent of the internet the gaming world has changed—admittedly, for the better—and we’ve reached the point where I start to worry, thanks to the Prevalence of MMOs.
MMO’s have been around for a long time (since the 70s to be more precise) and they’ve been a great source of entertainment for many players around the world, and I personally have enjoyed playing them, but MMOs themselves are not the cause of my concern. What has become a problem is major developers turning their unique and amazing singleplayer experiences into a mish mashed MMO shit-storm. One of the most recent examples is The Elder Scroll Online (ESO).
We had a chance to play ESO in two of the recent betas, and we’ll have a lot to say about that later (Let’s just say it was good and bad) and excluding our critique, the game is a perfect example of my particular fear. Now that “Bethesdimax” has turned our beloved Elder Scrolls series into an MMO, will we still see single player games? Will we get to visit the provinces of Tamriel in all of its glory instead of the dumbed down experience MMOs have proven to be? My assumption is, no. Think about it, how could it be good for business?
ESO is supposed to encompass ALL of the world of Tamriel, if Bethesda releases another installment it would basically be saying “I know that ESO is doing great, and is providing a grand scale Elder Scrolls world, but let’s release a much better single player experience” as a long running fan I would simply cut my monthly subscription, and dedicate the next few hundred hours of my life to this game, and sure it’s a temporary loss, but temporary in millions is still “Not good for business”.
Another great example was the disappointment that Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) was. Now, I didn’t quite play this to its finishing point so I can’t say how good or bad it was, but Broseph did and, well, here’s a quote from an upcoming article.
“There was nothing in the game that made me feel accomplished with my character’s advancement. I didn’t feel like an awesome ass Sith Lord, All I felt like was a dual lightsaber wielding lackey going around and doing favors for random people.”
The previous being a sentiment that players of the original Knights of The Old Republic would never share.
I believe that this series would have done better had they taken the single player direction. SWTOR is games were you could strip the multiplayer out and would still be an entirely playable game, albeit a crappy one.
But speaking of a more personal experience, to me the immediate definition of a “Dumbed down single player experience for the sake of multiplayer” is Neverwinter. I played both of the Neverwinter Nights series previous installments (Including an exorbitant amount of mods) and they were amazing top-down RPG games that required strategy, know-how and dedication to triumph over the challenges the game threw at you. Neverwinter, the MMO iteration of the game, is literally a hack-and-slash 3rd person game that as far as I read (I couldn’t bear playing another minute of it without risking permanent life indignation) is entirely soloable, a prospect that only the mad would attempt in the previous entries (especially the second one.)
This is why, fair readers, I am afraid. I believe there will be a time where almost every game will incorporate some form of multiplayer, but this is something that I see in the future, where there’s people with better ideas and the tech necessary so that games don’t require getting intensely dumbed down. My greatest hope is that I’m wrong, and that ESO will be an amazing game worthy of the Elders Scrolls name, but quite frankly, I doubt it.
Here at the DreamCast we love our indie tittles, and boy do we love them when they have unique game mechanics. But there was one in particular that we heard about in sort of a passing rumor: The Novelist.
We took it upon ourselves to play it out of gamer’s curiosity, and now we have a brand new experience for our readers.
If you’ve ever wanted to hear TumblerPiston’s soothing baritone voice and Brosephs incessant rage towards all things, well, here’s your chance.
To inaugurate our Youtube channel, we give you, The Novelist.
Any comments or advice is welcome. This IS our first foray into Videos, so let us know were we can improve.
Yes, GTA V was a fun game, and it did make quite a selling, but be honest with yourself, did GTA V REALLY deserve to win the Game of The Year Award? If you’re like me you probably don’t only disagree with the decision, but you’re also quite furious with it. So here I am to discuss with you the 2 main GTA V did NOT deserve the GOTY Award:
I. Bioshock Infinite
II. The Last of Us
And that is exactly why GTA V did not deserve to win the GOTY Award. This was Dooker, hope you have a fantastic evening, goodnight.
Note: Dooker described it as this before I could read it and ready it for publishing “A rousing argument with strong foundations about why GTA V didn’t deserve to win the GOTY award.”
Have you been hiding under a rock lately? Been staring at the sun so long that you lost all cognitive ability? No? Then that means you know about Minecraft, the game that many gamers out there agree changed the spectrum of creative gaming.
Minecraft has become a worldwide phenomenon, it went from a small indie game developed by a single man and REALLY knowing how to handle his Java scripting, to a multimillionaire “Parallel Universe”, at least, that’s what I call it. I believe that it’s become so big that in a figurative sense the game exists parallel to our existence. People play it day in and day out, express monumental ideas that signify the very sense of creativity and learn to work towards a greater goal.
I still remember sitting in front of my computer playing for the first time “What the hell do I even do here?” and “This game looks downright nasty!” were my very first thoughts, and I KNOW that you guys shared the same thoughts. But then something extraordinary happened, I started to play the game and realized objects were breakable and collectible, and then immediately realized they were placeable. But there’s gotta be a quicker way to do this, right? Soon after I ventured into the internet and did what I could to inform myself finding out all about recipes and how the game was brought to reality.
Now it’s been 4 years since it released in its alpha stages, and I have to say, It’s turned into quite the social phenom.
How much so? Well, I’ll say this much about myself. I live in an island, and in this island gaming isn’t something that is considered something serious, it’s just a form of entertainment, then you put your gym shorts on, get up and go play basketball with your friends, right after playing 2K 14 and GTA V of course. Get the picture? Yeah? Ok good. The point I’m trying to get to, is that even in my life circumstances, where I’m completely surrounded by casual gamers I can mention Minecraft and someone will know what I’m talking about.
To further my example I’ll use a little anecdote a friend told me about her younger siblings class– bear with me. See, this girls class isn’t one of the nicest or savviest of classes, in fact it’s chock full of mischief makers and “Hooligans” for lack of a better word, but one day said class of trouble summoners had presentations to give, you know, the kind you get up and you have no idea what to say so you freeze up then puke, no? That’s just me? Ok. So the presentations subject is free and of their choosing, but then something magical happened, and I’ll quote this, so can give it some all necessary emphasis. The younger sibling of my friend said “Sis, it was so annoying. I had just finished mine and then this kid gets up and starts talking about Minecraft and how it can be creative and help educate, and stuff.”
Wait, what? Repeat that. it can be creative and help educate… and stuff?
Let me state for the record that these kids were in 6th grade at the time in a two-bit brainwashing private school.
And what is causing all this uproar? What is the reason behind why a private school boy would have the boulders to get up and present a video game? It’s freedom and the challenge to your creativity.
Minecraft doesn’t just let you build things, it doesn’t just say “Hey, have all of these things and go wild” (We’re talking about survival mode at this point if you haven’t noticed) instead it places a bunch of obstacles in your path that truly challenge your creativity, and many other things: Resource management, sense of curiosity, spatial logic, a sense of location and the creation of goals. There’s nothing quite like working hard on that one project that you’ve been so focused on, fighting of enemies that want to destroy you alongside your project, finding all of the necessary materials to build yourself up as a lean mean building machine AND finishing that magical project. Once it’s done, you know you earned it, you fought for it and you have something to be proud of. Then you move one to your next goal, and the next one and then you invite your friends and you build a massive scrotum alongside the score of mods available (We might talk about that one later BTW. Eyes peeled). It all lies simply in the possibilities.
And now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I wholeheartedly agree wit the kid, Minecraft CAN be a platform for education. I believe that it’s just a matter of time until our global society comes to accept the fact that video games can be more than just a means for entertainment, and I very much believe that I will be alive and kicking when that time comes.
But in the meantime I’m gonna spend my time in a Parallel Universe, I’ve been trying to build that sky bridge for so long. I guess I better get busy with that scaffolding, you know what they say about building things that just float there “Just make sure you crouch when you’re near the edges and you’ll be fiiiiiine”.
5 seconds later: TumblerPiston hit the ground too hard.
Very few PC games out there can invest you so heavily in their plot that you are willing to sit down and after just an hour of playing you jump to the conclusion that you must simply finish this in one sitdown. Gone home is the embodiment of this very idea.
You play the role of Kaitlin Greenbriar and you’ve just returned home from travelling abroad to find that you won’t quite be getting the welcoming party you expected, nobody’s home. But here’s the kicker, as a player the only detail that you are aware of when you start the game is what the date and time of your arrival is, June 7th 1995. Your job is to figure everything out through the millennium old classic gameplay mechanic: Exploration.
And this is where things start to get interesting.
The whole house, with the exception of some locked doors, is open for your investigation. From the cabinets in a bedroom to every closet ever existent, it’s all explorable to your liking. And as you explore you will learn, little by little, what the people that live there are like. Things like self recorded rock cassettes, Kaitlins handwritten postcards and the selection of books strewn about (You have no idea how hard it was to make that list without spoiling EVERYTHING!) really set the pacing and the goal of the game: Understanding the characters that live in the house.
But all in all Gone Home isn’t a very complicated or difficult game to traverse, in fact most of the answers to where you need to go next and what you need to do are staring you straight in the face. If you are looking for a challenge you’re definitely going to be disappointed here as the only real challenge comes from figuring out how to get in some of the locked rooms, which is nothing a little bit of exploration can’t fix. The game does require patience and an interest for a story since this is what it’s all about, and even though the cover art does look a little menacing it’s not in the least scary… Unless you shudder at the idea of cobwebs and rooms that have their light switches flipped off… Which you can flip on…
All of this brings me to the real attractors of the game, the atmosphere. Without spoiling too much, there are events that seemed to have unfolded in the house that caused it to be evacuated suddenly and without even a minimum level of notice, and you find them out in such a disjointed way that your imagination will often run with exaggerated versions of reality. It’s this sense of mystery that creates the sense of absorption the story has. Especially when you find out about one character in particular that truly pulls you in and brings the sense of belonging in the story full circle.
It’s the girl from the narrations that truly tugs at your heart, truly moves the “FEELS-O-METER” if I may more accurately express myself. As you explore the house you’re going to be discovering her story and the struggles that she faces in her daily life. She’s a character that is very easy to approach and relate to considering the day to day problems that we face in our own lives. Very soon you start to create a real sense of caring and continue along the story simply to see if her plight IS heard and she DOES find happiness. By the later stage of the game you become so invested that you feel like part of the story, that you truly are the observer, the girl that just got home to start rummaging through your familys belongings in search for answers.
The house truly does feel like a family lives there. Every room that you go to, every cabinet you inspect and every cupboard that you investigate not only gives you another sense of the characters as individuals and as a unit, but of the time period the game is based on as well. Very few games can bring about a sense of nostalgia simply by it’s setting, but Gone Home pulled it off. You’ll walk into rooms with VHS cassettes lying on the floor, audio cassettes with self made titles written on them, phones that are much too large for our modern liking and TVs that could crush a small man by their sheer size. I haven’t felt this exhilarated whilst looking at the past through a Video Game ever, it was a truly unique experience for both it’s setting and it’s story.
Even though Gone Home is plot driven, it’s still a Video Game, and none of us want to buy something that will end up just sitting up in the digital shelves of our steam accounts. But, surprisingly enough Gone Home does have a slight level of replayability. Much like a good book or a short story, you may feel the desire to go through it once more. You never know what more details you can find.
Stories like this one are the type of stories that require you play them, to experience them to feel their true weight. But further than that, it’s these type of tales that everybody should experience because it is, quite frankly, a unique experience matched by very few games out there.
It may not be on the fancy side of game mechanics, but if you are willing to be captivated by an amazing story and cast of characters, get the game, sit down to play, go grab yourself a bucket of Popcorn and get ready to get those keys buttery, because you’ll be there for a while.
Oh, and a napkin might help.