The release of Pokemon Go caused mass hysteria. Hundreds of nerds left their proverbial basements to explore the outdoors with their friends. To the outside observer Pokemon explorers looked like a bunch of young people walking around haphazardly staring at phones. Why is this game revolutionary? Beyond the touted and heavily reported “augmented reality” phrase tossed around, Pokemon Go was successful at getting gamers up and moving and physically present with their friends.
If you’re reading this blog you probably have some experience with gaming. You probably espouse the virtues of gaming as a way to connect with friends and family who live all over the place. I often explain to people those very facts. My brother lives hours and hours away yet we are able to communicate often, and in common interest, through party chats. However good it is to be able to communicate over a headset it is better to be with someone in person. Pokemon Go does this.
When Pokemon Go came out I was working at a summer camp. It quickly grew in popularity and I was amazed at what it did to the social situation on camp. People who orignially were not spending time together bonded over the game. Rivalries and alliances formed. Each team had a group chat which were used to coordinate gym take-overs. It was an amazing experience. All of these are revolutionary to me. People physically gaming together and coordinating that game in real life.
Pokemon Go sucks too. Struck with a myriad of problems at its launch, Pokemon Go and Niantic had to adjust on the fly. Updates to the game brought greater stability but cost us in player experience. Niantic lessened the circle of discovery around your player on the map, making it harder to find Pokemon. They also removed a broken feature as opposed to fixing it with the removal of the distance icons beneath the Pokemon in the Pokemon radar.
These updates lead me to believe that Niantic isn’t in the game for the user experience, but instead is in it for the money. With the announcement that businesses were going to be able to buy pokestops, and the declining novelty of the game, I’ve decided to stop playing.
Maybe I’ll return, but it’s unlikely. What do you think about Pokemon Go?
In this episode of Underpaid Gamers Podcast Tony and Justin discuss Gamespot’s game of the year award for the last 20 years. Additional topics include No Man’s Sky delay, Captain America, Netflix, and Nintendo’s rumored new handheld. Listen in for a good time! Check out our youtube page!
No Man’s Sky delayed until July or August, originally scheduled for June
As the Uncharted series of games have been out for a while I’ll not review each individual game separately but instead look at the first three installments as a whole. I approached Uncharted for the first time with this collection. I have a favorable opinion of the developer, Naughty Dog, from my experience with The Last of Us. They did not disappoint.
I have never played a game that has made me feel more like an action hero. Scenes of intense action and spectacle happen almost every chapter of the game. I think of this scene
in Uncharted 2 when an attack helicopter is destroying a building as I try to escape. I remember the pressure of running through the floors of the building thinking, “oh man, oh man…” over and over again, just trying to survive! Other parts of the story force you to hang on to the edge of a cliff, the camera angle shifting to show you what you could fall on. Through all of the trials Drake (the main character) and company experience I became emotionally attached to the story. I was thrilled with the victories, and saddened by losses and defeat.
Another aspect of the game that I find impressive is its level design. The environment is so well made, often I did not realize the level was on rails. I don’t always like being forced to take a specific path. However, Naughty Dog does environment creation so well that it makes the player naturally choose the correct path.
Collectively this collection of games imparts a common sense of danger and daring. Between the three games Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves, and Drakes Deception. I found that the first two felt very similar in story and in gameplay. It’s almost as if Naughty Dog blazed a path with the first game and with the second paved and painted that path. The second is an improved and polished version of the first.
The third installment felt much different from those before. Instead of setting out and
competing with another treasure hunter, Drake begins his quest by trying to stop this illuminati-like group from finding a hidden Sir Francis Drake had found. We also get to play as kid-drake and find out how Sully and Drake become like Father and Son. I particularly enjoyed this section of the game. The dynamic between drake and Sully adds another enjoyable layer to this game.
I will say there are moments where the controls can become rather unwieldy. The climbing mechanics seemed to have improved with each new game but at a few points throughout the game became a negative experience. These are few and far between but can become rather frustrating and can leave a chapter as a frustrating mess of missed jumps.
Another negative, and truly a Naughty Dog problem, is their terrible trophies. Many games make trophies both challenging and fun. Naughty dog chooses to make its trophies both rote and un-creative. While games like fallout have trophies such as sneaking live-grenades into NPC’s pockets, Uncharted has trophies like “Get 50 kills with ” for every weapon in the game. Trophies are a way for developers to add a little extra replay value to their game and I believe Naughty has consistently failed at this.
To sum up my thoughts, I believe that Naughty Dog has created a lovable and memorable franchise. I was impressed with the storytelling, the environments, and the way they made me feel like an action hero. I highly recommend this game franchise to anyone who has not experienced it.
I give the Uncharted Collection a 9/10.
What rating would you give the franchise? Comment below!
It seems to me that though I’ve been mentioned on the podcast and even in a video or two, I haven’t been properly introduced. I’ll take this opportunity to do just that. This post is going to be more of an introduction to my lifestyle, rather than about any one particular game. I hope you enjoy it, even with the shoehorned bits intended to expose my interests.
I’ve been playing video games ever since I can remember. My older brother had a Nintendo 64, and I played it non-stop while he was at school. My parents, wanting the best for me, only ever got me Nintendo consoles after my brother borrowed a friend’s PS2 and GTA3. Nintendo didn’t carry such violent titles, so that’s what I got, and in retrospect, I’m happy with that. I guess the worst part about that, and it really isn’t so bad, is that I’m pretty lousy at first-person shooters, or any shooters really.
High school wasn’t too difficult for me, so I still had plenty of time for games. I’d only had one girlfriend by the time I graduated, so I was free to spend most of my time as I saw fit. I spent lots of nights at Justin’s house playing games and watching him play games (after all, Twitch wasn’t a thing yet.)
I met a girl named Emily during my first semester of college. We started dating, but lived about an hour away from each other, so I still had plenty of time to myself for the Minecraft beta, Eve Online, and League of Legends.
Emily and I are married now, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that time is more precious than I had previously thought. I still enjoy playing video games, but free time just isn’t as abundant anymore. I’m pulled in several directions. After work and sleep, I’ve only got about 8 hours left in the day. Cut out one of those for daily hygiene and travel, another for food consumption, and you’ve got to start spending time more intentionally.
I like video games, but I also like spending time with my wife, reading books, going to parks, going out with friends, painting miniatures, yada yada yada. The point is, the more interests you have, the sparser your free time will seem. That’s when you have to start prioritizing not just time, but money. That can lead to hard questions. Do I buy game X for $60 or take my wife on 2 $30 dates? I care about my wife more, but those dates will be 6 hours a piece maximum, and game X has 20+ hours of gameplay. But I still haven’t beaten game Y, so do I really need game X right now? I won’t assume everyone has these kinds of internal dialogues, but I do. That’s why I advocate for actually taking the time to prioritize different aspects of your life.
I still get to enjoy my single player games like Fire Emblem,Star Fox, Windwaker HD, The Long Dark, Transistor, and other games I won’t take the time to plug, but I’ve made it a focus of mine to introduce Emily to the gaming part of my life with multiplayer games. At times it’s a balancing act. If I let myself focus only on what makes me happy, I’m liable to push too hard and make her resent games. I’ve done it before. It needs to be something that we can just play every now and then, can both enjoy, are both interested in, and is easy enough to pick up.
We’ve got a D&D campaign that meets up every couple of weeks that Emily is already a part of, and she loves it. She’s familiar with the setting, the general mechanics, and the general feel of the game. Plus we both read about the Forgotten Realms, making it seem like a good place to start. So I got us both copies of Sword Coast Legends and we’ve enjoyed playing it once or twice a week together.
It’s been interesting to guide her through things that I did so many years ago. Making a username/game tag, teaching her how the number keys are mapped to her abilities, and the things along those lines that I take for granted. It is now more apparent to me how entering the gaming community can be intimidating. You can’t set the expectation that someone new to games can just pick everything up at once.
I’ve really enjoyed playing with her. It gives us another thing to laugh and talk about. We play games like Hammerwatch and Mario Party with our friends and have a good time. I’ve always been a fan of couch multiplayer and co-op games anyway, so I’m happy as can be when I can get people to play with me. In the future, there’s a potential for those sessions to end up on the internet. No promises though.
I guess the net result and real take away here is that I enjoy and value my game time more than I ever have before. Even with the lens of nostalgia, which allows me to look back on my youth when I was free of responsibility and life was simpler, I still enjoy the time I spend gaming with my wife and my friends more than I did then. I don’t say that to cheapen those memories. I’ll cherish the late night memories of Mario Kart and Melee all the way into senility. I think I’ve just learned to savor the moment better, much like how I now savor the flavor of finely roasted coffee. I love my wife and my friends, and am thankful I have someone to share my interests with. It’s critical to have people that are willing to invest their time in something you care about. So if you see one of those shirts with the bride and groom that says game over, just know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
In this episode of Underpaid Gamers Podcast Justin and Tony discuss the recent information around Call of Duty Infinite Warfare and the rumored modern warfare remaster, as well as Tony’s platinum of Ratchet and Clank. Additional topics include X-men Apocalypse, WoW, Star Wars, Dragon Quest 8 and so much more! Listen in for a good time! Share, Like, Comment, Follow, Subscribe! Check out our youtube channel!
Magnificent Seven Trailer/movie – Denzel, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’onofrio, Ethan Hawke
Robert Downey Jr. Officially in Homecoming
Inhumans postponed indefinitely
Dragon Quest 7 coming to 3DS early Summer 2016 DQVIII coming in 2016.
The Rock in Jumanji remake
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare title leak
Rey is Luke’s father fan theory
May’s Free games – T
Vanilla WoW controversy ended – Blizzard creates stripped down server
X-Men Apocalypse Trailer (New) Wolverine
Uncharted 4 rumored to have 5gb day 1 patch
PC update to Fallout 4 can now browse mods.
Rumor: COD: Infinity Warfare release Nov. 4, includes Modern Warfare remastered
Last night Tony and I recorded an episode of our podcast and decided afterword we should play some co-op. After a brief accounting of our co-op games we decided on Smite on the PS4.
Neither of us had played Smite or any game like it really. I could tell that it worked similar to League of Legends, another game I have little-to-no experience with. As we booted up the game and played through the tutorial, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. The tutorial did not thrill me. However, to my pleasant surprise, I found myself really enjoying it!
Our first real game solidified my interest. For our first match we played arena mode and I chose Thanatos. As a member of the assassin class I used him to rain death upon our enemies. His skills set is geared toward killing other players. I found a exhilaration when a player would run from me to only die by one of my long distance skills.
One of the things I quickly realized was the amount of depth this game has. Through the store players can customize their characters strengths by equipping and upgrading their items, purchasing relics, and getting consumable items. There are many paths to take, and many characters to choose from. This allows for the game to have longevity for me. I can’t wait to play the other characters and learn which are my favorites.
Now I know many of you are probably thinking, So what? League of Legends is the same thing but better, and you may be right. I should probably play league one of these days.Regardless, Smite is a fun game which takes advantage of many different mythologies to create a fun and unique game! I look forward to playing this game more!