Back to the 90s

I have many fond memories of games that I played while growing up in the 90s.
I've said that the last few years have been a wave of amazing games, but some of the most memorable games that I've ever played are ones that I played 20 or so years ago.
Or, I suppose, it'd be that these games are the ones that became more ingrained in my mind, because there wasn't such an overwhelming number of games constantly coming out, as we have today. So the good games were better able to stand out. Or just because I was younger and that's just how things work.

Either way, I've been thinking a lot about some old games, and how they still have retained their relevance to this day, and I wanted to write a little bit about them.

First, a big problem I have with older games, is that over time, as I've played newer games, and have become more comfortable with how games function today compared to back then, I've found that it is much harder for me to go back and play those older games (or games that are meant to play like the older games).
I remember really liking Planescape: Torment. Last year, a spiritual successor, Torment: Tides of Numenera, was released. I found that I just couldn't get into it. Similarly, Wasteland 2 came out and I just wasn't able to get into it as much as I would have wanted to.

Fallout 1, 2, and Fallout Tactics were games I really enjoyed in the late 90s, early 2000's. The Fallout series in general has really persisted in my mind ever since I played them. Fallout 4 was released about 2-3 years ago, and I played through that (You can find my Daily Recap of it on my website somewhere). But Fallout 4 was not like Fallout 1/2. Now it is more of a realtime first-person shooter, rather than the turn-based isometric RPG that the older games were. So I suppose it trying to "keep up with the times" allowed the franchise to live on. (Not counting all the legal stuff and change of ownership that happened behind the scenes. It's complicated.) I recall that some fans of the Fallout series were disappointed with the direction that Fallout 3/NV/4 took with the FPS format. Personally, I find it refreshing, and gives a new perspective on the World that the Fallout franchise has built.

I was talking to a friend about old games that influenced me, and the Fallout games came up. I tried playing Fallout Tactics, and I became impatient within 10 minutes of starting it up. Which, maybe I just need to be in a certain mood to give it another try, but I was disappointed that I couldn't force myself to play it. I already beat the game in my younger years, of course, so I wanted to revisit it.

I've been watching a Let's Play of Fallout 4 recently, and it has been very enjoyable. It can be really fun seeing someone else play something you've played, while he adds his own personality and stuff to the action. It's also fun when he discovers things I missed in my playthrough, as well as just general different play style than how I would play.
It just makes me really happy that the Fallout series is able to live on, when it impacted me so much in my younger years.

So, I've covered "Old games that are hard to revisit, even through sequels" and "Old games that have enjoyable modern sequels", now we have one more category. "Games that truly withstand the test of time"

Perhaps my favorite video game franchise of all time would be Myst. Everything about Myst and the sequels and related media, are simply amazing. The games are beautiful, every detail is well thought-out, and and the story is subtle but woven into every fabric of the games.
The original Myst was released 25 years. From it, spawned five games, an MMO, remakes, remasters, re-releases, three books, a comic series, a spiritual successor, and several attempts to make a movie/tv series (Which may one day happen, but… we shall see.)

It's been 25 years, and the Myst name and series retains a strong presence in gaming history, and the ending has not yet been written. A 25th Anniversary collection is planned to be released this year with all the games updated to work on modern computers.
Going back to play a 25-year old game can be a difficult ordeal. But Myst hides its age rather well. Myst's environments were all pre-rendered, with clever interactive bits, so it was able to show off amazing detail, even on such low-spec computers 25 years ago. And remains impressive today. With the upcoming updates this year, it should guarantee that the game can last for another 25 years and beyond.

Myst's gameplay is exploration-driven. You learn by observation. It's all done at a fundamental level that I can enjoy it today just as well as I did 20+ years ago. It's really hard for me to really describe it all. It just kinda "works". And it has stuck with me throughout my entire life. And I am glad that I can still appreciate it today, where other games have eluded me over the relentless march of time.

Portal 2 with MysteryGuitarMan

So, I’m minding my own business, with nothing interesting going on. Then I see a tweet from @MysteryGuitarM saying he’s looking for someone to play Portal 2 co-op with. So I tweet out my steam name and try to figure out his steam name to add him. Eventually I see him pop up on my friend list, and we start to play. I must have sounded like a crazy person to him. Me trying to fumble finding my microphone headset, and being all “omg it’s HIM!”. Haha. So my brother didn’t believe me that I was about to play with him so I asked if he’d say hi. He did. Seriously, he’s super great for being so calm while me getting so star struck.

So it took about 3 hours for us to get through the entire co-op mode. Very fun game and awesome to know that someone so famous and talented was on the other side.

Oh internet, how awesome you are.

So we finished and he went to eat dinner.

Thanks again to Joe for playing, and giving me the opportunity to work with him. Looking forward to his next videos! :D

Games - August 2013

Quick list of games I’m been playing in August, or will play.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf - 3DS (Almost every day. I’ve been slowing down though, since it eventually feels like a grind nearly 3 months later. It’s still nice to be able to just pretend to live in a world where all of the day-to-day worries in your real life simply do not matter. Mad PROPS (lolpun) to propercopperhatter for always letting me crash her town to take advantage of her town’s love of pears (irony) to rake in LOTS OF BELLS. MUAHAHAHA )

Pikmin 3 - WiiU (LOVE it. Takes the best parts of 1 and 2, into one GORGEOUS and enjoyable package.)

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team - 3DS (I’ve very much enjoyed the “Mario & Luigi” RPG series, and so far this is just as enjoyable!)

Saints Row IV - Windows (Already wrote my thoughts on it. Just came out, but enjoying it so far)

Amateur Surgeon 3 - iOS (It’s a free game, you should check it out. It’s fun. Use tools such as a pizza cutter and a lighter to perform odd operations on odd characters.)

Dropchord - iOS (Made by the fine folks at DoubleFine, it’s a rhythm game that will have you twitch your thumbs. Music games are fairly common, and a mixed bag. The music is good, and it’s a solid app. I’m a huge DoubleFine fan, so I couldn’t resist picking this up.)

Knightmare Tower - iOS (Real basic concept. Bonk monsters on the head to propel yourself up the tower to rescue princesses and unlock more powerups. But there’s just something about it that I really enjoy)

Plants vs. Zombies 2 - iOS (Surely you’ve played Plants vs. Zombies. If not, what rock have you been under? Either way, this game is free, so you really ought to check it out. *dances* There’s a zombie on your lawn.)

And of course, the latest game everyone is playing. Anyone who is anyone has been playing Cookie Clicker. 407000 cookies per second. COOKIES FOR EVERYONE!!!!
And relatedly, there’s Candy Box.
I blame piranhabat. <_<

And soon I’ll get into The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. I haven’t played it yet, so I’ll reserve any comment until my write-up. Assuming I make one.

Luckily the next few months are looking to be a very QUIET for games. Other than Grand Theft Auto V in September, and October has new Pokemon game, and Batman: Arkham Origins. Otherwise, it should give me time to get caught up on some older games, and post some Game Views. (Not really meant to be ‘reviews’, but just my own personal view of a game)

It’s 3am, so I’m going to go to sleep now, rather than play more SR4 as I expected I would after writing this. zzz

Games - September 2013

Luckily for me, September is a slow month when it comes to new games. I’ll be able to keep catching up on some other games.

So many games on my current backlog, and I lose track of my ‘extended backlog’ :P

Anyway, I have not forgotten about my posts here. I’ve just not been playing any new games. I have one I’ll likely post about soon though. Otherwise, I’ve been playing bits of different games, but not really getting into any much. So right now, it’s mostly been Saints Row IV (trying to finish the story at least) and I finally get into Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, I guess as a way to get ready for GTA V coming out soon, which I’ll likely get. Not 100% sure yet. Likely will wait for the first reviews to start coming out, which are likely going to be “OMG awesome game” which will push me to click the buy button.

Oh, and then Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD comes out at the end of the month, which I’m looking forward to. But I think my brother may be more excited about it. Wind Waker is one of his all-time favorite games.

Anyway, I just finished writing a list of games I could potentially blog about. Not that anyone necessarily would care about them other than myself. But at least it gets me writing about 'something’, and keeps my mind off of work all the time.

So Many Games

2015 is the year of games.

I probably say this about most years lately, but I am seriously overwhelmed with all the awesome games that have been coming out, and will come out, in 2015.

The sheer number of games that I’ve been excited about, have been difficult to keep track of. So I kind of want to share my thoughts on games that I’ve played so far this year, and some games yet to come and why I’m looking forward to them.

So far, there’s been Splatoon, Her Story, Witcher 3, and Batman Arkham Knight that I’ve all been super excited for. Also a few games that I was surprised at, such as Grow Home, Fallout Shelter, and GTA V for PC.

And I’m currently playing “The Magic Circle” which I just found out about this week, which totally surprised me. Not sure how to explain this game. It’s like a game about an unfinished game?? But it works, and I’m very much enjoying it. Somehow I knew about the game a year ago, but I don’t remember where I found it from, but then I completely forgot, and happened to be subscribed to a YouTube channel that recently made a new video about it, and the game’s available now, so… Ok, cool! I’m digging it! It’s fun and funny. Seriously, i’m a bit confused about this game’s existence, but I think that probably just adds to the intrigue!

Splatoon (WiiU) is just oozing (hahah) with charm and it’s a lot of fun. One of the first multiplayer games that I’ve felt very comfortable with. I haven’t played as much as I would want to just yet, but I plan on it soon. Luckily, Nintendo is still strongly supporting it, so that’ll keep things freeeesh longer (Staaaay fresh!)
I already said my thoughts on Her Story. Go buy it.
Grow Home (PC) was a surprising release, came from almost nowhere. Really interesting game about collecting diamonds in this weird world. It’s just fun!
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC) I got for free from buying a graphics card for the gaming computer I built, but I really wish I had actually paid for it, because it’s been a lot of fun, and there’s just SO MUCH stuff in the game. I feel like I’m nowhere near getting started, even though I’ve spent many many many hours playing.
Batman Arkham Knight (PC) I’ve spent 40 or so hours playing, and very much enjoyed so far, despite the controversy around it’s release and issues with the PC version. My issues with the game have been minimal, although some freezing/crashing have been had, auto-save has got me back right where I left off without issue. I finished the main game, and have collected 88% of the collectibles. May or may not go back to play through the New Game Plus mode. It’s a shame there was such issues with it at launch. You can’t even buy the game right now. It really is quite an awesome game, and I enjoyed it deeply, harking back to how much I enjoyed Arkham Asylum. They’re still busy “fixing” things for the people who had issues with it on PC.
Fallout Shelter (iOS) is a neat spin-off of the Fallout series, basically just a simply vault-management game. But Fallout. It’s free, it’s neat. Yay!
And then GTA V, I’ve already posted my thoughts about that game, although probably a bit outdated now, since that was for the PS3 version, when I’ve since played it on PS4, and now on PC. The PC version is definitely the best version of the game, due to the added time the developer spent on it. I have mixed feelings about the game. There are many parts that make me feel very uncomfortable, but in the end the whole thing just seems to work well, and is fun. I haven’t been able to get into the Online parts of the game. Mostly because I’m just not much of a multiplayer person. Although see Splatoon for exception.
There was a bit of hype around Kholat (PC)when it came out, and I saw a few bits of gameplay from YouTubers I follow (Jim Sterling and Markiplier of primary note). The game looked super interesting so I had to check it out for myself. It reminds me a lot of a game called Miasmata that I enjoyed several years ago. Basically, it’s you exploring a large world, and all you have to guide you is a map. Just like The Real World, the map doesn’t really tell you exactly where you are. You have to figure it out yourself based on your surroundings. You explore the area discovering things. In both games, there is an enemy-sorta that will come after you, but it’s really rather easy to avoid it, while just focusing on the story of the game. So yeah, how much I enjoyed Miasmata influenced my want to try Kholat. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’ve dug it so far.

The year’s half-way over, with a ton of great games already been released. Somehow, it seems that the 2nd half will contain an even larger number of games I’m excited for.

I’m a bit skeptical that all of the games will be released though, since half of the ones on my list do not have actual release dates yet.

Games with release dates are:

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture: August 11th
Mad Max: September 1st
Yoshi’s Woolly World: October 16th
Fallout 4: November 10th
Just Cause 3: December 1st.
(there’s also Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer, and Chibi-Robo Zip Lash that come out in October, which I’ll probably end up getting, but not necessarily “excited” about. Home design was always the part of Animal Crossing I cared least about, but maybe this game will change my mind. I absolutely LOVED the original Chibi-Robo game, and have been disappointed that it has never gotten a proper sequel, but it really will be nice to be able to re-visit the character. AND I MUST HAVE A CHIBI-ROBO AMIIBO. I simply must.)

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture captures my interest, because it looks great, and will be heavy on telling a story. I’m always keen on checking out games that aren’t afraid to do something different in a interesting way. The developer’s previous game Dear Esther was more just walking around without doing much, but seems like this game’s going to be interesting. Not sure how I’ll play it, since my PS4 is on loan to a friend. Maybe I’ll stick to watching a YouTube Let’s Play on this one. Disappointed that there’s no PC version..

The Mad Max game looks interesting. Looks a bit like RAGE, which I quite liked. This Max Max game is by the same developer that makes Just Cause, and I’m a bit fan of the Just Cause series. More on that in a bit. But this game looks pretty big and action-y, so heck yeah, why not? Not seeing any pre-orders available for the PC version, just the PS4/Xbone versions, which is kinda concerning, but there’s no reason to expect there to be an issue with the PC version coming out same day, right?

Yoshi’s Woolly World. What can I say? I’ve been a HUGE Yoshi fan for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing Yoshi’s Island on the SNES. (I must have been 6 or 7 when it originally came out.) I stunk at playing it at first, but then several years later I actually was able to go back and finish the game, and loved it. Definitely one of my all-time favorite games ever. Since then, I’ve been a Yoshi fan. I didn’t get much into the Yoshi’s Island 2 DS game that came out some time ago, but Yoshi’s New Island seems like a lot of fun, but I’ve been slow getting into that. Either way, looking forward to Yoshi’s Woolly World. The game is already out in Europe, which makes it all the more unfair that we have to wait until October. :(
But seriously, just look at it. How adorable is that? I’m going to try to get all three Yarn Yoshi amiibo. (Have I mentioned I may have an amiibo collection obsession? I may make a separate post on that later.)

Fallout 4. Well. I’ve been a fan of the Fallout series for quite a long time. Fallout 1 and 2 were probably the first “M” rated games I ever played. Which doesn’t seem like a big-deal ‘now’ but at the time I was probably 13 years old, so there was a sense that I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to do. Ooooh, I’m such a rebel. (But my mom actually did buy the games for me, so I totally had parental permission, and was deemed Mature enough to play. For what it’s worth.) Got both games in one bundle pack. Not sure what year that would be, I want to say 2001 or 2002.. I must have been in middle-school, and the only games I could play were when I was able to use “allowance” to get a cheap $10 jewel-pack game from Target. This one happened to have both games in a double-jewel pack, so it was like oooh, getting two games for the price of one, Smart shopping! Turns out, it was a very wise decision, because I really dug those turn-based tactical, dark, post-apocalyptical role-playing games. And the memory playing them has stuck with me all this time. I even participated in a forum online “roleplay” story set in the Fallout universe. That was probably right around the time I was entering high-school. Gosh I was such an awkward teen. (Still am awkward, but that’s a different story). I had a lot of fun on that forum. It kind of dissolved after awhile, though. Kind of a bummer. Anyway, I remember soon after I got Fallout 1+2, Fallout Tactics came out, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually, I was able to find it on one of the game end-caps hidden at the back of a store (probably also a Target), and ended up playing through and loving that too. It was very different from Fallout 1+2, but still enjoyable revisiting the universe created in those games. And then Fallout 3 is totally not like any of the other games, because it’s more first-person fully 3D game. I remember when FO3 game first came out, I couldn’t really afford it. Eventually it went on sale on Steam, and I was in the middle of nowhere at the time, and bought it for like $30. One of the first games I bought on Steam sale that I can remember. Haha! In hind-sight, $30 was a pretty high price to pay for a game on Steam Sale, but it was still more-than-worth it. I don’t think my computer at the time could even handle it, so it wasn’t until a year or so later that I was able to actually play through it. (If you know me, I tend to play “the long game” when it comes to actually playing games. I have many games that I am “in the middle of” but eventually get back to actually playing. Then I’m like “OMG I love this game, why didn’t I finish this sooner?” and it’s typically because there’s just so many other games that keep coming out. Like this year! But I’m also making a lot of progress playing through games. Even while balancing having an actual job! Me, with a job! Sometimes that still surprises me!

Anyway, long story short (too long), I am very excited about Fallout 4. And it was just announced out-of-the-blue not too long ago, so the hype is still strong. It looks great from what I’ve seen. And maybe now is a good excuse to go back and finally finish playing Fallout: New Vegas, which has been on the backlog back-burner for some time. I have Fallout 4 pre-ordered at Best Buy and Amazon, because I want myself that real-life Pip-Boy. Oh yeah.

Just Cause 3. Not sure which game I’m more excited about, Fallout 4, or Just Cause 3.
I got Just Cause 2 as part of a larger “Square Enix Game Bundle” on Steam, which included Batman Arkham Asylum (which also had a sequel released this year. See above.)
JC 2 was probably my first significant introduction to modern Open World games, and also fairly violent. (although in hind-sight, it doesn’t seem as violent as some other games I’ve seen recently). I’ve spent ~100 hours on JC2, going through the story, finding all the collectibles, destroying all the target destroyables, etc. It’s just super entertaining. Everything about the game just resonated to make a perfect game. And the new one sounds like it’s going to be punching a bigger punch, so I am definitely excited. Hype Hype Hype HYPE!!! Already pre-ordered.

Games that have do not have a release date, and may or may-not actually be released this year would be:
Torment: Tides of Numenera
The Witness
No Man’s Sky
Soft Body
The Room Three

Torment and Obduction are both games I backed on Kickstarter, and have been following for quite awhile. Torment: Tides of Numenera is a sorta-sequel to Planescape: Torment, which I enjoyed as a teenager. (Another game I got in a “combo jewel pack”, see above. This one came bundled with a game called “Soulbringer”, which fast forward to 2015, is available on Steam and I ended up getting there for nostalgia purposes). Planescape: Torment was another game from Interplay that I ended up really liking. (Was a big fan of Interplay before they fell apart. Icewind Dale is another game I really enjoyed). Not sure much about what Torment will do, but many of the same team that worked on Planescape: Torment are working on this one, so that along makes me excited. I liked the story involved in Planescape: Torment. A lot. The whole atmosphere of the game was just captivating and unique. They can’t use the name Planescape, since that is trademarked by a different company. Heh.
Obduction is made by Cyan, the same company that made Myst. If you know me, then you know I FREAKING LOVED the Myst franchise. Such an amazing franchise, even through the ups and downs. And the books. OMG I loved the Myst books. I loved the Myst books so much, that in 12th grade, we had to write 4 book reports throughout the year. Three of the reports I did, were on each of the Myst books. I think that speaks largely on how much I loved the books, and how awesome my English teacher was. So, now we have a new game by the same company, I’m definitely eager. There’s something really magical about being able to explore a world without a timelimit, and be able to just uncover the secrets the world has. Probably a reason why I enjoy Grow Home and Her Story, and why I’m curious about Everybody’s Gone To the Rapture. So yeah, Obduction will be great. I’ve enjoyed following the development of it through Kickstarter.

Firewatch. This game looks super interesting, and curious, and gorgeous. I am very interested in this game, and I’ve been looking forward to this game for a year or so. The linked trailer is from August 2014, but there’s much more newer stuff available, including some early-game footage, if you’re interested in looking. Another game that I’m excited for just diving in and soaking in the story.

The Witness. This game. I’ve been looking forward to this game for 2-3 years. It is absolutely beautiful adventure game. It looks like a sort of Open World huge Myst-like puzzle game crammed full of puzzles. This is a game by Jonathan Blow, the same guy who made Braid, which was another game I absolutely loved. It was supposed to come out in 2014, but now it’s supposed to come out this year, but I won’t be surprised if it slips to 2016 due to there still not being a release date for it. But the hype is strong with this one, and I’m excited for it.

No Man’s Sky looks interesting. A procedurally generated exploration/adventure game I don’t really know too much about this game, but it looks cool, and will be worth checking out. Look at the graphics. It’s gorgeous. I’ve often said that graphics aren’t the defining aspect of what makes a game good, but there are some games where the game’s emphasis is primarily on exploration, in which case just look at it. Being able to just freely explore a humongous universe that looks just so gorgeous. It just screams out to want to be explored. This game has practically been confirmed to NOT release in 2015, in which case it shouldn’t be on this list, but last I heard was that it was 2015, so it may be, may not be. Probably not. Still keeping it here.

Soft Body by Zeke Virant. I saw this game covered during E3 2015, and it instantly captured my attention.
“You are a beautiful, gooey snake, and you paint the world with your soft body.”
What else can be said?? Check out the linked video.

The Room Three, I just found out about today. While writing up this post. OMG I really liked the first two The Room games. Basically, you have these rooms with puzzle boxes, that you solve the puzzles to open the box, to discover more about what’s going on. It’s really quite mystical and just awesome.

So that’s about it. I probably missed something, but that’s ok. This post is long enough already.

“You don’t have to get every game.” Yeah, I’m aware of that, mother. I don’t get every game. It just so happens that a lot of games are all coming out in the same year that I’m interested in.

I’m not quite sure if that means more amazing games are coming out in 2015, or if it’s just that my taste in games has grown so much over the years to where I am more open to a wider range of games? Probably both. I definitely think “Just SO MANY great games coming out in 2015″ is a primary factor. Although it is also true that my range of games that I’ve come to play and love has dramatically grown over the years. In part due to the increase in the overall increase in quality of games that are released more often, and to it being easier to find, and buy games now, than ever before, with the growth of the internet and dominance of Digital game purchase/download/distribution.

No matter how you look at it, there’s never been a better time to be a gamer, than right now.

More Games

It feels like a ton of games have been released lately, and there’s still a ton more to come out throughout the rest of the year.

A few surprises showed up.

The Swindle
Rocket League
Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon

They came out of almost nowhere and were super awesome games.

The Mad Max game came out this week, and I’ve spent about 20 hours with it so far. Really digging it. Never seen any Mad Max movie, and I’ve been enjoying the game regardless. It doesn’t seem to matter, since it exists as it’s own thing.
The reviews for the game have been mediocre, which is disappointing considering how much I’ve enjoyed it.
Part of the disappointing reviews may be in part due to the release at the same time as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was a hugely anticipated game from people and stuff. I had no interest in MGS, but I am a sucker for hyped things, so I decided to check it out and give it a try.

I’ve discovered that I absolutely suck at stealth games, and strategy.
I am loud and dumb.
It’s definitely going to take me quite a bit more time to get “into” the game. But I am certainly willing to give it some more time. Especially with all the freaking weird stuff that it’s got going on. It genuinely had me laughing at certain parts, and saying “WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK IS GOING ON!??” at other parts. Just the first 3 missions. So there is “something” there, even though it’s making me literally scream for how much I keep dying.

But yeah, I can’t wait to get back to Mad Max.

And there’s still new games coming out, practically one new big game, each month, for the rest of the year. Just the ones that I know of. Not to mention the “surprise” games that are sure to show up.

Super Mario Maker comes out next Friday, and I wasn’t originally thinking about it, but it’s Mario, and the more I see about it, the more I’m like “OMG that sounds so cool!”.

So yeah, I complain all the time about this. How there’s just so many things out there that exists.

I realize it’s impossible to always go through absolutely everything. But that won’t stop me from trying. And I’ll continue to complain about it. In the best way possible.
Because it can’t be a bad thing to enjoy stuff. How boring life would be if there weren’t things to enjoy? Or something, I dunno. :)

Virtual Reality is coming

I had my first experience with VR last week.

My life will never be the same.

I am being 100% serious here. VR is the future. And it is GLORIOUS.

Two weeks ago, if you had asked me about VR, I would have said something like, "Oh yeah, you put on an obnoxious helmet, and it's in 3D. Woo. Of course, I'd be interested in checking it out and trying it, but I doubt it'll be a HUGE impact for me".

Oh you poor, naive fool.

Even after my brief, limited experience with a VR demo, I was blown away.
From that moment on, I knew.

I knew.

I have seen a glimpse of the future, and it will change everything.

I realize I may sound a bit hyperbolic. But I assure you that I am being serious.
This is special. This is going to be huge.

This is going to change everything.

We're still in the early stages, where developers are starting to create experiences specifically for VR.
Once the Oculus Rift comes out, and more people have VR devices, and more games are made for VR, and developers become more comfortable with the platform, and ideas have more time to grow...
We're going to see some seriously awesome stuff.

Just imagine with me for a moment.
Close your eyes.
Imagine that you're hiking through a forest.
You come across a ravine. A bridge crosses to the other side.
You approach the bridge. Look over the side.
A long drop into nothing below you.
You start to cross the bridge.
Each step, the bridge creaks a bit.
You're nervous.
You slowly make your way, and finally reach the other side.
The emotions you experience there. Pretty terrifying and exciting, right?
Now, open your eyes.
With VR, you're there. No need to imagine. You see everything with your actual eyes, as if you were there. You feel like you're there.
You look around, and the view moves with you. Super natural.

I wrote about "Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes" before. (Check my 2015 archive here)
So, imagine that game. You're sitting in a quiet room. Alone.
In front of you is a strange box. A countdown timer appears. You have buttons, and wires, and you have no idea what to do.
You have someone talking to you to guide you through things.
The pressure feels real. The pressure is real.
The amazing thing is that this game ALREADY SUPPORTS VR. It's there. It's ready. It's real. We just need the actual VR devices to be released! AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!
I am excited to be able to play it with VR.

Yesterday, I came across this article about a game called Dead Secret.
The game sounds like a perfect fit on VR.
How exciting? Exploring this puzzle-filled house, trying to solve a mystery.
I now have it pre-ordered.

The Witness comes out in January. I've been excited for it for some time. And as it gets closer, I get more and more excited for it. I didn't think I could be even MORE excited for it, but after my VR experience and hearing that The Witness will support VR, it has managed to again increase my excitement.
Being on the island of The Witness, and exploring everything. BEING there, with full view range, and solving the puzzles. My brain is having trouble comprehending the awesomeness.

So far, my VR experience has been limited to silly little demos. But it was enough for my mind to instantly think of the possibilities. Along with what is already known, and announced.
Things will only get better.

This is an exciting time. The start of something unique. Something truly special.
I am excited for what's to come with VR.

2015 Year-End More Games

Really awkward title, but wasn't quite sure how to title this post, without saying "2015 End of Year Post about random games that came out"

I've talked about most of the games that I've been looking forward to already.

Before I continue, I want to again say how much I loved Batman: Arkham Knight, and Mad Max this year. Two fantastic games that really stuck with me.
I played Metal Gear Solid V for quite a bit. Haven't totally gotten into it, but I have gotten much better at it (by my own standards, at least), to where I can at least enjoy it. It's a weird game, and I'm sure I'll spend more time with it over the next few months.

I wasn't really planning to get Guitar Hero Live, but I ended up getting it anyway, and I've enjoyed it for the most part. The "TV" portion is the best thing about the game though. Basically, there's a constant stream of songs being played, and you "tune in" and play the song, while the music video plays in the background.
You can "level up" and earn coins and "plays", which you can use to choose individual songs to play. Otherwise, you can only play whatever is chosen to play in the constant stream.
Some people may not like not being able to "own" songs, but for me, I like the automatic stream. Forces me to check out songs I may not choose otherwise. (And I've built up a large number of plays for if I do decide to choose individual songs eventually).

After Nintendo's recent "Nintendo Direct", it got me excited for a few games I wasn't planning to get.
First, there's Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. I'm typically not into sports games. But I remembered how much I surprisingly enjoyed the Gamecube Mario Tennis, and feel that bit of "craving" for some silly Mario sports, so I figure why not?

As for Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, I ended up not playing much of the previous Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game (although it's been on my list to play eventually). But based on things I've heard from people, I'm probably not missing much. So I might as well try out the new incarnation to get the best version possible. I really like the Mystery Dungeon format, ever since I played the GameBoy "Azure Dreams", and absolutely loved it. So yeah, I'd love to revisit that type of gameplay.

And finally, Xenoblade Chronicles X. Graphically, the game looks amazing. And the previews claim it's one of the largest open-world maps, with a lot to explore. I like exploring. I just hope it doesn't end up feeling too overwhelming.
The game looks like fun, so I look forward to giving it a fair try.
But knowing me, and my gaming habits, it could just as easily be "super awesome" or I could give up early because of it being too complicated or something. Sort of what happened with The Witcher 3 for me, since the game just has so much to do, that it gets overwhelming, and I reached a point where I found I had too much stuff thrown at me at once to do, with most things not being possible unless I leveled up more, so it just felt like a large hill I didn't want to climb. Ha! I'm sure I'll revisit it eventually. But as I complain often, there's just so many games, and my backlog continues to grow.

And now I'm starting to think about all the games planned for 2016. Looks like I'll have another new post soon for that.

2016 Upcoming Games

I was working on a "2015 recap" post, but then when I found myself just going on about a million games, I realized that it was just too much. Too many great games came out in 2015. And looking at my list, I see many games that came out that I wanted to play but just never got around to playing. That is disappointing!

So, I may still write up a modified "2015 recap" post, but for now I think I'd rather look towards 2016.

And looking at my list, 2016 is already threatening to be as insane as 2015.

Just for January, we have The Witness and Rise of the Tomb Raider coming out on PC.
On top of that, there's Paper Mario: Paper Jam for 3DS, and Dead Secret for PC/VR.

I am so incredibly excited for The Witness. It's been a long-time coming, and it's finally almost here! It's like a puzzle game mixed with Myst. And it's going to be huge.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is finally coming out for PC, and that'll be another big game.

Soon after that, Firewatch comes out in February, and looks very promising. Not sure how to describe it, but it's basically another exploration game with interactive storytelling.
Unravel comes out the same day. Why do all these games have to come out on the same day? Unravel looks absolutely charming. Frustrating that I'll be forced to get it through EA's Origin system if I want to play it on PC. I may just stick to getting it for the PS4 in that case.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD comes out in March. I'm very much excited for that. Twilight Princess was a fantastic game, and I played the heck out of it when it first came out with the Wii launch. So it'll be nice to revisit the game.

No Man's Sky comes out in June, and looks to be a huge space exploration / simulation game. There's a lot of big promises the game is making, so it'll be interesting to see if it manages to succeed.

There are many other games promised for 2016, and ones that didn't make it onto my list, but will still be looking forward to playing.
And judging by my 2015 list, I'm sure there'll be plenty of games that sadly get pushed onto my backlog.

Where does the time go?!

May 2016

"Hey Stephen, what have you been doing? Played any good games lately?"

Hi there! Thanks for asking!
Lately, I've been mostly busy with regular-work, and watching YouTube videos.

Some YouTube channels I've enjoyed watching lately include: RhettAndLink, TheFineBros, CinemaSins, OfficialNerdCubed, Markiplier, JacksFilms, JimSterling, PaleoSteno, TheMysteriousMrEnter, ChannelFrederator, and WheezyWaiter. And I'm sure I'm still missing stuff!
Needless to say, it's a LOT of stuff to watch!

As for games, most of my game-time has been split between smaller games. Most of which not worth mentioning. Which is kind of a bummer.

However, I have a LOT of good things to say about Crashlands and Stephen's Sausage Roll (not me, a different Stephen). I'd probably write an impression piece here for them eventually, if I remember.

I tried playing Everquest 2 online, and Lord of the Rings Online, but kinda got bored of them after awhile, and when quests tend to just pile up without much meaning to them. I probably should instead try revisiting Elder Scrolls Online, or Guild Wars 2. As if I have time to play MMO games, when I have so many other games to play too.

I also recently got an HTC Vive, so I've been exploring the virtual reality games.
Expect an impressions post on that sometime. Spoiler: Virtual reality is pretty cool.
You may remember [my post last year]( about Virtual Reality. (If not, click that link to read it).
My experience so far has been pretty cool, and my enthusiasm remains for what's still yet to come.

I've also started playing ChromaGun and Glitchspace. Too early to say what I think about them so far, but I am looking forward to playing more.
And there are a number of other games that came out over the last few months that I tried for a bit and then they got pushed to the side. I really should get back and try them again. And that's not even counting the WiiU and 3DS games on my list.
Seriously. Too many games.

Anyway, it's almost 2am, and I should get to sleep for work tomorrow.