Abandoning the Console Market

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All of you are fired!

 

Rexis here!

My time away from the blog has done me a lot of good. I needed to take a break and reevaluate some things. One of those things was how I’ve been spending my gaming time. The answer is short: on PC.

I’ve been a console gamer pretty much my entire live. I even bought an Xbox One late last year and I still love playing on it. Things have begun to stagnate a bit though. My list of active games had become very short, consisting of only Minecraft and Final Fantasy XI (both on PC). And now, FFXI is off the list. Yes, I was down to playing just one game. That’s what stagnation is.

Check out my game room here and you’ll see a LOT of thing I just don’t play with anymore. Its a sad state of affairs that it now collects dust and goes unappreciated. I’ve felt like I’ve been moving away from my collection mentality a bit, beginning with sale of a few Game Boys last year. I don’t regret it like I had before when I sold game stuff. I even stopped looking for retro video game deals. No garage sales, flea markets, or second hand stores for me anymore.

Moving away from this got me thinking about just abandoning gaming in general. And since I’ve been playing just the one game, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before I parted with the entire collection and moved on. I had no excitement or anticipation about upcoming titles. Not even Zelda Wii-U gets me moving anymore. But… I’m a gamer. The thought of leaving video games behind actually scares me. I knew I couldn’t do that, but I could make a change none-the-less. Amid rumors of the Nintendo NX and the Playstation 4.5, I decided to leave behind the consoles and handhelds and to move to strictly PC. That’s right loyal readers and random passerbys, I am never buying another console.

With that in mind, I had my eye open for a solid PC. You see, the laptop I play on has a cracked screen, so I play it on a small monitor. Its not mobile at all anymore. Add to that the consistent over heating issues and its inability to run games at max settings, and I’d safely say I was in the market for a replacement.

So I parted with my Sega Genesis, Nomad, and Game Gear collections which gave me a little down payment of sorts, and strolled into Best Buy to browse about. Now the computer I want runs about 2,000 of those fancy American dollars. I can’t afford that despite the incredibly lucrative success of this blog /sarcasm. I wouldn’t normally shop at Best Buy, by the way. I just happen to have a credit card there from a purchase I made a while back.

I didn’t find much at first that matched my budget, and there were way too many laptops. I wanted something I could upgrade over the years and keep building upon. Laptops and tablets were simply not options. So, I gave up and wandered over to the video game section as  I’m fond of doing. There, on an end cap, sat this:

MyPC

You can find all the specs here.

I knew immediately that this wasn’t a high-end gaming PC. I’m not an idiot. But the price was right and it met my most basic requirements: upgradeable and more functional than my laptop. So I did my research. I Googled it (great reviews). I talked to a friend who is like an expert at this stuff. (Shout out to NinjaZonza!) Ultimately, I could have saved up some money and waited a bit to get a much better PC, but hey, I’m playing Minecraft, not Fallout 4. So I decided to buy it. It was $100 dollars off, so it only cost me $480.

After some trivial driving about to pick it up from a store that actually had one in stock, I got it home and opened it up to reveal the massive tower. This thing is huge, no kidding. It didn’t fit under my desk or anywhere in or on my entertainment center. I had to tuck it behind my TV a bit, but I still get a good view of the LED lights coming out the side! So awesome! (I’ve always wanted a PC with lights in it!)

It didn’t come with a monitor, but this was a good opportunity to use the 46-inch TV in my game room for something other than the occasional Xbox session. I also found that it has no Wi-Fi, which isn’t a problem for me because I prefer the wired connection.

To sum up my experience with it so far: I love it. My active gaming now includes Minecraft, Skyrim, Portal, and Alien Isolation (and I’ve got a building backlog). It runs beautifully and at max settings on some titles. I have 1TB of storage internally and 3TB external. I also have a wireless mouse and keyboard to use from the futon and an extension for my headset for TeamSpeak on Minecraft. Compared to my laptop, this thing is a beast and I’m really happy I picked it up.

I see a bright future in PC gaming for me as the years go on and I upgrade it.

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“Real Gamers”

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Rexis here!

I usually pride myself on being unoffendable (that’s not a word). It takes a lot to offend me, is what I’m saying. I’m also not one who thinks much of other people’s stupid opinions, because almost everyone has stupid opinions. A few minutes ago, I had to delete a comment on my recent Star Wars post from some idiot who could barely string a few words together. It looked like he just smashed his face against the keyboard. I doubt he’ll be back, but if you’re seeing this, try reading the post and offering some sort of rebuttal in English. I’m not going to try to sort through you nonsensical complaints with no backing.

As it turns out, I’m actually easily offended by stupidity and the world is full of it. So I thought I’d take a look at one of my biggest pet peeves, the thing that tends to set me off the most. As the titles indicates, I’m talking about “Real Gamers.” These are people I just cannot stand. Trolls or otherwise, they serve to derail every gaming conversation with just insults against anyone who disagrees with them. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Just read the comments section on any YouTube video about the GameCube. They turn out in droves.

“Nintendo is for kids!”

Now, I can understand if Mario doesn’t entice you to play his game, but that doesn’t mean its for kids. Neither does the ESRB rating on the box. If someone says “I’m a gamer and I play on the iPhone,” look out! Here come the “real gamers” to correct the plebs. If you prefer one FPS to another, one console to another, or play anything other than a PC, you aren’t a “real gamer.” If you play anything made by Nintendo, play FPS on XBOX One, have a membership to Playstation Plus, you aren’t a “real gamer.”

So, doing as I do, I dug a little deeper and figured out what a “real gamer” in this context means. That’s right, internet, I’ve figured it out. Do you want to be a “real gamer”? Do you want to be part of an obnoxious elite? Here is how you do it!

Get yourself a superiority complex!

Its that simple! How do you get one? So easy! Be inferior. Sounds contradictory, right? Alfred Adler, an Austrian medical doctor and psychotherapist figured this all out in the early 1900’s and coined the term. Here’s a simple explanation:

An individual who is not properly trained to answer life’s problems may turn from striving for superiority in useful ways to that of a personal superiority at all cost. If an individual cannot be better than another on their own merit, they will attempt to tear down another person or group to maintain their superior position.

You see, your superiority simply hides your inferior nature. Of course, in psychology, it goes much deeper. We aren’t going to discuss all of the medical dialect here. Suffice it to say that if you really feel like your way of gaming is the only way to be a “real gamer”, then you suck. At gaming. And at life. You are inferior. And it seems like everyone knows it but you. Even Alfred “Freak-Nasty” Adler knows it! (That’s probably a real nickname of his. You don’t know. You aren’t going to look it up, anyway.)

Curing your complex isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to involve treating the root cause of it all; your inferiority. But if you came here looking for a cure, you’re in the wrong place. I’m no doctor, and quite frankly, I hate you. You have stupid opinions about what makes a gamer and I have no time for your problems.

For the rest of us forced to cope with you, here is what we need to do. Avoid confronting these individuals in online debate or in real life. Ignore them as if they were trolls (because they are). Engaging them only affirms their opinions by validating them. It gives them a platform to stand on. Doing that inflates that feeling of superiority which only allows them to avoid confronting their real problems. By ignoring them, we are helping them.

In closing, a gamer is a gamer, regardless of the platform they play on, the games they like, or your personal opinions. A gamer is someone who picks up a game and plays it. Its that simple. I don’t care if you game for 10 minutes a week on Candy Crush or 10 hours a day on some FPS. To me, you’re a gamer. It doesn’t matter how much you know about the history of Atari. It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or girl. It doesn’t matter if you only play Halo while drinking Mountain Dew. It doesn’t even matter if you only play sports games or Minecraft. You’re a gamer.

Anyone who adds “real” to the front is the inferior one.

XBOX One vs. PlayStation 4 – What to buy?

 XBOX ONE vs PS4

Rexis here!

Internet, it’s time we had a little talk. First of all, there are people on the planet who have not upgraded their consoles to the current generation just yet. Unbelievable, I know. I work with one of them and he has resolved to buy a PlayStation 4. I have an XBOX One. If you want to know my personal reasons for going with Microsoft this round, click here. I find that between my different co-workers that I’m either put on trial for my decision or praised for it. The irony is that this is coming for individual who don’t even know the game release line up for the systems.

Everyone has their different reasons for purchasing whatever console they choose, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when they choose based on graphics alone. This won’t be a rehash of my previous posts “Graphics vs. Gameplay “, I swear. I still stand by the fact that good games aren’t made by graphics alone, though. Recent titles have proven that point. I’m more concerned with the direct screen to screen comparisons between consoles. Casual players like my coworker will base their decisions on these images alone.

So let me ask you a question. Look at this comparison between XBOX One and PS4 screen shots below. Which one looks better to you?

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So which one did you pick? Did it align with your preferred console? This pier looks amazing in both pics and its pretty hard to tell them apart. What if I told you that I actually switched the labels? Does that change your opinion on which looks better?  Well, not only did I switch the labels, these aren’t even images from the current generation. These are from PS3 and 360.

We’ve come to the point that graphics are something of a moot point when it comes to comparing one console to the other. Games look so amazing these days that its hard to tell the difference between them from console to console. Buying a console based off of compared images makes no sense. Here’s what techradar had to say about it.

A gameplay video on YouTube of GTA 5 pans between the two next-gen versions of the game with a definitive answer. The PS4 GPU is able to handle more foliage in environments. Yes, you literally have to get into the weeds to see the differences, though both the PS4 and Xbox editions of GTA 5 look stellar compared to their last-gen counterparts.

When you really get into comparisons between these two consoles ignoring gimmicky peripherals and special controllers, there is very little difference save for one thing: the games. A lot of third party games tend to be released for both consoles which may be a factor in why these consoles are so similar. (A post for another time perhaps?) What you need to look at are the original IP’s. Are you going to be interested in the exclusive titles? If not, don’t waste your money! If you want games that need a Kinect, buy an XBOX. If you prefer Vita cross play, go for a PlayStation.

No matter which system you choose, just remember one thing: Its all about the games! Don’t be an elitist. It really makes no sense to argue which is better. You’ll lose focus of why we game in the first place. When I walk into a game store, I like to take it all in. Don’t be that guy who goes straight to the Microsoft corner and stays there. Those are the people who contribute to the underlying problem, the Video Gamers Divide. We have to unite as gamers and share our passion across all platforms! Even PC gamers. I love you guys despite some of the more intolerable elitist among you. (It’s easy to have the best gaming platform when it costs many time over what a console does.)

Game Review – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt + Game Critics and Hype

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Rexis here!

How’s it going, internet? Come sit with me here, right here, and let’s have a little talk about video games as we’re apt to do here at Ability Points. We have something important to discuss. Something you probably won’t want to hear. Let’s just do this like a band-aid and rip it right off. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I’m not a fan. (And I should preface this by telling you I never played prequels.)

I can hear your jimmies rustling from across the internet dimension. Let me explain. I found the game to be astonishingly beautiful. The atmosphere was definitely there. Everything you would expect about the world they designed was right on par. On par doesn’t mean exceptional, however. My first big complaint with this game was the world itself. It was lauded as a massive world, but I never really felt like diverging from the story laid out before me. I tried to venture out a few times, but was always drawn back into the town I’d left. The side quests I did partake in were not really worth my time and the whole “adventuring” aspect felt like a chore. Sure, you can make this argument for any adventure game, but it was especially so in this case.

I was put off almost immediately when the game started by the overt and unnecessary nudity. Not that I normally have a problem with it, but it felt so out of place to me. (Also, I’ve seen an ending involving the back of a unicorn and I thought it was stupid. It’s hard to take this game seriously after that.) Once I’d gained control of Geralt, I found that I had never really gained control of him at all. His controls are very slippery and I never know what he’s going to do next. Some people say you get used to it, but come on. I have to “get used to it”? That’s unacceptable to me. He should handle in exactly the manner I expect him to, which is “tight with the controls”.

The gameplay is not much better. There is a bevy of things to learn when it comes to inventory, magic, crafting, and alchemy that the game becomes menu intensive. This really distracts from the beauty of the game overall because I’m constantly looking at menus and trying to sort myself out. Oh and the potion making. For the love of god, why is a monster hunter so dependent on potions? It’s just not a fun aspect of the game.

With all that out of the way, let’s talk about the world this game exists in. I found the story to be interesting, although some knowledge of the lore would have helped a great deal before going into this. The world surrounding that story, though, I found to be stupid. You see, Witchers are kind of hated and they kind of only help people for money. So when townsfolk are telling you how much you suck then begging you to save their lives, it’s stupid. When you, the player, want to behave altruistically by being the hero and helping for no reward, Geralt seems to demand payment for services, which is stupid and makes me kind of hate him. Townsfolk seem to think they have a chance fighting Witchers and will do so anytime someone feels slighted. Again, these are FREAKING MONSTER SLAYERS! These townsfolk are stupid and deserve their imminent deaths. I can suspend my disbelief just as well as the next comic book nerd, but this game is asking A LOT!

So… The slippery controls, tedious gameplay, uninteresting landscape, world of idiots, and my general distaste for all of the characters are the reasons this game is listed for sale on my local garage sale website. This brings me to the next point of this post, because you get more than a review when you come here. Hype is bad for you.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was overhyped. People were clamoring for this game. I had no interest in playing it at all and had never even heard of this series prior to this title. I picked it up because, hey, I like adventure games and exploring open worlds and stuff, but was sorely disappointed. There have been a ton of games that were overhyped and turned into letdowns. A recent title that I never played was Destiny. This game had a huge advertising budget so the hype makes sense, but the day after launch people had all but forgotten it. I couldn’t find anyone who could tell me one unique and original reason to buy this game.

Over hyping games is nothing new and while Peter Molyneux gets the brunt of the jokes when it comes to this topic, I like to think he was just a dreamer whose words were taken out of context. Fable, for example, wasn’t a bad game, but it didn’t live up to its hype. This is the first big title I can recall being psyched about and subsequently let down. Many years and blunders later, you might ask why I hadn’t learned my lesson. The reason why I gave Witcher 3 a chance is because of a game called The Order: 1886.

That’s right. Another overhyped game that amounted to a ton of cinematics. I didn’t play this game but I enjoyed the YouTube Let’s Plays on it, just I enjoyed watching Heavy Rain. Critics panned it, but it is a good game! It just may not be the type of game you expected it to be. We have so many different genres these days that people can easily mistake what they are buying. We don’t need critics rating games with preconceived bias. If you’re forte is shooters, I don’t care what you think of Ori and the Blind Forest. What we need are people who can explain what a game is, then give a small review of what they thought of it. Ratings need to go away because a little number can destroy someone’s hard work. The people behind The Order: 1886 did an amazing job and were genuinely excited about the release, but had to listen to critics who have never done anything productive tear their hard work down over a misunderstanding. It’s sad.

I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t you just do the same thing here to Witcher 3?” No. Witcher 3 is well within my comfort zone. I understand its mechanics and genre. I knew what I was getting into. People who played The Order: 1886 made references to games outside of its genre, like Skyrim. They expected the game to be something it wasn’t. That’s biased. My review clearly explains this games genre and style without resorting to comparisons with other titles. It tells you what to expect rather than telling you what not to expect. This is a subtle difference that paid critics tend to fail in. (Yes, I’m generalizing critics, but they are so often wrong.) And finally, this is my blog about my gaming experiences. I’m not being paid to give you a fair and unbiased review, though I’ll strive for that regardless. In short, I didn’t say “Witcher 3 is bad because it’s not Skyrim, pllllt!” Those are the reviews that hurt the industry.

If you take away anything from this post, let it be this: Don’t trust critics. Don’t trust hype. Read gameplay reviews, sure. Watch Let’s Play videos. And rent the title before you buy it, if you can. You’ll save a lot of money and time. Don’t let others do your thinking for you.

Backwards Compatibility Indifference

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Rexis here!

In the most Seinfeld-esque voice I can muster, I must ask “What is the deal with backwards compatibility?” XBOX One made headlines at E3 this year when they announced backwards compatibility with 360 titles. I had a mixed response. I had recently purchased my One and this will open a library of games I haven’t played. You see, I never owned a 360, but my lack of purchase was for a good reason. I wasn’t impressed with the games lineup. So to me, XBOX One’s backward compatibility is a non-issue. I simply don’t care.

There are certainly a lot of people out there that do care, however. Every time a new console is released, people complain about the lack of this basic function. It’s really not basic. It is hard to make a system play games from previous consoles. My laptop is a gaming rig, a bit more powerful than PS3, and it can’t run GameCube and PS1 emulators. Microsoft will tell you this themselves. Read about the process of bringing this feature to the One and you’ll understand.

I’ve always had one question for people who want backwards compatibility; Why did you sell your previous console in the first place? Seriously, if the games were so great why did you part with your only means to play them? I have a friend at work who sold his entire 360 setup and all his games as soon as the One was available for pre-order. As a collector, I was baffled. He got quite a bit of money towards the new console, but he gave up all his old stuff. When I asked him why, he said he was ready for the next thing. He doesn’t have that collector’s mindset. He moves to the next technology without looking back, a trait I can admire. His thoughts on backwards compatibility? He’s happy he can play games he liked in the past, but it amounts to indifference because he sold those titles and isn’t likely to buy them again, digitally or otherwise.

Nintendo spoiled us a bit. The Wii plays GameCube games. The Wii U plays Wii games. GBA plays Game Boy Games. DS plays Advance Games. 3DS plays DS games. They obviously have some skill in incorporating backwards compatibility. PlayStation is similar. PS2 plays PS1. PS3 first gen consoles play PS2 games. They’ve dropped the feature for PS4 and have no interest in developing it. Should they? I don’t think so. Of course, I still have a PS3 on my shelf.

It seems to be a hotly debated feature but the only real arguments I can find for including it are along these lines; A bigger game library for the console, less shelf space is required for consoles, and less systems to hook to the TV. That pretty much sums it up. Perhaps I’m missing something? I have a TV with lots of inputs, a nice switcher, and a custom TV stand with room for plenty of consoles. Maybe that is why I don’t get it? I’m not having an issue backwards compatibility can solve, perhaps?

I personally think some of this is brought on by nostalgia. People hate to let go of the things they enjoyed in the past. It’s in our nature. We want to know that our new consoles can play our favorite classics even if we have no actual intention of returning to them. The fact that we can is enough to appease us. This may be the same mindset some collectors have. I, for one, have no intention of revisiting Link’s Awakening on Gameboy. I’d rather play it on my 3DS, but I still own it and the idea of parting with it, well, you must be joking to suggest such a thing! I can’t believe you’d even say that to my face….

Jokes aside, maybe we should embrace Sony’s mindset and let backwards compatibility fall to the wayside like motion controls and embrace the future. We stand on the threshold of virtual reality. We are on the verge of flying spacecraft as if we were actually in them, but first we have to appease a small audience of gamers who didn’t get enough Syphon Filter? Look, I’m all about the freedom to play what you want and if you want to be stuck in the past, that’s fine. I enjoy a retro game or two every once in a while, but I sure don’t expect my Wii U to play Contra. Stop expecting the big three to cater to your regret for parting with a system you loved. Stop selling your consoles if having a bigger game library is important to you. Just so you know, a switcher is not expensive and bigger TV stands are not hard to come by. They are certainly cheaper than parting with and subsequently purchasing your collection all over again.

Finally, if any game companies can hear me, stop making backwards compatibility an issue and focus on your games. Customers will eventually forget about this feature and you can invest more in making good games. Atari 7800 played games from the 2600 way back in the day, but when NES and SNES came around, no one was clamoring to rock Bubble Bobble carts on their 16 bit systems. Same applied to the N64 and GameCube. No complaints. Let’s get it together and stop trying to appease a sub-genre of gamers who have seller’s remorse. Please? Does it matter if I say please? No? Just checking…

Arigatō, Iwata-san.

Game Review – Ori and the Blind Forest + Side Scrolling Zelda?

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Rexis here!

Miyazaki. Rayman. Metroid. The Iron Giant. The Lion King. What do these big names have in common? Let’s find out!

Those of you who follow my blog will remember that I have recently acquired an XBOX One (I did a whole post about it! Get with it, man!). One particular title I was totally amped to play was Ori and the Blind Forest. Yes. That is the answer to the previous question. The game was inspired by all of those things above and if the amazing reception and numerous awards don’t convince you to try this game, perhaps my little piece of the inter-netro-sphere will.

I initially saw the intro to the game on a YouTube video and knew immediately that I had to have it. The first ten minutes of the game (much like the first ten minutes of J. J. Abrams 2009 Star Trek movie) sucked me in and pulled at my heartstrings immediately tying me to Ori, the main character, and from then on I just had to see Ori through his journey. There is no simpler way to say it. When I play a game, I like to feel an emotional attachment to the main character to some extent. This game delivers it in spades.

For a 2D side scrolling platformer, you normally don’t expect much. This is a mindset brought on by the early years of gaming. With the birth of the Nintendo 64, side scrollers fell to the wayside and three dimensional worlds became the rage. Sure, there were a few attempts at side scrollers that live on in the pop culture memory of the gaming days of yore (looking at you Nights Into Dreams), but for the most part, side scrollers were scrapped. Once FPS really hit the scene, these types of old school genres were relegated to the back shelf of the rental store (those used to be a thing!).

The atmosphere, the sounds, the music, the whimsy, and all the things in Ori just add up to a completely immersive world! The technology of the eighth generation of consoles allows for a more organic feel. The background and foreground are dynamic. The moving shadows in the foreground made me feel like I was watching Ori through some foliage, but never obstructed my view. Coupled with some of the tightest controls in recent memory, I found very little to complain about.

Ori also seems to take a page out of Mega Man X’s method of teaching the player before challenging them. What I mean by this is that the game will show you the obstacle before challenging you to overcome it. This type of game design prevents cheap deaths like hidden spikes or unexpected pitfalls. The game tallies your death count. Mine was somewhere around 250 before I finished the game with eight and half hours on the clock. Every one of those deaths were entirely my own fault. I never, never, never, not even once found a way to blame the game for my short comings. It fairly presented me with obstacles and the time needed to react and overcome them. If I missed my mark, it was my own skills that hindered me. This echoes Tetris. If you can’t do it, it’s your own fault. In a similar fashion to Tetris, the difficulty does ramp up as the game goes on, but it feels so natural that you barely even notice it.

As challenging as the game was, I often found my most difficult adversary was saving. It has an active save system. If you die, you go back to the last point you decided to save at. Saving can be done on the fly, which is intensely helpful, but don’t forget to press that button after accomplishing something. This might sound like a pain because most games feature auto save, Rayman being one of them. Ori is unforgiving in this regard and for good reason! It makes death matter! In an age where dying and respawning nearby has become the norm, we don’t even consider death an issue.  Games offer no challenge when death is not a punishment. I’ve played Lego games with my kids and it simply doesn’t matter if you die. You simply respawn and continue plugging away. There is little reward for becoming skilled.

As I was playing through the game, I noticed quite a few similarities between it and Metroid. It’s an interesting term I’ve only recently learned, actually. This type of game has its own genre now called Metroidvania (because Metroid and Castlevania). It features a large map with interconnected areas that can only be accessed at certain points. Power ups are placed throughout the world and you must backtrack to obtain what you couldn’t on your first pass through. Ori takes an extra step over Metroid and adds a level up system as well. You can unlock abilities that will enhance your power ups. It just feels so very thought out and well done.

My final verdict on this game: YOU MUST PLAY IT! Seriously, do not miss this game! If you are appreciative of good game design, a good story, an immersive world, lovable characters, fantastically written villain motivation, and whimsy then this game is for you. If you are an old school Metroid fan, this is a spiritual successor. If you enjoy Rayman’s platforming, you will find similar mechanics here. If you are nostalgic for side scrollers, but don’t want to deal with dated graphics and clunky controls, try this out.

As I finished Ori, I came to yet another realization. This type of gameplay is EXTREMELY well suited to a side scrolling Zelda. I don’t want to spoil anything in Ori, so I will simply say that everything Ori learns, each ability, can be duplicated by Link. I can see it in my head and I only wish I had the artistic ability to show it to you.

The Legend of Zelda has had a rough time in regards to side scrollers. In fact, there are only three of them. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Wand of Gamelon, and Faces of Evil, the latter two being two of three (terrible, terrible, I wouldn’t normally mention them) CD-i releases. There are proponents of Zelda II out there who would say it is the best Zelda game for whatever reason and I can’t argue against someone’s opinion, but my thoughts on the title are not favorable. I have it on my 3DS and I find it simply unplayable.

There are only two other instances of Link performing in a 2D world, Soul Calibur 2 on GameCube and the Smash Bros. franchise. During your play through of Ori, keep the Smash Bros. version of Link in mind, remember his arsenal of weapons and how they could apply in the 2D landscape, then I think you’ll understand what I mean.

The only thing left to really discuss is whether or not a new side scrolling Zelda would sell. You can find a number of threads out there with people detailing their complaints about such an idea, but still, there seem to be more people who support the idea so long as the series doesn’t go that way completely, which it wouldn’t. I, for one, would buy it.

I know I say it a lot, but it really has been an interesting time for games. Spiritual successors are popping up everywhere like Mighty No. 9 and Yooka-Laylee. Side scrollers are coming into their own again with Rayman, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Shovel Knight. It’s not unrealistic to think a platforming, side scrolling Zelda could become a thing. What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you like Ori? Are you going to try it after reading this (Its only 20 bucks)? Would you like to see Zelda in this style? Let me know in the comments!

And you stay classy, gamers.

My XBOX One Journey Begins!

XboxOne

Rexis here!

It’s been two days since I brought an XBOX One home from GameStop and I am still reeling over it. It was not an easy decision! You see, I’m not a big “XBOX fan.” Other than a few retro titles, I haven’t made an XBOX purchase since the first console was gifted to me. I loved it at the time, but I’ve tended toward PlayStation ever since. Not because of some fan boy desire, but because things just sort of played out that way. I’ve been parting with a bit of my retro collection in order to update my game library. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I feel like I want to move away from collecting in exchange for experiences.

I started putting my money from the sale of my collection aside for a new PC. Unfortunately, the PC I want to build is so high end that it could be a long time before I get there. Realizing this, I started asking myself why I wanted a PC at all. Turns out, watching YouTube Let’s Plays has been influencing my purchasing decision. Thing is, those YouTubers tend to cut through the boring content and show you the fun stuff (particularly for the games I’ve been watching). I realized I don’t want to spend my time crafting and dealing with inventory management. I want to play!

Setting aside my desire for a PC, I turned my attention to the PS4 and XBOX One. I also, briefly, looked at the Alienware Alpha. Reviews for the Alpha and the fact that it’s a fraction of the PC I really wanted quickly took it out of the competition. This is where things got tricky.

Fun Fact: I’ve spent over $1000 on simply owning a PlayStation 3. The first fat model cost me $600. It broke. Three times. I repaired it twice, and then simply bought a slim model. That’s a big hit to the pocketbook to just own a thing. So far, I’m extremely unimpressed with PlayStation’s ability to build electronics. That, combined with the fact that none of my friends play PlayStation, really sealed Sony’s fate. I turned my eyes to the XBOX One for the first time.

You see, as a prior collector, XBOX is generally avoided. Those green game cases are literally EVERYWHERE! And they aren’t worth much. I’ve also never seen much in the way of exclusives that I wanted to play on the consoles. Kinect never impressed me either. The merits of the One that I was sold on included a few choice titles (Ori and the Blind Forest, Witcher 3, Titanfall, and Recore to name a few) and the fact that I have friends who own the system.

Another deciding factor is that Microsoft is backing the Oculus Rift, the gaming peripheral that provided me with the defining moment of my gaming life. Seriously, people who are shrugging off the idea of VR have never experienced it. Mark my words, things are going to change. Sure, Sony has project Morpheus, but look at their history of cloning other successes (PlayStation Move comes to mind).

So, with an idea of what I wanted, a glimmer of hope, and a pocket full of cash, I went to GameStop. I really admired the employee’s patience as I bombarded him with questions. You see, I had to choose between a new Master Chief Collection bundle, a refurb with a game, or a used with a game. I wanted to make sure I had a decent warranty as I’m not interested in fixing or buying a new system. (see above.) Turns out, the new model with Halo had the best value to it so I snatched it up with a copy of my beloved Grand Theft Auto 4. I quickly peeled my son off the PS4 display where he had been playing Lego Avengers during my transaction, and slipped out the door.

I set up my new XBOX One and wrestled with the controller not connecting. The batteries the system came with were dead. I was surprised that the controller ran on 2 AA batteries. Is this a game boy or an eighth gen console? After the massive update, I had a hard time navigating the menus, something I’m sure comes naturally to you XBOX veterans out there. Everything seems out of place, as if they were trying to create a seamless environment, but failed. Menus exist within other menus so it’s not intuitive. I couldn’t figure out how to change my theme color to save my life. After a fair bit of googling, I managed to sort it out and even changed my gamer tag. Why does it assign you a random one anyway? I can look past this issue, but only because I believe it’ll get easier to navigate with time.

I couldn’t get the Master Chief Collection download to work. As luck would have it, the store was down along with a few other services. So it was time to fire up Grand Theft Auto 5. Of course, it had to install 6 gigs. What happened to the days of popping in a game and just playing it? Character transferring wasn’t working for me either. I wanted to bring my PSN character over, but was failing miserably. So I opted to start a new one and played a bit of online, pretty much into the night. Honestly, I wasn’t seeing a lot of difference between the PS3 and the XBONE version graphically. I’m sure it is better when compared side by side, but I just wasn’t seeing it myself. I did enjoy all the new customization options the game offered as well as the first person perspective new to the next gen versions. Being able to look around inside the car was awesome and I can totally see how VR is going to play out with this in the future.

My second afternoon with my new system involved a long download time. I’ve been dying to play Ori and the Blind Forest since I first saw it on YouTube. I was not disappointed. I was eager to get this game because I was sure my kids would like to see it, and they did. I once played through Wind Waker with them watching so it’s kind of a thing we bond over. We got about half an hour of play before their bedtime, but we all loved it. I’m itching to play it some more. With the kids down, I was able to work out my character transfer for Grand Theft Auto. I took some time to update a couple of my cars with ground lighting then called it quits for the night.

So far, I adore this new system and have found a slew of games I want to play. Witcher 3, Shadow of Mordor, Titanfall, Rayman, and Alien Isolation come to mind. I think the coolest part of owning this system is that I immediately feel a sense of belonging, even with my limited interactions with other players. XBOX has a cult like following of gamers complete with stereotypes. Mountain Dew anyone? I’ve never been one to pick sides so I’ve always just identified with “gamers”, but it feels like there is something more to XBOX fans, a sort of sub culture. I would liken it to Apple fans. They seem to love their consoles and follow the companies through the good times and bad. Just owning the system has made me feel like I can be a part of that. I’ve even grown a tighter relationship with a friend at work because we talk about XBOX stuff now. It’s an interesting influence I know I wouldn’t have experienced with a PS4.

All things said, I love my new XBOX One and I’m looking forward to the years of amazing games to come, especially after what I’ve seen from E3. I’m sure I’ll continue to post my experiences with the system as time passes, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, happy gaming everyone!