#PAT Series – 11 Awesome games to play with your friends

So – staying at home while working your butt off driving you mad? I’ve been asked for some game recommendations “which aren’t too hardcore” (whatever that means).

Here are some games you can play with your friends online together!

Overcooked 2

The party game of the kings. Overcooked 2 has been the party game you can hop on to play with or against your friends. Sure there’s a learning curve, but does that really matter?

Save 40% on Overcooked! 2 on Steam

You work together (or fail together) with friends in a kitchen to serve as many orders as possible. Think Diner Dash, but with friends. There will be challenges including but not limited to – Moving platforms, difficult-to-reach ingredients, and working-less-than-efficiently friends.

War and peace, er, fish: Overcooked 2 review | Technobubble

You don’t even need Overcooked 1 to know you screwed that order up

Overcooked 2 grants you the thrill of cooperation, the satisfaction of a job well done, and filters the good friends from the useless ones.

All on a silver plate.

  • 10/10 for game, 1/10 for friendships remaining afterwards.

Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam

The classic and most iconic multiplayer Zombie apocalypse game. Play as a team of up to 4, or as a 4v4 face-off with up to 8 friends where you can prove you’re the better survivor.

What’s more, the skills you learn here are applicable during the lockdown – that annoying hoarding crowd at the supermarkets wouldn’t obstruct you that much with a crowbar in your hand.

Left 4 Dead 2 Multiplayer Playthrough / Gameplay Part 9 No Mercy ...

Treat those not practicing social distancing the same way – shove them away first to thin out the surrounding crowd

This isn’t a horror game so much as an action/strategy game, where you need to strategize, stick together and mow down zombies while looking out for and killing “special ones” with abilities. These “special zombies” would be controlled by another 4 players (in a 4v4 situation) and it’s their task to stop you from reaching the endpoint.

All in all, an amazingly fun game to while the afternoon away while screaming for help.

  • 9/10 for game. -1/10 for the 9th friend in the group

Jackbox

The Jackbox Party Pack on Steam

The go-to Zoom game. Jackbox has 6 iterations with 4-5 games inside each one. They’re a clever spin to the annoying Kahoot game your trying-too-hard teacher gets you to play to pay more attention to the rest of the lesson, not knowing that you already gave up 5 lectures ago.

Quiplash and Fibbage Bring the Party | Geek and Sundry

The games in Jackbox gets everyone to play together on their phones, as long as there’s a shared computer screen that everyone can see. Play games like Quiplash where you get to write clever answers to questions and the rest votes on their favorite (think Cards Against Humanity) or Murder Trivia Party which is Trivia night with a fun twist.

It’s fun for all friends and family, and you don’t even need to be in the same room. So grab your friends, get into the Zoom call, and save the awkward silences by getting everyone to play this. Thank me later.

  • 9/10 for all round fun, except for that friend who takes it a bit too seriously

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game ...

The undisputed winner of COVID, apart from Zoom. Animal Crossing is what you call a right time right place moment – it launched right when the pandemic went full-throttle. What started off as a niche game in previous iterations became the mainstream game for all gamers alike.

Animal Crossing allows you to live your dream island life, where you build an island from scratch. Invite villagers, decorate your island and even go full-out construction mode to terraform the whole thing because pre-generated islands aren’t your style.

Why Animal Crossing may not be good for your mental health | Metro ...

Probably the main feature of Animal Crossing is the ability to go online – allowing you to visit or invite friends to your island. Show your island off or go to friends island to steal everything from them. We know that’s the main motive.

Animal Crossing’s popularity boomed so much that it even has a third-party Amazon where players trade items, recipes and furniture, and a black market where villagers are exported for real money (talk about cruelty).

All in all, Animal Crossing is whatever you make it out to be – a fun game you can choose to play at your own pace, or a cruel ruthless black market where it’s better to establish a monopoly and get everyone else to fall in line.

I guess that’s pretty much life itself.

  • 10/10 because my girlfriend told me to put that

MapleStory

MapleStory | Play Now

I can’t believe I’m writing this – but Maplestory still makes the list. Say what you want about it – but the developers are still introducing a lot of content to the game (how many bloody classes are there now?)

New 5th Job Skills | Official MapleStory Website

The number of classes this game has is probably more than the number of classes I went to when I was schooling

There really isn’t much to talk about MapleStory that you don’t already know. You can check out some from my article here.

MapleStory will still appeal for the same key reasons:

  • The 2-D art style is timeless and isn’t very graphic-intensive
  • The RPG aspect is still well alive, where you can choose the character you want to be while seeing it get stronger the more time you play on it (Unlike me with DOTA 2, where the more I play the more I see myself not getting stronger)
  • Doing everything I mentioned AGAIN with multiple characters!
  • Engaging in boss fights with friends while pretty much re-living nostalgic moments now that everyone is still at home

Jumped right back into the world, since there’s no where else to be anyway. At the very least, you can always re-live the moment of getting that annoying prick to “cc pls” again.

  • 8/10 for nostalgia and timeless factor

Fortnite

Fortnite for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details

The game that probably every kid is into right now – but you have no idea what it is about. Fortnite took the world by storm, and it is bigger now more than ever before. With its cute cartoonish graphics, generally fun non-realistic engines, and straightforward gameplay, it’s hard to remember you actually suck at this game.

Fortnite is a battle royale, where you aim to be the last person standing. Gather materials to build structures to protect you (or hinder your teammates, like me), source for bigger and better weapons around the map (or rush in Rambo style to get killed in the first 5 seconds, like me), or hide in the bush to camp for unsuspecting passers-by (like me, but still get spotted and wiped off the map like how I wipe my tears after each game).

Fortnite (2018) - Gameplay (PC) - YouTube

It’s a fun game to play with friends in a squad as you try to camp out the last few players, only to realize that in the time you took to climb up the hill for a vantage point, they’ve already rebuilt the Acropolis in Greece.

Furthermore, with the pandemic, Fortnite has also introduced “party mode” where you don’t go in to kill, you go in to.. party. It re-invented night clubs, allowing people to come in, listen to renowned DJs (you know Epic is loaded enough to do that) and just enjoy the time instead of going for the headshots. The best part of it all, no need to make sure that friend who says “I can hold his alcohol, don’t worry I’m fiNEee” gets home safe too.

All in all, a fun game to play with your friends that can easily turn into hours of unadulterated fun.

  • 8/10. Would be higher if I could actually win it

Minecraft

Buy Minecraft - Microsoft Store

The greatest indie game ever, and it’s very much relevant today. Minecraft is Animal Crossing on steroids. Instead of an island – you have a whole world. 

Minecraft is essentially a god-simulator, where you can create a world exactly how you want it to be. There are some rules and conditions, much like the real world. E.g. Water flows in a set direction, fire burns, pigs produce bacon, etc.

Minecraft

For a game that has no storyline, graphics, or genre, it does pretty well. But be warned, having form with no substance doesn’t work all the time. Ask my boss about me – he knows.

Think Lego, but in the virtual world. Minecraft allows you and your friends to exercise your creativity through hours of gameplay. You can also join other people’s islands (who have probably spent wayyyyyy to much time on it pre-COVID). I’ve seen Hunger Games, a recreation of Hogwarts, and a tad too many phallic structures in those games.

Minecraft is sure to take up the entire day as you live out your greatest fantasies. Just make sure your friends are ok with knowing what those fantasies are.

  • 9/10. Full score only averted because I had to wiki 90% of the time

World of Warcraft

Prepare to Cross Into the Realm of the Dead in World of Warcraft ...

The (almost) undisputed leader in MMOs. The gold standard. The one putting their mark on the word “benchmark”. World of Warcraft (WoW) is the MMO all other MMOs prays to their god (or religious deity, or patron – whichever rocks your MMO fantasy) to become when they grow up.

WoW has a consistent stream of content throughout the years. Some a great hit, some a huge miss (I’m looking at you Warlords of Draenor). But all in all, the experience in WoW is hard to replicate, and this pandemic is a great excuse to revisit Azeroth with your friends after long putting it away.

World Of Warcraft Classic' Feels Like A Totally Different Game

WoW’s RPG experience is unparalleled. You get the “customizable skill trees – a myriad of classes” combo with proper end-game content but a proper leveling curve to learn the class to its full extent.

The raids are fun and engaging too – investing time and effort really nets out the rewards and satisfaction of seeing your character grow from a puny orc warrior to a warchief. I heard anyone can be warchief these days.

The new expansion is coming out soon too – and it looks pretty good. Just don’t pick Human Paladin. Never pick Human Paladin.

  • 9/10. Also need a sugar daddy for the game

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty®: Warzone | Home

I must admit I was never really into Call of Duty (CoD). Yes I know it embodies the male fantasy of going in guns ablaze and killing all the bad guys, but I could never understand the appeal. Perhaps its the stark realism of having to go through a potential World War 3, or the fact that I’m not really good at the game.

Either way, I approached CoD the same way I would approach a girl at a bar – with a million self-doubts, a resigned attitude knowing it’s never going to end well, and a steeled spirit ready to be broken at the end of it all.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare: Team Deathmatch Gameplay (No ... But I must admit I was very surprised at how great this game is. Servers are great and stable, the gameplay is fun and exciting and there isn’t that much to grind. Hell, even grinding didn’t feel that bad.

CoD isn’t so much a warfare game (despite its name) but more of what CS:GO should have been. You have different game modes, lots of guns to choose from, and less strategy and more action-packed. It’s the perfect game to grab some friends, head into a lobby for “a short while” and end up seeing the sun come up.

The best of this game is there is legit cross-play. So grab those pesky friends who jumped to another platform – no excuse to not get this game to play together. If they say no, you know they’re not the friend for you.

  • 10/10. Wholesome experience especially if you mute teamspeak. Trust me on that.

GTA V Online

I feel the need to include this game given that it was free on the Epic Game Store. GTA V has a great storyline in an open world setting, but we’re looking at GTA V Online – the online multiplayer experience in the GTA V world.

Buy GTA V Online - ❤️Game currency❤️ and download

Live that thug life in GTA V, where it’s probably the only time I can get a car that looks this nice without repercussions

If you’re an old school player, you probably know about GTA and its franchise, but not too much on the online element. GTA V online is kind of a Second Life (God knows what happened to that game) in the GTA V world, where you start off with a mute main character and are given jobs (your missions or quests, if you will) that involve racing, deathmatches, and capital-M missions, which are a mix.

GTA V is best played with a group of your friends, where you can go out in the open world to wreck all sorts of havoc you can only dream of. You can round up the crew to rob stores, fly around in helicopters, screw around with the police, and get into all-out gunfights.

GTA V isn’t an MMO like WoW, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s more of an open-world real-life simulator. And in a time where we’re all cooped up at home, perhaps this is the best game to play to feel like we used to belong outside.

  • 8/10. Lower score because I have no friends.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Review | CGMagazine

A surprising entry, even for me. I saw Warhammer: Vermintide 2 (WV2) on Steam for USD$4.60 and thought to myself “Eh, let’s give it a shot”. The experience was stellar fun, gorgeous levels, and amazing gameplay.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 PS4 Patch 1.06 Released - PlayStation Universe

One main issue I had were that the characters looked pretty ugly, but didn’t matter since I was in First-person all the time

WV2 has very straightforward gameplay. Similar to L4D2, you chose a character, jumped into a game, and fight your way past hordes of rats to the endpoint. Just like your brand new Adidas sneakers that you purchased for over $300 few months back, the storyline and details don’t matter.

All Character Careers, Classes, and Abilities in Warhammer ...

You have 5 main classes, synonymous to the warrior, rouge/archer, mage and gunslinger class in MMOs, and you mow down enemies, fight bosses, complete puzzles (wouldn’t even call them puzzles at this point) and get rid of “special” rats similar to L4D2.

There isn’t a versus element here, but there is a grinding element, where the more time you invest nets you variants of the characters (e.g. a tankier version of the dwarf, a rouge that uses a spear, etc) and more equipment. They have some RPG elements too – where there are talent trees to customize, skills to employ in battle, and different types of weapons.

But honestly, all these doesn’t matter as the gameplay and level design are simple and amazing. It’s a hack-and-slash. No more, no less. So grab some friends and let off some steam (see what I did there) with a game or 2, especially if versus mode in L4D2 gets you too stressed up and zombies scare you in your nightmares like me.

  • 8.5/10. Would be higher if the characters were nicer looking

So those are you 11 games you can play as we continue to practise social distancing at home. Got any other recommendations? Leave them in the comment section!

Sekiro – How this game teaches you about real life

Sekiro 1

Let’s ignore all the GOTY 2019 shenanigans, and all the hype around the game.

Is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice actually fun?

Short Answer: Yes

Long Answer: WHATINTHEWORLDTHISISSODIFFICULT but also yes.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, is from the same creators as Dark Souls and Bloodborne, and naturally the game is just as difficult, if not worse, than its predecessors.

However, despite the 78493749238 boss tries, the moments when you thought of giving up on the game, and the myriad of counselling sessions you had with your family and loved ones, Sekiro is hands down one of the best games I’ve played in 2019.

Mind you I’ve never touched a Souls-like game before Sekiro.

So why is it such an awesome game?

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Forget level design, forget graphics, forget how awesome the colors and environment are in this game – There is only one reason why you should pick this game up.

It’s the EUREKA moment – where after 10+ hours of gameplay of getting your ass kicked (mercilessly, if I may add), heart shattered more than when that crush said she’d rather date someone who actually had a life outside of his room (how does that feel though), and sanity torn apart by the boss fights (TWO monkeys? did you say 2 monkeys?), you suddenly realise that you’re so much better compared to when you first started out.

After a few bosses, you realised you could handle the next bosses with ease, and when you went back to the starting area, the previous enemies were a cinch. Hell, you could even do it with one hand (shout out to a friend I personally knew who actually manage to take down a few bosses with literally one hand).

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After all the struggles, you could see tangible results, where you went from not knowing how to parry effectively into a total Shura, where enemies live just because you let them. And make no mistake – this isn’t an RPG where grinding solved matters. No, you actually had to git gud. All the times when the enemies were wiping the floor with you – you’re their daddy now.

And that really is the true lesson to take away here.

Remember in school, when you first saw “Pythagoras Theorem” and thought to yourself “yeah ok I better remember to ask the customer whether they want to upsize their orders”?

You struggled, and yes people had different lengths of time, but eventually we all got through it one way or another. Through sheer grit and determination, we got gud, and kicked life’s ass. We could even handle that shit if we were put in that situation again!

That’s the real lesson here – Sekiro, and other Souls-like game isn’t there for its story or graphics, it’s to remind you life isn’t a fairy-tale world where pets roam around and anybody could be champion of the land just by enslaving more pets into your final team while forcing them to breed. No, we had to fight through with blood sweat and tears, trying again and again even when it seems like we can’t get through certain hurdles.

But eventually, when we look back, we see all the defeated bosses and tell ourselves – “Holy shit, that was impossible back then, but look at me now”.

You got gud.

 

 

 

 

Marvel’s Spiderman – You gotta play it right now

I’m a sucker for superhero games – You can catch it right here:

You know that I was totally in love with the Batman Arkham games – you can read all of it here. But a strong contender definitely has to be it’s Marvel counterpart – Spiderman.

Spiderman has seen its fair share of awesome games… and not so great games (I’m looking at you Movie Amazing Spiderman series). But let’s be real here – Marvel’s PS4 Spiderman is Spiderman’s best iteration in gaming right now.

So what’s so great about it?

Yes yes, it does make you feel like Spiderman

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You probably heard the Dunkey meme, where this game makes you feel like Spiderman. Scoff at it if you will, but there really isn’t a better way to describe it. Spiderman games have come and gone, but this game’s web-swinging mechanics definitely take home the trophy of being the best web-swinging experience to date. And all you gotta do is hold down a single button so no need to mess up your fingers just to perfect that triple somersault.

There are also many ways of getting things done, be it go head to head with the baddies or silently taking them out one by one, or choosing to run on the road instead of web-swinging your way across town (but seriously, WHY would you consider that) really puts you in the shoes of your favourite web-crawler as you make the choices you believe he probably would.

Action-Packed adventure and combat

spider-man-ps4-combat

Spiderman isn’t Spiderman without the action and combat. After all, action is his reward (and if you don’t get this reference, time to pack it up buddy). Spiderman introduced a very general levelling-up progression where you can unlock skills and gadgets for new ways to take down the baddies. But let’s face it – there really is only one super move and a few gadgets you’ll use as they’re OP enough. You get to fight on the ground and even in the air – a type of fighting style that isn’t common in all Spiderman games.

That being said, combat is super-fluid, yet not overpowered. There is some essence of difficulty when it comes to taking down the gangs one by one, but once you get the hang of it, it almost comes as a second nature to you. Spidey’s famous quips also pack that final realistic punch as you beat up the baddies while listening to his cheesy yet iconic nonsense.

“Why are you hitting yourself with my fist?”

COSTUME REFERENCES

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Did you know you can even get him to do his signature sidewalk finger gun pose?

I love this portion in every superhero game – the costume references.

Each costume in all the Spiderman games has a story to tell and isn’t just a color palette change. The best part of it is that you get to even play in costumes from movie references ESPECIALLY the Sam Raimi Spiderman (the only Spiderman with a trilogy at the time of writing).

For me, I played the whole game in the classic Red and Blue suit. It’s a Spiderman game. I’m not going against who he really is.


So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t played the game yet, it’s high time you go get it here. You already played it, well, time to play it AGAIN.

Top 7 games that needs a remaster RIGHT NOW

Final Fantasy 7, Uncharted, and Resident Evil are all examples of games getting onto the “Remake” bandwagon. As gamers grow up (eventually becoming my ripe old age), they look towards old titles the same way an old man looks outside and wishes himself to be young again. You’ll never replace the fun, the excitement, the feeling of waking up on a Sunday morning and plugging in a console – fully aware that that’s going to be the plan for the entire day.

So here I am, jumping onto the same bandwagon, and showing you my top picks on games which need to be remastered RIGHT NOW

Fable Anniversary

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Fable 1 was a classic. An early entrant in the RPG genre, it was THE reason why you got an XBOX back then. For an RPG enthusiast like me, this game hit all the sweet spots. It combines a fun adventure, customisable and flexible skill-trees (choosing between stealth, melee and magic with no need for that pesky one class system), and a sleek action combat system that old-school RPGs tend to avoid.

This game gave a neat sense of realism as well – You enter a random town, see people busy with their lives and then subsequently reacting to you like you existed in the game. Enemies naturally attack you when they see you (probably because of your face) and you would likely react in a manner you would have if you actually had magic powers.

Overall, Fable needs a graphics overhaul for the new age, but it’ll still be a relevant game for today.

Fallout: New Vegas

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Fallout 3 was easily one of the best game I played. New Vegas didn’t reinvent the wheel, it took the same mechanics, and made this version even greater. It kinda felt like an expansion, given how vast this new piece of art was.

Gameplay stuck to the traditional Fallout strategy – plenty of areas to explore (Just when you imagined you’ve explored everywhere already), simple and intuitive combat system (you literally can find mods to help your gameplay) and lots and lots of quests.

However, probably the most important part of Fallout which kept it going for so long were its grey morality choices – where no choice was technically wrong, but they’re definitely not right either.

This game will keep you entertained for hours on end with a high replay factor. If you’re a Fallout fan who enjoys Wiki-ing every choice presented to you for a good 1 hour first before committing to one option, this is something you definitely want re-mastered.

Infamous

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This was THE PS4 Marvel’s Spiderman before PS4 Marvel’s Spiderman. You play Static Shock Cole, who by some unforeseen circumstance got hit by an electric blast from a package he was carrying, giving him electricity-based superpowers.

This, coupled with the fact that you have violent gangs running around, a plague threatening the existence of humanity and the ever-present question of “How far can I actually jump from this building?” makes this game a definite need to be remastered for today so that you can traverse around on electricity in high-def.

Prince of Persia Trilogy

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EASILY THE BEST VIDEO GAME SERIES. For every generation of game consoles, Prince of Persia was there with a hit, with the best in the series definitely belonging to the Trilogy Collection (Sands of time – Warrior Within – The Two Thrones).

Prince of Persia took on many forms – ranging from Warrior prince to Low-life thief. In most of its series, just like the legendary “Uncharted” series, it focused on stellar combat and intriguing puzzle-solving that’s bound to keep any gamer on the edge.

Interesting mechanics included time-bending that adds a small layer of complexity. All these definitely deserves a remake just so we can experience the awe and wonder we once had while playing this game.

Maybe this time the Avengers can agree that’s how time travel works?

GTA: Vice City

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Need I say anymore?

GTA: Vice City was THE classic GTA for any gamer out there. The initial freedom you experienced when playing this game was pure ecstasy. Steal a car? Go ahead. Shoot up innocent civilians? Check..? Head up to the Pole Position club to check up babes? Good golly you sicko but yes check.

GTA gave you what other games couldn’t give and more. Fulfilling missions and getting all the guns while hitting the road with a car you just stole somehow gave a satisfying feeling of accomplishment. This is in desperate need of a remaster, right now.

Monkey Island series

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The Monkey Island series was a classic – It was Telltale games BEFORE Telltale games (It’s literally by the same studio Telltale games.) You play Guybrush and essentially point and click to “victory” as you find out how you can become a famed pirate in the fictional pirate era of history.

Pretty much anything you click in the game is “Omega LUL” with on-point humour that will do more than just make you exhale out loudly.

This game mainly resolves around puzzle-solving, great story-telling and a wit that’s hard to match. Remastering it into the new age with improved graphics and improved audio soundtracks will certainly be more than welcomed.

Simpsons Hit and Run

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An underrated classic – but find someone who plays this game and they can talk about it for hours. It’s essentially Grand Theft Auto with a bit of the arcade classic “Crazy Taxi”.

You watched the show, but this game actually lets you EXPLORE SPRINGFIELD on your own terms!

You play as all the main characters (who are capable of walking) in each individual level – Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa, fulfilling missions such as collecting, delivering, racing, and car combat. There are plenty of side quests to be done together with the main quest too.

But it isn’t a Simpsons game without the wit and humor of the main franchise. Hit and Run captured the loony, weird, blown-out-of-proportion world of the Simpsons and translated it into a video game. It honestly doesn’t need a remaster – It’s perfect on its own, but we’re not going to say no to one!


Those are the top 7 games that need a remaster. Feel there should be more? Leave them down in the comment section below!

Featured image from here, here and here

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Gamescom 2019: A Review

I was asked a lot about how Gamescom 2019 in Cologne was. And to be honest, no words I say on the spot can describe the feeling I felt as an attendee.

That’s why I wrote a blog post. And did a video.

It’s not so much the plethora of games which people would queue up for (probably even longer than the line to get an imaginary Huawei phone) or the hordes of people that gleefully bounce from hall to hall just looking at games and merchandise to buy.

It’s the idea that you can go in and do whatever the hell you wanted, without being judged for it.

It has come to a certain bias that the “Geek” or “Nerd” culture is a little un-cool in society. It’s much cooler to play sports, watch Netflix, and work for a high paying job. Going ape-shit crazy over anime, comics, and games, or ACG (look we even have an abbreviation!) doesn’t exactly make you that cool dude in the block everyone wants to hang out with.

But being in a convention like Gamescom lets you feel like you’re with like-minded people, even if you never actually had a real conversation with them. The awe and shiny-eyes over merchandise, upcoming games, and stage performances entertain and inspire. And you know the guy next to you is probably geeking out as much as you, if not more.

So if you love ACG, or just would love to be with like-minded people who love them, let me tell you that I’ve never felt more at home at Gamescom 2019.

The Hollow (Netflix) 2018 Review

The Hollow Review Image

Rating: 8/10

I have never binge watched an entire series at one go before (yes, go ahead and judge me) even while watching immersive worlds like Game of Thrones, countless fight scenes in anime, and the revolutionizing story of how a high school girl committed suicide. Yet I randomly opened this series up on a random Sunday morning, and guzzled it down entirely, relishing the final bits with absolutely no regrets.

I’m a huge fan of cartoons, especially the ones that somehow made more sense as I grew older (Justice League and Avatar anyone? Maybe a bit of Spongebob too?) and I felt I would not have appreciated this series as much as I would have had that Sunday afternoon. It was engaging, witty enough for kids to understand, and fun for the family.

 

THE SUMMARY

The Hollow (not to be misspelled as The Hallow #truestory) is a mystery-esque show where our protagonists wake up in the middle of nowhere and try to determine who they were and where home was by trying to move forward and unravel the mystery of how they arrived at this particular world that consists of magic portals, talking trees, and even Death himself prancing around on his horse.

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Who I greet every Monday morning

The 3 main characters, Adam, Kai, and Mira, wake up in a ‘cell’ not knowing where they were, and soon realise they need to solve puzzles to proceed. Along the way, they discover that they each have their own ‘superpowers’ that can help them in their quest to find out where they are and to return home. Equipped with nothing but their clothes on their back, our young heroes rely on their quick thinking, wit, and logic to solve issues such as from being chased by 3 demon dogs all the way to stealing a branch from some tera cotta monks so as to return it to a talking tree.

THE HOOK

Besides the awesome art that took me back to the early 2000’s, what really drew me to the show was that the first few episodes distinctively made me feel like I was in a game due to its emphasis on how the puzzles and slightly less on character development. While it was definitely not something you’d expect from any cartoon series or show, it was a refreshing change for a gamer like me.

The Hollow_1.PNG(Check out that heavy outline ❤ )

My initial fears were that I was committing myself to a sub-standard series on my fantastic Sunday morning, which would then pile on to my list of life regrets. However, the feeling of watching some kids in a virtual escape room was an interesting concept that I rightly invested in.

It may feel underdeveloped and slow at the beginning; give it a chance, I promise it won’t disappoint.

THE CONCLUSION

At the end of the show, I did feel that there were many unanswered questions, nonetheless,  I do feel that the unique plot and adventure that I had the privilege of taking with our heroes was a rewarding one. Not extraordinary for sure, but it left my eyes well feasted (once again- loved the simple graphics), and my mind at ease knowing that my Sunday was well spent.

 

Battle Royale Games: How did they do so well?

Okay, so what comes into mind when you think about Battle Royale games? If your answer isn’t Fortnite or PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG), do feel free to come out of the well anytime now.

With these two titles gaining traction faster than the speed of a gamer’s keyboard flying across the room when he ends up in the second spot in any of these games, it is no wonder Battle Royale games are making a major market breakthrough for gamers, streamers, and spectators alike.

b433e675-e49c-49a3-a7ef-953c336b24c7 Divinity 2 beats Fortnite and PUBG at Gaming BAFTAS

For those of you who are not too familiar with what Battle Royale games are, it is a type of survival game genre where the main aim is to be the last man standing by eliminating other competitors (Think Hunger Games, but in this case, everybody pays money to be a tribute, and spends the next few hours re-volunteering to do it all over again). The concept includes elements of your typical survival game such as exploring an open world, scavenging for items and weapons which are randomly located around the map as well as interacting and competing with other players – and then, killing and looting the hell out of them.

Because of its random nature, a Battle Royale game mostly lacks a fixed story line or a specific route which players must take, such as in your single-player games. There is no precise destination to go or even any time limit as to how long you can play.

Battle Royale Games have been gaining more attention recently so we thought we listed down some of the reasons they’re so popular – before the hype dies down. Here are some major reasons as to why Battle Royale games are such a big hit – and maybe why you should hop on the bandwagon:

  1. Free And Easy

Did you know Fortnite’s free now? You can start playing it right now without paying. But hey, we’re not talking about these games being free in the literal sense (because no, not all of them are and let’s not get started on microtransactions. Game devs gotta eat too y’know).

You get total freedom when playing these games! As mentioned, Battle Royale games are simple to play and easy to understand. No time limit, no storyline, just survive. Players are free to roam in an “open world” concept and choose what items to pick up, places to explore and of course, who to kill.

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  1. Mega Ego Boost

“WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!” – and with that, those words can change your entire mood or even make your entire day better!

To be the last player standing would mean you have to be better than everyone else – you had to be the best. Playing Battle Royale games can really make one more motivated and determined in improving their skills and winning more matches.

And the thrill of winning a match can be addictive and a real ego and confidence booster! Winning a game is probably just as fulfilling as being the only one asking the girl out.

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(From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV_XYcZp5ak)

  1. It’s Like The Real World, Just That We’re All In A Game

“Greetings, fellow traveller…” No! You’re not playing with RPGs or AIs – you’re playing with real-life people so expect a lot of swearing and finding out who slept with whose mother.

And when you play with other humans, interactions during the games feel more realistic and every match and encounter is unique in nature, thus, surprising all the time, even though its essentially the same game! You’ll never get bored, especially since your starting point during a Battle Royale game tends to be random and hence, you can end up in a new area every time and meeting new players (and dying different ways, like me.).

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Accurate representation of me in a PUBG game

  1. It’s the Age of Streaming

Remember that monumental game Fortnite’s biggest player, Ninja, had with the rap artist, Drake? You probably caught it on Twitch, right?

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(From https://www.twingalaxies.com/feed_details.php/639/ninja-breaks-twitch-viewership-record-while-playing-fortnite-with-drake)

And if you don’t know what Twitch is, you’re missing out because forget your usual viral videos posted online, we’re entering a new age of live entertainment – streaming.

Most Battle Royale games give us the opportunity to broadcast our games live to everyone else through streaming, which also allows us to watch games played by others, including our favourite celebrity gamers. And of course, who doesn’t want attention? Joining the ranks of other self-absorbed social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, streaming lets us showcase and share our gaming experience with others and eventually, encouraging them to join the fun. Also, if we happen to be playing a good game or our skills are just impressive and worthy of everyone else’s attention, we might just stand a chance to be recognised and gain popularity over time (but of course, not everyone will. Somehow people started leaving my stream after realising I’ll never survive past the first circle)

  1. Anything Funny Is Worth Mentioning

And because you can stream, it means you can capture your most hilarious moments! Let’s face it – another major reason why Battle Royale games get popular is because of all the funny situations you can end up in!

Being shot in the head by some unknown sniper? Getting into unnecessary fights? Pulling out the wrong weapon? Wasting your building materials (in Fortnite, that is)?

And yeah, all those things would definitely NOT sound as funny in the real world. But they are in the game. And there’s nothing like sharing your “epic fails” with others or laughing at someone else’s!

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(from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVylK9ewqhQ)

So yeah, those are all the reasons. Well, of course, not all – I’m sure there’s plenty more. But these are what we think are the main aspects of Battle Royale games that make them so addictive and enjoyable to play. But will the fad eventually die down?

Maybe not anytime soon as according to IGN, there are currently more Battle Royale games in development and aimed to come out in 2018. So while more prominent games such as Fortnite and PUBG may start to get less popular over time, the whole genre might still be pertinent in the online gaming community. Looks like you could still join in the fun!

Picture 1 from here 

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7 E3 Games That Had Me Totally Psyched

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So in case you have been living under a rock this entire time, E3 just came and went. If you want to take a look at all the games that were showcased, check out here:

http://www.e3recap.com/

Here are 7 games that I personally am super-hyped about, and can’t wait to just beta-test them right now.

(So can I has betakeys please?)

1.  Spiderman

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This one was for sure on the list. We had a few great Spiderman games, most notably Spiderman 2 and Ultimate Spiderman, which gave us some of the most wholesome experience of being able to web-swing around the city. It truly captured the essence of why one would pick up a superhero game in the first place, which is precisely because I want to feel like that particular superhero.

Kudos definitely to the Batman Arkham series for allowing us to feel what it is like to be Batman. In case you haven’t read a past review of mine about that series, check it out here.

Meanwhile, the gameplay trailer for Spiderman shown in E3 is here.

Yes, I knew that Spiderman on PS4 was announced some time ago, but to actually see the gameplay in action made me even more hyped to get that game. It was a lovely mix of the free-play that is Spiderman, where you can webswing around and choose to whether punch up or web up your enemies and much more. Granted, there was a bit of Arkham elements imbued in the game where it starts off immediately with a stealth sequence. However, stealthy Spiderman isn’t all too bad, especially if you have played Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions and experienced Spiderman Noir.

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Overall, looks like a very promising Spiderman game which I’ve been waiting for since Ultimate Spiderman.

2. A Way Out

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Interestingly enough, I feel this is a very underrated gem within the mass of new games. Just the concept alone got me sold.

It reminds you of a Monkey-Island style of gameplay, where it isn’t mostly action-based but based on your wits and how you approach problems in an unorthodox way.

It starts off in a prison cell, where you and a friend has to device a way to break out. After you break out, it seems like you need to do much more such as getting rid of pursuers by driving away or shooting at them.

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The feature of this game is that while you go around and solve problems in the game, you need to solve them with the second player while maintaining a high level of cooperation. For example, based on the trailers, there is an instance where one player had to distract the guard and the other infiltrate a particular area.

As such we can see new dynamics when it comes to cooperative gameplay, and I certainly look forward to seeing what kind of level-design A Way Out has. Check out the preview here.

3. Fortnite

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Probably the art alone was enough to get me hooked. This game is like a cross between Overwatch and L4D. In other words, this game was very similar to Orcs Must Die. You can choose different classes when a game starts. Some of the classes mentioned were the Ninja, Soldier and Construction Worker. Basically, the idea of the game was to work together with your team to scavenge for materials to build a base so that you can protect yourself from zombie attacks.

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The concept isn’t entirely radical, where we already have a few similar concepts. However. The idea of having different classes, a sassy art style, and a new cooperative gameplay genre will certainly entice me to keep my eyes peeled on this gem. Gameplay preview during E3 is here.

4. Monster Hunter World

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Just check out the trailer! I have never been a huge Monster Hunter fan. But when I saw this I knew this was going to be big. Hell, I’m willing to go hardcore for this.

In case you don’t already know, Monster Hunter is like an instance-like RPG that allows you to go into missions with friends, kind of like Diablo. You go into the main town to get your equipment so that you can take on contracts to hunt monsters down.

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The idea of it porting onto PC opens the possibility of more difficult yet exciting quests, therefore leading to a higher amount of cooperation between players. After all, Monster Hunter fans all know that big monsters aren’t easily taken down by tanking-and-spanking as each monster needs to be taken down in their own delicate way.

The world itself looks amazing, with plenty to explore. Coupled with minimal loading times, this is a game definitely to watch out for.

5. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

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This is too cute to ignore. As much as I’m avoiding the Switch (and even avoiding Skyrim on Switch), this game certainly caught my eye.

The biggest aspect too hard not to notice is two franchises blended together: Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids, and Nintendo’s Mario. They come together to form what looks like a combination of the exploration mechanics of Sonic The Hedgehog and the turn-based combat of Final Fantasy Tactics.

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This makes for a very interesting genre. Rabbids has always been a “Party Game” genre, where you invite a few friends over to your house to play minigames while laughing at the Rabbids and how cute they are. Now, it seems like they overhauled the gameplay, where there are still elements for mish-mash fun and also some elements of hardcore gameplay.

I personally love the fighting cutscene shown by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, as there are so many random elements in it such as jumping on your teammates, shooting from corners, etc. Check it out here.

6. Skulls and Bones

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Who can forget one of the iconic reveals by Ubisoft. There is a bit of bias in this choice, as this is a game claimed to be developed in the country I come from. Being a small country, a AAA title developed by Singapore is no small feat. Yet, I must say I was very impressed and proud when the game was revealed.

Skull and Bones has a simple concept, especially after you have played Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. Navel combat looks the same and is now improved upon, with new classes of pirate ships and seemingly more options to sink your opponents.

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This is, after all, a very logical leap: If the assassins are going to move to other places like London and Egypt, the navel combat battle system should be used somewhere else.

Graphics are incredible, and PVP reminds me a little bit of World of Tanks where you use pirate ships instead. Cooperation looks to be more important here as the fleet looks more daunting to go against as compared to a single frigate. Hopefully more details can be revealed soon, as this project is looking to be amazing.

7. Anthem

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Anthem was another huge game to be released and the hype for it was incredible. A new studio within EA, Bioware is set to make one of the biggest open world out there for gameplay and looks like a Destiny-style game. Not much of the gameplay was revealed but we saw glimpse of flight as well as combat.

Graphics were fantastic as well, and certainly I am hyped for this.

So that was all for my top picks for E3 2017. What were your favourite games that you were looking out for? Leave them in the comments below!


Images:
Image 1 from: http://nl.ign.com/e3-2017/98531/feature/e3-2017-alle-games-tot-nu-toe
Image 2 from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwi8S3-AuZE
Image 3 from: https://fansided.com/2017/06/12/e3-2017-new-spider-man-trailer-release-date/
Image 4 from: https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/11/the-passion-behind-the-prison-break-in-a-way-out/
Image 5 from: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/209744/20170610/prison-break-game-a-way-out-can-only-be-played-as-split-screen-co-op-genius-concept-or-risky-move.htm
Image 6 from: https://www.gamespot.com/fortnite/
Image 7 from: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/fortnite-ps4/
Image 8 from: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/13/15789856/monster-hunter-world-ps4-xbox-one-e3-2017
Image 9 from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXB2IHLm4m0
Image 10 from: http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/06/12/e3-2017-mario-rabbids-kingdom-battle-officially-revealed-release-date-announced
Image 11 from: http://store.ubi.com/ie/mario-%2B-rabbids-kingdom-battle/5927e76dca1a644d498b4578.html
Image 12 and 13 from: https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/skull-and-bones-news-roundup/#/1-2
Image 14 from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2017/06/11/anthem-is-eas-answer-to-destiny-and-that-doesnt-make-any-sense/#45541560723f

Pokemon GO: How did the Hype Die Down

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Word.

Pokemon GO, whether you like it or not, took the world by storm during its release. It didn’t contain breakthrough-level technology (AR and Location-based gameplay have been in the market for some time), but it had a place close to our hearts being the talk of all media and the hype of mobile gamers young and old.

Maintaining its position as the top app for a solid few months, Pokemon GO looked like it was the game of the future.

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Source: App Annie

And then came nothingness, at least in where I live. People stopped playing it, save only the most hardcore fans.

So what did Pokemon GO do wrong? It successfully tapped into the Pokemon franchise and made billions fall in love with it, so what happened?

My answer? Failing to capitalize on the one key insight about the Pokemon universe.

You see, people love catching Pokemon. And evidence also suggest that people love physically walking around to do it too. However, it turns out that “Catch em all”, albeit the main slogan for this entire franchise, isn’t the main reason why people play Pokemon in the first place.

Before Pokemon GO, Pokemon games were present in the Nintendo consoles (Gameboys, etc). When the game starts, there is always a huge speculation and debate on which starter Pokemon to choose.

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Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur / Cyndaquil, Totodile, Chikorita / Torchic, Mudkip, Treecko

Those were the hardest choices. But once you made that choice, there was no going back. Most importantly, you stuck with that critter for the rest of the game.

That was exactly what Pokemon GO needed. Yes it could do with battling, or trading, etc. But the Pokemon universe was fun because you made an adventure with your starter Pokemon and added new Pokemon into your party. In Pokemon GO, you started with the initial 3 Pokemon, but shortly after you had to get rid of them because they were just too low in CP.

Pokemon GO shortly noticed this, and introduced buddy Pokemons, but it was too late. The hype was already dipping, and shortly after, Pokemon GO lost all its former glory.

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So there you have it! Do you agree with me? Leave your comments down on why you think Pokemon GO lost its initial momentum.

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Power Rangers Twitch Marathon: The Future of TV

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Almost a month ago, Twitch premiered a Power Rangers Marathon, where all the episodes of all the Power Rangers franchise were aired back to back.

For nostalgia-suckers like myself, this was certainly a treat. To watch one of the best shows that you watched growing up for free? Definitely not an opportunity to be missed.

Let’s skip the memes and the Bulk and Skull moments a bit. As much as “BLLBLLBLBLBLLLBLL” and “Billy afk” was funny as hell, right here we can be looking at the advent of “New Television.”

Source from:
https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/04/11/twitchs-power-rangers-marathon-results/

With over 45,000 viewers watching ONLY the Mighty Morphin portion (admittedly still the best over the rest), over 13 million views in total, and a whopping 60,000 viewers watching the debut of the Green Ranger alone, this can spark a new era where watching content isn’t based only on what the broadcasting station brings to you, but clearly attributed to something else.

Let’s be honest, as much as the Power Ranger shows were nostalgic and entertaining, other elements such as the storyline and the graphics pales in comparison with the shows we have today. Granted, they were set in the past. But we can safely say that Power Rangers was in itself better than shows like ‘Sherlock’, ‘Breaking Bad’, and even the latest ’13 Reasons Why’? These shows have incredible storylines and in turn received incredible traction. So why is it that it was the Power Rangers got the hype that even broke Twitch?

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For starters, you can play the Nostalgia card, and the fact that the movie was coming up. But that means nothing for the future of television. There are only so many old shows you can air before you need new content.

Here’s my theory:

Twitch Chat.

Woah. You’re going to stop me there all of a sudden, and call me out for mentioning something that is seemingly so small and pointless that shouldn’t be attributed to that massive success Power Rangers experienced. After all, Twitch chat has been there since Twitch started, and chatting functions were there since the times of MSN. So why this time round?

Image result for twitch chat power rangers

This is born on a simple insight that has prevailed since generations ago: it is always better to watch a show with friends than alone. When families and friends were more closely-knitted, people would do simple things like go over to a friend’s place to watch sports, or sisters hanging out at home to watch soap operas.

Fast forwarding to recent times, people actually tweeted while watching shows, such as to their friends or simply about the show to their followers. Platforms such as Twitter would track these tweets and subsequently rated the show using proprietary platforms.

Twitch chat allowed you to basically talk to people who are watching the same content as you. This, of course, gave rise to all the memes from that marathon alone. But if we dig deeper, we can see how people communicate, and how we love to simply talk during a show. We can joke, give insights, or simply tell the viewers what we already know “GREEN RANGER INCOMING”, “WHITE RANGER POWER”, etc.

As such, Twitch chat has become our social place where we can watch TV with people ‘next to us’. This used to apply mostly to the live-streaming content creators and their audience, where streamers will stream video games and the viewers will talk directly to the streamers or within themselves. However, this time round, the actors still do not interact with the audience. Yet, the abundance of social interaction within the viewers fuel the hype, and as the word-of-mouth spreads, more viewers tune in, and we create the chain effect from there.

Am I saying Twitch is the next big thing? Definitely not, but the possibility is there. However, what we can look towards, especially for new content creators, is that community interaction is just as important, if not more. Additionally, with the state of technology that the world is currently in, it makes is so much easier to actually create the landscape for this type of interaction.

Like it or not, the function of a chat, similar to Twitch chat, can potentially fuel the new change in television, where viewers can talk to each other while watching the same show with its being aired, even though they are many miles away.

Just don’t be toxic though, mkay? With that said,

IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME

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Why I Bought Overwatch

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The last weekend was quite highly anticipated for some gamers, and that’s because it was the launch of Blizzard’s new FPS: Overwatch. With plenty of marketing budget and Open Beta test results that shot through the roof (even more than that of The Division and Destiny), Overwatch generated so much hype that people queued 2 hours just to get a free goodie bag of it (more on that later).

So if you’re still like some of us, you’re probably still wondering to yourself, “Should I buy this game?”

Fair question.

After all, we’ve been spoilt with awesome games in 2015 and 2016 that were mostly free, including Blizzard’s  Hearthstone, which is still immensely popular. Why then, should we pay this much for a FPS, when Steam’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive, is at $15 and Team Fortress 2 is free?

Closed Beta

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In comparison: The Division (6.4 million players), Battleborn (2 million players)

I played the open beta for Overwatch. Granted, I only played for 1 day. However, I was mostly hit by 2 main facts:

  1. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LEARN ALL THESE CHARACTERS IN A SINGLE DAY?
  2. ISN’T THIS LIKE TEAM FORTRESS 2?

The niche covered by Overwatch is very similar to Team Fortress 2 and Battleborn (not really Counter Strike) as it’s a fun-and-colorful FPS and each class/playable character is very unique.

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In each of these games, there are characters that can go offensive, defensive and support. They each play different roles and you need a good combination of each of them for a well-balanced team. However, players will soon realize that a well-balanced team doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory all the time.

You would think Overwatch would fall short when compared to the already well-established TF2. But the graphics, the quirkiness of the characters and the skill curve give players an unfamiliar but warm embrace each match as they try and experiment new characters. It’s the same same, but different.

On first impression, the big difference between OW and TF2 is the number of characters you can try and also the huge variety of powers in the game. TF2 focuses on traditional powers: Healing, rockets, flamethrowers. OW focuses on very unique powers: We have characters that can put up shields, fly around, throw shurikens, pilot a robot (and thereafter, send it in to explode) and a final ‘Bankai’ to blast your enemies into oblivion. It’s a well needed update of all the possible things a person can do in an FPS. Furthermore, the graphics are bright, colorful and cartoony, making it a less intense and ‘gritty’ shooter than CS:GO, Battlefield, and the CoD series.

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This girl can literally fly around the map and rain rocket barrages all day. And that’s how you thrust your ideas forward.

The number of characters, as mentioned, are enormous (for a FPS). We have 21 characters to choose from, with a well-balanced number in each role (Offense, Defense, Tank and Support). The fun part (at least for me) would be trying out each character and then re-learning another character as you keep playing them.

Overall, it was a very entertaining game. The gameplay was well thought through and character development was top notch. You should seriously take some time to read their lore!

Combined with a hugely successful marketing campaign, Overwatch is a game bound to impress.

But US$40 is a lot of money for a game!

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There’s lasers too! Don’t forget lasers!

Fair point. It takes a bit of investment to play this particular game. Furthermore, if you compare it to its counterparts TF2 and CG:GO, its a tad expensive. However, if you compare it to the entire video game market, there are games roughly around US$40-US$60 a game. The price you’re getting for a game that has high replay value is pretty worth it.

Don’t get me wrong: I would never advocate a WoW subscription. It is admittedly on the more expensive side and it’s something I would not try to convince someone to pay for, albeit it being a pretty fun game. But the initial price for OW is pretty worth it. Even Guild Wars 2 back then costed quite a penny to play, but the gameplay was worth it, and there were no subscriptions as well.

I’d rather play TF2 and Battleborn!

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Tracer judges you silently

For me, I’ve never played Battleborn so I can’t really comment on it’s gameplay. However, they are reported to be on the decline:

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Source

For TF2, it’s not that it’s worse than OW. It’s just that its ‘relatable’.

I know. That’s a horrible reason.

The thing is when I play video games, I want to be ‘immersed’ into a new world. A world I could never be a part of. TF2 fulfilled that niche, but only for a short period of time. After playing it for a while, it felt no different from CS. For OW, with its many different skills and possibilities in-game, there is a much different experience. This is probably compounded by the fact that there are so many characters for you to choose from. All in all, both games are very different.

Is the world playing it?

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What an understatement.

As mentioned previously, I had to queue 2 hours just to get into the Capitol Theatre only to queue another 2 hours to get a free loot box.

After much agony, I gave up. Whoops.

But the point is, the amount of awareness that entails with this game is immense, almost comparable to CS (and c’mon it’s a Blizzard game). Despite it being a pretty penny, many people don’t see the pinch in paying for it. And neither do I.

Overall, good game, delightful graphics, fun and immersive gameplay.

And lastly but certainly not the least: the characters are sexy. Both male AND female characters. A huge hit for the fanboys, as you can play sexy chicks and/or act as the cool dude at the same time.

 

Definitely a 5/5 star from me. This game is set to impress.

 

 

 

Batman Arkham Series: The best video game series that you MUST play.

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September 2019 UPDATE: You can actually get Batman: Arkham Knight FOR FREE if you’re a PS Plus member (for Playstation) or THE ENTIRE SERIES through Epic Games Store. Seriously go get it RIGHT NOW

I have some friends who asked me what is a good PC game to start with. After all, I’ve never owned a single console in my life. (I had a Wii, and let’s not talk about that.)

Without a doubt, the first few games I would recommend anyone to play would be the Batman Arkham series consisting of Batman Arkham Asylum, Batman Arkham City, Batman Arkham Origins, and the latest addition Batman Arkham Knight. Each of them are awesome standalone games with a compelling storyline, awesome-to-do side quests, and a kickass experience of beating up criminals and solving mysteries. In essence, this game truly allows you to act and feel as Batman himself as you instill fear into the heart of criminals, just like how Batman in the comics would.

Let’s go through each series one-by-one:

Batman Arkham Asylum

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This series tore through expectations when it was released. Much like how comic adaptations of superheroes usually turn out bad (almost all Spiderman games fall into this trap save Spiderman 2 and Ultimate Spiderman), this game wasn’t given more than a glance either. But when you played it, you KNEW something was going to be different. With hyper-realistic graphics, voice acting and cinema-worthy introduction, this was the game to be playing. With almost 2 million copies sold within a month, this game proved itself worthy as an upcoming standalone franchise. Source here.

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Batman Arkham Asylum takes you through Joker’s Madhouse, which is basically Arkham Asylum infiltrated and reprogrammed into a trick house by none other than the clown prince of crime himself. You even get to face many famous criminals like Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, etc. (The Scarecrow part was honestly one of the best play-throughs I’ve ever.. played through.)

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Gameplay was solid, with one of the most fluid combat systems ever created. Even newer game titles started copying the mechanic, where most notable mentions were Shadows of Mordor and Sleeping Dogs. Arkham Asylum also introduced a new stealth mechanic (back then) which was really fun to play, allowing you to strike fear into the baddies as Batman, which was refreshing compared to the dominating Assassin’s Creed mechanics at that time. As you can probably already tell, I had so much fun during the stealth scenes.

Definitely a must play, especially for Batman and Gotham TV series fans.

Batman Arkham City

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As experienced gamers already know, sequels usually end up worse. As such, we braced for the derailment of what would have been Arkham City (at least I did). Nonetheless, I gave it a spin and the experience was easily much greater than the first game.

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The formula is kept constant. Rocksteady really paid heed to the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. The same combat and stealth mechanics were employed and they added a lot more new gadgets into the equation.

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Most notable was the addition of an open world concept, where you can now free roam the map while you were getting from objective to objective. Skeptical at first, I tried out the roaming (while also noticing the missing batmobile. Where is it, Batman?!) and to my excitement, the grappling and gliding was exciting, intuitive and loads of fun. Getting from point to point was a blast and I had a LOT of fun.

Batman: Arkham City

 

– Because who needs a suit right?

Another addition was a new playable character: Catwoman. Her mechanics were notably different from Batman’s and her stealth scenes are pretty fun to play as well. You should definitely buy the collector’s edition just to play her. I mean, look at that costume.

Arkham City easily trumped Arkham Asylum, which was already spectacular.

Batman Arkham Origins

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This game was, to say the least, a little bit awkward. This game takes us back to the prologue where Bruce Wayne started off as Batman, and faced strong criminal underlords and villians. However, it seemed more like a 3rd installment than a prologue though. The big giveaway was the fact that gadgets that you had to fight to attain in Arkham City were available from the start in Origins.

A bit of oversight there wouldn’t you say Rocksteady?

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Nonetheless, the storyline was compelling and all the same formula applies. New villians, a new look, and a not-too-bad voice cast to take over the usual Batman voice. Still a must-play in my opinion, especially if you’re a Batman fan.

Batman Arkham Knight

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And finally, we’ve come to the end of the series (Fun fact: I’m not too sure about this, but I vaguely recall Rocksteady saying that this is the end of their trilogy. What happened to Arkham Origins?).

Arkham Knight is the finale of the series that is taking place after a major change in the game’s timeline at the end of Arkham City (no spoilers).

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-I also noticed they paid a lot of attention to his lips this time round. Kissable, no?

Everything to the equation is kept intact, which is awesome. So no point elaborating on that here. Batman even sports a cooler Batsuit slightly after the beginning of the game which looks absolutely sick. And as you can already guess from the box cover, a major part of the game (finally) involves the Batmobile! So let’s break down each of the new aspects:

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The Batmobile was, sadly, not that easy to control. It reminded me a lot of Watchdogs’s driving mechanism which wasn’t easy to control and slide. This made chase scenes slightly difficult. The only saving point was that the Batmobile could enter in a ‘Tank’ mode which sort of applies the brakes in order to transform. That was so much more intuitive than using the brakes themselves.

I believe I also mentioned previously that the gliding and grappling function was already very intuitive and exciting. The Batmobile downplayed Batman into a GTA-like mechanic of travelling. Personally, as long as the main mission didn’t require a Batmobile, I ended up just grappling my way across the map.

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But a new aspect has been added to the game. Firstly, we establish that the main villian of the game is Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight. In case you don’t know who that is, Scarecrow is the villian who uses fear toxins to overwhelm people with fear. What was magnificent of this game was that the entire game centered around fear itself. There are subtle jump scares planted around the map, and a creepy new aspect added that I will not spoil for you. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s as scary as horror games, but the new addition was definitely refreshing.

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– I probably shat my pants at this scene. Go find it out for yourself.

Ok I must admit though, I’m mostly a scaredy-cat and these kind of jump scares still frighten me all the way. Nonetheless, the gameplay was too compelling to stop. That HAS to show how awesome the game is.

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Another interesting addition was the chance to play many characters in the game. For the first time ever, you get to play ‘dual-play’ with Robin, or beat up baddies with Nightwing as well. Working together with your companions added a whole new gameplay experience that made this an even more spectacular game.

Overall, Arkham Knight once again defied expectations, making it easily one of the best game I’ve played in a long time.

So here ends my review of the Batman Arkham Series. Have any opinions or disagreements? Leave them in the comment section below!

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– And if you ever got too bored, know that you, too, can kick butt as the legendary animated Batman

 

 

 

 

Why Neko Atsume Could be the Best Game Ever

In case you haven’t noticed, the mobile app craze Neko Atsume has been spreading like wildfire in many English-speaking countries since it’s been translated from Japanese to English. Now even YOU can own a whole yard of cats that come by your house just to play with your stuff and leave you fish.

The gameplay is essentially very simple. In fact, a bit too simple. You start off with like a backyard where you can put cat food and other cat toys. Some stray cats with apparently nowhere else to go will wander into your backyard and free-load off your food and toys.

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My cat food brings all the cats into the yard.

And since you were being so nice, they would leave behind some fish for you. These fish can then be used to buy tons of in-game toys. On rare occasions, these cats can even drop GOLD FISHES that can be used to do cooler things like expanding your yard, changing its look, or purchasing cool-er looking toys.

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Kinda weird for them to be giving YOU fish. Shouldn’t it be the other way?

These toys can then be used to attract more cats, which gives you MORE FISH. Pretty simple to understand no?

All in all, this game got a lot of people hooked! It already hitting the top 37 in overall app charts for iTunes and top 10 for the  Android game charts (EXCEEDING CANDY CRUSH. LET THAT SINK IN).

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THEY EVEN HAVE MERCHANDISE! HOW SICK IS THAT?

So what made this game the phenomenon that it is today? Here are some good traits of this game that even game developers should take note:

1. Minimal loading times

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THEY USE PUNS AS WELL. I’m sold.

One thing that really struck me was the very short loading time of this game. Loading times could take a maximum of 5 seconds. This really helped if you needed something to play quick, like if you’re pooping (let’s be honest, we play games when we poop) or if you’re taking a short break from studying. More often than not, most games are not played because they take a few years to load (I’m exaggerating).

2. CUTE CATS

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SILLY CAT. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO PUT IT OVER YOU AND BECOME SUPERMAN.

Aren’t they adorable!? Most people play Neko Atsume simply because of how cute the cats are. Watching how they interact with the toys is just therapeutic. They do stuff like rolling the ball around, laying down in the box, or even getting trapped in the vase.

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It was around now when Kyle realised he made a huge mistake.

Of course, using cute animals like cats definitely increased the popularity of the game. Cute characters have always been used and amounting to huge successes. Don’t believe me? Look at Plants vs Zombies, Angry Birds, and Cut the Rope.

3. Short commitment time spans

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The game needed very little commitment to play. In theory, you only needed to log on to refill their food bowls. These short commitment time spans really remove the fear of committing to a game where once you start a session, you know you’ll lose 30 minutes.

4. Clean and simple

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This is a game where you can find a cat that reflects yourself.

The interface is clean and very simple. No overload of gimmicks, hard sales that ask you to buy stuff, etc. This clean interface really adds on to the therapeutic effect and makes you always want to log back on.

5. Tapping on the niche population

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Eventually, as a cat lover, you’ll know who your real friends are – This definitely does not include Tubbs who ate all your food.

Perhaps an interesting approach of Neko Atsume was to target a niche population instead of the general population. You would imagine that this would reduce the number of downloads, but if this niche audience enjoyed the game, word-of-mouth marketing would spread exponentially, which is the case of this game. Targeting a niche audience is definitely not a common industry practice, but Neko Atsume pulled it off awesomely.

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So what makes you play Neko Atsume? Leave a reply in the comments section below!

What MLMs really are.

Today we’ll be looking at what is probably one of the most controversial start-up ‘concepts’ to date: Multi-Level Marketing, or ‘MLM’ for short.

You’ve probably read a lot of hate articles on how MLMs are unethical, ‘cheating’ people of their money. However, I feel that these articles cast a light so negative, even pre-developed photographs look optimistic.

Just to make things clear: I’m not trying to sell anything here. I simply wish look objectively at this ‘unethical Trojan horse’.

Here we go.

What are MLMs?

MLMs are the 21st Century version of Pyramid Schemes. A ‘Pyramid Scheme’ (don’t confuse this with MLMs, the two are totally different) is a business model that starts with one guy at the top. He ‘recruits’ people below him. These people have to in turn pay him a commission. These people then ‘recruit’ others below them and a chain is formed. Eventually, a pyramid is formed, as shown here:

This creates the mental picture everyone is familiar with: a pyramid is basically a money-making scheme for those at the top to earn at the expense of those at the bottom.

However, here are two things to note:
1. Pyramid Schemes are now BANNED in most parts of the world, including Singapore.

2. Pyramid Schemes explain only about 50% of how an MLM operates.

The big difference between MLMs and Pyramid Schemes is that MLMs have products attached to them. In other words, MLMs are in the business of selling something, be it health products, etc.

So, with products attached to them, MLMs become legal.

“So what do you think about MLMs?”

To some people, MLMs already leave a bad taste in your mouth when you talk about them. They feel like con jobs; like a way to manipulate friendships. So let’s dissect them one by one.

Can MLMs make you money?
Short answer, yes.

MLMs come bearing the promise of financial freedom, of not needing to work a full-time job anymore. Half of this is true. MLMs are a way to generate passive income, but this comes from recruiting people. You ‘retire’ when people at the bottom recruit more people, and you get your cut. So, yes, you do earn money.

There’s a reason why this article fell under ‘Entrepreneurship’. They actually provide an avenue for you to earn  money passively and without slogging your days out.

This brings me to the next question..

Is it ethical, or socially acceptable?

Here’s where I talk about my opinion. (Yes I know, objectively takes a break here)

MLMs have become twisted recently, most possibly by the avaricious nature of humans.

MLMs have reverted to being Pyramid Schemes, where nothing else matters other than recruiting people and asking people to recruit for you.

This is no different from asking someone to pay for your retirement. Whether that is socially acceptable or not, I leave it to you.

So you’re against MLMs?

No. Absolutely not. I think MLMs are a fantastic innovation. But this is what they should be:

MLMS are should be like a friend asking you to try his favourite chicken rice. You may or may not like it. It doesn’t matter. If you like it, you’ll end up eating it with him from now on. If you don’t like it, you don’t follow him to lunch from now on, but you can still remain friends.

MLMs should focus on the products, not the recruitment. MLMs should tell you that this product they’re selling (Product A) is awesome. You buy it, you try it, and maybe you decide it’s awesome too.

You then either

  1. Buy more from your friend who introduced you to the product, or
  2. Enter into a venture with him.

If you buy more from him, he earns a cut. But you don’t mind, you love the product anyway. If the product isn’t something you like, it doesn’t matter. You both move on, and remain friends.

In some cases, you think this product would be a huge hit in the market. You say, ‘I’m willing to sell this to my friends as well!’ You pay money to buy an inventory of Product A to sell to your friends, because you think your friends would love Product A too. This is how you ‘join a friend in his venture’, not so much of ‘him recruiting you’.

The Pyramid Scheme is still there, yes, but there’s no ‘forceful selling’. You don’t force a friend into joining your business. You simply ask if a friend if they would like to buy Product A, just as you would ask them if they would want to eat chicken rice with you.

This is how a MLM should be! Not the unethical selling that’s done by focusing on recruiting friends via forceful sales pitches in the office.

Imagine the possibilities…

…when MLMs don’t focus on recruitment. They would be forced to come up with innovative product ideas with a low barrier to entry when it comes to franchising that idea. MLMs could become an innovation-generating industry where people keep thinking of ideas to improve society so that people would willingly join the venture, instead of the need to force people to join you so that you can earn your ‘retirement fund’. All they need to do is to make sure their products are good and beneficial to society.

Should you join a CCA when studying in University?

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So some people have been asking me,

“Is it important to join a CCA in university?”

CCAs (Co-curriculum Activities), at least in my school, are not mandatory. This is certainly a refreshing change for some people who attended schools that made CCA compulsory. There is now so much more time to pursue your hobbies and things that interest you.

However, herd mentality kicks in. When you see your friends spending their hours on a CCA and also being popular for that, you start wondering if it is important to be active in school apart from studies.

Therefore the abovementioned question.

These are some reasons why you should actually join a CCA while in University, based on my own experiences.

  1. Friends

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The first obvious reason to join a CCA is that you’ll make friends. When you join a CCA that isn’t mandatory, you’ll easily find friends with similar interests as you. If you join the soccer club, you’ll find friends who like soccer. If you join a club where people learn how to invest, and you’ll definitely find not only friends with the same interests but also mentors who will teach you as well. Compared to a classroom where people mostly fight for grades, a CCA is a relaxing place where you can find like-minded friends to do projects and undertake games and activities together. It’s a respite in school itself.

  1. Skills and Experience

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Moreover, participating in a CCA and some other related school activities like fund-raising, events, etc, can equip you with the practical skills and experiences that no class can teach you. In class, you learn theory. While that is useful, you will still learn the most when placed in the deep-end of the pool and are asked to swim. You can learn the specific skillsets, such as learning how to play pool in a Pool club, and also the soft skills such as interpersonal relationships (like making friends) and teamwork. In short, participating in a CCA teaches you many real-life skills that can’t be learnt in class. It provides you with an avenue to make mistakes and learn from them.

  1. Employers

Business group meeting portrait - Five business people working together. A diverse work group.

Increasing, employers are not only looking out for GPA/CAP anymore. They now look at what you do in school, and whether you have pursued any leadership positions. I once asked an ex-HSBC Manager, and she says that, “Nowadays, people are getting so smart. It is common to have 90% of our applicants having a full score in their GPA/CAP. You need another differentiating factor. That’s why we look at CCAs.”

CCAs allow employers to differentiate students more easily. It shows that apart from studying, you’re a three-dimensional person who is fun, interactive, and can work in teams. You have the capacity to perform well when it matters and also to pursue other activities that makes you a fun and engaging person to hire. Imagine reading though 100+ resumes and they all say the same thing: Same grades, same school, same interests, etc. A CCA can actually get an employer to think, “Interesting, I’d probably want to know more about this person.”

  1. Leadership

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Having leadership positions are also a huge plus as people can have an idea of what type of leadership positions you go for, and how open you are when it comes to leading people. Leadership opportunities come frequently, especially in schools where most events are student-led. This extends all the way to Community Service Projects. There is no excuse of not having an opportunity to lead!

Building on from the previous point, leadership experience helps your employers to know what kind of leader you are, or if you can even lead. This certainly sets you apart from someone who is applying for a Management position.

Building on from the previous previous point, you can definitely learn a lot along the way when you’re placed in the hot-seat of decision making. You need to think fast, act fast, and work with people fast. This is certainly something different from many other projects in school.

  1. Acing the interview

I’ve heard from my own seniors how they spent more time during an interview talking about what they did in their CCA instead of what they studied.

An interview is a story-telling session. Everybody says that they’re committed and hardworking. Rather, it is much more entertaining and credible if you had a story to back it up. A CCA gives you an opportunity to create these stories (realistically, of course!), allowing you to impress your interviewers.

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In case you haven’t noticed, this is also a recruitment attempt on behalf of SMU Broadcast and Entertainment. If you’re interested to find out more, do visit our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/smube?fref=ts

Interested in joining our family? Visit:

http://www.smube.com/recruitment-portal/

8 things You Probably Miss From the Old Gunbound

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Similar to Maplestory, a game that dominated most of our time when we should be studying was Gunbound.

Similar to Worms, it was a 2D shooting game where players moved about in tanks and blew everybody off the map. Ah.. the joys of childhood.

Here are some memories from Gunbound that you probably experienced before.

From my previous post, listening to the BGM while reading seems to up the nostalgia factor a bit. So here you go:

(I still listen to it haha)

  1. Your levels of estimation suddenly went through the roof

Let’s face it. Gunbound was mostly about estimating, trial and error, and then correcting from there. From playing, our experience then added up and we were able to make better shots the more games we played.

In a certain way, you can say this is the best philosophy you can apply in life. You can make mistakes. But learn from them, and aim to shoot better the next time.

  1. Boomer shot bonus

For some odd reason, among all the rewards for shots, the ‘Boomer shot bonus’ was the more satisfying one of them all. Boomer shot is achieved when your shot goes back and forth. This can be done when the wind is strong and you aim at an opposite direction via a high angle. Alternatively, a mobile that can easily perform those shots (as always, based on the player) is the Boomer (hence the name of the shot). The Boomer’s shot is heavily affected by the wind, but it strikes really hard.

  1. Random for DRAGON

For me, I random when I wanted to play the legendary DRAGON. The Dragon mobile is something that can’t be picked before the game starts, but has to be gained when you pick a random option.

  1. SUDDEN DEATH

Nothing made you crap your pants more than Sudden Death. It was the childhood moment of having your balls drop and things to get serious.

  1. The superrrr cute mobiles

The mobiles were really cute, with the huge-anime-eyes and movements. Although each of them probably had strengths and weaknesses, you probably didn’t care about that and chose the cute ones.

  1. The Hardcores

Some people don’t just play Gunbound for the lulz. They were the people who you feared to play with. Some people played with protractors and rulers just so they can get the most accurate shot.

  1. Being dazzled by The Glamourous outfits

The outfits really mattered back in Gunbound. They separated the players with class and the ones that didn’t.

  1. Dealing with the one who never presses “Ready”

Finally, the one that really ticked people off is the same person who probably forgets to press Ready in DotA or LoL. There will always be ‘RDY UP RDY UP’ before the start of each game as that person will just be too busy admiring outfits or alt-tabbed.

4 of My favourite Dinosaur Games

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Jurassic World is in theatres and is rocking box offices worldwide. It even beat the record known as ‘The Avengers’. If you’re like me and think you’re a hardcore fan after you watched that show (we’re not btw), you should know that now is the right time to jump onto the hype trains and experience some good old Dinosaur games!

It has been more than ten years since the start of the Jurassic park series, and with that comes plenty of games that have already cashed in on the franchise. As such, here are my top picks for the best Dinosaur-related games that I’ve played.

Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

Ok I admit: I’m actually too young to have played any of the early Jurassic Park games. The good ones were during 1993-2001. Some were on the NES while others were on PCs. The one I managed to get my hands on was Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis. This game allowed you to build your very own Jurassic PARK (kinda funny how its the name of the franchise but you never really got around to building a park) and attract visitors. You basically managed a park and deal with situations like dinosaur breakouts, etc. This game also came out during the tycoon era: Rollar Coaster Tycoon, Prison Tycoon, Sim City, etc to name a few. So building a park made of dinosaurs definitely was a breathe of fresh life for the genre at that time.

Turok

My first Turok game was actually on the Gameboy. I was actually pretty impressed with the senseless violence back then. Fast forward to 2008, where Turok for PC and Playstation came out. There was effectively no storyline, but the flexible gameplay mechanics and well-designed levels make Turok a good game to just let loose and kill things, especially when you’re stressed out and just wanna kill stuff.

Warcraft 3: Jurassic Park

This was the best survival map. Ever.This is a Warcraft 3 custom map, where you have to purchase a Warcraft 3 cd to play it. Basically, you’re stranded on an island for a few minutes (depending on your desired difficulty) and you need to survive until a helicopter comes to pick you up. During that time, you need to establish a base camp, build defences against dinosaurs and basically not die. As time progresses, the dinosaurs get stronger and you need to work with the players around you to help defend each other. It’s also interesting to note that some players would rather be alone as wipes occur often and this allows you to run to other bases. All in all, this was another 2000s game, especially when you’re taking a break from too much Warcraft 3 melee and DotA.

Monster Hunter Series

Monster Hunter was THE thing back in the army days. We could each bring a Playstation Portable (PSP) into camp and there was no limit of people psychically around you that you could party with.

Monster Hunter had dinosaurs in general, especially the big ones where it took forever for us to kill. Other than that, Monster Hunter was one of the best coop games I have ever played. The concept was the same as Guild Wars: Quest alone or quest with a team, of which you need to gather the team yourself. For a game when mobile app gaming still wasn’t THE thing, it was one of the best coop games out there back then.

Also, do sit tight as it is confirmed that some new dino games will be releasing soon based on the concept of 2015 Jurassic world movie. Even Jurassic world 2015 has already on Google play. This game has amazing features that any game lover will love to check out.

5 Ways of Earning Money You Probably Don’t Know About

Feeling the strain of juggling finances? You’re not the only one feeling that. Money has become such a complicated topic as the money you earn is almost never able to cover your expenses.

Is there any way to ease that financial burden?

Today, we will share some effective and easy ways to earn money without quitting school or your job. Important characteristics include flexibility (to accommodate to your schedules) and a high reward to effort ratio.

We also won’t be mentioning the common ways to earn money outside of your job, such as giving tuition. We have researched and delved into new ways to earn money, especially since Social Media is getting more prominent. These methods do not require you to be any sort of celebrity (like owning a high profile blog) or any form of investment. Just open your mind and who knows? Maybe you’ll even have fun doing it.

Help someone out at Fiverr

Everybody has a talent. Be it video editing, graphic design, website design, etc. Instead of wasting it, you should share your talent with the world!

There are plenty of websites that request for different forms of talent simply because nobody is perfect enough to do everything. A popular website is Fiverr (https://www.fiverr.com/) where you can help someone out by doing anything like designing a T shirt or recording a voice-over all for a minimum sum of $5.

By doing so, you can help others, get paid AND even get to do something that you like doing.

Writing at Hubpages

The cool thing about blogging is that once you manage to get a high traffic to your blog, you can get paid just for writing. You’ll most likely end up as a celebrity as well! But the effort required just to start and market your blog can certainly be daunting.

At Hubpages (http://hubpages.com/), you can start writing articles right off the bat. There’s a community at Hubpages that loves reading interesting topics and are even friendly enough to comment and give tips.

Once your posts reach a certain threshold of followers and reads, you can submit a form to Google Adsense and they can put ads on your posts for you to earn money. Most people at Hubpages admit to writing for the money, so there’s no stigma attached. As long as you write relevant and engaging content for the readers, people are all generally supportive of what you write. 

Find a Part Time Job at Stroff.com

Earn some money via a part time jobs Singapore opportunity

Stroff.com (http://www.stroff.com/) is a portal that has a whole list of part time jobs in Singapore for you to choose from. They have many part time jobs for students, graduates and also for working adults. Working part time, even during the weekends is a great way to get some additional income, especially if your weekends are mostly spent wasted on the sofa or in bed.

More importantly, it helps with time management and as it helps you shake off the habits of procrastination. It also helps gives you the precious work experiences you may need for your resume.

Freelance at Elance.com

Elance (http://www.elance.com) allows you to find freelance work of all types. People there need others to do things like editing, copywriting, resume building, and other odd jobs.

There is a huge variety of jobs that do technical, data entry, accounting, design, etc. You can sign up for an account and showcase and market your skills. You can also trawl through the job database and submit a bid for the job. Sometimes, people may even contact you directly. This is certainly a flexible way of earning money: You don’t even need to be working from 9 to 5.

Nothing

Last, but certainly not the least. You can do nothing.

“Nothing you say?!” Yes.

‘Nothing’ certainly beats bombing all your money on drinks or on clubbing. In other words, save the money you have. There is no point earning so much money but end up spending all of it on more expensive toys. People these days focus so much on earning money that they forget the importance of saving for a future.

Take your money and invest it. If you don’t know how to invest, invest in courses that teach you how to. Paying for some retail therapy or some partying fun is good once in a while, but never make it into a habits.

3 things My Internship Taught Me that No School Ever Did

It’s coming to the end of May, and most of us university/polytechnic students are probably already bogged down by the harsh but necessary reality that is called an ‘Internship’.

By now, you’re probably already bruised (hopefully only psychologically) and beaten. Waking up at 7am is the norm instead of the perfect timing of 12pm you enjoyed last summer. You ask yourself, “Why was I so excited to finish finals and get to this point?’

An internship is an essential part of learning and growing before you go out into the working world. School is NOT a good place to learn how to survive in the real world. If you want to do well in life, apply for an internship in singapore.

Today, I’ll be writing about my experience during my singapore internship with Sqkii (www.sqkii.com), a 2-year old startup which I chanced upon at one of the Technology Exhibitions (or Innovation Fairs) organized by my school.

Ultimately, I hope this will serve as a good pick-me-up to refuel your motivations, and hopefully remind you that this internship is probably even more important than the last finals you sat for.

  1. Think school is tough? School isn’t anything when compared to working.

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You probably already knew that. School may have been tough for most of us, but the truth is that the environment where you study is much more cushioned as compared to your working environment. Chances are, you’ll face a huge learning curve and may not be able to get everything right at first. Furthermore, nobody has the right answer and you have to play along with that.

For me, I was tasked to get people to sign up as a partner with our mobile app. My team went to many different shopping malls and met with all sorts of different people. We were often rejected. Thankfully, nobody scolded or yelled at us. At the end of the day, we always came together to consolidate and share our experiences . Ultimately, we managed to secure over 40 partners. The learning process was meaningful, and we learnt so much more than we did from school.

  1. Pitching

In the working world, every conversation is an opportunity to pitch. To pitch is to sell something, including yourself, and yet sound like you’re not selling anything. When someone asks what you are doing, this is the best chance to talk about your startup, or your blog, or anything that otherwise requires you to pay money to advertise. You need to perfectly balance your listener’s attention, and to make it personal enough that it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to sell them something.

We were trained rigorously in pitching. And I mean rigorously.  One of the co-founders, Kenny, spared no expense in ensuring that at the end of the day, we were pitching at his standards. The reason was simple: When you pitch, you become the embodiment of the company. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO or an admin clerk. All you need is one wrong step, and people will start having a negative impression. For example, even if a renowned company were to mistreat their female employees, these employees could then spread the word, and that company would be done for.

  1. How to expand your network

In life, contacts are the most important when it comes to moving forward in your career. A simple contact can help you secure a job, or help you find a close collaborator who can earn you your first million dollars. Unfortunately, these contacts don’t come immediately.

‘Networking’ is simply just making friends with strangers. Chances are, you don’t start off as a natural. You fumble, make yourself look awkward, and you get rejected when your potential friend befriends the charismatic guy from across the room. Networking is just like that.

What did we do? Practice, practice, and practice. We were pushed to attend many networking sessions. We weren’t given any goals, except to have fun. Of course, I started off awkward. But as I went to more and more of these sessions, I realized it was pretty thrilling to get the name card of someone big, or to meet someone who shares the same mindset as you. Ultimately, it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone.

I decided to keep the list short so as to leave some space to answer some FAQs.

  1. Should I go for an internship or go for school/hall events during summer?

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I went for this internship when I was in year 1, which was when most people usually go for school/hall events. I would say that you learn different skills from each, so there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong choice. Choose internships for resume-boosting, and school/hall events to make more friends. Stick to one though; you wouldn’t want to appear stretched and uncommitted.

  1. Why a startup instead of a large corporation?

I chose a startup after consulting some of my friends. They explained that startups offer an independent working style that most companies can’t offer. While I can’t comment on large corporations, I will say that a startup will offer you an opportunity to make important decisions, make mistakes, and learn from them. One of the advantage that interning in a startup generally offers is allowing you to have more opportunities to interact with the co-founder. If you’re lucky enough, they can provide you with a lot of guidance. Even if they aren’t that helpful, you can still learn a lot just by observing them. To put it simply, startups do not have the budget to pay you to do grunt work. You are hired to value-add, and that is what they will make you do.

  1. Where is a good place to find my internships?

Stroff.com is a good place to start your search, where you can find plenty of internship singapore opportunities. Nevertheless, it’s always good to go out and network and find out how you can value-add to someone’s company. I personally found my first internship by networking with the co-founders of Sqkii, Kenny and Marcus, during an exhibition in SMU.

13 Memories from MSN Messenger

Other than Maplestory, something else that dominated most of our time when we should be studying was MSN Messenger.

Here are some memories from it:

1.

13

2.

11

3.

10

4.

9

The birth of torrent.

5.

8

C.A.M.P.F.I.R.E.S.O.N.G song – Spongebob Squarepants apparantly didn’t make you cool

6.

7

7.

6

Look at what our names were represented by previously!

8.

5

This was competitive gaming at its finest

9.

4

10.

3

11.

2

After a while you realise just reading that person’s conversation is too difficult you end up blocking him

12.

1

13.

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One can start to wonder why MSN actually closed down. It’s not that we abandoned instant messaging. If anything, we embraced it even more with whatsapp/line/wechat and video conferencing via skype, oovoo, etc.

What do you think happened to MSN Messenger? Say your opinion below!

Recommended Free-to-play MMOs For Summer 2015 (Reblog)

Summer is already here! And for some students in Singapore, congratulations for the end of exams. The June holidays are here to stay!

“Go out and play more son, don’t stay cooped up in the house for so long!”

In the essence of gaming, here are some recommended free to play MMOs this summer:

http://2p.com/33135770_2/Recommended-Free-to-play-MMOs-For-Summer-2015-by-cerberus.htm

But, don’t forget to get out too.

Cheers!

A Grand Theft Auto Clone No More. Is that Necessarily good?

For years, Saints Row has always been dubbed the clone of Grand Theft Auto . With an open world gameplay, a storyline that centers around a gang looking for total control, and senseless shooting with all kinds of weapons, it’s hard not to look at it that way.

However, SR:GofH seeks to finally put a wedge in between GTA and itself. In fact, it has already begun that process in Saints Row IV, which introduced superpowers to the main character. You can run and fly while travelling in the open world (Prototype, anyone?)

From SR4 onwards, you get to run at a speed that gives even The Flash a run for his money. Geddit? Run for his money?

Fast forward to SR:GofH. Instead of playing the Boss of the gang ‘The Saints’, you can now play any of the loyal and trusty lieutenants Johnny Gat or Kinzie Kensington.

The game starts with the Saints preparing a birthday party for Kinzie on the spaceship they acquired from the Zin (from the previous game). At the party, they play a game of Ouija Board, and unwittingly contact Satan who says the leader of the Saints will marry his daughter Jezebel. Satan drags the Boss down to Hell, and upon realization, Saints lieutenant Johnny Gat volunteers to go get them back, with Kinzie following on the argument that it’s her birthday.

SR:GofH still maintained the usual mixture of violence, humor and wackiness that were embodied in all of the previous games. Expect to fight while sitting in an armchair of miniguns while tossing imps at your enemies, who are basically demons with laser guns. Satan even breaks out into a musical at one point. This is definitely not a far cry from previous games when you had a dildo bat and a gun that shoots dubstep music.

This weapon allowed you to shoot at your enemies while playing dubstep music

Storyline was, however, short and slightly disappointing. Basically, you had to get Satan to notice you so as to help you find him. All this entailed was you doing side missions over and over again so as to fill up the ‘Rage Meter’ which triggered missions at specific points. The final boss fight was fittingly tough, but the entire game was nothing more than playing minigames on miniclips. Gameplay was disappointingly short.

The point as mentioned previously is that Saints Row has always been trying to differentiate itself from GTA. It started off by introducing a wacky mix into the whole street thug culture, but now it went so far as to destroy earth and use hell as the open world. Arguably, Saints Row reached it high point in SR2 and SR3, when the essence was still similar to GTA.

Could this be going too far? Should Saints Row stick to its roots of being a wacky GTA spinoff, or continue its path of differentiating itself as much as possible? Comment in the section below!

11 Things We Probably Miss from the Old MapleStory

Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a casual gamer, chances are you’ve either played or come across one of the more popular games back then: MapleStory.

However, so much has changed since then, with the Big Bang, new classes with dragons floating over their heads, and new maps with even weirder monsters. The real essence of MapleStory is so much different now.

For the sake of nostalgia, here are some awesome memories from the old MapleStory we all knew and loved.

  1. The best hangout spot in the whole game

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Who could forget this spot, where people just came here to chill and relax? Back then, levelling was so tough that reaching level 30 almost seemed impossible unless you had no life. Instead, we hung around and just talked or flirted while passing time. Despite being a MMORPG which emphasis on levelling, we took the social aspect more seriously, and made plenty of friends.

  1. Kerning PQ, autoclicking the way to victory

Levelling was so mundane back then that doing party quests was the easier and more fun way to level up. Everyone would queue up in Kerning City around the sewer area and just wait for their turn to enter the quest. I believe the instance system was relatively new at that point in time, thus disallowing parties to enter at the same time.

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Let’s not forget the endless challenge of trying to jump to the 3rd sewer drain

Most players would end up downloading a software called ‘Autoclicker’, which did exactly what it’s named after, so as to increase their chances of getting in.

Probably the earliest form of boss fight you can encounter as a player was the King Slime in the Party Quest, where you had to kill it.

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The damage it dealt was ridiculous and back then there wasn’t such a thing as tanks and aggro. This means that you had to jump out of reach and constantly deal damage to it at the same time.

  1. Grinding in the Slime caves

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Speaking of these little green cute’ses, everybody at the point knew that to maximise levelling, you had to train at the slime caves, where spawn rate for these green little dudes were the highest. These caves were located around the town of Ellinia, where the mages reside. Training here and also listening to the soothing music was surprisingly de-stressing, especially after a whole day in school where you had to explain why you didn’t do your homework since you were too buy mapling!

  1. The best BGMs

Probably the most memorable parts of the old games were the Background Music. They had almost the perfect combination of soothing and uplifting tones and were also addictive. They change as you travel so that it was hard to get bored of them. Have a trip back to nostalgia-land by listening to these:

  1. Exploring Sleepywood

Sleepywood (and subsequently Ant Tunnel) was a memorable location (amongst all the other memorable locations) simply because if you reached here, chances are you already invested a lot of time into the game.

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People who reached here probably already had their 2nd job advancement and were ready to tackle the next stage of their levelling process.

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We used to challenge each other just to see how deep we can travel through Ant Tunnel before our entire party got wiped. Although seemingly a waste of potions, it was fun just to see who had the wit and skill to survive all the way till the end.

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Sleepywood, especially in the Sauna Room, is usually where the infamous ‘Drop Game’ is played. A ‘Drop Game’ is like gambling, where each player (usually 2) would take turns to drop their items, and the other has a chance to snatch it up.

  1. Testing your patience during Jump Quests

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These quests were probably the by-product during the creation of hell. They were the true tests of patience, where you needed to accurately jump on each platform all the way to the top. One misstep or loss of tempo resulted in a fall that either required you to restart the whole process or death where you had to restart everything all over again.

Personally, I never got around to completing these quests. I’ve never regretted it.

  1. Experiencing the crowd at Perion ‘Marketplace’

Channel 1 of Perion will definitely bring back fond memories of the events that take place here. Forget the night markets of Taiwan or even any shopping mall during the holiday season. THIS was where the action was.

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Players from all over Victoria Island would come and sell, trade or buy stuff there, using ‘@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@’ to help bring their chat bubbles slightly higher. There really wasn’t a need to go to the Free Market, since the action is all there.

  1. ‘Selling Fame at 7k!’

Any MapleStory player would have at least seen someone either buying or selling ‘Fame’ in their journeys. In fact, ‘Fame’ was probably Maplestory’s first ‘service-orientated business’. A player can either give or take away another player’s ‘Fame’ once a day. People who wanted Fame (usually for some equipments or just for lulz) would end up buying them, while selling them was an easy 7,000 mesos a day.

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Henesys, the town of the archer, was notorious of having all sorts of pros running around buying Fame, and all sorts of noobs running around selling Fame.

Bullying was also done using Fame as well. When there was a certain someone you wanted to bully, you would call all your friends just to go to that person to ‘De-Fame’ him. This became such a huge sensation, especially for people who went through painstaking efforts to increase their Fame.

  1. KS-ing

The hostile act of KS-ing, or kill-stealing, arguably started in MapleStory. This involved the act of killing the other player’s mob before they can deliver the finishing blow. By doing so, you deliberately lower the experience they can get from the monster. Once again, there was a thing where you could call all your friends and simply go out to mass KS a person’s mobs, slowing his entire levelling process. You may get sharp ‘CC!’ requests (which is a request to change the channel which you were playing in) or him just attempting to run away. However, MapleStory had a ‘Find’ function where nobody could escape from anyone’s target.

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  1. Taking a plane to Orbis

Probably the highest point of the Maplestory timeline was the opening of Orbis, where you had to pay for ticket to get there. After almost 2-3 years exploring the old Victoria Island, the opening of a new island was definitely appealing for all.

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One particular instance then was the occasional appearance of the Crimson Balrog, which was the most powerful monster back then. It was probably the thing that would piss anyone off the most, after paying the money to get to the new island and ended up in a gravestone back in where you came from.

  1. Exploring

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Overall, the general feeling of playing MapleStory wasn’t grinding for levels. Sure, there were people who set out to do that to reach the maximum level of 200. But realistically, 200 was a level so difficult to achieve that people don’t really bother.

Instead, we ended up partying and just exploring Victoria Island together. We could spend all day simply travelling from Lith Harbour to Henesys, Perion, etc. Or maybe visit new spots like Florina Beach or going deep into Ellinia forest. There was plenty to do and see, and we had fun every second along the way. Present players wouldn’t understand the feeling, since this isn’t an economical use of time (even WoW tries to promote map exploration somewhat by granting experience if you uncover new locations).

Other than MapleStory, MMOs in general has placed much more emphasis on the levelling, rather than the social aspect. However, emphasising too much on the social aspect of a game stagnates it (think Habbo Hotel, Second Life) MapleStory back then had a good balance of both to cater to all players alike. No matter the reason why you played the game, there is always a way to fulfil it, be it to be the highest level or just to hang out with friends.

So, what do YOU miss most when you were playing MapleStory? Comment below!

LOTR: Shadows of Mordor

What happens when you combine the already-awesome Lord of the Rings (LOTR) franchise, a fluid combat system (from Batman Arkham series), a fantastic stealth system (probably even better than Assassin’s Creed) while killing Uruks in an open world (like Grand Theft Auto) and plenty more? You essentially get LOTR: Shadows of Mordor (SoM).

The storyline, as always, is great. You play Talion, an undead revived by a Wraith after his bloody death by the hands of the Black Hand (see what I did there), and you are set between the timelines of ‘The Hobbit’ and the LOTR trilogy (because seriously, they’re running out of timelines already). Admittedly, my LOTR lore isn’t that good, but the game doesn’t handicap you for that. They still thoroughly explain each and every character (like Saruman being the ‘Great White Wizard’ and Sauron being the ‘big bad guy’). There’s even the star appearance of arguably the most famous character of the show: Gollum, who appears in the early quests.

I still think he’s one of the strangest and scariest character I’ve even come across.

Expect to play in an open world gameplay, where you play in 2 maps: Mordor and the Sea of Núrn. You can run around completing side quests to level up and gain skills, or just stick to the main missions.

Combat is one of the best I’ve played, comparable to Batman Arkham series and Sleeping dogs. The moves are very similar to Batman’s with left click to hit and right to counter and then finishing then when they’re on the ground. Hitting consecutively leads to Hit Streaks where you can end off with a Combat Finisher.  However, if you’re a stealth enthusiast like me, you can sneak around and kill Uruks instead.

The satisfaction of killing 20+ Uruks is truly indescribable

Ok, bored of these stuff so far? We’ll get to the fun bits now.

Hierarchy system

This is probably the coolest mechanic I’ve seen to date. SoM keeps track of the leaders in the area. Called Captains (think Sergeants) and Warchiefs (think Officers), like the hierarchy system you can see from above. You can take them down and each and every one of them and they’ll keep track of it. Then it gets more interesting.

The Uruks get promoted by killing each other. If an Uruk kills a Warchief, he gets to be a warchief, simple as that. This gives you a lot of opportunities to invade into these scuffles and kill both of them. This all plays out in the early mission, where you have to help a slave Uruk rise up the ranks by the way everyone knows best: killing all the leaders in sight.

Furthermore, the sound and music before an encounter is pure awesomeness. Before you face a warchief, they chant the name of the warchief before you engage him. Subsequently, before your first strike, you’ll enter a cutscene where they’ll taunt you. The flavour of the game is real.

Real-time updates

I couldn’t think of a better title. Basically, every time you kill or get killed, the hierarchy system updates. The one who killed you probably got a promotion, while those you slay shows that they have been killed. If there is an event that shows that one Uruk has slain another (like the scuffles mentioned above) they update as well. The first mission makes you kill all the Warchiefs anyway, so this takes a long time. However, soon enough it becomes insanely addicted to kill the captains and warchiefs. Some fights are memorable, and others aren’t so, because it can be really easy to kill them, especially in the later stages when you leveled up and unlocked new abilities.

Mind-Control

After the first area, you can transported to the second area where you are instructed to build an army to go against the Black Hand. You then realize with the power of the Wraith you can mind control Uruks to build an army. You then end up mind-controlling warchiefs and captains who end up fighting for you. Needless to say, I ended up mindcontrolling all of them in this map and the previous map. You can also do combat mind-control, and have them fighting for you in the thick of the battle

The Bad

The missions are too short, and the boss fight was seriously anti-climatic. You can probably finish off the main missions in a good 12 hours.

But trust me when I say that you WILL end up attempting to conquer the hierarchy system, because it’s just too darn addictive.

The Verdict

Over-powered enough to make it fun, yet not so imbalanced, which makes you still fear death. Missions are short, but the hierarchy system is too fun to pass on. Combat and stealth system is a huge plus as well. Overall, I had huge fun in this game. This game is probably a strong contender for the best game I’ve ever played.

6 Things Neopets Taught Me Which No School Ever Did

The word ‘Neopets’ is probably nostalgic to everyone, especially those born in the 90s. It signalled the beginning of an era where you had to fight to use the telephone or the Internet and also the slow loading of images. Nonetheless, Neopets bore the significance of being life’s greatest tutor. Neopets actually had all of life’s greatest lessons implanted into it, even more than a school itself. You probably just never figured it out, since you were too busy was collecting free omelettes and chasing a Meerca’s tail. So 15 years down the road, here’s why Neopets could have been life’s greatest teacher.

Here are 6 things that Neopets taught me which no school ever did:

  1. You can get a job, but it does not end there

Get back here childhood!

The first main problem when you play Neopets is that you needed cash (Neopoints, in this case). This led to endless grinding sessions by playing games and trying to accumulate as much Neopoints as you can. However, you start to realize that there’s almost never enough Neopoints to allow you to have as much fun in the game. The smarter ones will start to do things like starting their own business and sell stuff, or to play in the stock market. This is actually a very important lesson in life right there. You can have fulfillment in a 9-5 job, but the money you earn from it will almost always never give you the fulfillment you want in life. Eventually you need to invest that money somewhere, either in the stock market or by starting your own business, so that you can have the financial freedom to truly do what you want in life.

  1. Haggle

An interesting concept back then was ‘haggling’, where you can ask for a lower price and there would be an algorithm which will determine whether your lower price goes through. While mostly a computer simulation, it creates a scenario where you actually can ask for a lower price and get away with it. Looking at it in a bigger picture, it goes to show that if you want something at a better rate, you got to fight for it.

  1. There are good cheap deals everyday. You just gotta find it first

Who could ever forget visiting this place everyday?

This is for the people who lament that life is unfair and that there are no opportunities. In Neopets, probably the most famous thing that everyone remembers is the everyday freebies. Everyday resets an instance where you can get free omelettes, codestones, etc. In the stops, there may be rare items being sold at random timings. In life, there will always be opportunities: Networking sessions with a potential new employer, a stock that is unevenly priced for a small period of time, a startup that is looking for interns, etc. In other light-hearted scenarios, there could be good deals around that can help you save some money. You just got to get off your couch and just look.  Rare opportunities only come to those who go out and find them

  1. Stock market

As mentioned, the only way to earn huge money was the stock market. While this post isn’t dedicated to talking about the huge potential a stock market can bring you, the point is to say that even a simple children’s game is teaching a child on to invest their money. Investing your money is probably a fundamental lesson every human should go through at least once, and yet schools are not advocating anything into teaching that. Neopets stock market gave a very brief insight on how a stock market works, and kids around the world managed to earn their riches simply by investing in it. This gives a good insight on how to manage your money at a very young age. Video games 1, schools 0.

  1. Supply and demand

Probably the greatest concept here was Supply and Demand. Rare items are priced extremely expensive while items you can get for free literally had zero value. While it may be intrinsic to some kids, there are some people who just do not understand the concept of demand and supply. Therefore, they learnt it the hard way, where their items will never get sold, or they could have earned much more. The point is that Supply and Demand is fundamental in life. If you’re selling something common, make sure its at a discount. These concepts are heavily embedded into the economy of Neopets, and every player would have at least a touch and go with that concept.

  1. Html Coding

This is probably the fun part. Back then, you were able to customize your profile page by adding some HTML codes that changed your background or added music. This was the ‘cool’ thing. Hell, this was what made you COOL. But in order to do that, you needed some background in HTML. Back then, I went on to learn some basic HTML just so I could put a huge Pikachu wallpaper on my profile. I went to learnt it on Google, which was another fundamental lesson.

3 Reasons why you should get the Heroes of the Storm Beta Key

Even though this post is slightly late, it should still be mentioned that Heroes of the Storm Beta is out!

So go and sign up here: http://us.battle.net/heroes/en/?-

I get a lot of questions in the form of: Why should I switch over from Dota/LoL to this unheard of Moba?

Therefore, this post is dedicated to these ignorant fools.

I’m kidding about the ‘ignorant fools part. But seriously you should at least check out what I have to say.

Blizzard Heroes Clash in an Epic Fight

No matter how much of a non-gamer you are, you definitely would have heard of some of Blizzard’s star franchises: Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft. For a Blizzard fan like me, there’s no greater joy in seeing an amalgamation of some of my favourite heroes in a single game fighting it out. There are all sorts of heroes: Cute, quirky and even sexy ones. They also already have an intricate lore that you probably have already heard of.

Take your pick!

No Early-Game

Some may immediately pick up the fact that HotS has no items or skills to level up. You don’t even need to last hit. Instead, you’re given access to the 3 skills at the start which scale up as you level up. You then subsequently pick an ultimate (usually choose 1 out of 2 ultimates the hero has) and then choose ‘Talents’ as you level up, making the system significantly different from Dota and LoL. While some may accuse the game of being too simple, essentially these changes take away the early game phase where instead of going to your lanes to last hit, you can start to gang right off the bat. There are no Late gamers/carries as all heroes scale nicely as they level. If you need a quick fix of PvP adrenaline, HotS is the game for you.

Map Objectives

Blizzard has tried its best to make sure that Hots is different from Dota and LoL, and this difference comes in the form of map objectives. Hots has many maps, ranging from fighting with pirates to freeing a Dragon Knight. While the main focus on Dota/LoL is level up and push towers, Hots focuses on securing map objectives right off the bat. Pushing towers comes off as counter-productive when securing objectives can take down towers in a much more efficient manner. Definitely a huge ‘cultural’ shock when porting over, but it certainly makes Hots much more fun than other Mobas.

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Overall, I enjoyed the experience Hots has brought me. I even stopped Dota for it. Definitely worth a shot for the self-acclaimed Moba fan.

 

Yes I’m talking about you.

DC Universe Online comes to Singapore!

Another game that I’ve been playing was DC Universe Online (http://dcuo.playpark.com/en/) especially since now it has moved to Asian servers and is less laggy (apparently). For those who don’t know what DC Universe Online (DCUO) is about, get your head out of the well and prepare to see a game that is bound to set any fanboy’s emotions ablaze.

This is the trailer for the game and I must say it’s pretty awesome, considering its been the game has been there since 2011. Here are some of it’s cooler features:

1. Customisation BEFORE the game What I absolutely LOVE about DCUO is that you can customise a perfect character BEFORE the game itself. You can have a hero exactly how you want it to look like and there is even an option that prevents new equipment from changing how you look. No more endless grinding so as to look cool. You already look cool at the start!

Check out how you can customise your character:

2. Stand together with OR toe-to-toe with your favourite characters

Naturally, you’d get to choose if you wanted to be an iconic superhero or a demented supervillian. This then allows you to fight together with your favourite heroes/villians in raids and instances. You can even get to explore places like Gotham and Metropolis (while flying). Truly a turn on for the inner geek as any action you do makes you feel like one of the important comic book characters.

3. Real-time combat

It isn’t like Superman or Batman to take down a villian simply by hitting the right-click button. Instead, DCUO takes you into the heart of battle by requiring you to juggle skills and also left and right clicks to take down the enemy. Expect to do a lot of punching and rotating skills at the start, especially when your character is a fresh new face.

4. FLY

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Have you ever wanted to fly just like the superheroes of your childhood? In DCUO, you can create a character that literally FLIES. Say goodbye to mounts and balloons as you soar through the skies and leap tall buildings in a single bound. DCUO is truly a game for the kid at heart.

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Overall, DCUO appeals to both the DC fan and the one who just is looking for a WoW alternative. It’s a truly entertaining game to play and for it’s price (free), its definitely worth it.

4 Reasons Why You Should Play Pokemon Right Now

With the recent release of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS), it’s a fine question to ask whether you can or should get the new Pokemon game to experience it for the first time or to re-live some nostalgic moments. However, I’ve always come across people who simply refused to pick up the game. “I’ve not played Pokemon for so long! There’s too many new Pokemon and moves!”, “It’s for kids!”, and “It’s just the same game with a different story isn’t it?” are some common statements I hear when I ask why.

As a self-proclaimed Pokemon fanatic, here’s 4 reasons why it’s a great time to get a Gameboy and pick up one of the best games of all time.

It’s a turn-based combat game

Let’s forget for a second that Pokemon is about cute creatures. It’s essentially a turn-based combat game with different attacks that have different elements. There are plenty of turn-based combat games like Heroes of Might and Magic, Final Fantasy, etc. They essentially say that the genre isn’t obsolete yet. Pokemon is just a simple RPG that includes a compelling storyline, leveling, item hunting, and some vanity side quests. It’s a fun game for intelligent thinking and there is plenty of flexibility when it comes to building your team. Despite all that, the game is not overly complex and you can have fun looking at new and old Pokemon along the way.

It’s just the same thing, with a different storyline!

Pokemon has been around since the 1990s, with the gameplay being essentially the same. While some may argue against spending money for a similar experience, why fix something that isn’t broken? The gameplay and its style has been consistent for the last few years and it has been loved by its fans throughout. Jazzing it up with new Pokemon, storylines and some additional fixtures seem to resonate well with new and old fans alike.

Balancing the appeals across all levels

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I’ve come across some people who refuse to play a game that does not reward hardcore players. They feel that the reward-effort ratio should be justified. An example would be World of Warcraft, where people would spend hours grinding for their gears so as to get better. These people feel that the gears belong to you simply because you spent the time to get them. However, there are others who feel that gaming should be kept casual, and any obsession over the game is considered quite unhealthy or ‘lifeless’.

Taking these into account, Pokemon has a special appeal for all gamers. I even daresay that it has the best balance of this level of appeal to the casual and the hardcore fans alike.

Casual fans get to enjoy the story of a hero or heroine travelling across towns and (usually) end up saving the world. Old school formula yes, but always effective. Furthermore, you can get to choose 6 Pokemon to carry from the endless array of Pokemon to choose from. The progression is steady and the gameplay does not involve much grinding for levels, especially with the new and improved EXP Share where all Pokemon gain EXP from battles.

For the hardcore fans, Pokemon Wifi Battles are really thriving these days. In order to take part in battles, you need to first breed a Pokemon to ensure it has the perfect Individual Values. More on it here: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Individual_values. Next, you need to breed the egg moves you want (http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Egg_move) and then farm for EVs (http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Effort_values). Repeat it 6 times for your perfect team. Anybody can see that to take part in these competitive battling, there’s a high amount of commitment needed.

They’re kinda cute

Are you really going to be so ignorant to say that Pokemon aren’t cute?

So what games can I play?

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For the first time players saying, ‘Which Pokemon game do I play? There are so many to choose from!’ For a very brief summary of the timeline of the Pokemon game, it started off with Red/Blue version, and the story continued on into Gold/Silver/Crystal Version. Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald was a spin off and more spin offs include Diamond/Pearl, Black/White, Black 2/White 2 and now X/Y (all in chronological order). Red/Blue was remade into Fire Red/Leaf Green. Gold/Silver remade into Heart Gold/Soul Silver, and now Ruby/Sapphire is remade into the latest ORAS. Each versions grouped together have the same storyline and are essentially the same save that you can only get specific Pokemons in different verions.

Choosing the latest ORAS would throw you into a lot of cool new stuff that Pokemon has introduced like Mega Evolutions and Pokemon contests. Probably its best to start at what I believe has the greatest changes of all time: Pokemon X and Y.

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Pokemon is an incredibly complex game, but all its complexity is hidden beneath a simple story you going out and catching them all. It appeals to the casual and the hardcore, and it is simply one of the best games ever created.

4 Questions to Ask When Making your 2015 New Year Resolutions

Hi everybody! And welcome to this new blog. My name is Theodoric, and most people call me Theo. I’ve been working on this blog since the start of the December holidays and would like to finally make it public for everyone.

So what is this blog about? My daily frustrations in life? No, too whiny. The food I will be eating? Nah, too cliché and I don’t really have the money to go café hopping.

This blog will be about one of the few interests of my life: Video gaming, Startups, and University life. The list won’t end there in the long run, but for the sake of being concise, we’ll start with these 3.

I’ve already filled up the blog with some stuff so you guys can take a look and not be bored with the first introductory post.

So to prepare for this new year, I’ll be sharing my New Year Resolutions and thereafter put up some guidelines on how you should do yours. I know people say that these resolutions never last, but why are you letting that affect yours?

My New Year Resolutions

  1. Keep this blog alive

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This blog and this very post will serve to prove that New Year Resolutions CAN be kept if you put in the effort. It’ll be nothing less than hypocritical if I were to start off with a post like this but this blog isn’t even kept alive.

Like it’s mentioned: To achieve a great blog, I gotta keep it alive first.

  1. Projects in University

While busy with GPA/CAP, I feel that you should not just be bogged down by it alone. There’s a need to engage in different projects for your own growth and learning. That’s why I will be participating in projects around school, and I’ll sure to share any interesting ones here!

How to make a good New Year Resolution

Instead of a checklist on how to make good New Year Resolutions, I’ll be giving you something different. It’s just simply some questions to ask yourself while making them. If you can give yourself a committed response, you’re one step closer to making one that you can actually keep.

  1. What do I want to be when I grow up?

It’s time to seriously ask yourself this question. No more “I wanna be an astronaut!” It’s time to take some time to sit down and reflect on yourself. Take your strengths and weaknesses into account. Take what you genuinely enjoy doing into account. You might not get an answer immediately, but beginning to think about it is one step forward nonetheless.

If you already have a clear idea on what you want to be when you grow up, critique it! An easy question is also this: ‘If I’m doing it for no pay, would I still do it?” Then move on towards your final goal.

  1. What do I cherish most in my life?

What do you cherish most in your life? Family? Friends? Maybe a pet? Does what you do protect the things you cherish? Many times people do things that might be detrimental to what they cherish. People cherish their children, but are too busy working to actually spend any quality time with them.

This year, take some time to think of what you truly cherish. What makes you human?

  1. How am I going to protect the things I cherish?

After thinking of what you cherish, how do you go about protecting them? You obviously need plans to protect the things you cherish. If it’s time with your parents, make sure you always set aside time for that. If it’s your health, make sure you set aside time for exercise and to eat regular meals.

It is only by protecting the things you cherish will life be truly meaningful.

  1. If I die now, would I be happy? If not, what else do you need?

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People work so hard that death seems to be a distant dream. The truth is, we can never know when we die. Instead of fearing death, we should be embracing it.

Death comes harsh to those who are not prepared. And we shouldn’t be so naïve as to think we’re too young to die. The real question to ask is “If I die now, would I be happy?”

Take some time for a nice holiday, or maybe a leave of absence. Do something that you always wanted to do but could never do it because of your job or school. Skydive, start a business, deliberately get lost in a jungle. Prioritize your happiness, and truly live life the way you should. Things will seem brighter, and who knows? Maybe the exhilarating respite might help you do your dull 9 to 5 job better.

Watchdogs: A Review

I feel this is a bit overdue, but I’ll post it anyway: A review of Ubisoft’s Watchdogs.

I do not deny that this game was over-hyped up, which could only lead to one of the two things: you either live up to expectations or die trying. In a sense it’s not a win-lose situation but an ok-lose situation. Watchdogs certainly had a lot to account for.

To be fair, I’ll present that negative side of the argument first, which can be simply summarized into one sentence: Watchdogs did not measure up to its hype.

Graphics

Graphics were, in short, bad. There’s also a claim that when Watchdogs was first announced, there would be surreal graphics and realistic physics plus AI. As more footages of the game were shown throughout the years since the announcement, the quality dropped. It didn’t help that the actual game was buggy as well.

Gameplay

To the naked eye, the gameplay was repetitive. You were effectively doing the same thing every mission and the side quests were even duller. Driving was also a horrible nightmare as the cars were excruciatingly difficult to control. The shooting scenes were generally all right, but were mostly a rip off from GTA.

Another point is that the gameplay was arguably too simple. In GTA you need to engage in high speed chases to outrun the cops. In Watchdogs, all it needs is a simple press of a button to ‘hack’ the traffic infrastructure to take out the cops (from changing the traffic lights to erecting barriers). My personal favourite method was to hack a train to stop it. I’ll then board the train and speed off into the night, since cops would rather not chase public transportation despite knowing the next bound location.

Voice-Acting and Character Development

I do not usually include this portion since I’m no expert, but the protagonist Aiden Pierce’s voice was terribly monotonous. There was no expression of anger or hatred, despite the fact that his family was brutally murdered (mostly Aiden’s fault though) and when his extended family is in any sort of trouble. While he claims that he was angry and wanted vengeance for his daughter, his voice, however, sounded indifferent instead.

Even Aiden himself had some weird motivations. While he started off as a thief, he became a vigilante after that incident. However, unlike Batman, Aiden felt that killing was necessary at times to gain what he needed. However, it gets boring when Aiden ended up fixated on nothing but vengeance. Compare him to say, Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2. Ezio then was fixated on vengeance but that didn’t stop us from seeing what an awesome and quirky individual Ezio was.

All in all, Aiden could have received much more character development and voice acting.

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With all those negative comments, it may seem that Watchdogs has almost nothing left to offer. Don’t be mistaken though. 

A new reality of video gaming lore

Instead of hampering itself in the usual trappings of shooting and violence, Watchdogs added a new twist into the game: Hacking and technology. This new addition made the whole experience different from other open-world shooting games. In Watchdogs, you can hack almost anything with a computer chip: Traffic lights, lifts, security cameras, etc. It creates a whole new dimension of gameplay, where instead of just being a regular street thug and rushing in guns ablaze, there is some intrinsic motivation and reward for setting up traps and hacking certain infrastructure before the shooting starts.

Stealth

As a person who generally avoid shooting unless necessary, I welcome the increased use of stealth in the recent games such as Batman Arkham Series, Assassin’s Creed, etc. Watchdogs implements stealth in its game by allowing you to hack certain objects, therefore creating traps that can take out enemies without you being there. In fact, all these can be done while you’re outside the perimeter of the area. It uses ‘Camera Riding’ where you can hack into a camera and look around from the camera’s point of view, hack into another from there, and again. You can effectively travel around the entire area without leaving your car. It makes a stealth enthusiast like me excited even when I’m doing a normal side mission.

Improvements

Sure, there’s plenty that can be improved on. But with a new genre of game and a new style of gameplay, that is sure to be expected. Assassin’s Creed didn’t start off as the blockbuster it is today, and I am fairly sure that I would support any sequel from Watchdogs. Once Ubisoft fixes the bugs and some hiccups along the way, Watchdogs 2 is bound to be the new blockbuster of the year.

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Even though the action and the story is weak, this shows that the old stuff still works. Throw a little change and keep the gameplay fresh, and people will still like it. Watchdogs is still generally rough around the edges, but all you need is some good tweaks and enhancements, and Watchdogs 2 is bound to be a hit.

Goblin VS Gnome Review

So if you had been playing Hearthstone the last few days, you would have realized that the new expansion ‘Goblin VS Gnomes’ (GvG) is out in the arena. Call it Blizzard’s money-making scheme if you will. The hype-train for this is crazy. The slow and steady release of the new cards in the expansion and the subsequent release of all the cards at one go thrilled players new and old. I’ll be covering large general reviews of the new meta, without making this post seem long and draggy by reviewing every single card out there since most players have already done their research and their comments. Note that these are based off my own opinions on the expected changes in the current meta.

I am sorry

Paladins are apparently the worst hit by this new expansion. The obvious evidence points to one of the less useful legendary in the game: Bolvar Fordragon. While an iconic character in the lore, this card leaves more of a disgusting taste in the mouth. A useless topdeck and a dead draw at the start. It certainly does not help the Paladins which are already slowing seeing less use. While the paladin gets some good cards like Quartermaster, its cards are generally worse off its current meta (Coghammer vs Truesilver Champion, Muster for Battle against other weapons, etc)

EDIT: Right now I’m playing a Paladin Rush deck, and it seems pretty fun! Sword of Justice + minion swarm + Divine favour to refill your hand

Mechs There’s a new type in town, and these are the mechs. Till this date, I have not seen a full mech deck, but I am certainly excited to see what a fully completed mech deck could do. There is so much potential, such as harnessing spare parts or even Mega Windfury. Blizzard certainly has added much flavor in the already colorful mix of Hearthstone. Anticipate more from this type soon!

Balance

The next question would be: Is the game now balanced? While there is some debate over the whole thing, I always have a belief that the game balances itself. For instance, when Miracle Rouge was the top winning deck, people ended up putting cards in to counter that deck. Therefore, to say that any card is imbalanced is just a little ignorant.

Randomness!

One aspect that is really likeable is the additional of more randomness into the metagame. Cards like Crackle, the Ogre cards and the Mech cards that spawn minions on death add a whole new scene of randomness into the metagame. You either embrace it, or let is cause your downfall.

Fun

Building on the previous point, randomness of a card game certainly makes the whole gameplay more fun and entertaining, instead of the usual hard strategy against hard strategy. The need to embrace randomness when making decks or when playing also serves to further differentiate good players from better players.

While the paladin review was harsh, it is hard to say that in a general sense. They have their good cards and their bad. It takes a good player and a fun personality to bring all the new cards together to form a new deck to kick butt. Overall, the new expansion makes the new meta fun and colorful. There may be some balance issues here and there, but that’s what a card game is all about.

The Science of Daily Quests

Daily quests, or dailies for short, is not a new concept in the MMORPG genre. It’s prominence was mostly depicted in WoW, where the quests had significantly better rewards than repeatable quests. According to WoWwiki,  dailies are repeatable quests that can be acquired and completed once per day.

I’ve been recently playing Hearthstone and HotS, and the dailies certainly played a huge role in my commitment to play the game at least once each day. ‘I got to clear my dailies at least!’ is always my cry when I squeeze in the last 30 minutes of gaming just before sleeping at 2am before waking up for school the next day.

But dailies has not been a new concept. In fact, probably the most prominent feature from dailies come from the renowned game called Neopets.

RIGHT THERE. That feeling is called Nostalgia.

Everybody who played Neopets when they were a kid remembered saying ‘I got to get my daily omelette, jelly, etc.!’ This was daily quests in its greatest peak back then with dial-up Internet. And they didn’t even patent the idea yet.

Fast forward to today, where many games these days have dailies. Archeage, WoW, even the mobile game Spiderman Unlimited which I’m totally addicted to.

So why are daily quests such a great aspect in a game?

Continued Patronage

Let’s face it: The biggest win of dailies is that they compel you play at least once everyday. If you are sufficiently committed to the game, the rewards from the daily quests are enough to keep bring you back. Again and again. A game that you would play once in 2 days would make you play it once everyday.

The backlog of quests, especially games with daily quests that refresh itself everyday (the epitome of evil) forces you to log in at least once a day.

The Feeling of Accomplishment

accomplishment

The feeling when you accomplish anything is great, be it big or small. With dailies, the game satisfies our compulsive need to accomplish something everyday. The feeling of logging in and then subsequently gaining something that can be used makes you feel good, and you will then want to do it everyday. It’s simple psychology, really.

Does this mean anything for us? Not really. If games still make daily quests a feature, its quite hard to stop playing. It’s like Satan tempting us with fried chicken everyday (provided you love fried chicken).

What Makes A Good Mobile Game?

What makes a good mobile game? For this article, I will be discounting marketing and budget limitations. This formula considers graphics and sound, genre, pricing model, and gameplay simplicity.

Aesthetics

Clash of Clans

To achieve good aesthetics, we are concerned with choosing either ‘realistic’ or ‘cartoon-like’ interfaces for graphics and sound. A ‘cartoon-like’ game is likely to have better aesthetics as it is easier to incorporate vibrant colours, quirky sound effects and identifiable character designs. In contrast, a game that strives for realistic graphics faces greater scrutiny from players. Cartoon-like graphics leave an impression and tend to be more popular than games with mediocre realistic graphics. We believe that this is the most important aspect of games.

Genre

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Arcade games, characterised by short levels, consistently occupied the top most downloaded list in 2013 and January 2014 (Wagner, 2013; App Annie, 2014). This high demand for Arcade games can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, they were able to attract players besides traditional ‘gamers’ (Plant, 2012) with simplistic and quick gameplay. Furthermore, they generate social interaction (Werner, 2014). By comparing high scores, they stimulate interest and competition.
Next, by incorporating social media in games (e.g. Facebook Login and multiplayer mode) we can introduce social interactions despite players being physically apart. This creates opportunities for competition that humans appreciate (Reboul, 2010) and creates a process where one can increase his or her social status using less money and effort than in real life (Wang, 2010). There will also be a two-way communication between users and developers to facilitate better feedback processes.

Simplicity

Clash of Clans

Another factor is simplicity, defined as being easy to play, and user-friendly. A simple game can still be fun and addictive. Creative games with beautiful aesthetics attract a lot of attention but if instructions and mechanics are difficult to grasp, it is unlikely to succeed. Moreover, as humans dislike complexity, simplicity leads to greater uptake of the game.

Freemium

The Freemium pricing model, which allows consumers to play for free with an option to make in-app purchases to aid their progression, seems to be the best way to price games. Freemium games have greater publicity and therefore higher download rates. Some common methods are subscriptions, in-game advertising, downloadable content (DLC), etc.

In addition, we will analyse games that follow our formula and did well, games that follow but did not do well, and games that do not follow but still did well.

Candy Crush Saga is a freemium Arcade game, has cartoon-like graphics, incorporates social media and is simple to play. It corresponds to our formula and was the most downloaded app for the iOS and Google Play in 2013 (App Annie, 2014).

However, Clash of Clans is a Strategy game and Minecraft is a Sandbox Role-Playing game, but they still performed well. Clash of Clans has engaging gameplay, but we argue that it was an outlier (9th most downloaded iOS game in January 2014) (App Annie, 2014). Minecraft’s success could be attributed to the success of its PC predecessor.

Another example is Beat the Boss 2, which fulfilled our formula and yet did not do well. We attribute it to external factors such as bugs and glitches. This falls beyond the scope of our discussion, but we attribute such underperformance to poor performance by the developers, and not the formula.

Therefore, our formula of a good mobile game still stands. Although it is not fool-proof, we believe that it provides a template that an aspiring mobile game app developer can follow.

The Emergence of Card Games: Something You May not Know

Hearthstone

From 2013 onwards, there has been a tremendous surge in the number of card games for the mobile platform.  Apart from the giant known as Hearthstone, there are other card games in the app stores that are a great hit with mobile users.

Some examples include:
Ayakashi Ghost Guild by Zygna
Valkyrie Crusade by Nubee
Guardian Cross by Square Enix

Indeed, these few years have set the ‘Card Games’ genre in motion with its popularity and sometimes simple to learn gameplay.

In this article, I will cover why ‘Card Games’ are popular these days, and what is in store for them in the future.

To put things into perspective, let’s examine the popular mobile app trends of the past.

For a period in time (2008-2009), games like Bejeweled Blitz were a great hit, especially if it were based on speed. Bejeweled Blitz was one of the top downloads of the past.

Next in line (2009-2010) was the games where you had to commit to certain timings to play. This involved reporting back at fixed ‘timings’ to harvest crops, collect money, build buildings, etc. This would probably be the most profitable the mobile app industry has been, since users would rather pay the money instead of waiting.

Finally, we see the champion of mobile games (2010-present) with games of a mixture of both elements. Candy Crush and Farm Heroes are examples of these games. They combine Bejeweled gameplay with the element of waiting to get things you want.

Now, there is an emergence of ‘Card Games’, where players are involved in strategic duels between others players or AIs.

Hearthstone

Gameplay
One reason why card games are so popular is that the gameplay is relatively easy. There is no need for micro skills, ‘rhythm-based’ skills or even the speed needed for Bejeweled Blitz. It was simply how strategic you think and how you form your decks before playing. The learning curve is easy as well, where there is an abundance of tutorials and plenty of opportunities to practice with AI opponents.

Competitive Element

Another reason for its popularity is that it incorporates the competitive element of games. Humans like to challenge each other, and this is accomplished with the multiplayer functions in each game. This pits a player against another and you can see whose deck and strategy triumphs the other. As compared to single player games such as Plants Vs Zombies, the competition between friends makes the whole experience more enjoyable. This can be further seen in other games such as Flappy Birds, where even without a multiplayer function, people compete against high scores.

Social Interaction

Card games allow people to socialize with each other. You are able to talk to in-game players and even communities that exist outside of the game. More often than not, games are fun because of the social element it entails. Card games give people a common topic, and even facilitate discussions as there is not only one way to play it.

Flexibility

Building on the previous point, there is no ‘one way’ way to play the game. A good card game gives a lot of flexibility in play style and this certainly attracts players who want to play a popular game and yet want to find a personality that distinguishes themselves from others. Flexibility in gameplay is important and this can been seen by MMORPGs, where the distinguishing factor is and has always been the classes you can be when you play the game. Similarly, card games give each player a choice on what road they want to travel (by building different decks).

Free

Probably what made the ‘Card Game’ genre so prevalent is the fact that cards are generally free. There is no need to physically go out to buy booster packs using your own money. You could pay for in-game purchases, but each game is generally free to pick up. This can attribute to a lot of players giving the game a shot. After all, the opportunity cost is low should they find out that they do not like the game.

What’s next?

The next question would be whether card games are here to stay, or whether they are a passing fad. This may be applicable especially for the mobile game developers out there.

While there is no doubt that there mobile card games are here to stay, it should be noted that card games have existed since decades ago, beginning with the likes of Pokemon, Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh!.  The only difference is probably that the games are free and easily accessible. Even without those factors, games play Pokemon and Magic the Gathering have survived even till today. This is definitely something to take note of. It could mean that this is not the ‘creation’ of a trend, rather than a technological advancement that made a popular trend even more popular. This, of course, is pure speculation.

Test Your Sanity with Flappy Bird’s Successor: Swing Copters

Swing Copters

Smartphone owners beware. Prepare to test your sanity with Flappy Bird’s Successor: Swing Copters.

The legendary creator of Flappy Bird Dong Nguyen did it again. Instead of navigating a bird sideways, you now need to guide an adorably cute helicopter upward without hitting any of the hammers that swing from each gate. You get a point for every gate you pass through. Basically, this is Flappy bird, except that you’re doing it vertically this time.

This article will compare both Swing Copter and Flappy Bird, talk about whether Swing Copters will create a hit comparable to Flappy Bird, and what this will potentially mean for the future of mobile gaming.

As mentioned, the mechanics, graphics, and even the physics of the entire game is the same. The sprite is still unbelievably difficult to control and the point scoring system is the same. The copter moves faster than the bird in Flappy Bird, and this time round there are swinging hammers to make you question whether you’re indeed the calm person you once told yourself you were.

What will probably differentiate Swing Copter is the novel new concept of gameplay that says “It’s the same thing, but different.” We have seen too many clones of Flappy Bird in the app store these days, and a new game will definitely bring some freshness in the casual gaming industry.

Swing Copters

This leads me to the second point: Will Swing Copter create a huge phenomenal hit, just like its predecessor?

One argument would be that the market is always looking for novel concepts. Despite the app store overflowing with games, mobile users are still hungry for cooler and better games that they can get addicted to. Mobile users want something that fits into their lifestyle: Something challenging, yet easy to learn, together with a high score that they can compete with other friends. Flappy Bird has indeed achieved that. Together with the expertise of Dong Nguyen, there is no reason why Swing Copters will not create a huge hit, since it already satisfies this model.

However, we could also argue that the world has already experienced the marvel that is Flappy Bird. Together with the multitude of clones, the world can be said to be bored of this high score genre of games. Mobile users are looking for games that are novel, but more novel than what can almost pass off as a mere copy of Flappy Bird.

Once again, we have to see how well-accepted Swing Copters will be in the next few months.

There are, however, just a few dubious claims that I will lay on the table for now. Firstly, Dong Nguyen withdrew Flappy Bird because he could not take the popularity of the game’s overwhelming success. People dismissed it as a normal human tendency. If that is so, then why the release of Swing Copters?

Furthermore, what are mobile gaming users truly looking for? Companies spend big bucks trying to develop a comprehensive and interactive mobile game, just to lose out to a game with took a developer a short amount of time to build. Is there a certain formula that should be followed?

If the success of this new mobile game ensues, this could potentially change the whole mobile gaming industry. It just goes to emphasise that big budgets does not always equate to better games.

How Swing Copters play out in the next few months could potentially affect the mobile gaming industry more than anybody would think it would. We would just have to wait and see.

WoW Subscribers down by 800,000. Will Warlords of Draenor Save It?

View my post at http://2p.com/8192201_1/WoW-Subscribers-down-by-800000-Will-Warlords-of-Draenor-save-it-by-theophay.htm

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Once again, we see WoW’s subscriber count dip to a new low. According to Times, It now stands at 6.8 million, down from 7.6 million from the last quarter. To put into perspective, the last time WoW stood at this low was in mid-2006, one and a half year since its release. However, it was quoted that this decline is seasonal and expected, since the expansion (Mist of Pandaria) is nearing its expected life cycle. Furthermore, a new expansion will be released that is supposed to bring people back to WoW.

The question is: Will it do so?

From my previous article: The Death of WoW, I have shared reasons on why I believe that WoW is dying: From a gameplay perspective and from an overall perspective such as analyzing Blizzard as a whole.

Check it out here.

This article will seek to justify whether Warlords of Draenor (WoD) will truly save it, and what is next for Blizzard.

While WoD is set in the past with Orcs generally portrayed as the ‘good guys’, the game has been improved with many features such as a level 90 jump and a visual improvement for the entire game.

With many features in place, there are good grounds to claim that Blizzard can effectively bring back the old gamers, and even bring in fresh faces who are willing to give WoW a shot.

That being said, I do not deny that there will definitely be a jump in the number of subscribers once WoD is released, but there is a good chance that the numbers will fall short once again in the next year. Here are some of the reasons why:

Tasteless gameplay

The gameplay for WoW has been the same throughout. Even if you change the storyline a little, people are going to come to realize that they’re doing the same thing throughout: PvPing, PvEing, questing and adventuring. I’ve mentioned previously that the repetitive gameplay is one reason why I felt WoW was dying. Introducing new dungeons can solve this issue, but only temporarily. There is still a need to revamp gameplay, such as introducing new battlegrounds, or new ways that players can engage in PvP.

Competition

WoW

WoW seems like the best choice in a MMORPG of the past, and rightfully so. WoW faced very weak competition, and Blizzard was at its peak a few years ago, with a very nice MMORPG and with strong entrants such as Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2. However, the gaming environment is different now. There are many new entrants that give WoW a run for its money, such as Elder Scrolls Online, and even new genres such as MOBAs like DotA 2 and mobile MMOs. WoW faces competition so stiff that it becomes more questionable whether the model that became so successful would apply now.

Many people would now ask: What’s next for Blizzard, especially so now that it is rumored that WoD seems to be WoW’s final expansion.

Change of Gameplay

With all else said, it would be refreshing if Blizzard chooses to revamp the gameplay of WoW. They will have to do it in such a way that the original gameplay will not be affected, but there is a taste that the expansion will be different. The changes should not only focus on the visual aspects, but involve more things a player can do other than exploring new regions. Players now hunger for more things to do even after they have attained level 90.

Focus on other projects

It would be surprising if Blizzard chooses to cash out of the WoW franchise. But I would not take it as a major shocker. After all, there is evidence that the gaming world is now moving towards a new form of gaming. Major entrants are now MOBA and Mobile gaming. Blizzard has definitely picked up hints of this shift, and has therefore released major game titles like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm to cash in on this shift. Would Blizzard shift all its resources to these games? Unlikely, but I would not be surprised.
Blizzard definitely has much to do for WoW, and I would argue that WoD is not enough.

Blizzard can be said to be the ‘Apple of Gaming’ and consumers look out for more radical entrants, as compared to small improvements of gameplay. Such is the standard that Blizzard has set for itself. Either Blizzard has to suit up, or face major disappointment.

First Impressions: Warlords of Draenor, Boosted to level 90

View my post at http://2p.com/8400144_1/First-Impressions-Warlords-of-Draenor-Boosted-to-level-90-by-theophay.htm

This article will be the time when I boosted my level to level 90 in the Warlord of Draenor beta.


“Check out my funky armour. Also, I realised how ugly Worgens looked after playing them, so I’ll only post my human shot. Anyway, this is the starter armours for anyone who boost to level 90.”

I chose a Worgen Mage (simply because I have never tried both the race and the class before) and was instantly thrown into the fray of the skirmish between the Gul’Dan and the heroes of Azeroth.

Iconic faces litter the entire map. Expect the likes of Thrall, Khadgar, and plenty other familiar faces as you fight across the hordes of orcs trying to stop Gul’dan from achieving his evil ambition.

Except that I have no idea what this evil ambition is.

In the arguments for an immersive gameplay, new players will have no idea or will be unable to appreciate the likes of these iconic faces. You need to be well-equipped with WoW lore before you can even begin to understand what is happening when you are thrust into the midst of battle.

When the game begins, you find out that the Shadow Council is being used to fuel the portal. Why? What is the Shadow Council? Who is Gul’dan? What is happening? Is this just a regular dungeon?
No matter though, you’re just thrust into the heat of war and instantly being labeled as ‘The savior of Azeroth’.

Not only do you not get to know these iconic characters, you will not even get to have a sense of what they are like. When you begin a quest with characters, you get a feel of who they really are. Basic character development has been one of Blizzard’s strong points, and in WoD, they simply whisked it all away. It was quite a disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong, I know WoW. At least enough to write a review about it. WoD has been featured as players being able to cross swords with the likes of Hellscream, Blackhand and Ner’zhul. But what’s the point of doing so if you don’t know who they are? WoD does not sufficient develop their characters.

Nonetheless, you will find yourself completing quests and trying to escape the onslaught of orcs coming at you. The gameplay was well-thought through with plenty of fun instances, like a cannon mission to slay waves of orcs.


“This, and a lot of other quests, are like competing on which is the best way to kill someone twistedly.”

Personally, the entire story was a little long, but there was no better way to depict how the hero (you) manages to escape with the heroes of Azeroth into Shadowmoon Valley, before the Portal opened.

The last point would be that the tutorial was outrageously poor. The instance starts with a level 90 character, and people expect to be slowly guided into a game, especially when it’s the first time I’m playing a class. WoW could not even provide an opportunity to teach a new player how the game works, other than a few pop-ups like ‘This is what this does’. Even I had problems finding out what skill rotation to use, especially so with new talent trees available. What it provides is several very simple quests and regions that don’t really challenge you to learn much.

There’s no event leading up to assaulting the Iron Horde in the jungle; you’re just there, devoid of any sense of urgency or any reason to care.

Overall, WoD was detrimental to new players as a whole. The learning curve became remarkably steep, even for an experienced player like me. The whole early stage instance lacked character development, which was ironic given that one of the main features of WoD was to ‘cross axes with the likes of Grommash Hellscream, Blackhand, and Ner’zhul at the height of their primal power.’

Stay tuned, where I will then discuss more about Garissons.

The Death of World of Warcraft

WoW

World of Warcraft , or WoW to most people, has been the epitome of a MMORPG. They had once perfected the formula of an intriguing lore, interactive gameplay and a generally fun MMORPG, to the extent that new entrants of MMORPGs can only hope to follow WoW and hopefully differentiate itself along the way. Games I’ve played after WoW (admittedly not much) such as RO2, Allods Online, etc, all fall into the same trap that makes it noticeably similar to WoW.

So why does it seem like WoW is dying?

According to Forbes (2013), WoW has lost nearly 2 million subscribers in the past 2 quarters, and its revenue dropped almost 54% (VG24/7,2013).

Ask any experienced player, and the reasons they will most probably quote are ‘boring and repetitive gameplay’, ‘player fatigue’ from doing raids over and over again, and the ‘seemingly aimless expansions’.

While certainly not dead, WoW is experiencing a heavy loss in user traction. Let’s examine the reasons.

  1. The Aging Gameplay
Oh look. I’ve gained another level. Hope this level is different from the other 12 I’ve been through.

Don’t get me wrong, WoW has some of the best lore I’ve ever read. The depth and the storyline are fascinating till this very day. It is certainly comparable to the depth of Star Wars, Elder Scrolls, Lord of the Rings, etc.

But gameplay is a totally different thing. While some may argue that the experience in WoW is about experiencing the world of Warcraft and its richness, there’s much to be said about the experience in-game.

With over 9 years of gameplay, any experienced player will mostly probably have explored the entire world, and expansions only add on to the list of exploring. I will argue that the high point of WoW was in Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK), where I felt that it was a remarkable end to the experience. In Cataclysm and Mist of Pandaria, it seems that Blizzard is just trying to pull back subscribers. The gameplay was not as fascinating as what I felt in Burning Crusade and WotLK. It was getting boring, repetitive and I found myself constantly asking why I’m grinding to get better items to grind better.

  1. Pay to Play Model
This is probably the saddest image for anyone who just wants to go home and play a little WoW.

Probably one of the most controversial topics was WoW’s pricing model. Paying for a month’s worth of subscription only appealed to hardcore players. While the numbers exceeded expectations initially, we have to all agree that the model is not entirely applicable 10 years later. Free-to-play, or maybe the freemium model may seem like a more viable alternative.

I’m not saying WoW’s model is bad, but this could be a reason why people stop playing WoW. The first cause is simple demographics: The players that used to play WoW are moving on. Teenagers who once played WoW in their 17-18s are now adults, and what was deemed casual gaming is too much of a commitment. New teenagers are spoilt for choice, with plenty of gaming platforms (mobile, PC, Console), let alone MMORPGs, to choose from. The attraction towards WoW is much lower as it was compared to the past.

The second is the advent of mobile games. While seemingly unrelated, mobile games brought upon the rise of casual gaming, which is more viable in a busy and industrialized economy. WoW subscribers may see more sense in investing less time to a game (perhaps another MMORPG) on their mobile phone which can be played on the go, instead of devoting time and effort to a hardcore MMORPG.

  1. The ‘Apple’ of Gaming

Blizzard has been seen as the forefront of great games from irrefutably unbeatable franchises such as Starcraft and Diablo. This brings about the ‘Apple’ effect, where users want something that only a giant can provide. WoW’s expansions are coming so generic that users can only live in their own disappointment, much like a relationship that was once fiery and passionate now seems too stable for comfort.
Such like the iPhone, where the onset was amazing, and each subsequent improvement only draws more ‘meh’ than the initial crowd pleaser.

The Evolution of MMORPGs

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of WoW, and I’m not saying it is dead. WoW, although dying, is still going strong.

Undoubtedly any game that has experienced a high point will reach new lows. It’s the process of nature. Hype dies down after certain time, and WoW is no exception. New entrants appear time to time and there are better alternatives compared to Pay-to-Play MMORPGs. Just like Lord of the Rings online which changed its pricing model, it can be seen that there is a general shift in preference to free games, as compared to games with an investment to play.

What does this mean?

While we may go on debating on whether WoW is truly dead, what I place on the table is this: Now is a good a time as any to bring in a game that re-defines the MMORPG genre. While it certainly pleases me to see more games coming out, what I wish is that there is a big hit that sets itself apart from WoW and drives the world ape-crazy again.

Right now, it seems like virtual reality gaming might be the next big thing. For that, only time will tell.