Death in Games – Narrative/Mechanical Synergy

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Video games hold a unique position in media by being directly driven by the actions of its audience. Chose your own adventure type books and interactive movies have tried to achieve this to varying success but are held back by being limited to set outcomes.

Character death has been traditionally a big deal. When the protagonist dies, it is a monumental moment that often marks the end of the narrative. It is emotional and it has meaning. Games are the first medium where death just happens. Sure, narrative death in games holds true to its movie and book counterparts but mechanical death is treated in a very different way.

In early games, death was there as a fail state. The player lost and couldn’t experience the full game. Since each attempt meant another coin into the arcade machine, failure and death were a very common thing. Continue reading

Loot Boxes in Shadow of War

God Damn it, Warner Brothers Games. How many times do we have to watch the triple A gaming industry try to shoot itself in the feet to try and bleed out more cash from its customers? How many bad business practices and anti-consumer moves do we have to see before enough is enough. Will it ever be enough? Increasingly I doubt it.

*sigh* So, the incident that has sparked this is the announcement that WB Games will be adding loot boxes to Shadow of War. Loot boxes are shady enough at the best of times, but for a single player game that is full retail price and has paid DLC, it is simply shameless. Continue reading

Great games to play with non-gamers (that isn’t Nintendo).

Gaming is increasingly becoming a more mainstream hobby but there are still those who, for whatever reason, don’t play games. Maybe you want to involve family members in your passion, kill time with a non-gaming friend or introduce a romantic interest into your world. With so many games out there, which are the best for introducing new players to games while being enjoyable for all parties involved?

I am only including multi-platform games here. All of them will also be focused on local play too rather than online. Continue reading

Nier Automata – Final Thoughts (Updated Review)

Image result for nier automataHaving had a few weeks to mull over Nier Automata since completing it and taking the time to read/watch several reviews, I’d like to layout my final thoughts on the game and offer a closing review that coves the game’s whole scope rather than my first impressions review. Obviously there are spoilers ahead.

I’m not planning to retread old grown. My more general thoughts haven changed so for mechanics and the like you can read though my original review here, and for my feelings after Ending E that cover a major theme of the game then you can check out this.

My original score for Nier Automata was an 8, which in my system is a god score. Too much hyperbole exists within reviews now with many looking at anything less than a 9 as somehow bad. But for me, some of my all time favourite games I would score as low as 7 because to me a score should include mechanics, scope, characters, story and enjoyment. Something that I absolutely loved could be clunky and sparse of content while something I personally hate could be a masterpiece. In my head, an 8 is a great game that I would recommend to everyone. Continue reading

Nier Automata – The beauty of ending E (Spoilers)

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I recently posted my review of Nier Automata after completing ending A. I have now completed the final main ending (E) and have some thoughts that I need to put to paper. I will be talking about ending E so you have been warned.

In my initial review my biggest issue was with the characters. I felt that they lacked depth. I can safely say that this was resolved as the game progressed, especially in the case of 9S. I got a lot of hours out of the game and fully recommend the game to everyone.

That isn’t what I want to write about today though. I want to write about a moment that made me surprisingly emotional. The game is filled with tragedy but it was the end credits for ending E that really it me in the feels.  Continue reading

Parent Gaming Prima – Raising Children in the Video Game Generation

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I’ve debated this topic with myself for a while now but haven’t really commented on it due to not being a parent myself. However, I did grow up from a young age surrounded by video games and am now an adult who watches the industry closely. I have seen the gaming climate shift from nerdy pariahs stigmatised by society to a mainstream activity that has become a core part of modern day life. I have seen communities change and have witnessed the good and bad of gaming’s rise to power.

With this knowledge I want to impart some advice for parents bringing up children in this digital era. Parents who themselves are already gamers will know and understand most of these points but if you are unfamiliar with the medium then it can be a mystical and complicated concept to tackle. You cannot avoid it though. Your children will be exposed to games so it is vital that you give them the correct support because it is far too easy for games to create bad habits in children. Continue reading

Nier Automata – First Impression Review.

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In an action-packed first quarter to 2017 for games, with such massive titles as Horizon Zero Dawn, Nioh, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mass Effect Andromeda, Platinum game’s sequel to a relatively unknown JRPG: Nier Automata was not the obvious choice to pick up. I had never played the original Nier and neither had I played the Drakenguard series that are Nier’s spiritual ancestor. Added to this, I have never really played any of Platinum’s catalogue either. So why did I choose this game to be my first game of 2017?

Something about Nier stood out for me during the early footage we were shown. It wasn’t the titillation of the scantily clad lead female, 2B, (though I won’t argue against it), and it wasn’t that I particularly like Japanese RPGs. What got me was the style. The aesthetics. The world. The androids were sleek and gothic, the robots strangely endearing, and the ruined shell of humanity that formed the landscape was eerily beautiful. This caught my attention and, unlike many other AAA games, nothing came up to cast doubt in my mind. Continue reading