Retro Gaming

Top Things I Miss About Retro Gaming

Jordan Zolan talks about gaming’s past…

A friend of mine was recently late to a meet-up we scheduled because he had to reach a save spot in a game. He complained how long it took to save his data, and that he was frustrated about being late as a result.

It all got me thinking about how things used to be back in the day, and that him having to wait a little bit to save is nothing like what we had to go through when I was a kid. We discussed what it was like oh so many years ago, and I started to reminisce about all the other aspects of retro gaming that I miss. Here are just a few things gamers today might not remember, but they were staples of my gaming experience growing up.

Cheat Codes:

Anyone who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s can probably still recite a cheat code or two. Whether it’s “IDDKQ,” “KDFM,” or “Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A B A Start,” these sequences are burned into our memories. With cheat codes, we could act like God’s among men, devilishly manipulating the world around us. We now had the power to grant more lives, unlock unlimited weapons, or bring ourselves back from the dead.

Playing through Doom II was fun but having the ability to equip the BFG from the very start made for a really great ride. Knowing the correct buttons to push or keys to input, made gamers feel like they knew something no one else did. It was a secret that made you feel larger than life. Sure, everyone knew these codes, but in the privacy of your own home, you were the sole wielder of such great power.  To this day, I can’t pop in Contra on my NES without inputting the code for thirty lives. It’s ingrained in my muscle memory for all time.

This all still exists today, but it’s not as prevalent and just doesn’t feel as cool as it did oh so many years ago. What are some of the cheat codes you remember always using as a kid?

Retro Gaming

Save Game Passwords

Gamers today don’t know how easy they have it when it comes to saving a game. Most of the time you can just hit the start button and save your data on the spot. Occasionally, there will be a game that makes you work a little hard for it by having you find a save spot or wait until finishing a level. Either way, saving games in today’s world is a simple affair.

This wasn’t always the case, and I remember the pains of what my generation had to go through. Back in the day, we didn’t have the option of saving willy-nilly. What we had, were things called passwords or save game codes. If a game did allow you to save (which wasn’t always the case), it would give you a long string of randomized characters to input. This would allow the player to start at the most recently completed level, or at the spot where the password was received. I used to have notebooks full of passwords written down as to not lose them. I worked hard at advancing through various games, and those save game codes were of vital importance. I can’t imagine having to do something so archaic today, but back then it was the norm.

Retro Gaming

Instruction Manuals

I don’t remember when exactly it became a thing to get rid of instruction manuals with games. Back in the day, every title came packaged with a detailed booklet for all to read and enjoy. If you go back to the NES days, not only were they informative, but many had fantastic artwork throughout the pages. To see a great example, try to find an original Zelda manual. Each enemy and all the weapons were beautifully drawn with immense detail. Many times, there would be whole backstories written inside to build the world of the game.

I used to collect mine, never throwing any away. One day, all of my manuals were tossed, and it was devastating. Today, assuming you don’t buy a game digitally, all we get is a little insert, possibly a coupon or code, and that’s about it. I’m sure it was a cost-cutting measure to do away with instructions, but they used to add so much to the gaming experience. Even to this day, I think about my tossed books of fun, and I wish I had them to read through.

Retro Gaming

Nintendo Power

Sure, gaming magazines are still released on stands today, but none of them are as iconic or enjoyable as Nintendo Power used to be. When you received a copy of that larger than life magazine in the mail, it was a glorious day, to say the least. The wonders and thrills imprinted on each page always brightened my day. The cover art was always amazing, and the details within continually made me excited for what was to come.

From 1988 to 2012, Nintendo fans were treated to something special within those pages. The magazines released today still inform players of upcoming games and news, but it’s not the same. By the time an issue hits the newsstand, the information it contains is outdated and made irrelevant by the internet. I was given a subscription to Game Informer when I paid for my GameStop PowerUp Rewards, but I didn’t read a single issue. The magic that was Nintendo Power can never be recreated.

Retro Gaming

PS1 Power-Up Theme

This might be silly, but I loved the theme that played when you first turned on an original PlayStation. It gave the PS1 an instant bravado that made it say “I’m Different, and I’m going to kick butt.” When you heard that tone, you knew you were in for an experience. I can remember turning up the volume, controller in hand, and hitting that power button with the biggest grin on my face as that music played.

It truth, not all games lived up to the hype generated by that grandiose tone, but it always made you feel you were strapping in for a great ride none-the-less. Other consoles had their other start music after that, but nothing quite matched the grandeur of the original PS1. I loved the GameCube start-up music as well, but it didn’t have the same adrenaline-inducing magnetism as the PS1.

Retro Gaming

Peripherals

Nintendo was king of the peripherals. From the Power Glove, Super Scope 6, the Power Pad, and the Light Gun to name a few, gamers in the ’80s and early ’90s were inundated with first and third party peripherals.

So many of these add-ons were quite useless, but I’ll be dammed if they didn’t look cool on the shelf. The R.O.B for the original NES was probably the most confusing and nonsensical peripheral of all time, and yet there was something special about it. I still have mine, although it doesn’t work, and I’m missing all of the various attachments.

Steering wheels, flight sticks, brake pedals, and arcade-style lap controls were all a part of what gaming was all about. I know they still sell things like that today, but the newness of it all back in the NES heyday made it all the more special. If you loved playing Afterburn in the arcade, now you could have your very own Jet flight stick at home.

It was kitschy and pretty geeky to have some of these beautiful pieces of plastic, but it just made the who gaming experience so much more visceral. What are some of your favorite peripherals from back in the day? Are there any you always wished you had but never owned?

Retro Gaming

Simple Wired Controllers

I can remember getting so frustrated at games (I’m looking at you Battletoads), that I would throw my controller in a fit of rage. The NES controllers were built like tanks, and since they were wired, they couldn’t go very far.

I can safely say I never broke a single controller back then by throwing it. It was a great way to channel your frustrations and to take a minute to cool down and try again. Jump to today, and I would NEVER throw a controller no matter how blind with rage I’ve become. Aside from the fact that they can easily break, controllers are exceptionally expensive. Having to replace a first party Xbox One, PS4, or Switch Pro Controller will set you back $60 or $70 bucks. The Joy-Cons, as much as I love them are also exorbitant. Throwing your controller today is an expensive form of anger management, one which I highly recommend you do not do.

Makes me yearn for the little square piece of hard plastic with its two buttons and securely wired tether.

Retro Gaming

These have been just a few of the things I miss about retro gaming. Sure, many of the things I listed above aren’t practical today, but that’s not the point.

I realize gaming has evolved to make things easier and more streamlined for players, but that doesn’t mean I can’t reminisce about the days of yore. I wouldn’t want to go back to inputting a long password to start a game where I left off or be forced to use simple wired controllers again.

I enjoy how gaming has evolved, but a part of me misses the simple pleasures of how things used to be. Are there aspects to retro gaming you miss? Write in the comments below and let me know what you think of my list and what I might have left off.

Advertisements
Is Digital Gaming Best For Us?

Gamer Debate: Is Digital Gaming Best For Us?

Is digital the way to go?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I can honestly say that gamers are some of the most passionate people on the planet. We like what we like, and rarely do we fail to voice our opinions. With the rise of social media, our voices are louder than ever. Because of our strong opinions, we tend not to shy away from a good debate. Casual debates among gamers, however, can become very heated in nature. One of the biggest ongoing debates is the one over physical vs digital games.

Physical games have been around for decades, but a change is on the horizon. Digital gaming is here and it’s here to stay. I’ve noticed over the last few months, I’ve bought more games digitally than I ever have. Games like Fire Pro Wrestling World, Dead Cells and Oddworld: New N Tasty round out my recent digital downloads. I can’t deny how convenient it is to just buy a game from the comfort of my own couch. Kids are growing up in a world where they don’t need to go out and do anything. I literally had to beg my granny to take me to the video store every weekend as a kid.

Digital gaming has also led to the influx of awesome indie games over the past few years. Smaller companies are now able to push their own titles without the need of massive publishers. My stance on digital gaming is positive. I think it fills a lot of voids, but it may come at a cost. Let’s look at digital gaming and how I feel it affects the gaming landscape.

Physical Space

Physical space is an issue when collecting especially with retro gaming enthusiasts. Can you imagine trying to store a complete collection of Sega Genesis or Sega Saturn games for that matter? Going digital allows you to do away with that space to make room for other important things. (As if other things are more important.)

Is Digital Gaming Best For Us?

Time Saver

Digital games save you time. You no longer need to drive out to a physical store for a game disc. It even beats having games shipped to you through the mail. Anyone can play their games right away on their favourite console. Sometimes you can even pre-load your games and play at the top of the hour. That’s a sweet deal.

Shipping and Handling

For game companies, it’s in their best interest to avoid shipping and packing costs. Companies can save costs on discs, cases, inserts, and the shipping for millions of copies at a time.

Blocks Resale Market

The resale market has long been an issue for video game companies. Places such as Gamestop allow gamers to buy and sell games while the game companies see none of those profits. Going digital can change that outlook while changing the entire resale landscape. Who knows, companies could create their own digital exchange program in the future.

Is Digital Gaming Best For Us?

It’s Unlimited

With games being digital, who wants to worry about something being out of stock? Stock problems are non-existent in the digital world.

But…

You Buy it, you Own it Forever

As of right now, there is no way to sell back a digital game. For people who choose to buy this way, you own that game forever. You can’t transfer, share, or sell that game to anyone else. Often, it’s the trade value from old games that add to the sales of brand new games. Think wisely before making that $60 purchase online.

Internet is Needed

To install digital games, you need to have an internet connection. Not only do you need internet but, it needs to be fast enough to handle a large download. The Internet is a common luxury in 2018, but there is still a population out there without it. This population would be out of the equation.

Is Digital Gaming Best For Us?

Servers

I cringed at Microsoft when they first announced the “always online” aspect for the Xbox One. They made things right although games are becoming increasingly dependent on their online connections. Games such as Fortnite, PUBG and even the upcoming Call of Duty Blackout need online connections to even start the game. What happens if a company decides to pull the plug on their game? Suddenly, our games are gone, and we have no control over it.

What Special Edition?

Out goes the special editions and in comes the Deluxe Digital Editions. Special Editions come with physical items that you can either display or keep for collecting purposes. Deluxe Digital Edition games come with extra digital goodies in the form of a code. This may be added bonuses such as skins, weapons, or in-game currency, etc. This could mean no more Fall Out Pip-Boy Editions.

Is Digital Gaming Best For Us?

Gaming is once again going through changes but, as gamers, we roll with the punches. Regarding physical vs digital, I stand firmly in the middle. I believe in preserving video game history with physical items. At the same time, I believe in decreasing the footprint of unnecessary games.

I imagine that 10 years from now this will probably be a non-issue among us. Let’s just hope that there is still a market for these old physical game cases for us old folks.

Xbox Game Pass: Looking Backwards, Moving Forwards

Like it or not, we’re almost at that time of year and no, I don’t mean the big ‘C’ word either (although it’s getting towards that time as well). I am, of course, talking about the silly season. Come September the gaming calendar starts to get a little crazy and it all too quickly becomes week-after-week of big titles vying for time in your console/PC. It’s not a bad situation per se, but finding the time, and money, for all these can be very tricky. Moving away from indies just for a second, we’ve had Spider-Man swing into action and we’re on the verge of seeing Forza Horizon 4, Red Dead Redemption 2, Fallout 76, Battlefield and Call of Duty launch imminently.

But whilst we’re about to see a massive surge of new titles head our way, we’re seeing a growing back-catalogue of games being made readily available to us at the same time. The Xbox Game Pass service offered by Microsoft brings not only old, but new games as well which is something we haven’t seen before in the games industry. This subscription-based service, priced at £7.99 per month, could well be the killer blow that Microsoft needed as they now look on towards their future and inevitable One successor. That, however, depends on what you’re looking for in a console…

What do I mean by this? Well, let’s think of this from a business perspective and where Microsoft is heading over the coming years. They are clearly aiming for the Xbox to be a singular ecosystem, something where you can access any game, anywhere at any time. From their brief mention at E3 this year, it could be rather exciting if they can manage this successfully. In trying to achieve this, they can offer a complete package where you can access all your Xbox content in one place, using one system and under one (or more) subscriptions.

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass

Now from a business perspective, this makes complete sense, but looking at it from a consumer perspective this also makes perfect sense too. Think of it this way; you’re new to gaming, or you’re introducing someone new to gaming and they want a console. You can buy one that needs you to buy games from the get-go to tide you over. Or, with an Xbox, you can buy the console and get a Game Pass subscription, and have access to a shed-load of games off the bat. With all first-party titles coming to the service too, it’s a no-brainer for anyone with an Xbox already so it can easily entice newcomers too.

Am I doing this as a means of promoting the Xbox over other consoles? No, I am far beyond such immaturity. In fact, I’m doing it as an exercise of hope and wishful thinking that this may become the future of gaming. Remote access and digital downloads are clearly the way to go moving forward, so imagine being able to turn on your Switch or PS4 where you have access to a massive catalogue of old and new games almost instantly. If this were bundled into the cost of PSN or Switch Online for example, then I’d be more than happy with that.

Whilst many may moan that most games on offer are older and don’t offer anything new, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. Looking backwards allows us to move forward, as long as the value is there.

Nintendo Switch Online is rubbish

Nintendo’s Direct Was Strong For Games, But Their Online Proposals Appear Futile

Nintendo Direct’s featured a terrific one-two last night, starting with the unexpected announcement of Luigi’s Mansion 3 and ending with the insidious Tom Nook rather effectively revealing Animal Crossing for Switch.

Between these two points, games like Diablo 3: Eternal Collection, Game Freak’s new RPG, simply called Town, Yoshi’s Crafted World, Starlink: Battle for Atlas and Daemon X Machina all impressed. That wasn’t the problem.

The Nintendo Switch Online service launches next week, September 19th in the UK, and this was the company’s chance to really sell it to us, to convince the sceptics. Unfortunately, as some might have expected, Nintendo proved once again that their understanding of the online space is limited to say the least.

Come on now.
Come on now.

The Direct, essentially, gave us a few new details on the basic features. Firstly, it’ll cost £17.99 a year or £3.49 a month and for that:

  • You can play games online.
  • You’ll be able to play NES games each month. NES games are added every month.
  • You can back up your save data to the cloud.
  • The smartphone app enables voice chat.
  • There are exclusive offers for members

So, let’s examine each of these:

It’ll cost £17.99 a year, or £3.49 a month

That’s a good price. Xbox Live comes in at £39.99 and PS Plus at £49.99 for a year. But…

You can play games online

Nintendo has taken its time to launch the service, so, by removing something people have already grown accustomed to playing games like Splatoon 2 and Mario Tennis Aces online for free they are almost always going to feel cheated unless value is added elsewhere. Does the extra cost improve the online gameplay with better servers, for example? We don’t know and we should do by now.

You’ll be able to play NES games each month. More NES games are added every month.

Cool? I find it hard to believe, considering the duration the service has been worked on since the Switch’s launch, that NES games are all Nintendo can offer here. The idea of playing ‘80s games with added netcode is novel but hugely insignificant in this day and age. Nintendo has the option to create a low-cost Netflix-style service with access to an incredible library of games across the SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii etc. Few could do that, and yet here we are.

What’s more, you’ll need to connect at least every week in order to guarantee access to these NES games even if your subscription is a long way from expiring. It’s just not practical for travel at all. PS4 and Xbox let you play offline as long as the games are downloaded first.

You can back up your save data to the cloud

A welcome, modern addition in line with PS Plus and Xbox Live… that is, until Nintendo revealed that not all games could be backed up. The reasoning behind this? Fundamentally, they don’t want people to cheat in games like Dark Souls or Pokémon. Scratching your head like me? Take Splatoon 2, Nintendo stores the save data locally instead of online, meaning cheaters do and will prosper with a backup feature. Separating the single player and multiplayer save data in games like Splatoon 2 is the easy fix here.

What’s more, Nintendo will not keep your cloud save data if your online plan runs out. These are kept for six months after a user’s subscription lapses on PS4. Xbox goes one better and keeps them indefinitely.

The smartphone app enables voice chat

You need a companion smartphone app for voice chat. It’s awkward and overly complex. Enough said really.

There are exclusive offers for members

Sounds good, like discounts on games? What are they? ‘We’ll have more to announce in the future’. But it launches next week, shouldn’t some offers be ready to announce? ‘Here are some NES Controllers’.

The Online Proposition

I feel like the Nintendo Direct, instead of selling the online service, reinforced the idea that it offers little of value, and that’s probably why it’s cheap. In that case, what’s the point of it other than for a quick monetary boost?

Let’s alternatively, pretend, that Nintendo offered the following service:

  • You can play games online with more robust servers – for those that want a premium online experience.
  • You’ll be able to play a selection of NES, SNES, N64 and GameCube games each month with online added in. Achievements for these titles are an optional extra that can be enabled.
  • You can back up your save data to the cloud for all games. Cloud data is stored indefinitely.
  • The smartphone app has been deleted from history. You can talk to friends via the console itself. Friend codes have also been deleted from history.
  • Custom themes, menu music and folders are available as part of the service.
  • There are exclusive offers for members, including discounts on games and a free Switch game every month.

Does all of that sound entirely unreasonable, given the time they had? I personally don’t believe so. They could even raise the price to reflect this most would pay a little bit more for it, I would think. I’m aware that all of this could be added in the future without much difficulty, but I get the feeling we’ll be waiting an awfully long time. And they’ve had plenty.

Wise Yet Strangely Naive

The truth is: I’m not even particularly bothered by online services in general. When I get chance, I spend a great deal of time playing deep single player games, or games locally with others. It’s more the fact the offering from Nintendo is so uncharacteristically poor when compared to their usual workmanship.

I imagine Nintendo to be a master artisan when designing games; inspiring, bold, passionate perfectionists that are almost peerless in their craft. It’s telling that the video they presented to us, with the use of Mario characters to explain the online service, was, on a creative level at least, the best part; Bowser and his son playing together, Lakitu being the literal cloud save data:

The Switch itself is a smart portable, a cool slice of tech for console quality gaming out and about. It’s a great proposition and the sales show people are engaged with it. When it comes to online infrastructure, however, I imagine Nintendo as a bumbling, misplaced clown that has lost the ability to make people laugh. Genuinely speaking, I don’t understand why they find it so hard to get right. It’s like the department for online services at Nintendo is from a different company altogether, with computers still running Windows XP.

The internet is an entitled, odd place. It has its daily, often wild rants, the mutterings or cries of ‘I want this’, things are either absolutely terrible or absolutely amazing. There’s no real logic or sense of balance. I could digress. In a nutshell: this piece shouldn’t come across as one of those I’m just stating it would be really quite nice to see an online service worthy of Nintendo’s name.

Dark Souls Remastered

Turning Hollow – The Covenant Of Artorias

I“ am Jack Boyles. I am losing my humanity… I am turning Hollow.

Stories get passed on and permutate over time but there is one story I’ve heard that doesn’t, a story of a knight – one of the knights of Gywn in fact, have you heard of it?

Some say this knight had an immense power that he could traverse the abyss. He set off to Oolacile, a once thriving city that fell waste to the clutches of the Father of the Abyss. The noble knight with his trusted companion, a wolf, journeyed to the land Oolacile. The knight and his companion were to fight the Father of the Abyss and to liberate Oolacile from the ghastly creature. The knight fought valiantly but with his companion downed and on the verge of being defeated, the knight acted selflessly and sacrificed his own life in order to save his companions. This once benevolent knight, now only recognizable by his physique had been consumed and corrupted by the abyss. In his new-found rage, attacked anything or anyone until one day an unnamed knight ended his reign of terror. Stories say his companion still awaits at his grave, waiting for what, I do not know.

You see Chosen Undead, no matter how powerful we believe one’s self to be, we can be corrupted and consumed; do not fall prey to the power of the Abyss, do not allow yourself to be a consumer.

The Covenant Of Artorias

The abyss is pervading the land and tainting the very foundations of its construct. I and other reputable people try to inform the dangers and to fend off this lurid sap. A feeble idea marred by the nascent perception of the populous whom invest their souls on cosmetic items, loot boxes and other such content that should already be allocated within the innards of the game; sometimes that content is already prescribed on the disc. Tis not so much vexation if the game is free to play but one cannot possibly tolerate such etiquette with a full priced retail game. Principally when the game is formulated in such a way that its desiderata is for thee to spend their souls. This ritual has been coined ‘Games as a Service’ or ‘Live Services’, names conjured to send you adrift.

Not all ‘Games as a Service’ are harrowing, Nintendo’s ‘Splatoon’ hosts special events, adds new weapons, new maps and cosmetic items all for free; the only way to acquire the weapons are from points gained from participating within the game and the points are distributed respectfully… Many AAA companies such as EA and Ubisoft for example, have and will, design their games to devour your souls, applying this technique in both Multiplayer and Single player.

To me, this seems an unstable business model because companies are not just competing with other companies, but they will be competing with their own products.

The Covenant Of Artorias

These big AAA developers and producers no longer refer to us as players or gamers, we are consumers. Consumers, ha, must we not enjoy their games? Must we not look at them as entertainment? Must we not see them as an art form or a form of escapism from the atrocities of life? Not in their eyes. They are just consumable items for us to feed on, reducing their own games to just an item with no inherent value, insinuating we gamers just view these as products that we consume and gain no experience from. Ugh, uh… Surely, this implies that some publishers see games as nothing more than a vacuum sucking everyone’s time to serve no purpose other than to exist, acquire souls and then to be abandoned. Games are not the pendent.

Consumer! By the gods… Would you expect that from a director? Would you expect that from an author? Of course not, they are an audience or a reader. A level of respect participates, not mere vessels for conjuring souls. Would thou agree we should be treated with the same dignity?

The Covenant Of Artorias

If only there were more Covenant of Artorias… End this corruption and consumption… We all should protect ourselves, so our faint doth not follow that of the knights.”

5 Reasons Why Video Game Collecting Has Lost Its Luster

5 Reasons Why Video Game Collecting Has Lost Its Luster

It isn’t uncommon for me to sit in my game room and complain about not having games to play – you hear it frequently on the web. The irony of that statement is that I have over 500 video games staring me in the face.

Despite having a huge library of games, I often find myself struggling to pique my own interest. This past weekend I sat back to reflect on my video game collection. Mixed with classic retro titles, indie releases and triple AAA smashes, I pretty much have it all.

So why am I losing interest in my game library? Here are five reasons why I feel that video game collecting has lost its lustre.

1. There are too many games

There are too many games being released and not enough time to digest them all. This was covered in another article here on Nitchigamer back in February.

The author (Stephen) felt the same as I do: that we are always playing catch up. As a collector, I have to have the physical game copies. That doesn’t mean that I don’t buy digital games but, 99% of my library is physical.

I look back at the games I purchased over the holiday season and most of them are still sealed. Many of them are a fraction of the cost I paid for them as well. As much as I try to keep up with the new releases, adult life kicks in. I just don’t have the time.

Mobile Gaming

2. Mobile Gaming

Mobile gaming has grown immensely over the last few years alone. Every company is looking to get in on the mobile craze. I also play games on my mobile device. You could even say that I sometimes spend as much time on mobile as I do on console.

It’s just so easy to sit on the couch and swipe at my screen. It’s pretty lazy when you think about it, but it brings me joy.

3. Indie Influx

In some of my earlier articles, I covered how indie titles were being brought over to consoles in physical form. Sites such as Limited Run Games and Strictly Limited to name a few. All releases are created in small print numbers which becomes a pit for collectors who feel like they may get something valuable.

It started as a release every few weeks and today it’s multiple releases on a weekly basis. I can’t blame the companies for running a business but, it makes me think about a time where things were more simple.

4. Collector’s Edition

Collector’s Edition games are just devilish. Let’s briefly look at an upcoming AAA – Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for example. There are 8 different versions of the game. Starting with the base game, each tier adds something additional. For any huge Assassin’s Creed fanatic, they would have to spend hundreds of dollars to collect each version.

I personally enjoy seeing what companies come up with next, but I can no longer justify spending the cash. Whatever happened to just a standard and a deluxe?

Lootboxes

5. Microtransactions

I must make a small confession before I begin. I spend $5 here and there on my mobile games for a little edge. However, I am reluctant to pay for additional goodies for console games. I grew up during a time where video games were released complete. I never had to pay for DLC or cosmetic items. You would beat the game and everything would just unlock.

Today kids can pay their way to the top of the rankings. It’s just a sign of times where things just get easier and easier – where’s the skill? My parents always told me that I had things easy and now I know what they meant.

Wrap-Up

In conclusion, I feel that I need to backtrack 20 years and go back to a time before the internet took over gaming. A time where kids hung out together in one room to enjoy games.

As my age grows I become wearier that everything I loved about gaming will just wash away. With that being said, I have decided to collect retro games only. I will still buy the triple AAA titles that really stand out to me, but with retro at least I know what’s out there. I may even take a leap forward and just buy many of them digitally.

It’s time to do what really makes me happy as opposed to playing what I feel everyone else is. It only took me 31 years to realize this.

The Problem With Games Writing – An Open Response To The IGN And Boomstick Controversy

I’m sure you are well aware of the controversy: game giants IGN reviewed the indie game Dead Cells. It was revealed later that the review was plagiarized from a small independent YouTube channel known as Boomstick Gaming.

The channel exposed the giant with a comparison video of both reviews side by side. This resulted in people grabbing pitchforks and flaming torches in the dead of night, ready to hunt down this behemoth who prayed on a helpless mortal man – the pitchfork-wielding community vowing never to trust the giant again.

One thing is for certain, the review was extremely similar, enough for the plagiarism claim leading to the writer’s dismissal, forcing IGN to make a public apology to their audience, Boomstick and the developer in the hopes that just some of the pitchforks will be lowered.

The mob of us

No one except the writer can say with 100% certainty if it was copied knowingly in the hopes that he would get away with it, if he maliciously copied the review due to some internal crazed cosmic justice, if he was frightened of missing a deadline out of fear and panic copied the review, or if he watched or read several reviews and subconsciously copied the review; for the later you only have to look at the genius of the George Harrison plagiarism claim on his iconic track “My Sweet Lord”.

The timescales for any review are daunting; I know that from my own experience working a full-time job and with a review to be completed in a reasonable amount of time on a regular basis.

As some of you may not be aware, a lot of developers or publishers provide you with a code for the game and expect the review to be uploaded in a timely manner (usually within a week); this is usually completing the game, writing, maybe rewriting parts of the review and then publishing it.

Now you are probably thinking, ‘this guy’s full-time job is to write review pieces’ and you’d be right, but this wouldn’t have been the only piece he was working on. By all means, this is not me defending plagiarism, it’s merely an understanding of what variables are in place that may have caused such an endeavour.

My personal favourite Beatles member

To meet developer or publisher timescales for a review is crucial for any game news/review outlet, failing to do so can have lasting repercussions if a review is not met within a professional timely manner; review codes or copies usually are not distributed to you from that point.

Again, I’m not saying timescales and deadlines are bad, they are very good things that motivate us, however; with the ever-increasing length of games and these timescales presented to game journalists, they can contribute to ‘misunderstood games’. How can anyone confidently critique 100-hour experience in the space of a week?

We only need to see reviews of the first Nier to see how games do not always get correctly represented. Unfortunately, this will never change as there are too many forces at play; the developers and publishers want it published efficiently, the outlet requires the piece to be published as early as possible to generate the traffic that helps advertisement and funding.

But the above isn’t the major issue within this controversy, that is just the machine cogs turning. The problem with games writing is the writing itself. Most games journalism/writing is, in my personal opinion, boring. What a review tends to be is a list of mechanics, what it looks like, what it sounds like and an overview with a few fancy words thrown in for good measure so the writer feels credible. In short, it’s a glamorised laundry list devoid of any emotion, personality or creativity.

Very few reviews go into the deeper themes of the game, analyse it or represent games other than a product and not a mature piece of a medium that can be and is art. I want games to be viewed in a positive light, yet we don’t talk about them in any capacity to represent that, in the end, it’s the same old list with different words.

I’m not saying I’m the god of video game writing, nor am I the best writer out there, I am far away from that and I to, fall in the very laundry list trappings, but I try to add as much emotion, personality or creativity in my pieces.

So, Boomstick was plagiarised. Should it have happened? No. Could it have been avoided? Yes.

Write in a way that is your own, do something different, write in a way that can’t be plagiarised. It’s our responsibility to tell people what a great, joyous and inspiring medium video games is; how it has helped people view depression, how it can educate children, how these emotional journeys can offer more than any piece of literature, TV show or movie because these are video games, and they mean something to us.

Or as Neil Gaiman once said:

“Mean it. Whatever you have to say, mean it”.

How Trophies And Achievements Have Boosted Game Value

Over the past decade, our beloved form of entertainment, the tried and true stress reliever and the ever-so appealing grandeur that is video games, have evolved tremendously.

Graciously lifting the gaming industry while taking gamers along for the, more often than not, thrilling adventure, they’ve thoroughly provided us with countless hours of immersion into vast and wild lands of tropical islands, harrowing apocalyptic worlds, heroic intergalactic space expeditions, ancient times through Greece, Rome and now even Egypt, all while challenging not only our skills, but our dedication, personal endeavors and sometimes rather difficult to uncover emotions.

With so many games at much of the world’s disposal, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed with the vast selection. Getting sucked into the story or thrill of a game can lead to hours, weeks, months, sometimes even years of dedication to perfecting and honing your skills. But where does the gameplay end? For some, once the campaign has been completed once or twice, and/or the fill of online play has been quenched, the game is shelved and replaced by newer content, or in many instances, sold.

Unless, that is, you give yourself added time to the game by hunting down specific trophies or achievements, enhancing your game score and allowing the expensive medium to earn its costly price tag.

lowpoly_playstation_trophies_by_kaikun2236-d6co2r0

Sure, trophies and achievements aren’t for everybody, and I certainly wouldn’t expect the trophy list to replace the actual storyline and gameplay itself, but what these added tasks do provide is more value to your game collection. Allowing you to experience something you may have missed in the traditional campaign, like discovering new weapons, items, quest lines, and characters – these are just a few examples of where these tedious chores can take you.

Some gamers pride themselves on their evergrowing list of achievements and trophies, showing off how many games they’ve played through, or even the astonishing amount of games they’ve completed at 100%. Finding games with an easy achievement or trophy list may also point the dedicated gamer to games they otherwise wouldn’t give a play. Embarking on journeys outside of their preferred game style will not only boost their score but broaden the player’s outlook on the constantly expanding library of video games.

ps4-ui-trophies

I realize this is solely opinion based through personal experiences with both friends and acquaintances, as well as myself, and the excitement of trophy or achievement hunting may not appeal to every gamer. For the reasons above though, it’s clear why the tasking system has become popular amongst dedicated gamers alike. Whether the reasoning is because it provides added experiences, bonus items/weapons, or maybe because it resembles that of the scoring system of the early arcade games, in my honest opinion, the trophy and achievement system isn’t a terrible thing for the games industry.

Regardless of what may be said about the topic, if you hunt for achievements and trophies or not, purely for the story or the thrill of an online victory, enjoy the experience; it’s why video games exist.

5 Likes And Dislikes Of Octopath Traveler

5 Likes And Dislikes Of Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler really takes me back to the old days of gaming, which is probably why I spent 30 hours of my vacation week playing it through.

Oddly, I am not a fan of the RPG game genre. I’ve never even played a Final Fantasy title. Initially, I had reserves when playing the demo version earlier this year. Despite those reserves, I purchased a copy of the game and gave it a try.

5 Likes And Dislikes Of Octopath Traveler

It turns out that I really do enjoy Octopath Traveler. With that being said, nothing is perfect. Here are five things that I love about Octopath Traveler and five things that I don’t.

5 Likes And Dislikes Of Octopath Traveler

Positives

  1. You choose your path
    • At the start of the game, I was able to choose one of eight characters. Each which their own unique backstory and abilities. As the player, it was nice to find the character that suited me best. Shortly thereafter, I began to add the other characters to my party as I progressed. Who I chose and when was completely up to me and it made me feel like I was in complete control of my journey.
  2. The game is beautiful
    • As I mentioned earlier, Octopath takes me back to the 90’s with its 2D sprites mixed with 3D modelling. It really shows off the beautiful landscapes and the artistic touch. What I really love about the setting is that each area looks completely different. The grassy areas really come through with the sunlight and shadows. The snowy areas are covered in white giving you a completely different tone. The game just looks amazing.
  3. Combat is easy to pick up
    • The combat system was easy to pick up but challenging enough to keep me coming back. Each enemy has a weakness that I could exploit with a given attack. If I hit that weakness enough times, it created a break in the attack flow. This gave me an extra round to attack and took one away from the enemy. This type of combat made me experiment with different attack types to find as many weaknesses as I could. Boss fights really put me to the challenge as they forced me to think my attacks through. Coming from someone who doesn’t play RPG’s, I had to grow into my strategy.
  4. Path actions
    • Each character has something called a path actions to use to their advantage. I started the game with Therion who can steal items from townspeople. He is also equipped with a talent of picking locks. Both come in handy for gathering useful items in battle or when I need a little extra money from selling items. There is another character named H’aanit who can provoke people into battle. She can also capture the beasts that she battles and use them to fight by her side. This really came in handy for building her HP and gaining a power boost in battle. Each character has their own unique ability and if used right, they all add something positive to the team.
  5. The soundtrack is amazing
    • The soundtrack is amazing! What else can I say here? That is all!

5 Likes And Dislikes Of Octopath Traveler

Negatives

  1. Random battles
    • One of the things I have always disliked about RPGs were the forced battles. I know it’s these battles that help you progress but ultimately, they waste time. Octopath has random battles throughout and it can be frustrating when advancing toward a boss. If there was a mechanic to turn it off, I would probably use it at certain points…
  2. Interaction among characters
    • Despite having eight characters to choose from, they hardly interact with one another. They meet initially and agree to join each other on their quests. As I played the story, rarely did they have dialogue other than a minor thought exchange here and there. I am unsure if they will ever truly come together and mesh as a unit. I guess I will have to find out but, so far, the story lacks an engagement.
  3. Grinding
    • I must say it was tough to start the game without any type of boost. In 2018 it’s rare for a game to force a player to grind. Loot boxes and microtransactions are aplenty today giving players boosts and power-ups in games. Octopath stays true to the word as I could only grind my way to the top, just like the old days. As of this writing, my top character is at level 31 and I think the top dungeon is level 45. I still have a way to go.
  4. Stories can drag
    • There is a lot of dialogue in this game which was expected. In the beginning, it especially drags. Most of it comes from the back story of the characters and how much dialogue is needed to introduce them. I decided to gather all eight characters one after another, so it really dragged early on for me. Maybe If I played through a few bosses before going to gather everyone, it would have been a bit different.
  5. Gameplay variety
    • I enjoy the gameplay, but there isn’t much variety to it. The premise is basically the same with each character. You find a character, you use your path actions, you fight a boss and you move on. I understand the need to introduce each character’s story and actions but, it could have been introduced in a more enticing way.

5 Likes And Dislikes Of Octopath Traveler

Overall, I really do enjoy Octopath Traveler and I commend Square Enix for their contribution. For any Nintendo Switch owner, I would say that this is a must-have game.

For me, it’ll have me taking a second look at the RPG genre. I need to know what the hype is around Final Fantasy. It’s time!

Splatoon 2 Is The Most Unique And Fun Multiplayer Experience I’ve Had In Years

Throughout my middle school days up until today, I have always been a big fan of multiplayer shooters. I’ve put plenty of hours into all the major franchises, from Halo to Battlefield and Call of Duty. Here’s the problem with playing these games for the past 10 years or so: they’re all different games, but they all have very obvious similarities. From identical game modes to similar movement abilities, to carbon copies of guns from one game to another, everything starts to feel a bit samey after a while.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been waiting for a new shooter to grab my attention and bring a breath of fresh air into the multiplayer shooter realm, and Splatoon 2 has been the answer to my prayers.

Having never owned a Wii U, I never got the opportunity to play the original Splatoon. In fact, with the advertising and all the bright colours, and ‘kid-ish’ looking characters I assumed that Nintendo was just making a multiplayer shooter for the young crowd. So, I immediately wrote the game off and never really thought about it again.

That lasted up until the Switch’s announcement press conference, where I was immediately sold on the console. I’m not going to lie though, I was worried about the lack of titles that were announced.

turf war
‘It’s just for kids?’ Ignorance!

Even after owning my Switch for months, I was still very sceptical of Splatoon 2. To be honest with you, I was not planning on buying it at all. That was up until one of the Splatfest demos for Splatoon 2. I said “why not”, and gave it a download. After a few matches of figuring out the game’s mechanics, I was hooked. I believe that Splatfest was live for about three hours, and I played it for almost the whole allotted time. No joke, right after the Splatfest ended, I immediately put in my pre-order.

You’re probably asking: what is it about Splatoon that separates it from other shooters, Trevor? Well, I’ve been thinking about that myself, and the answer is that Splatoon is such a unique experience that almost everything it does is different from any other mainstream shooter. Let’s first start off with the fact that everything you do in a match helps your team.

Let’s use my girlfriend as an example, she averages only about 1-3 splats (kills) a game, and she is almost always at the top or near the top of the team. How is that possible? It’s because in Splatoon getting splats (kills) is nowhere near as important as marking your territory by spreading your ink (paint) all over the map. In the most popular game mode “Turf War” that is the objective, not getting as many splats as you can, but covering the map as much as possible in your coloured ink.

In fact, Splatoon doesn’t even have a “team deathmatch” game mode, it’s all objective based. As long as you’re spraying your ink everywhere, you’re helping your team in one way or another. Basically, you’re doing something productive all the time, and that’s saying a lot in comparison to other shooters out there.

Secondly, the replay value is unreal. In Splatoon the map rotation changes every two hours of real time for each mode. This means you can be playing the same couple of maps for two hours straight and then the rotation changes, which makes the game feel like a fresh new experience all over again. The next thing you know it’s 4 hours later; your whole day is gone. Trust me I’ve done it.

In addition to this, the game has multiple different ranking systems. It has its standard 1-50 levelling system that all other shooters have, where you rank up over time through gaining experience points. It also has a competitive mode, which has its own ranking system altogether. This system is very reminiscent of the classic Halo 2 ranking system that got people hooked back in the original Xbox days. In Splatoon, the rankings start at C- and can go all the way up to the highest of S+. You go up in rank by winning and can go down in rank by losing.

sp2
As expected, there is very little grey here.

Thirdly, is the customization. Your inkling “character” is unique and you can customize how they look and what they wear. In fact, I have yet to see an inkling that is identical to mine. This adds a level of personality to the game that most other shooters don’t have because in those games you’re either generic soldier A or B. In Splatoon’s main hub world there are many shops that hold new clothes/weapons for your character. Each piece of clothing is different, because each one has its own stat boosters attached to it.

So, you can spend hours trying to find the best outfit to fit your play style. Just like the maps, the clothing items update every couple of hours, so you’re always on the hunt for that new piece of gear. Then comes the weapons – in Splatoon every weapon feels different from the other. From the guns, to paint brushes and paint rollers, every weapon has its own play style and pro and cons. It’s up to you to find out what you like best, and what works with your play style. Personally, for me, I’m all about the Slosher, the unstoppable paint bucket, and the Splat Dualies, which are essentially akimbo submachine guns.

Last but not least are the game’s mechanics: how it feels. Running at a smooth 60fps, going around inking your territory, sliding in and out of squid-form and blasting your way through your enemies just feels amazing and responsive. This is one of the fastest-paced and smoothest feeling shooters out there, in my opinion. If you have a Switch, you should probably go out and get the game. It’s one of those special Nintendo experiences that won’t ever get the same amount of attention that Mario, Zelda, Pokémon or a Smash Bros. game does. Most importantly of all, it feels fresh, unique, and pretty courageous too. For me, those qualities are what I look for nowadays.

What do you guys think of Splatoon 2 so far? Have you picked it up yet?

Why Is Video Gaming So Complicated Now?

Two buttons and a directional pad, that’s all we needed back in the day to play our games. The NES, released in 1985, was simple by today’s standards but contained an almost endless amount of fun and intricate games. There were no shoulder buttons, touch pads, or motion controls built in. The phrase more power never passed through the lips of the gaming community, nor did developers need to design overly complicated play mechanics, just to pack their Magnus Opuses with a cornucopia of actions and abilities. As the industry upgraded to 16-bit, games were still fun, even as developers were starting to make them more complex. Jump ahead to today’s world of video gaming, things have gotten so complicated, so over-bloated, that games have stopped being fun, and turned into a commitment.

The Complification Factor

With increasingly powerful hardware, overstuffed controller designs, and epic game times of over a hundred hours to complete, I find myself shying away from certain modern gaming franchises. Here are just a few reasons why games stopped being a fun journey, and have transformed into an overwhelmingly anxiety-ridden experience.

Since I brought up controller design, I might as well finish that argument to start. With each successive console release, controller redesign is always front and centre. Granted, current models have only received slight modifications over the last generation, but it took a lot to get there. We have gone from two buttons to over eleven in certain cases. Microsoft’s latest Xbox Elite Controller is truly a masterpiece in design, but with the ability to customize the buttons and the fact that it’s touted as the “ultimate gaming controller,” it’s all a bit too much.

controllers

I have to admit, I loved the simplicity of the original Wii Remote; the controller bucked the trend and it made playing a fun experience. I can’t tell you how many times when playing a modern epic like Horizon Zero Dawn or a smaller indie game such as Xenorade, I’ll continually hit the wrong button(s). It’s hard enough to remember everything you have to do in a game, but to memorize what each of a controller’s multiple buttons do at any given moment is frustrating.

Game experiences are too long, and unfortunately, I no longer have the time to dedicate to a hundred-plus hour extravaganza anymore. Popular franchises such as Fallout, Assassin’s Creed, and Mass Effect can take a lifetime to finish, and countless more hours to reach a hundred per cent (if that’s even possible). I feel guilty enough as it is playing normal length games, but a commitment that long is insane.

I am no longer a kid or in college, and I certainly can’t justify spending that much time on anything, let alone a video game. I can see it now, written on my tombstone, “Never accomplished anything in life after playing too many epic games.” These blockbusters take so long to complete because they are overloaded and filled with dump-truck loads of extraneous stuff. Players often get sucked into a rabbit hole of side quests everywhere they turn. Just to be fair, you all know I love the Zelda franchise, but even Breath of the Wild suffers from needing far too much of a commitment.

catsleep

Speaking of over-bloated and overwhelming experiences, I am getting a little tired of games that require constant upgrading and modifying. From weapons to uniforms, hair colour and eyebrow placement, players have the option to modify and craft everything in these games. Watching a friend play the latest Fallout was nerve-wracking. I don’t mind a little bit of tinkering here and there since it can be fun, but when there are hundreds of things you can change, it takes away from the overall experience. I don’t want to spend a million hours turning my pulse rifle into a bad-ass, steampunk death machine; I just want to select my pre-designed gun, blow the crap out of something, and move on. I don’t mind side missions too much, but when a game is stuffed with a thousand of them, and there is little payoff, I find it to be a waste of time and energy.

crafting

Hey kids, I hope you got your allowance this week because buying the full price game doesn’t mean you get the full price experience. I am not sure when gaming became less about the adventure and more about making money, but we’ve reached the apex of greedy corporations nickel and diming gamers with pay-to-win loot crate acquisitions. EA just got in trouble for it and removed the pay feature from Battlefront II, but we all know it will be back.

Speaking of Battlefront II, it’s terrible; the game is clunky, boring, and looks like EA threw it together during a drunken holiday party. The fact that the full game wasn’t in place was even more of a slap in the face. Gaming used to be about fun, excitement, and the allure of a great adventure; now all we get is greed, contempt, half-ass developments, and developers who seem more like the mafia than beloved imaginariums.

expensive

Continuing on the greed front, we used to get stuff when we bought a system. The NES and SNES came with a game and two controllers; even the PS1 had a fun demo packed in. Today we get nothing extra but a list of things we need to buy. From the console, extra controllers, games, online subscriptions, separate charging stations, carrying cases, and protective covers, the amount one could initially spend is astronomical.

When the price of the system itself starts at three to four or even five hundred dollars, all the extra accessories become a luxury most people can’t afford. This is why I didn’t by a Switch right away, and why I can‘t see myself buying PlayStation VR anytime soon. Call me weird, but I have this thing where I enjoy eating and buying the essentials in life over an extra Joy-Con or Pro controller.

nes package

In the eighties and early to mid-nineties all you had to do was hook up a console to the TV, insert the game, and press power. There were no startup screens, multimedia hubs, camera peripherals, Kinect sensors, VR helmets, or social media postings to worry about. Games could be epic without being convoluted. It says a lot when a thirty-plus-year-old game is just as enjoyable as its modern-day iteration.  I am not saying I don’t enjoy the modern epic because that would be a flat-out lie. I love games and gaming today, but I sometimes yearn for the days of my youth, when video games were simple, where fun and whimsy came at no extra cost.

Shenmue Laid The Foundation For Today’s Games

The Shenmue III train is still very much moving and, for those who have been awaiting its arrival, it’s a joy. Gee, has it really been that long? It’s enough to make one feel old.

shenmue-3

But the passion of the Shenmue fanbase is justified. For those who grew up playing the game and its sequel, they were more than just your average video games. They were an experience. Excuse the cliché, but that’s really the only way to describe it. While the main crux of the plot – young martial artist Ryo Hazuki is on a quest to avenge the death of his father, who died at the hands of Lan Di – is rather rudimentary in nature, the game’s exploration of East Asian culture was not. The game was the first to create a free-roaming, realistic depiction of Yokosuka, Japan and a number of areas in Hong Kong in the first and second games respectively.

How Shenmue Laid The Foundation For Today’s Games

So much painstaking detail had gone into the environments, each packed with hundreds of non-player characters, creating a truly immersive atmosphere. Before these games came along, there had never been in-game environments like these. What made things feel a little more real and down-to-earth was the fact there was a lack of reliable ‘fast travel’ methods (although options to fast-travel to certain locations was included at certain points in the sequel) and you were forced to ask various non-player characters where to go instead of relying on a minimap and indicator. In some instances, kind passers-by would actually lead you to your destination. A small detail perhaps, but it added up to the realistic world all the same.

There can be no doubt that the world of Shenmue led to the creation of such open-world sandbox-style hits such as Grand Theft Auto, although even games such as these have failed to achieve the same realism and detail that the Shenmue games achieved.

Shenmue_II_00081

But when it came to the realistic world, one cannot neglect to mention Shenmue‘s weather and time system. Nowadays, with the myriad of open-world adventure games out there, day-and-night cycles and weather systems are often taken for granted, but back in 1999, when the original game was released, it was something incredible and never-before-seen in a video game. A geeky fact is that the algorithmically-generated weather in the game was developed in accordance with the meteorological records of Yokosuka in 1986 (the year in which the first game’s story is set). But just as there are day-and-night cycles and weather systems, the games were among the first to implement scripted daily routines for non-player characters.

The most obvious examples of this being put into practice in modern games are, of course, the Elder Scrolls and Fallout titles by Bethesda Softworks. But the level of detail in Shenmue was stunning. Characters might leave their houses in the morning to head to the park and then head to the stores – and when it was raining, they’d remember to carry their umbrellas. They weren’t just mindless NPCs given a random walking pattern – they felt real and part of the game’s world.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the Shenmue games – the first, in particular – was discovering hidden dialogue and scenes just by being in the right place at the right time. It could be a scene with a fellow martial artist who teaches you a new fighting move or just a scene that further enhances the relationship between Ryo and another character. Either way, it felt satisfying, because, like real life, if you missed the opportunity to find those moments, they were gone for good. For ardent fans of the game, it just gave them another excuse to replay the game and find out what they missed.

45601-shenmue-dreamcast-screenshot-ryo-s-room-is-where-you-can-save

But while Shenmue‘s exploration is often heralded, its competence in mish-mashing various genres was what also made it great. During the course of the story within each of the two games, when Ryo encountered an enemy, the game would switch into a battle mode. Based on the Virtua Fighter fighting system, it was a great deal of fun due to the range of moves available and genuinely making you feel like a badass martial artist.

As has already been mentioned, Ryo could further expand his arsenal of fighting moves when encountering certain friendly NPCs or during the course of the game’s narrative. Trying out new moves on your foes offered that undeniable childlike “Woah, cool” sentiment. And when the games weren’t having you explore detailed locales and punching thugs’ faces, it was having the player engage in the famous (or ‘infamous’, depending on the person) Quick-Time Events, which have since become a common trope in video games. It allowed the player to actually take part in the games’ various action-packed scenes rather than being a mere spectator.

These QTEs were a true test of the player’s reactions, with many of said scenes often involving Ryo running along a set path and dodging people and objects in populated city streets. Perhaps what was most rewarding about these sections was that failing or succeeding them would often change the story slightly (although, in some cases, failure would result in the conventional ‘Game Over’ and force the player to retry). This is particularly evident in the second game especially. When a thieving kid steals your bag, you are sent to chase him. If the player succeeds in tapping in the correct button prompts at the right time, they will keep up with the thugs and thereby, immediately find their bag. However, a series of incorrect or poorly-timed button presses result in the player losing the kid and having to ask about town for his whereabouts and find him themselves.

Although not always implemented in this manner, QTEs have since been featured in such popular games as Resident Evil 4 and God of War. While it was classic games like Dragons’ Lair that originally introduced such a feature, it was Shenmue that introduced them in their modern cinematic form and it was the games’ creator, Yu Suzuki, who coined the term ‘Quick-Time Event’.

168-Shenmue-14

Looking back at the Shenmue games, it’s amazing to see how well they have held up since their release in 1999 and 2001 respectively. The in-depth realisation of Asian culture, the impressive animation and the mixture of different gameplay styles were truly ahead of their time. Therefore, it’s just as impressive to see how these elements have been utilised in games that came out after Shenmue‘s glory days. Given that Yu Suzuki’s fan-funded (and long-awaited) Shenmue III is due out in 2018, it’ll be even more interesting to see what the game has learned from the sandbox-style video games of present and recent times.

Since the game will be playing on significantly more advanced hardware than the Dreamcast, in the form of the PS4, it will be amazing to see how such an incredible experience as Shenmue will be upgraded on it. Regardless, it will be utilising elements of gameplay that the series itself introduced to the mainstream gaming market. The games, therefore, should be remembered for doing so.

What are your thoughts on the Shenmue games? Will you be playing Shenmue III when it’s finally released? Discuss in the comments below.