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Monday, January 27, 2014

Trying To Survive In Sir, You Are Being Hunted (With Voiceover!)

Thanks to my spiffy new headset, I provide color commentary while showing off my (poor) survival skills in Big Robot's Sir, You Are Being Hunted.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mass Effect Retrospective

In this new video, I reminisce about my time with the Mass Effect trilogy and the somewhat strange circumstances that led me to becoming a fan of the series.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Take On Early Access Games

In my newest YouTube video, I discuss the rising trend of Early Access PC games and what it means for both consumers and developers.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Can EA Be Trusted By Gamers?

In my newest YouTube video, I discuss EA's recent handling of the SimCity offline mode situation and whether or not the company can be trusted after having continuously showed its blatant disregard for the gamers it supposedly care about.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Retrospective: The Shenmue Series

In my newest Youtube video, I talk about the classic Shenmue series and how it both influenced the gaming industry and helped me define myself as a person during my younger teenage years.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Retrospective Look at World of Warcraft

Watch me talk about how Blizzard's hit MMO World of Warcraft influenced me as both a gamer and a lover of fantasy fiction.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My top five GOTY picks of 2013

Check out my new Youtube video in which I list and discuss the top five games of 2013 I think every gamer should play!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Youtube vidlog - Choice in Games

 Apologies for having gone so long without updating this blog. I've begun a series of Youtube videos in which I discuss similar issues to what I have written about here on Inner Thoughts of a Quiet Gamer. You can check out the first video, "Choice in Games", by clicking the link below! (Blogspot isn't letting me directly embed the video for some reason)


Sunday, October 6, 2013

This Week In Gaming: GTA Online Woes And The Worst DLC Of All Time

Welcome back fellow gamers. Below I’ve included some of the biggest stories in gaming that took place this week, September 30th-October 6th, 2013. As always, I offer my opinion along with links to the relevant source articles in case you want more info. Now, on to the stories!

Big Trouble In Little Los Santos

This week marked the debut of Rockstar’s ambitious new foray into online multiplayer: Grand Theft Auto Online which players who purchased Grand Theft Auto V receive free access to. Rockstar anticipated a bit of a rockylaunch and boy where they right. Millions of users trying to log in all at once took its toll on GTA Online’s servers with a vast majority of users being unable to get very far past the character creation screen.

After a day or so had passed and Rockstar had a chance to work out some of the kinks, many players still remained locked out of GTA Online mainly due to their inability to load up the mandatory tutorial racing mission which must first be completed before they can explore the rest of GTA Online’s world. Even worse, those who *did* manage to make it past the tutorial reported losing their characters and progress. As a precaution, Rockstar ended up disabling the game’s micro-transactions feature which allows users to purchase in-game cash for real-world money.

As of the time of this writing, GTA Online’s performance remains far from stable and many users are still complaining about lost characters and progress, many are unsurprisingly frustrated at having already poured many hours into GTA Online only to see all their hard work gone the next time they log in. Rockstar has released several patches and title updates to help deal with some of GTA Online’s more glaring issues but it’s still working on getting the issue of erased characters and game progress worked out.

I myself was only just able to get past the beginning tutorial mission yesterday evening and even afterwards still experienced my fair share of freezes and crashes. I’ll admit GTA Online is a lot of fun when it works as intended but until Rockstar gets all of the game’s issues sorted out once and for all, I’d say proceed with caution and at your own risk due to the erased characters issue.
For the most up-to-date info on how Rockstar is combating GTA Online’s issues, check out the game’s official support page

Original Source: Polygon

Back In My Day…

If you were to say the phrase “extra lives” to a typical gamer, they’d likely bring up fond memories of inputting specific button sequences into their favorite game’s start screen in order to receive an inordinate amount of lives. For all you whippersnappers out there, such rituals were called “cheat codes” and were one of the many fun little secrets a typical game had hidden away. Now Sega’s offering a similar incentive for fans of the upcoming Sonic: Lost Worlds…For a price.

Like most games, Sonic: Lost Worlds, which comes out later this month on both 3DS and WiiU, comes with a fair amount of bonus DLC content for those who decide to pre-order the game from specific vendors. Fans who decide to pre-order from online retailer Amazon get 25 extra lives. Yes, that’s right, 25 extra lives is the pre-order DLC content fans get for pre-ordering from Amazon.

It would seem the days of inputting cheat codes are well and truly dead. Why put in a hidden code to unlock lives when you can just charge players a buck or two instead? What am I talking about? Well, while the pre-order bonus on its own doesn’t seem too bad, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, who covered the news for Kotaku, pointed out the slippery slope Sega has put itself on. Once Sonic: Lost Worlds is released, what’s stopping Sega from doing exactly what I mentioned earlier, putting the extra lives in as an optional DLC purchase? 

When many of Kotaku’s more vocal commenters accused Schreier of overreacting, he fired back with this rather eloquent post justifying who he feels these extra lives are “literally the worst DLC of all time”:

“Here, you're not paying for something trivial—you're paying for a core part of the game: the ability to try again once you've died. In any platformer, that's an integral part of the core design. Some platformers choose to challenge you by testing you over and over again until you figure out how to pull off a tricky jump or spin move; others give you more rope and let you challenge yourself to beat each level with more speed, or more completion, or whatever.

By offering extra lives as a preorder bonus (and presumably later for real cash, based on the "downloadable content" line), Sega is damaging the integrity of that core design. Even if they didn't intentionally make the game more difficult in order to get you to put in more money, they've ruined the ecosystem of lives in this game, which immediately makes it less satisfying and less desirable to play.”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Schreier’s reasoning, none can deny that this is dangerous ground for Sega to be treading on. Many gamers like to joke about a day when getting any sort of in-game powerup from an extra life to a fireball to a fancy new sword will require an in-game micro-transaction but what Sega is doing with Sonic: Lost Worlds is making that absurd fantasy into slightly more of a scary reality. Here’s hoping other developers don’t follow suit.

Original Source: Kotaku

That’s it for this week folks. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @NateHohl and check out my other work at VGU.TV and The LongfellowBridge.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

This Week In Gaming: Valve Takes Over Your Living Room And Malaysian Politicians Make Stuff Up

Hello everyone, first off, apologies for my lack of updating this blog for many months now. I’ve been very busy with my other writing pursuits but I am now going to try to re-establish a weekly posting schedule for Inner Thoughts of a Quiet Gamer.

In this new weekly feature, I will be covering the latest announcements and happenings within the gaming world which I feel you need to know about. Below each section, I’ve included a handy source link in case you’d like to learn more about a particular story. For more pressing news, reviews, and opinions about the gaming world, be sure to head on over to VGU.TV where you’ll find more work by both myself and my fellow writing compatriots. And now, on to the news!

This Week: September 23rd-29th, 2013

Full Steam Ahead

This week was what many are dubbing “Steam Week” as PC-centric Steam developer Valve made a trio of exciting new announcements which focused on their new mission of breaking down the barriers between PC gaming and “sit on your couch and chill” console gaming.

First there was SteamOS, a new gaming-focused Linux-based operating system which will be free to download and will allow users to play Linux-compatible Steam games natively on their televisions using Steam’s Big Picture mode. SteamOS will also allow users to stream non-Linux Steam games from their default Windows or Mac PC over their home network.

Then there are the Steam Machines; a new series of licensed gaming systems which are being developed and manufactured by several different companies in partnership with Valve. All Steam Machines will come pre-packaged with SteamOS installed and will be available in a number of different makes and models in order to fit a particular gamer’s needs and budget. 

Lastly, for those who prefer to d a majority of their gaming with a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, Valve unveiled the Steam Controller which features a unique new design that many are calling “futuristic.” Instead of traditional thumbsticks, the Steam Controller features two “trackpads” which supposedly allow for much higher fidelity input when reading a player’s commands. 

A central touch screen and 16 different buttons help the controller mimic all the functions of a traditional mouse and keyboard and Valve has confirmed that the Steam controller will be compatible with the entire Steam library of games, even ones that don’t normally have controller support.

You can check out the full coverage of Valve’s various announcements over at Polygon: http://www.polygon.com/2013/1/8/3852012/steam-box-valves-partnerships-for-big-picture-gaming

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back…
Despite many gamers’ best efforts to show that their hobby is neither the work of the devil nor a catalyst for worldwide perpetrations of violence, there continues to be a constant parade of ignorant individuals who end up putting their own feet in their mouths while trying to denounce video games.

First there was this story from Kotaku about a Malaysian member of parliament named Reezal Merican Bin Naina Merican. Mr. Merican is currently trying to convince his government to ban Rockstar’s recently released Grand Theft Auto V on the grounds that it is too violent. His reasoning is that the game has already been banned in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Only they haven’t. In fact, of the billions in dollars of sales GTA V has already accrued, many of those dollars have in fact come from American and UK-based buyers.

In the above linked clip, Mr. Merican tries to denounce both GTA V and Capcom’s Devil May Cry 3, a game that was released in 2005 mind you, showing just how out of touch and clueless he is about the media he’s trying to denounce. Sadly, according to users who posted on both Kotaku and the clip’s YouTube page, this is actually fairly standard practice for Malaysian politicians; trying to blame video games for the country’s crime and violence issues instead of something that, you know, might make more sense like their uneven distribution of wealth or severely lackluster education system….

My, Oh My Minecraft…

One foreign government’s backwards view of video games is bad enough, but sadly our own country still manages to harbor its fair share of people who’d rather blame video games for violence-related issues. Such a case happened last Friday when a nine year old boy was sentenced to home confinement by a judge after coming to school with a steak knife, a small-handled sledge hammer, and his father’s handgun in his backpack. The boy was acting out what he’d seen in a game according to his father; the game in question? Minecraft. Yes, you read that correctly, Minecraft.

According to the local Florida news team which covered the story, the boy had no intentions of actually using the weapons and instead was just keeping them as a means to protect himself from zombies, which is something you do in Minecraft. The boy’s father later confirmed that the handgun couldn’t even be fired as the firing pin had been removed. 

That still didn’t stop the news network from painting Minecraft, a game which is being used as part of first grade curriculum in other states for god’s sake, in a very negative light; essentially blaming it for the child’s behavior instead of, oh I don’t know, the parent who kept a steak knife, a small sledgehammer, and a freaking *handgun* within easy reach of his child.

That’s the major news of this week folks! Tune in next week to see what new announcements and stories the gaming world brings us!