1 pixel fragments


I attended an event called ichi pixel. This is actually the second time I’ve been to this event. The first time was sometime in January. It happens to be the event’s first anniversary.

The event officially starts at 19:30 but after an hour or so, presentations by people involved with video games start. I actually wanted to try to give one too about the simple game I made but I missed the deadline. I’ll try again next time. I managed to talk to one of the people giving a presentation, and it was apparently his first time giving one. I got to try out a game he made himself called 海のカケラ (Fragment of Marine). He’ll be showing it off at the Tokyo Game Show this year, which I thought was pretty amazing considering he’s still a student.

The presentations were interesting and it’s nice to learn about what people are working on and their thought process in making a game.

After the presentations, I talked to a group of people who were actually university students learning about game development. After some chit-chat, I showed them the simple game I made, which was more like a demo. The person tried it and eventually made it to the goal. (I had to give a hint though). Before I let them try it though, I asked to give me feedback if they could. It was actually very enlightening to hear what they said, which involved some advice in level design elements. I then tried a game one of the programmers made and it was actually quite fun, I couldn’t beat the boss though. He was actually thankful that he showed it to me because he too learned about what he could improve too.

This experience helped motivate me in making a better game and think of new ideas (which I am currently experimenting with now). I’m glad I went and I’ll go again if I can.

 

 

Do you still play video games?

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – pretty even on Medium Settings

Yes…yes I do. I just haven’t been playing as much compared to previous years. I used to finish at least 10 games a year. This year, so far I think I’ve only finished two, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Breath of the Wild. I meant to finish Oracle of Ages before playing BotW but I only managed to get halfway through before BotW was released in March.

Now why am I not able to play as much? It’s not that I’m tired of gaming, I don’t think I ever will be. I still read news about the gaming industry and game announcements everyday though. It’s just that I have a family to take care of and they’re obviously the priority now. I’ve also been trying to actually try making a game myself through a game engine called Unity since trying it out in March this year. I’ve gotten used to the interface and can use most of its basic features. I haven’t actually made a game yet though nor have I gotten used to scripting. I hope to improve even more this month.

I did get some time this weekend to play a game from my queue, and the game I chose was, “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter”, a game released in 2014. Immediately upon starting, I noticed that it was made using Unreal Engine 3 (the “Redux” version was done in Unreal Engine 4). It’s funny how I used to ignore what game engine a game was made in, but now that I’m actually dabbling in trying to make a game, it sort of sticks out now. Anyway, about the game itself, I immediately noticed that it is gorgeous to look at, even at mid settings, but what I found most interesting and unique about it was its lack of in-game tutorials/guides, and that made it more rewarding to explore and solve the puzzles in the game.

Other than Ethan Carter, I’m trying to play through Phoenix Wright:Ace Attorney/Gyakuten Saiban (逆転裁判) in Japanese, which I can proudly say that I actually understand most of the text now. Let’s hope I can knock out a few more games by the end of the year AND develop a game while making sure I don’t forget my responsibilities in life and work.

Games I’ve finished in 2013

I honestly think 2013 was a pretty good year for games, I just didn’t get to play them all the games I wanted to play, either because I didn’t own the game, lack of time, or I didn’t have a PC that could handle it.

I did get to play a bunch of good games, not just ones released this year but games that I’ve had in my queue. Here they are in order of when I played them.

1. Persona 4 (PS2)
Release date: December 9, 2008                                                                
Played from February 3, 2013 to April 30, 2013 (on and off)
I’m a big fan of the Persona series and I was told how great Persona 4 is so I tried it out this year. I was pretty impressed and I personally like this game for its story and gameplay more than Persona 3. I also watched the anime while playing this to see the small differences. All in all, a very enjoyable RPG.

Rating: 9/10

2. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)                                                            
Release date: May 18, 2010                                                                              
Played from September 21, 2012 to September 25, 2012 and May 1, 2013 to May 4, 2013
One of the most satisfying games I got to play and was my favorite game by Rockstar until the release of GTA V. Enjoyed the graphics, setting, the characters and the gameplay. After getting 100% I immediately played….

Rating: 9.5/10

3. Undead Nightmare (Xbox 360)          
Released: October 26, 2010                                                                               
Played from May 4, 2013 to May 6, 2013

Interesting setup but not as engaging as the main game, still played through the end but didn’t exactly 100% it. Obviously not canon but still was worth playing through. Hopefully a PC version will be released.

Rating: 8/10

4. Assassin’s Creeed: Brotherhood  (Xbox 360)                                              
Release date: November 26, 2010                                                                    
Played from May 6, 2013 to May 20, 2013

I really like the Assassin’s Creed series but this is arguably my favorite in the series so far that I’ve actually played. I liked this more than the first game because the story was more interesting with an interesting main character and the gameplay is more refined. I started AC: Revelations soon after but I still haven’t finished it yet because I felt too overwhelmed with things to do so I eventually put it on hold. I’m still interested in the series though and want to eventually play through most of the AC series.

Rating: 9/10

4. Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360)                                                            
Release date: June 23, 2008                                                                              
Played from August 5, 2013 to August 6, 2013

I remember buying this in a sale while I was in the States. I wanted to play an FPS this year so I decided to try this game out. Quite short, but was worth a playthrough. Gameplay was fun because you got to destroy a lot of things with weapons, something COD didn’t really have. I was probably my settings, but it took me a while to get used to the aiming sensitivity and controls. One of the reasons why I chose to play this game was because it didn’t look like it was gonna get released on PC, apparently it’s sequels did though, so I might try those out when I get the chance.

Rating: 7/10

5. Gears of War                                                                                                  

Released date: November 7, 2006                                                                     Played on August 9, 2013 (Casual difficulty)

I never actually got to finish this game from start to finish, so I decided to give it a quick playthrough on an easy difficulty. I could see why this got awards before at the time. Gameplay is really good and holds up today, with the cover system it uses. I also liked that John DiMaggio was Marcus Fenix.

Rating: 8/10

6. Gears of War 2  (Xbox 360)                                                                          
Release date: November 7, 2008                                                                      
Played from August 20, 2013 to August 24, 2013

I didn’t notice any big differences from the previous game, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The game is still really good. I gotta play the next games in the series when I can.

Rating: 8/10

7. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3) (JP)                                                  
Release date: February 21, 2013                                                                
Played from August 25, 2013 to August 31, 2013

I got this bundled with the PS3 I bought this year and didn’t exactly play it right away. When I ran out of things to play, I tried it out and got hooked pretty quick til I beat it.

What I remember from this game is that kills, whether done stealthily or not were pretty satisfying. Story wasn’t that memorable but I was able to understand most of it even thought it was in Japanese. It’s gonna be released on PC soon so I’ll likely replay it there.

Rating 8.5/10

8. The Lost and Damned (Xbox 360)                                                                  
Release Date: February 17, 2009
Played from August 31, 2013 to September 3, 2013 (Story finished, 65%  completion)

9. The Ballad of Gay Tony  (Xbox 360)                                                               
Release date: October 29, 2009
Played from September 4, 2013 to September 16, 2013

Played both of these DLC just to get myself ready for GTA V. Both good games. TLaD is shorter than TBoGT but made me like the motorcycle in getting around town. TBoGT helped me get used to parachuting.

Rating: 8.5/10

10. Grand Theft Auto V (PS3)
Release date: September 17, 2013                                                                        
Played from September 17, 2013 to September 28, 2013(Single Player)
I was really hyped about getting this game. Got it as a digital download for PS3 and downloaded it as soon as I could. Was hooked til I got 100% in Single Player. I still play GTA Online from time to time but really enjoyed Story mode a lot more personally. Trevor is one of my favorite video game characters of all time. I’ve personally never seen a character this crazy but somehow likeable. Cruising around Los Santos reminded me a lot about living in California. There’s so much things to do and see just by driving around Los Santos. I can’t wait for the eventual PC version just to see the enhanced visuals.

Rating: 9.5/10

11. The Last of Us (PS3)                                                                                                
Released: June 20, 2013 (JP)                                                                                
Played from October 20, 2013 to October 26, 2013

I bought this game used and never really played multiplayer. I really enjoyed the Single Player mode story a lot though. I can see myself playing this again just because the game is that good. Gameplay, voice acting, characters were really good. I played through the game stealthily but I guess you don’t really need to if you were playing on a lower difficulty. I’m glad I decided to get this game.

Rating: 9/10

These are all the games I finished in 2013. Time to catch up on my game queue and finish some more awesome games in 2014.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (Review)

Game: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (Xbox 360)
Released: October 21, 2008
Played: June 25,2012 to June 27, 2012
Gamerscore: 1000/1000 (Complete)
Time to complete:  Approximately 25 hours, although main story is like 4-6 hours.
Rating: 7/10

This is the 3rd Spider-Man game I’ve finished so far. The first one being Spider-Man 2(PS2, 2004), which was based on the Sam Raimi movie, and that turned out to be a fun game, and the second one was Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Xbox 360, 2007), which I thought was easy and mediocre, but fun with a friend.

This is actually the first game I chose to play to in my return to gaming on the Xbox 360. I guess this was partly driven on the fact the new Amazing Spider-Man movie is coming out.

About the game, the first thing I noticed when I started was the different Spider-Man voice, I actually found it annoying the first time I heard but I kinda got used to it. After some research it’s apparently Mike Vaughn. His acting isn’t bad, it’s just the way his voice sounds that gets to me. My favorite Spider-Man voice actor was Christopher Daniel Barnes from the 1994 cartoon, but now its Josh Keaton because of his spectacular awesome performance in Spectacular Spider-Man.

I’ll split this review into two parts, the Good and The Bad.
GOOD:
– Liked swinging around the town as Spidey, controls were easy to get used to.
– Battle system is fun and engaging, I liked using the different moves of both Spider-Man forms (red and black)
– Boss fights were interesting
– You don’t have to collect all the Spider Icons to max out, although I only missed around 4 out of 2180.

BAD:
– Some glitches, graphical and gameplay, nothing too serious that pissed me off but annoying at times
– Didn’t really need to use allies that much and didn’t really find them that helpful
– Achievement wise, I spent more time collecting Spider icons and doing side missions again and again
– No subtitles option

Although the Spider-Man games don’t usually get high review scores from critics. I enjoyed my time playing them, and Web of Shadows was worth playing. Anyway the next Spider-Man games on my list to play and finish are Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions(2010), Spider-Man: Edge of Time(2011) and the newly released The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

My Life for Aiur!

I took a break from playing video games some time ago to focus on other things, but somehow, I’m playing them again. The games I’m playing at the moment are Starcraft II (PC) and Mother 1+2 (GBA).

I’ve been avoiding playing Starcraft II since its release in 2010 because I knew I would get addicted to playing it. I used to spend countless hours playing the first game when I was in High School. I mostly played the Campaign though and I’m pretty sure I beat the game with all the races.

So I’m playing the first of chapter of 3 in Starcraft II and its called Wings of Liberty. It’s story of the Terrans, which is the human race of the game. The second chapter should be released late this year and it’ll be with the Zergs, the alien race.

I’m going through the campaign right on Normal and I think I’m done 40% done so far. It’s progressively getting harder though and I find myself doing trial and error a lot to beat the missions. The pace of the game is pretty good, as you do missions you get access to new units that usually play a part in the mission and get used to them.The upgrade system is pretty cool too, but I don’t like the fact that you can’t learn or purchase all of the upgrades in a single campaign because of the choices you make in the game although in some cases it could add to the replay value since choosing one path or the other leads to different missions, where if you choose one, you can’t do the other.

I also appreciated the story and characters a bit too. Although you won’t miss much by skipping it, I usually like some story to follow while I’m playing a game. It deals with Raynar (main guy) and his fight against the Zerg Invasion and finding about Kerrigan (I honestly don’t know much about her, except that something happened between her and Raynar and she disappeared).Sadly, since I’m playing on a laptop, I’m relegated to low settings which while tolerable, I do wish I could have used the setup I had in the States which I could have easily maxed the settings. I feel like I’m missing out on the extra detail put in the game by not doing so. Well, anyway I plan on finishing the game on Normal, then probably trying Hard or Brutal on a better machine. I’m also interested in doing multiplayer, although I really don’t have much experience.

Started the game: May 14, 2012
Currently: 10/24 missions

It’s a wonderful world, isn’t it?

I just finished a game called The World Ends With You for DS. I’ve actually had this game for the longest time, probably more than 4 years. I think it took me so long because of its difficulty, not because it sucked. It’s actually possible to beat it on an easier difficulty but I don’t like playing games that way.

The players of TWEWY, that's Neku in the middle.

Anyway, the game itself is really awesome imo and actually really addicting once you get into it. It’s about a boy named Neku who awakes in the middle of Shibuya and finds out he’s actually dead, but has a chance to get revived by playing a game made for him by the Composer. Along the way, he meets friends of whom he has to partner with to defeat the enemies he encounters.

The addicting part of this game is collecting and leveling up all the pins, they’re called badges in the Japanese version (which I am also playing). These pins are your skills in battles and are activated by different DS gestures like tapping or dragging the screen. Choosing the right set of pins is important in fighting the different enemies and bosses in the game. I had to level grind a lot in this game to beat some of them and it was really satisfying when you do beat them. Story’s really interesting too.

I consider this game one of my top 10 DS games. I have to make a list soon, I’ve actually lost track and don’t know what other games are on the list lol.

Finished main story, working on side quests.
Game time: 77 hours
Rating: 9/10

Stay Frosty (Modern Warfare 2 Review)

Modern Warfare 2

So I’ve finally gotten around to playing Modern Warfare 2 and beating the Campaign. I initially wanted to buy this game when the price dropped but I was able to find a good deal for the Hardened Edition and bought it. I really liked the first Modern Warfare (Call of Duty 4), so I expected the second one to be just as good, and it was. Haven’t tried the multiplayer yet, so I won’t be able to say anything about that. I’ll try it out eventually.

Here are the things I…

Liked:

Enemies don’t respawn. This was one thing I hated about the previous Call of Duty games. See, what would happen before was, enemies would continue to respawn until you passed a certain point, which then you would just have to pick off the remaining enemies. This is a problem, especially on higher difficulties because its easy to get overwhelmed by the enemy since you know that there is an endless number of them and you have to end up rushing to the checkpoint as fast as possible.

That cinematic feel. I liked how the game flowed like a movie, and how you played as different characters and see what they went through even up to their deaths. There a were a few memorable scenes that made me say “Whoa” and those are the kinda things I like in games.

The tight controls. I usually like the controls in the Call of Duty games, I don’t find them overly complicated and its easy to get used to them.

The impressive graphics. Especially the lighting. This was one of the first things I noticed when I saw the trailer. Even in the main game, I didn’t any textures that seemed off, it all looked good to me.

The variety of weapons. I liked trying out all the different guns, even the same type of gun felt different with an attachment like red dot, heartbeat sensor, scope etc.

and…

Disliked:

A bit short. Compared to the first game, this one felt kinda shorter, also a bit easier, even on Veteran. Although it isn’t too bad, at least all the missions were fun. Better having a short but awesome game then a long but tedious one.

Convoluted Story. I’m all for deep storytelling in video games, but this game had so many weird twists, that at times I couldn’t  tell what was going on or whose side I was on.

Started December 19, 2009
Finished Main Story December 20, 2009
Still working on Spec Ops

Rating:  9/10

Bought Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at Amazon. I suggest getting it from there too.

Prince of Persia (2008) Review

Played from October 9, 2009 to October 12, 2009

Estimated Time to Complete: Around 11 hours for the main story (well definitely under 12 hours since I got the Speed Demon achievement) and around 2 hours for the Epilogue

This Prince of Persia is the first game of the 3rd trilogy of Prince of Persia games (Did you get that?). So far, I’ve only completed 2 titles in the Prince of Persia series, this game and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time(first game of 2nd trilogy) and both of them were enjoyable experiences.

When I first saw the preview trailers of this game, I was immediately attracted to the game’s art direction, even though the graphics looked similar to cel-shading it looked liked something different, sort of like a painting. The developers called this style “illustrative” and I found this a fitting name for it. I also like the design of the characters and enemies, although the new Prince doesn’t look that Persian anymore as well as not sound Persian, which kinda bothered me a little but grew on me over time. Speaking of voices, the Prince is voiced by Nolan North, same guy who voiced Nathan in Uncharted and that guy in Assassin’s Creed. Elika is voiced by Kari Wahlgren, who has voiced a bunch of characters, I did recognize her voice in some animes I have watched.

Another thing I liked about the game were the tight controls, it was easy to get around the different obstacles even though it might look otherwise. You always had an idea where to leap or run to next. Even if you do get lost, you can ask Elika to point you in the right direction.

One negative thing I’ve read from other reviews, was that the game was too easy and that you couldn’t die. I actually think of these as positive points, I found the game quite relaxing to play and the frustration kept to a minimum since everything seemed to flow smoothly, well probably except collecting seeds (I hate collecting a bunch of small things in games, I find it tedious and boring). And the not dying part, well I actually consider falling off a death even though you get saved by Elika because it still counts towards the “Be Gentle with Her” achievement where you have to make sure she doesn’t save you more than 100 times.

Other notes: There were some things in the game that reminded me of other games. First, when Elika purifies an area, it looked like the parts when Okami restores an area. Second, the premise of the game reminded me of Ico, because of the fact that its about a boy and a girl that are together most of the time in the game. These were most likely coincidences and probably happened because I play too much games.

I look forward to the next entry in the series.

I recommend at least renting this game and playing through it once or if you love adventure games and/or Prince of Persia, its a must-buy.

Rating: 8.5/10