A Decade of Video Games – Games I Have Completed Since 2010

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Dem Mond!

I am in no way organized when it comes to cataloging which games I own let alone those I have completed. Below is my attempt to create a list of games released within the last decade that I have finished:

  1. ABZÛ
  2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
  3. Assassin’s Creed Revelations
  4. Batman: The Telltale Series (Season 1)
  5. Bioshock Infinite
  6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  7. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  8. Detroit: Become Human
  9. Destiny
  10. Destiny: The Taken King (expansion)
  11. Destiny 2
  12. Donut County
  13. Final Fantasy XV
  14. Firewatch
  15. Fire Emblem: Awakening
  16. Florence
  17. Inside
  18. Journey
  19. King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember (Episode 1)
  20. Kirby Star Allies
  21. Mass Effect 2
  22. Mazurka – A Ghost in Italy
  23. Minecraft: Story Mode (Season 1)
  24. Monument Valley
  25. Oxenfree
  26. Pokémon Y
  27. Race the Sun
  28. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  29. Sayonara Wild Hearts
  30. Spider-Man
  31. SteamWorld Dig
  32. SteamWorld Dig 2
  33. Super Mario Odyssey
  34. Tales from the Borderlands (all episodes)
  35. That Dragon, Cancer
  36. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
  37. The Final Station
  38. The Last of Us Remastered
  39. The Last of Us: Left Behind (DLC)
  40. Titanfall 2
  41. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  42. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  43. Virginia
  44. West of Loathing
  45. What Remains of Edith Finch
  46. Wolfenstein: The New Order

Now, to pick my game of the decade.

Spider-Man

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Marvel's Spider-Man

Spider-Man is a game I kept waiting to see fail. And yet, every story beat pushed the game to new heights. Had my wife and son not been sitting with me, when I finished the game, I think I would have cried. May’s talk with Peter, at the end, almost did me in. One of those moments, as a parent, where you know you have done a good job raising your kid.

Can’t wait to pick up the DLC and continue Spidey’s adventures!

Developer Insomniac wisely chose to focus the game not on Peter’s romantic pursuits but more on the qualities that enable us to relate to Peter Parker.

Press Start – What Remains of Edith Finch

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Developer Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch has been on my radar for quite sometime. Thankfully, one of the PlayStation Plus games this month happens to be the above said title. So I fired up the game for the first time tonight. Enjoy my opening photo safari below.

So much lovely detail.

How curious…

Built by Sven.

Sirius Black once had a family tree…

More photos to come, I’m sure, as I continue to play.

Not in My House – PlayStation Classic

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Woke up this morning to read that Sony has decided to cash-in on the retro console movement with their own PlayStation Classic. This $100 PS1 features 20 games, including Final Fantasy VII. With my foot firmly in place, the PlayStation Classic will never enter my home.

The Foot is Down!

How else am I supposed to teach Wyatt about games curation and corporate greed? Take Final Fantasy VII for instance, the game is available on just about every format. As with Skyrim, I’m sure you’ll soon be able to play Final Fantasy VII on your refrigerator door. Greed lives on your refrigerator door. Don’t feed greed nor the need to play games on appliances.

The PlayStation Classic is worthless beyond nostalgia. Sony has had most of the PlayStation 1 library available for years on the PlayStation Store. The games are playable on modern consoles and televisions, right now. No special $100 box and original uncomfortable controller required.

I understood why Nintendo released the NES Classic and SNES Classic. Both featured games that were hard to find, expensive, and did not play well with modern TVs. Providing many popular games, in one box, with a save state feature, was a total win-win for gamers everywhere. Not so much with Sony’s PlayStation Classic.

I will not be spending $100 for what amounts to a repackaging of games already available on my PlayStation 4. I’d like to say that I’d be interested in a PlayStation 2 Classic but all of the games I’d want are already available in HD remastered glory, today!

You dug too deep into the gaming mine, Sony. You have plundered the riches of your history through constant availability. As for me and my house, we will not be buying a PlayStation Classic. Wyatt’s not getting one of these for Christmas.

Race the Sun

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The sun travels across the afternoon sky. Flying along in your sleek solar craft, you race towards the horizon. Will the sun set before you complete your trek over many regions? Depends on how bumpy your flight is.

Speed, Glorious Speed

Race the Sun has been a joyous surprise for me. Coming as a free downloadable game on PlayStation Plus, Race the Sun features gameplay hooks that sink deep.

Race-The-Sun-Logo-BlackBGRace the Sun is an endless runner platform game, much like Temple Run. Your solar craft is forever racing forward, unless it hits something and explodes. These Tron-esque explosions happen often. Learning from failure is the name of the game. Race the Sun features simple flight controls of moving right to left as well as a single jump button. As you weave your way through shape-filled mazes, power ups such as speed boosts and jumping litter the game world. Sounds easy, right?

The further you rocket into the distance, the closer the sun comes to setting. Shadows begin to cast off of the minimalist but deadly landscape. As your eyes struggle with the speed, obstacles, and route decisions, death is but a heartbeat away.

What keeps me coming back to the party?

  • A world that randomly generates every 24 hours
  • A sense of speed that I have not felt since F-Zero GX on the GameCube.
  • Fun objectives to complete
  • Personal high scores to beat

Race the Sun is the experience I needed to renew my faith in videogames–seriously, I’ve felt burned out. I can’t recommend it enough. Definitely worth the price of admission if you happen not to download it this month (May 2015) on PlayStation Plus. Come on, you owe it to yourself to race the great ball of fire.

DEFCON 5wavesplinter5/5 – Just buy it already!

Wave SplinterTitle: Race the Sun
Developer: Flippfly
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Vita
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $10

Mass Effect 2

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Press Start:

In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepherd is tasked with recruiting the ultimate team in an effort to battle the Collectors. Most of the game is spent:

  • Exploring the galaxies/ collecting resources
  • Completing the individual story lines for each team member acquired
  • Shooting lots and lots of bullets
  • Listening to Grunt repeat his battle cry, “I AM KROGAN!”

Throughout the game, Shepherd must make choices that impact both immediate and future situations. Your actions, his actions, can often mean the difference between life and death.

I had a total love/hate relationship with Miranda. Ultimately, my choices doomed her to die.

Ideology/ Worldview:

As I mentioned above, Mass Effect 2 is all about choices. The two types of choices you are allowed to make are Paragon (good) and Renegade (evil, sly, Han Solo-ish). Depending on which route/mixture you end up choosing, the worldview of the game plays out in that manner.

Relationships, however, are a completely different matter in Mass Effect 2. Throughout the game, in-between missions, you walk the decks of your ship chatting it up with the crew. The more you pay attention to a specific crew member the more dialogue options open up during your conversations. Eventually, with enough flirting, this will lead to a romantic rendezvous in  Commander Shepherd’s quarters. Relationships are cheap in Mass Effect 2. If you don’t like the current person you are sleeping with, you can go off and pursue another. I would like to note that I did not, as much as I wanted to, bring a relationship to fruition in the game. There are places, as a Christian, I just don’t need to tread. Plus, you don’t need to pursue romantic relationships in the game in order to complete it (though there is an achievement for bedding someone down).

As a side note, Mass Effect 2 portrays women in an interesting light. The only times, that I can remember, the f-word being used in the game was by a female. I’m not sure what grand statement the game was trying to make in this regard, if any. I came away from it with the knowledge that the more wild women in this universe have potty mouths.

This is Mordin. Mordin talks like the coroner on the new Hawaii Five-O. Love this guy!

Interaction/ Gameplay:

Watch a cinema. Talk to the crew. Shoot a ton of people. Repeat.

In the End:

I played Mass Effect 2 for over 28 hours. I haven’t done this with a game in quite sometime. There was something about the storyline, role playing, and shooter elements that just seemed to gel with me. Would I recommend this series to someone else? Yes. Yes, with the caveat that the player in question is old enough to play a game that is rated M for mature. For all the games cons (minor language, romantic sidequests), there are endless galaxies to explore. I rarely wish that a game would just go on, but Mass Effect 2 is certainly one of those experiences.

An amazing experience!

– Level of Impact Rating –

Medium: Mission structure allows you to complete a mission in a short amount of time.

PlayStation Store Strikes Back May 24th

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Barring any additional problems, Sony plans to bring the PlayStation Store back online next Tuesday, May 24, according to a memo sent to the console’s publishing partners. – Gamasutra

I am honestly not sure how I feel about this, especially in light of yesterday’s news of Sony being hacked again. Sony has not won back my trust just yet.

Sony – Slowest Sinking Ship Ever.

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Dear Sony,

My personal information is running amok on the Internet! I have now received the first piece of SPAM related to your most recent debacle. Luckily, I can actually read and was able to see that you wouldn’t be using an email address like:

nment at soe dot innovyx dot net

This morning I learned, via The Ancient Gaming Noob, that your problems are more widespread than originally believed. Which makes me wonder, what the heck you have been doing? I would think, as a company, that one of your first and foremost priorities would be to secure your customer’s personal data. How could you have allowed for hackers to even obtain access to such things? You’re an electronics giant for the love of Godzilla! Capable of creating such things as the Walkman and the PS3!

It is time to put the big boy pants on Sony. We live in a digital age. Grow up or pass the company name onto someone else more deserving. Your squandering a legacy.

Sincerely,

Bryan

Sony Grovels

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This past Saturday, April 30th, Sony announced a limited rollout of its PlayStation Network this next week. In addition to outlining what they plan to do to make the network more secure, Sony also announced this:

Complimentary Offering and “Welcome Back” Appreciation Program
While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, the company is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in each region.

The company will also rollout the PlayStation Network and Qriocity “Welcome Back” program, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide our consumers with a selection of service options and premium content as an expression of the company’s appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.

Central components of the “Welcome Back” program will include:

  • Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
  • All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
  • Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.

Additional “Welcome Back” entertainment and service offerings will be rolled out over the coming weeks as the company returns the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services to the quality standard users have grown to enjoy and strive to exceed those exceptions.

SNEI will continue to reinforce and verify security for transactions before resuming the PlayStation®Store and other Qriocity operations, scheduled for this month.

For more information about the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services intrusion and restoration, please visit http://blog.us.playstation.com. or http://blog.eu.playstation.com/

Should be interesting to see what this really entails as the network comes online once more. I’m hoping for some free games. You?

PSN Failure: A Senator Calls for Answers

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United States Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote a nice letter to Sony:

April 26, 2011

Mr. Jack Tretton
President and CEO
Sony Computer Entertainment America
919 East Hillsdale Boulevard
Foster City, CA USA 94404

Dear Mr. Tretton:

I am writing regarding a recent data breach of Sony’s PlayStation Network service.  I am troubled by the failure of Sony to immediately notify affected customers of the breach and to extend adequate financial data security protections.

It has been reported that on April 20, 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network suffered an “external intrusion” and was subsequently disabled. News reports estimate that 50 million to 75 million consumers – many of them children – access the PlayStation Network for video and entertainment. I understand that the PlayStation Network allows users to store credit card information online to facilitate the purchasing of content such as games and movies through the PlayStation Network. A breach of such a widely used service immediately raises concerns of data privacy, identity theft, and other misuse of sensitive personal and financial data, such as names, email addresses, and credit and debit card information.

When a data breach occurs, it is essential that customers be immediately notified about whether and to what extent their personal and financial information has been compromised. Additionally, PlayStation Network users should be provided with financial data security services, including free access to credit reporting services, for two years, the costs of which should be borne by Sony. Affected individuals should also be provided with sufficient insurance to protect them from the possible financial consequences of identity theft.

I am concerned that PlayStation Network users’ personal and financial information may have been inappropriately accessed by a third party. Compounding this concern is the troubling lack of notification from Sony about the nature of the data breach. Although the breach occurred nearly a week ago, Sony has not notified customers of the intrusion, or provided information that is vital to allowing individuals to protect themselves from identity theft, such as informing users whether their personal or financial information may have been compromised.  Nor has Sony specified how it intends to protect these consumers.

PlayStation Network users deserve more complete information on the data breach, as well as the assurance that their personal and financial information will be securely maintained. I appreciate your prompt response on this important issue.

Sincerely,

/s/

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senate

Source: Richard Blumenthal

PSN Failure

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Dear Sony,

Where do I begin? Ever since purchasing a PS3 last year, I have loved your product. The box says that “it does everything” and the PS3 truly delivers. So here I was, enjoying the blu-ray and AAA games on your console, when suddenly the PlayStation Network goes out. Okay, I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is finding out, almost a week later, that my personal information “may” have been compromised. By may, I mean my:

  • Name
  • Address (city, state, and zip)
  • Country
  • E-mail address
  • Birthday
  • PSN password and login name

All of the above have been “possibly” stolen from your system? What? You don’t know if whoever it was got my credit card information too? This is not acceptable. One of the first laws of business is to admit your mistakes upfront. This is especially true when it affects your clients and their personal banking information.

As of this morning, I have cancelled my credit card and have another one being reissued. I wish that I could somehow charge you, Sony, for my time and energy spent going about this task that never should have happened. Can you imagine if this had happened with Apple and iTunes?

My PS3 still sits faithfully by my television, waiting to connect to the Internet. While I appreciate the steps you have taken as a company to rectify this error (ie: shutting down the network), I do not appreciate the lack of communication on your part. My faith in Sony as a company has been shaken. Who is to say that this won’t happen again? I love my PS3, but I don’t love it enough to have my identity stolen and sold in some dark virtual alleyway. So what are you going to do, Sony, to regain my trust? I need something. A token that you are working to make sure that something like this never happens again. Ever. You can start by sending me an email telling me what I have read on different news sites. That is the least you can do.

Sincerely,

Bryan

Sold

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This is one of those mornings where I am not too sure what to write about. Lately, I have been selling off my video game collection. So far I have managed to ebay my:

  1. Virtual Boy
  2. PS2
  3. Dreamcast

All had been sitting on various shelves, wasting their plastic lives away. So instead of letting them choke on dust, I figured that I would much rather sell them and let someone else play with them. No use keeping something if your not going to use it, right? So now I have a bunch of money saved up. What to do, what to do…

I‘ve been going back and forth between getting a PSP (to feed my handheld gaming fix) or a PS3. Either way, it looks like its going to be a Sony life for me (yo ho!). Now if only these early Black Friday deals would feature some sort of deeply discounted PS3 bundle. Here’s to dreaming huh.

Happy Tuesday!

LED TV: Fact or Fiction?

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LED TV: Fact or Fiction?

Mmmm January. Cold weather, snow, people taking up space in the gym with no intention of staying longer than a week, and oh yeah, playoffs! I love it, or at least I did until my Eagles went belly up to the Cowboys on Saturday (1/9/10)… utterly shameful. Anyway, this is also the time of year when people go out and purchase a brand new HDTV, and I hate to see people suckered into marketing scams involved in electronics. Have you ever paid over twenty bucks for HDMI cords? If yes, you’re in the suckered camp. Sorry.

The latest blip on my scammadar (you know, like scam radar) is this idea of LED TVs. Yes, Sony has an LED TV that has possibly the best picture in the world (I can’t say I’ve actually seen it), but it’s different from the LEDs you’ll find now at the local big box retailer (The fact that an 11″ TV costs $2,500 should be a clue). All of these so called LED televisions are really just LCDs. Up until now, LCDs have used fluorescent bulbs as the backlighting source that shines light through the liquid crystal. Manufacturers now use an array of LEDs to shine through the liquid crystal.

So it’s still an LCD but with LED backlighting. Does it produce a better picture? Absolutely, but it’s basically equivalent to what we’ve seen from plasma’s for years. It’s all about higher contrast ratios. Contrast ratios essentially tell you how black the black on the screen is (except that contrast ratios are a huge scam. Google it or leave a comment for more info).  I’ll let you measure the pros on cons of the whole Plasma vs. LCD debate; just don’t confuse these improved LCDs with the real LEDs coming in the future.

LED TV: Fact or Fiction? (Soapbox Edition)

I’m a gadget guy. Mostly, I love big TVs, big speakers, and huge subwoofers. Unfortunately, I’m still in school and can’t afford any of those toys. This is why it pains me to see the general populace be misinformed and duped by clever marketing schemes. If you’re confused by all the terms at your local big box store, pay attention to the following.

CES 2010, the grand daddy of new-gadget tradeshows, was just held this past week. For gadget geeks such as myself, it’s a weeklong state of euphoria as new product after new product is announced. It also means we get a preview of all the new buzzwords we’ll see plastered in stores for the next year. Get ready for LED HDTVs (If you haven’t already seen them).

Okay, lets backup for a history lesson. At CES 2009 (maybe earlier, I can’t remember), Sony unveiled their newest TV technology, organic light emitting diode televisions or OLED TVs. Apparently, (I wasn’t there) the screen quality and color accuracy were really impressive almost true to life. It also boasted contrast ratios of, well infinity. I know I know, infinity doesn’t sound like a ratio, but let me explain. I’ll try not to make it too technical.

The contrast ratio is basically the difference between the darkest dark and the brightest bright onscreen. Usually you’ll see numbers of 1,000:1, 5,000:1, or more recently1,000,000:1. The big number (5,000) is the measure of the brightest bright, and the 1 sets the base level of the darkest dark. If we think about it, changing the darkness by a little will have a much greater effect on the ratio than changing the brightness a little. The contrast ratio is used to demonstrate how dark a screen can be. A higher ratio means you’re approaching “true black” and not “true bright” where you’d need to put your welding goggles on.

Can we assume the simple process of comparing model A to model B will allow us to find the “darkest” TV? Negative lieutenant. Unfortunately, there is no standardized method for measuring contrast ratios. Company A might say they have a 2,000:1 ratio, but Company B’s TV actually looks darker even though it only claims a 1,500:1 ratio. Glad we got that straight. I hope you’ve learned enough now to know you now know nothing. Back to LEDs.

So Sony releases its OLED TV and it’s gorgeous. Everyone agrees OLED is the future of television. Think of OLEDs as tiny multicolored bulbs. Every HDTV is made up of pixels. Think of those pixels as tiny dots that are placed really close to each other. So OLEDs work by placing many tiny multicolored bulbs really close to each other and turning them on and off, which makes the black part of an OLED really black. It’s the total absence of light since the bulb is off. Now you understand why I said it has an “infinite” contrast ratio. There is no light at all!It’s awesome! The problem is all those tiny LEDs cost money and that explains why Sony’s eleven inch OLED television (seriously eleven Sony… who makes an eleven inch TV?) costs an astonishing $2500. We’ll have to wait a while to get our own OLED TV.

Meanwhile, LCD manufacturers are beginning to see the writing on the wall. They dominate the market now, but eight-tracks were once the staple of the musical empire too. Plasma canprobably compete in the future since it offers very good contrast ratios and is getting better all the time. The LCD guys on the other hand are forced to evolve the technology. LCDs work by using an array of lights that shine through the liquid crystals (the pixels, think like windows). Instead of using the traditional fluorescent bulbs (similar to the ones you’ll find in office buildings), they installed LEDs as the “backlighting” source. In order to keep costs down, they don’t backlight each pixel with one LED (you might as well have an LED tv then) they divide the screen up into zones and backlight hundreds and thousands of pixels with a single LED. This attempts to provide the benefits of LED TVs (total darkness when off even if not as precisely and minutely as a real LED TV) while lowering the price tag.

So why do I share all of this with you? I look at plasma technology and I’m frustrated. It is the better technology currently (and has been for a while), but LCD continues to outsell it significantly. It violates my adolescent sense of justice and fairness. Here now is my petition.

Do not be fooled by this new propaganda that promotes LED as the next greatest thing in television technology. Plasma television is still, in most cases, the preferred choice when purchasing a television larger than 40 inches. Why? Plasma used to hold an edge to LCDs just based upon picture quality, but LCD makers have been band aiding its shortcoming with new LED backlighting, faster refresh rates, and 120Hz processing to eliminate motion blur. It is now left to simple economics. When comparing the price for televisions over 40 inches, plasma’s are still less expensive. It’s that simple.

I don’t claim to be an expert. I’d love to get my hands on these products, but all this information is just from hours of investigation online motivated by my own curiosity. If you’ve heard differently than this, I would tell you not to believe everything you read… unless I wrote it.