nawkcire

Games, Tech and Blogging…I can't guarantee in that order.

Tag Archives: games

Love Is Strange

On the week of Valentine’s Day, I started to play the new prequel to Life Is Strange. I was completely blown away at what they’ve done with the old characters while introducing new characters.

As someone who played the first game, there are a bunch of references. While I know what happens in the first game, I did my best to think about this as the “first” game in the series. I’m not completely done but it is so far really entertaining. There are a lot twists and lots of moments where it’s fun and sad. Life Is Strange played with my heart but Before The Storm really feels like a heartbreaking game.

Chloe and Max are probably the two characters in any video game yet that reflects how I perceive the concept of love. It’s a difficult subject to grasp and no one would every get it right, but we all understand it in out own way. What it means to us and what it matters to be with and without.

The game feels so much shorter than the first but I can’t wait to finish the 3rd episode and wait for the bonus episode.

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Last Post 2017

Next week’s going to be a new year; a year older, another year.

I’m just here watching the rest of the Jingle Jam. I’ve been a fan of the Yogscast but these charity streams I do find to be the best part of my year. After the year I’ve had, this is likely the best part right up to the end. However it’s been difficult to really watch these archived streams on YouTube. Not much to view but at the same time has given me an opportunity to see new indie games. At least I get to see the old and usual stuff, like a live podcast and some “live” games.

Last night I couldn’t get away from a 6 hour stream from Zoey from the Yogscast playing both The Sims 4 and a discussion on mental health. I was surprised when we began to talk about her struggle with mental health and how I’ve been over the past decade. From a person I don’t know to hear the same words, this oddly familiar connection based on an illness. After hearing from her and then playing this new game I’ve never heard about, it was like watching a simulacra of what I’ve been through for most of my adult life.

After seeing her play through it for almost an hour, I might want to pick up “Please Knock On My Door”. The hardest part was fighting my own thoughts while she and the game narrates the similar dialogue.

There is nothing easy about battling a mental illness without a cure. There is no phrase nor pill can cure it. Just keep holding on…

…even when things look bleak.

I think next year I’ll just keep fighting myself. I have to hope and keep telling myself things will get better. I just have to whether I should believe it or not.

New Game – Prison Architect

This week, I’m going to get back into recording gameplay for my YouTube Channel. It has been a very long time since I recorded anything, I figured out why. Stardew Valley was the last game I played on the channel and as I watched, it was getting fairly monotonous. I’m going to break away from Stardew Valley for awhile and focus on a new game. “New” does not mean recent; in this case, I’m taking a game I’ve had in my library that I haven’t played and I bought many moons ago in a Steam sale far far away.

Awhile ago I had bought myself a few games; Stranded Deep, Call To Arms, and Prison Architect. As per the title of this blog post, I’m going to start working on these sandbox games since I’ve had them in my library for the longest time. I’ve already recorded and edited a few episodes and it feels much more fun than the last few episodes of Stardew Valley I’ve put together. Reason behind going with Prison Architect was because the developer recently announced they were done with this game and any upcoming patches would just address major bugs. That was probably a couple months ago, which by now should be fairly stable and playable.

I think after I get a good chunk of Prison Architect completed, I’ll start on the next one and then maybe consider revisiting Stardew Valley. For the time being I think I’ll stop and enjoy what I have accomplished. Much like I did with Defiance, the MMORPG, I’m going to leave this one as is until I feel I can play it in it’s entirety.

Fallen Plans

As the summer starts, I’m starting to think all the plans I’ve set a couple months are starting to fall through. Right now I’m sort of scrambling with finding something to keep myself occupied with for the next a few months. Unlike last year, I think the internet will benefit from this scrambling.

I was hoping I was going to work for the entire summer. I’ve been in contact with my employer and it seems they don’t know what to do with me or I got it easy (or difficult, depending how you look at it). Now a week into June, I’m making some expensive plans for my YouTube channel and perhaps my new camera. I had everything planned; I was going to end my Life is Strange playthrough and start a summer hiatus, then I would spend the remaining days before I was slated to work to take up a hobby and go to the gym a bit more. At the moment, it seems the hobby and gym might be the largest component in my entire life until I have something to do. I might even seek employment all summer; if there is an employer who will hire me in short notice.

Short term futures right now, I have purchased a new game on Steam. It was on sale called Call To Arms, it appears to be a modern warfare RTS game I might be recording . Along with recording a new game, I’m jumping back into Insurgency and Borderlands 2. For Borderlands 2, I purchased the Collector’s Edition so I have a few DLC packs I can record. Insurgency received an achievement and map update so I’ve decided to record a bunch of compilation of some of these achievements as well as maps I’ve may or may not have played in the past. That should cover a month or so of content online. As for personal content, I will have to really coerce myself to the gym and spend the soon-to-be sunny summer days outside snapping photos and hopefully get into a bit of trouble. I promise I won’t end up in jail or on the evening news, haha!

This is all I have for now for updates and progress. Hopefully I have something to show next week.

Life is…Strange. Ohhhhhhhh!

I thought it would merit a blog post in itself since I’ve played the entire episodic narrative, Life is Strange. After a long 6 months since I bought episodes 1-5 on Steam, recently I finally put aside some time from work to play. All this time avoiding spoilers I can put in a review down without ruining any plot lines and there are a bunch of plot lines.

Developed by DONTNOD and published by Square Enix, you play as Maxine Caulfield who has travelled to Oregon to attend Blackwell Academy in hopes of being a photographer. Within the first month of settling in, you have premonitions of a tornado. You have 5 days to prevent it happening. Along the way of trying to save the seaside town of Arcadia Bay, you make friends both old and new.

You play in the third person in a narrative where each episode is a day until the end. As you play choices from the previous episodes can effect the story and how it will culminate. The art for the game does exude something resembling of water colours which exemplifies focus on the story while delivering a detailed (but not too detailed) atmosphere. The entire game is littered with story devices which opens the player to character development outside of Max’s journal. If you are an empathic gamer, you will find yourself thinking about these little bits of information as you interact with other characters and help make decisions throughout the game. The voice acting in itself is very professional and does feel very natural and fluid with each choice. The character animation is nothing impressive, there are parts where characters would just talk and wouldn’t necessarily interact with each other. Felt more like talking heads on the news than a theatrical performance. Definitely something work improving is the motion capture to let these characters interact with the space around than standing there and have it be consistent. Max’s time travelling provides a good plot device to allow the player to change their answer if they think their choice is undesirable considering most choices aren’t described fully. Usually the game will give your an explicit choice of actions or a vague noun like “Nathan” or “Joyce” and hope that choice is what you are thinking it would be what is summed in a few words. It makes a logical choice to have the choices concise but a bit more description would be helpful. Then again the time travelling ability really solves all that.

Thematically, the game is about choices. Choices everywhere and if you aren’t tainted by spoilers, these choices are interesting because they carry weight through the game and changes up what you can say and do. The developers seemed to explore the idea of choice in terms of a social sense with moral implications. Choices which challenge vices and virtues, needs and wants, truth and the perception of truth; the does give some good examples of philosophical dilemmas which defines our humanity. Who said video games can’t teach your anything?

If you haven’t decided to get Life is Strange yet and you want to play it, I would recommend getting all the episodes in one package. For the value of a movie ticket and popcorn (like 25 dollars-ish),  you get about 22 hours of content (That’s on my count, experience may vary). As much as the first episode is thorough in giving you a preview of things to come, the main attraction is a story which a game can only deliver. There are some faults in quality such as some bugs and some dialogue which fell flat because of the animation. It’s a good play with achievements which can be completed (for you perfectionists out there). In the end after I made all the choices and comparing similarities with my personal life, the title is indeed exclaims a truth. Life is strange, so very strange.

Day 16 – Education

I have ranted on about education in the past. It’s been something I’m frustrated with when I’m job searching. A lot of employers I meet have the preference of wanting post-secondary students for menial labour. As I read their position’s duties, they do not require someone with such qualifications. As someone with nothing more than a high school diploma, I would think I would be more qualified than a post-secondary student.

As someone with little to no interest in post-secondary, I would consider myself more of an asset to employers since I would have little to no obligation to work. I can world over time and late nights unlike university students who may work over time but are less hesitant to do so because of classes the following day.

I feel young adults are not lazy or not work, but overworked and underpaid. With all the unpaid internships floating around, it’s the employer’s treasure to find free labour through promises of “work experience”. I’ve actually tried to get into some of these interships and most of the time the employers are asking their interns to flip the cost for certain things. I remember this interview where the employer told me about how I would get into events as a media outlet. Suffice to say, if I wanted to write a piece about a concert I will have to flip the bill myself. All for “work experience”, my advice is to ask lots of questions if they’re wanting to just provide you just “work experience”.

Some of you out there might refute this and tell me your job is fitting for your qualifications. Then you have figured out how to get into it. However living in a large city, you have a lot of folks entering post-secondary and come out with an expensive piece of paper with little to no way to justify the last 4-8 years. People go back in and get more degrees and diplomas while some settle for a trade. Perhaps the schooling is not wrong with education, but how education is applied in certain areas. There are sectors which may require a post-secondary qualification, however in positions like cashier and warehouse associate a diploma would make little sense. I’ve even seen sales associates and representatives requiring a bachelor’s  degree! The way I see it, there are employers out there expecting way too much from the the employee. Most of the time, employers are the one’s lazy. They don’t seem to want to train you on workplace equipment so they want a school to do it for them.

If you have it nice and set, I dare you to try and find a menial job with your big boy degree. You will not feel those 4 years would be worth anything. I don’t even have one and I would feel the exact same thing.

Weekends/Weekdays

This September has been an interesting one. Along with receiving my work schedule and starting a new hobby, time seems against me for the time being. I am unsure where to start or how I would finish this blog post, but I can try to break it down.

After Labour Day, I returned to my part time job. My employer has given me the schedule and it seems most of the time, I’ll be pulling weekends. Not surprising my 2nd job likes to occupy the same timetable as well. I can already know this year I will have scheduling conflicts unless I adapt to having a weekend in the middle of the weekday. Welcome Tuesday through Thursday, you are my new Friday through Sunday! At least it’s an equal trade, so at least during the week, I can edit my gameplay for YouTube and play airsoft at premium. For now, the weekends for me are fairly packed and this weekend may be the last for awhile. Maybe get some time in playing games and spending last week’s pay on a day of airsoft? I think I’m getting more addicted to playing airsoft then video games; hehe.

On the YouTube front, I’ve finally bought a new headset after my old headset finally gave out. The headphones a long time back gave out and nothing came out beside static. The mic however survived to this day until this week. The mic has provided me with thousands of hours of screaming and planning in games and recorded over 450 videos for my channel. When I bought the new headset, I spent an entire day trying to get the mic working. At the start, the drivers worked out well but I had a conflict with the speakers. I still want to keep my speakers while keeping my headset resting on my shoulders. I guess these are the troubles I get for buying a USB headset than a 3.5mm audio headset. So with the USB drivers, I spent a good day trying to determine which input driver is my microphone. Once I found the input, I had to look for it in OBS and test it out. At the time, I thought it would be a good idea to test it while playing a new game. With the spare cash in my Steam account, I bought Party Hard to put her through. At the time of this blog post, I’ve received some criticism on it and I’ve made some tweaks. Beyond OBS, I don’t know what else I can do to enhance the audio in my recording since I can’t split the audio from the video.

I’m halfway through Party Hard and I think I will take recording a bit slower while I dial my settings in. If I don’t I still have my new weekends to work on it. See you guys next time!

Long Awaited Airsoft

This past Saturday after much planning and preparation, I finally played my first airsoft game. For most of the summer, I wanted to go out and see what it is like and now getting closer to fall; I feel I have only touched a shallow waters of a deep ocean.

In my city, this would be considered the edge of where sport and legality meet. Reading and seeing it with open eyes has made me appreciate it in a deep sense I can’t describe on my blog for it would reveal a bit too much about my past.

Tonight I traveled a long way to a quiet industrial complex to play a game of hobby and sport. A game where getting shot at is normal and pain demands to be felt. I purchase my tool in April in hopes of playing it in mid-summer. Everything was set; eye protection, batteries, bag, gun. Almost at a moments notice, I could trek the hour to the nearest field for a day long excursion.  Which today I did at Siege Airsoft.

Many would say it’s lunacy to shoot each other with guns loaded with pellets. Is it as crazy as watching two men bare fisticuff in cage without protection? Fringe sport as it is has show me what it really meant to play airsoft. As much the mainstream demonizes airsoft, I saw a lot of good tonight. After a pilgrimage to a store in hopes of calibrating my rifle, I met a few seasoned folks about their take on the game. As my rifle spent the hours in the hands of a technician, I can see the meticulous care and dedication; I saw a store brim with replicas and the few willing to uphold this game as a venture and a hobby. By the end with 4 hours before closing, I met a stranger who took me under his wing and a person I long awaited ever since I joined the community online. As I entered the chaotic nature of the Staging Area at Siege; it is apparent with BB’s dribbling across the floor and chatter in the humid summer air, they are not freaks looking for a a thrill. As normal as you or me, they want to do what a lot of people want to do – play a game. Perhaps with tolerance it could be much in sync with soccer and hockey, less organized  and more fluid. As I sat there and watched people load up and get dressed, I can see the eagerness and discipline in everyone around the room. Loading for me is simple and simply dressed, I sat and joined the sea of people waiting for the game instructions by staff. First game for me: VIP. As lots were drawn for 4 VIP’s a stepped up, how hard is it to be the VIP? As the staff instructed, there was a calm silence in the room as we are briefed about the game rules. As we stepped off into the field, it felt very surreal. partially built structures laid erratically within a warehouse sized room. With three small structures with stairs to a second floor laid front, middle and back of the enclosure. Well lit, I looked over to the predetermined teams. As the VIP, we had to hold tight for the team to take us to an extraction point laid across the map. As the game counted down from the referee tower in the middle. I crouch on the second floor in the second building. Game in three. Two. One. Then footsteps pounding as rounds ricochet off the wood and metal. I managed to fire my gun off. Pop pop. Pop pop pop. Then a sting on my arm, definitely feels like a hit. I crouch down in instinct and cried for a medic. Only 10 seconds in and already down. As I was healed, I over hear our escape plan. Peel back to the friendly side and push hard up the left. As we left under the rules of the VIP being escorted out, we held this guy’s back and ran straight to our side with very little rest we run under a set of arches and out of one of the buildings. As we reached the front, the pops sound violently close. As we neared the middle, we held our ground and began shooting back with vigor. We managed our way into a metal shed and held on. With nothing more than our escort. one of the VIP’s and I sat, shooting our of every opening we had. As the winds down to the last minute, it was time to make a hard move. We push behind out teammate and not stop until one of us reaches the top floor of the last building on the enemy side. As I watched dim blurs fly past the window and BB’s pelting the side, it was down to three of us to make it count. The spring to the stairs was easy but as time dropped to mere seconds, I made a quick dive over the last 6 steps. Belly first into a bed of plastic BB’s and a low groan in pain. It’s over, we won. After the round we left for the staging area and for me, to lick my wounds. In clear light, I saw I was shot about twice in the arm. By now, pain has left me leaving nothing more than exhilaration. I went back in for a few more games playing as a mercenary, then to help my team find and recover an object which is the supposed “bomb”.

After coming home with very little bodily harm, I feel elated and appreciative. In real life, gun fire bullets designed to maim and hurt people. What I experienced was very little to what people experience in their life. The realization of how safe we are to the world doesn’t fathom the pain of witnessing in it. I want to play more after this experience for sheer enjoyment. Not many games out there can induce such an adrenaline rush. But the next time I go, I’ll be sure to carry a long sleeve shirt and a gun that works properly to maximize my time there.

Closing In Time

I can’t help myself when it comes to talking about my gaming channel at the moment. As I’m writing this post, I have been continually uploading video as often as I can for the past week. At the same time, I have been playing The Long Dark as expediently as I can for a gamer.

Stuff is in meatspace has been ramping up to the upcoming few weeks. I was worrying about if I can send out 4-5 videos a week. At the moment, I have enough for the upcoming week or two. As of new content, I think I will do what I can when I have time to record and edit. Unfortunately editing and recording for the next few weeks will not happen on the same day since I need some time to myself to do real life things. As mysterious as it sounds – trust me, it’s very mundane but private. Not to worry, I have a feeling the second half of March, I will have some time dedicated to video games and Let’s Play videos. If not, I will be hoping for a schedule I’ve have enjoyed for the last couple months.

I guess it’s one thing I’m lacking, besides motivation – time. Time for me seems to escape me quickly than others who perceive time. In all the time there is, I can never seem to get everything I want to get done. Looking at other people, they seem more productive. They do more than me and get a lot done, then there is me. I can hardly keep a hobby, a job and a lifestyle together yet people my age seem to have all this down. As fragmented my life may be, I want to keep it all together and do more of it. However, time escapes me and something loses out. There are 24 hours in a day, yet I can’t juggle sleep and everything I want to do in a single day. I know video games has been a big part of my life and I still want it to be. I do want something worth pursuing in the realm of reality beyond the screen. I still haven’t found what I want to do; even armed with much advice from others, I still have not landed into somewhere I want to be. Time; some people say, “You have all the time in the world”. I say, “nope.avi”. You don’t have all the time in the world, you never gain but only lose time. Time is constant and we only have the time between birth and death to leave a legacy of our existence. We only have so much time in this world before we cease to exist as a sentient entity. Regardless how you spend it, I think a life well spent is a life well spent living.

Time is what we make of it and the moments we do within them. We can gauge it’s distance but regardless, we see time from one point of view travelling in one direction. Until next time; much like a train, this one only has one ultimate destination and it’s up to you to enjoy the ride.

Re: Your First (Videogame) Love

Response to aander14’s blog post here.

For me, I had bunch of small moments that fell in the right place. For me when I started playing video game, I wasn’t much of an enthusiast. My parents were fairly strict and (Dare I say) somewhat backwards when it comes to new technology. Here’s the list of firsts that got me into playing video games.

The first time I ever met the digital world was probably in school when I was a kid. That’s when schools started to teach kids about graphic design and how to draw stuff on computers. The first computer I remember using was a Macintosh, I’m talking the years before the iMac went on the market and every school in my district pretty much had something from the late 80’s. Most distinctive piece of software was the paint program for it where you use dynamite to “blow up” your creations. Later as each classroom got it’s own computer, the district went forward with getting PC’s. Before the Apple computers were phased out of the computer lab, I remember playing Battle Chess or a variant of it. Until my parents finally got an SNES, this so happens to be the first exposure to video games in my entire life.

Then I got the SNES, or Super Nintendo for those who are a tad young and asking “what’s a SNES?” Remember how my parents were so strict on me playing video games? They were probably the epitome of tiger parents before the term even came around as “tiger parenting”. So essentially when they got me the SNES, they thought I was too young to have it and too young to do anything besides go to school and get good grades. My sibling on the other hand turned the argument around and got us the SNES. First game we got was Super Mario All Stars and at the time even with my parents putting money to this game console, the would hardly let us play it until we were done our homework or we had nothing else to do. After awhile, our library to include Super Mario World and Gladius II which was given to use by relatives. Later on in grade school, I met other people who owned the Playstation and the N64. At the time, the PS had GTA but I never touched it until a buddy of mine at the time got it and told me to try it. I mostly stayed on their N64 and my SNES. First exposure with platformers aside, I got into cinematic cutscenes and gun play of Perfect Dark. I got deep into the singleplayer and enjoyed the split screen, big head cheat fun of of PD.

The same buddy that got Perfect Dark got Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and they let me play it. That was when everything just click. I liked sandbox, violence and open world games. Even to this day, these are the tenets of video games I like especially when it’s not overly exaggerated and just allows some escape from reality. As I got older, my parents seemed to relax a little and got me the Game Boy Advance and some games for it. For the most part, I stuck to Mario Kart for the GBA and Pokemon Red. By this time I was coming up to my teen years and I was fairly entertained through cartoon violence. So Mario and friends later got boring to me, lacking the things I want in games. I laid fairly dormant with my GBA until I was around 13 when I finally got my first PC.

Growing up in lower middle class, my parents couldn’t afford what I wanted in a PC so I got something a bit low brow. More attuned to a workstation than a gaming rig, I got this 512 MB with 40 GB computer running the last Intel Pentium ever created. This was my gateway to the world. To top it off my parents let the world wide web into the house with DSL and that’s when everything starting to ramp up for myself when I played the many games I soon to find to be everywhere. Firs it started with browser games that are precursors to Facebook games. Then I got a collection of pirated games from my sibling when they moved away for university; but mostly I remember Mechwarrior 3. By this time, my life starting to go downhill. In my child-like mind, the world didn’t seem as beautiful and carefree. As I entered high school, I already accumulated a lot of time into my first MMO, Kal Online which was a Korean MMO taken place in Korean lore. I got as far as I could in the game but in the end at level 25-ish, I gave up after feeling the grind of the game. Of course I moved on; Silkroad Online, WarRock, and Cabal comes to mind. Perhaps there a dozens I’ve played and forgotten. After my first PC finally gave, I got a new PC and continued playing. First on the roster if memory serves was NavyField which was a Korean MMO naval arena. Of course the game has been updated many times over the years; when I remembered it, the game only had 4 nations (US, GB, Germany and Japan). This second PC lasted me a good while and I even tried to go off gaming to pursue increasing my grades. With all my efforts and looking back on it, it was indeed a futile effort and regardless of any scientific study; it didn’t change my grades, I was still the below average student since grade school. Fondest memory was the closest time I went into Major League Gaming; yes that’s right, I was close to MLG material at the ripe age of 15/16. At the time, I was playing America’s Army with a clan I was in trying to get a team together into MLG. In short, the power went out and I lost my shot at a small pot of cash at a small growing gaming tournament league. I believe the cash prize was about $14-18 grand USD per person. In it’s finality of it continuing to this day, my parents view of video games is damning. Video games is a form of entertainment and not a business you can get into, so they say. Yet I could’ve been the coolest kid in high school since I won $14 000.

By now, it was about 8 years ago where I finally found a job and made some money to get myself a custom gaming PC. This is where everything went to hell in a hand basket and yet opened me to the world of video games on an addictive level. When I got my current rig, I went to town on my bank account and bought games. I spent it as wisely as I could starting with putting it into games I can play on Steam. I bought the Orange Box which as Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2 series and Portal for a cheap price. I went back to my roots somewhat and got GTA IV, I even stuck around cyberspace to explore the free games it has to offer. Before my 8800 GT GPU died and my hard drive in need a refurbishment, I think I played about the same amount of games I had played in the past over a span of 4-5 years. Which brings us to the last 3 years and now.

Now, I’m stuck to sharing games with others. I like aspects of co-op games and sandboxes. I’m stuck to my old ways where I play games I like. If my play time in Star Trek Online isn’t proof of my past, I don’t know what would prove where I was in the past 3 years. Moving forward, I want to break away from my parents opinions on video games. I want to making a small inkling in playing video games. If I can’t, at least I want to do is share my love for video games to the world at large.