Life Is Strange (PC) Early Review

posted in: Games Review | 0

Life is Strange is an episodic adventure game by Dontnod entertainment – most easily compared to recent Telltale games, or those by Quantic dream. The only other game that Dontnod have put out is 2013’s Remember Me, so I have to say I wasn’t expecting a massive amount while going into Life is Strange, only doing so because it seemed to be getting some fair praise from friends.

Bare in mind that this is only an opinion after playing Episodes 1 and 2, but honestly Life is Strange has handled those 3 or 4 hours well enough to make me believe that they won’t fuck the rest of the game up.

LifeIsStrange 2015-03-26 21-22-03-32

Life is Strange is broadly about a teenage highschool girl with the power to rewind time.. It plays out otherwise like any other narrative driven story/adventure game, with the exception of less “I wonder what would happen if I picked…” moments – That said, as soon as you leave an area, those choices are locked in for good. These choices seem much bigger and more powerful than some other similar games which give the illusion of choice, compared to other games which may briefly kind of mention it later on down the line, Life is Strange is filled with characters that seriously know how to hold a grudge. Anything you say can and likely will be used against you later on, so you’d better pick wisely and choose your friends and enemies well.

The story so far has been fantastic, a tale with hints of heroism and mystery, nothing is quite as it seems at face value, and being able to uncover the story yourself, both through the actual scenes and through just scanning the environment for clues and information, is really rewarding.
The game really manages to capture school life well for most gamers, Max (the main heroine) is a slightly outcast and unpopular student who has to deal with everything from teen love to bullying, as well as picking friend groups and all other sorts along the way (Still not sure whether I should have gone to that party or not, it’ll be filled with all the ‘cool’ kids though…). There are lots of side activities and segments you can engage in, but the game won’t really mind if you skip these – but in the event that you don’t even notice them, the game can occasionally refer back to them and act as if you took a particular stance on it, even if you don’t have a clue what’s going on. I was also surprised during certain bits in the story which flowed without my intervention, and actually made me believe that my choice didn’t matter – only to be surprised later in the post chapter screen when all of the available options get laid out to you, it’s through this screen also that will make you realise just how much you missed on your first play.

Photography is sort of important, especially if its a guy who just smacked his balls.
Photography is sort of important, especially if its a guy who just smacked his balls.

I’m not sure i’d encourage repeat plays in a game like this, when I tried it with TWD it made me realise just how little my choices really mattered, but I feel like in LiS there are enough clear branches that it might genuinely be really interesting to give it a second whirl, just to see how things pan out – Though this will of course lead to much repeat dialogue and events, some of which aren’t that fun;
Some examples include a lengthy bottle gathering segment in Chapter 2, with max having to scavenge 5 bottles for a friend, and they are of course hidden about the place (the campfire is by the rail tracks for anyone else who gets stuck there, I know I did.).

Life is Strange is fairly minimal with its music, yet the soundtrack kicks in at just the right time for key moments, and in a fairly organic way, such as when max puts her headphones in, or for the chapter ending.
I’m somewhat torn on the graphical front, the environment, special effects (mostly depth of field / bokeh) and lighting are pretty good, however majority of the characters can occasionally look goofy and undermodelled (in terms of poly count), it’s not that the characters look bad persay, but rather that the environment and special effects seem so well done that they feel sub-par by comparison.

I can’t attest for the rest of the game at this point (i’ll update when It’s finished), but for now, Life is Strange is looking like a strong candidate for game of the year.

Verdict:

Life is strange genuinely manages to feel more like a playable movie than a video game, and for a game in this particular genre, that’s some high praise. Choices have an impact, the characters seem to have genuine life to them (and bitchiness, mostly bitchiness) and the camerawork and art is fantastic.
The worst bit about it is that it isn’t all out yet.

Approximate Game Length :~2 Hours per chapter for first playthrough
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £16 / £16 = 1.0
Should you play it :Definitely.

Rating: 5 / 5

Interested? (You should be.)

Check the trailer for a pretty good feel of what the game is like

[kad_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/AURVxvIZrmU” ]

13 Reasons why Resi Revelations 2 is awful

posted in: Games | 0

So against my better judgement I decided to continue on with the game, playing through the other episodes.. eventually finding myself towards the end of Episode 4, when something tipped me over the edge and I just said ‘fuck it. I can’t deal with this game anymore’ and I exited out and probably won’t ever launch it again. It gets that bad.

As odd as it is to say, Revelations 2 somehow manages to feel like a poor resident evil clone of the recent ‘Evil Within’ game.

 

Anyway, Have some bullet points.

 

– The story is fucking retarded, even by resident evil standards

 

– Moiras dialogue is fucking retarded, even teenagers don’t say the dumb shit she says, you can’t just write normal angsty dialogue and then throw ‘fuck’ in there every now and then “I’m going to survive the fuck out of this”. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

 

– The level design is terribly linear and this only gets worse after the first episode

 

– The level design is also retarded, with enemies and traps in places seemingly only put there to annoy.

 

– There are enemies which are completely invisible and kill you instantly if you get to close to them, and then the level designers thought it would be a good idea to throw these into timed escape sequences, where the average player is going to be holding the run button. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WHO THOUGHT THIS IS A GOOD IDEA. I HATE YOU.

 

– Natalia (the little girl) apparently has enough physical strength to pick up and carry a generator unit which has dimensions probably 1m3,  this annoyed me more than it probably should have.

 

– The game has serious pacing issues

 

– Episode 4 featured possibly the most boring 10 minute area/segment i’ve ever played in a video game ever – and i’ve played a lot of video games.

 

– There are lengthy segments clearly designed for co-op play… the co-op play is of course missing from the PC version

 

– There was a part where the AI decided to fall off a cliff, causing me to get a game over.

 

– Overabundance of items which are completely useless without ‘bottles’, and then an item system which refused to let me discard said useless items. I wasn’t aware this shitty rag of cloth was important to the overarching story of the game.

 

– Unexplained inconsistencies toward the end of the story, bitches be teleporting around location wise or coming back to life etc.

 

– Bosses are lazily made, having only 2 or 3 attacks.
– – The boss in the claire campaign would regularly manage to attack me through terrain
– – One of the bosses in the barry campaign features an instant kill grab attack and is fought in a small enclosed area, and you bet your AI partner is just going to be standing around.

 

– Fucking hell did I mention how bad the story was?

 

To Summarize:

reve2summary

Ori and the blind forest (PC) Review

posted in: Games Review | 0

Ori and the blind forest is a metroidvania style adventure platformer by Moon studios, it’s the company’s first game and it’s a hell of a good start.

ori 2015-03-15 17-45-56-87

Ori plays incredibly similar to drinkbox’s 2013 game Guacamelee, but swapping wrestlers for a more fantasy setting, and skeletons for weird piles of alien goop and worms. You’ll play through the game with the aim of awakening 3 monuments, and travel through many different locations to do so, each of them fairly self contained yet joining up with other areas organically and without load screens. You’ll get new powers at regular intervals which will let you bypass old obstacles and introduce new mechanics to deal with – it’s all pretty standard fare, with no big twists or innovations along the way.

ori 2015-03-15 12-04-45-59

The game features a skill tree (of course) and the ability to save/checkpoint anywhere provided you have the necessary energy to do so (and you usually will). Perhaps because of this checkpoint anywhere system, Moon studios have decided to ramp the difficulty up to an almost meatboy level – enemies hit hard and shotgun projectiles rather than simply ‘get in the way’, and environmental hazards deal ridiculous damage if not kill you outright. As you progress you’ll quickly have access to wall jumps, slow fall, double jump and all the other mechanics which lead to some pretty ridiculous level scenarios. One of the abilities in particular, let you catapult yourself off a projectile – so naturally there are entire segments that could be confused for a bullet hell game. The checkpoints do alleviate things somewhat, but particularly in the lategame and certain crescendo segments at the end of each monument, there are plenty of moments which will have you frustrated.

ori 2015-03-15 11-21-30-80

As you can probably see from the screenshots, Ori is stunningly pretty, with a distinct colour palette for each area, layered 2d graphics and lots of small effects which quickly add up. What you probably can’t see from the screenshots, is the soundtrack, which is also impressive and plays more like a movie soundtrack than one from a video game.
There is some story, though don’t expect a movie interpretation any time soon, majority of the storytelling is done in game through a narrator, which means you generally won’t have to slow down for the game to tell it’s story too, which I approve of.

The game lasts around 5 hours, maybe more if you die a lot or go full completionist (I finished at 4hrs 47, and apparently achieved 92% completion, with 222 deaths) This can be seen as both a plus and minus I suppose, the game definitely doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, and the directors clearly had a good idea of exactly what they wanted their story to tell, and all of the areas they wanted in the game. However some may feel the game is a tad too short (I kind of like my metroidvanias short and sweet anyway). There is little replay value however, aside from speedrunning, the game doesn’t even seem to let you continue a completed save, let alone have any form of new game plus mode or higher difficulty setting.

Pretty few complaints to be found, controls were tight, no bugs during my playthrough, monster variety could have been better, and the combat starts off rather slow and enemies have a little too much health, no difficulty settings mean its likely not everyone will complete the game (as it genuinely is pretty hard).

Verdict:

Ori and the blind forest is a great example of a platformer that puts gameplay first, it’s an incredibly solid game, and while not particularly innovative, the overall quality of the game and experience mean you’ll just be happy to be along for the ride. Ps. It’s really hard.

Approximate Game Length : 5 Hours
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £12 / £15 = 0.8
Should you play it : Yes

Rating: 5 / 5

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PC) Review

posted in: Games Review | 0

Hotline Miami 2 is essentially a twitch shooter from a birds eye viewpoint, it’s made once again by Dennaton games and is a sequel to the highly praised Hotline Miami released in 2012.

HotlineMiami2 2015-03-21 21-05-57-80

The game plays almost identical to its younger brother, though with a few gameplay tweaks, most of which are unfortunately for the worse. The objective of Hotline Miami is simple, kill everyone on the map without dying, Easier said than done of course, as everyone dies in one bullet or weapon swing, yourself included. The main challenge of the game starts in just finishing the level, but experts or gluttons for punishment can go for high scores thanks to a scoring system that awards recklessness and speed.

Hotline Miami 2 has a few new mechanics, though both of them are unfortunately tied to a few levels – The playable characters with the bear and duck masks. Bear mask guy gets the dual SMG’s you probably saw in a trailer a long time ago, and you can right click to make him spread his arms and turn into Jesus Christ, which is super cool and awesome, but unfortunately not very practically useful as you’ll run out of ammo so hilariously fast this way that you may as well just restart already. The other character, or should I say characters are the pair i’ve lovingly dubbed the duck brothers – you control these two at the same time, and they have a chainsaw and firearm between them, though the latter brother’s positioning means you won’t be shooting straight like you’re used to, I think the duck brother segments were the most fun in the game for me.

This is usually the part where I would talk more about things I liked, things the game did well… etc etc. But unfortunately, short of the soundtrack (which is has some really standout tracks) and the duck brothers mentioned in the paragraph above, Hotline Miami 2 is the sort of game i’m struggling to praise. So instead, we will now transition into…

Things that are bad about Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number:

(wuh oh)

The level design is shit
This is the biggest issue, by far. Hotline Miami had some fantastic flow and was hype for the player because of it’s good level design, a labyrinth of death with plenty of places to catch your enemy off guard. Wrong number has decided to ramp up the difficulty by instead having almost all of it’s levels include wide open spaces, and enough glass windows to make the empire state building jealous. The result is that instead of constant small skirmishes with melee enemies, they have opted to just give everyone machine guns and have them sprint at you from full screens away. This really upsets the flow of the game and turns the optimal playstyle into a peak-a-boo style shooter not unsimilar from games that feature chest high walls. Combine open maps with the points below and you’ll start to understand why the game falls apart.

The change in mechanics are shit
I briefly mentioned this above, but basically in most areas you are going to be forced into playing coy, peaking out and luring enemies over to you rather than straight up killing them. There are multiple reasons for this, but the main one is that enemies now seem to have the ability to see you from outside of your view distance – and these are the same guys that have machineguns and shotguns. There have been many occasions where i’ve been shot from offscreen and died, so once again, you are forced to play slow, peak out and come back in and wait to see if anyone sprints at you.
I think the timing battles with knives in HM1 were more enjoyable than the twitch shooting you’ll be doing for the majority of HM2.

The new enemies are shit
Wrong Number attempts to introduce more enemy types, but they will only serve to annoy you rather than make the game more interesting. Heavy enemies are annoying and numerous (and don’t react to being shot if you are a certain distance away, which is weird.) and impossible to kill without a firearm, guard dogs are meh and have bizarre AI, even the commando guy that shows up one level isn’t much fun to fight. Oh, and there are now soldiers who can duck behind cover, meaning.. yep! you get to play whack a mole with them, only they get much more ammo than you.

The story is shit
Perhaps shit isn’t the right word, but it’s vastly expanded from the original Hotline Miami, now maybe i’m nitpicking, but I honestly couldn’t care less about the story in a game like this, especially when it’s as intricate and confusing as HM2’s fruit salad of random scenes across it’s spattering of characters.

HotlineMiami2 2015-03-21 20-55-41-15
Open area, glass window, and a heavy which can only be killed with gunfire… which will alert the other machinegun armed soldiers in the area..

 

Verdict:

At it’s peak, when on one of the games tighter nit apartment levels, and the soundtrack is thumping away, Hotline Miami 2 can be a blast to play, It’s just a massive shame that these moments are fleeting and the majority of the game is spent being murdered by enemies you can barely see, in levels that devolve into a rather binary ‘I sprayed in that direction and killed everyone’ or ‘I sprayed in that direction, missed one guy and got shot’. Disappointing.

Approximate Game Length : 2-5 Hours depending on skill
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £7 / £12 = 0.58
Should you play it : Probably better off just replaying the original.

Rating: 2 / 5

HotlineMiami2 2015-03-21 20-44-58-35
*sigh* so much open space.

 

Cities: Skylines (PC) Review

posted in: Games Review | 0

Cities Skylines is city building sim for the PC by developer Colossal order who have previously put out the Cities in motion series (and NOT the cities XL series as I initially thought)

Cities 2015-03-20 12-26-24-36
This is ingame zoom by the way.

 

I would imagine (or hope) that most people who would bother to click into this review have played Maxis’s Sim City at some point in the past, well in the interest of saving time, Cities: Skylines is how you probably remember Sim City 4 while looking through your rose tinted glasses – I am struggling to think of any feature which was in that SimCity4 that isn’t in Skylines, and of course Skylines happily adds its own improvements on top of the winning formula that Maxis spent 4 games refining. Worth noting also that Skylines feels like the result of someone who trawled and gathered information from the Simcity 2013 backlash, the game features no online capability at all (aside from Steam Cloud saving), and absolutely gigantic maps for the player to build upon, ensuring that it covered the core points that annoyed gamers in the past.

So yeah, you start up your game, you lay out your roads (badly), you zone for your 3 types of area (Residential, Commercial, industrial – not sure why theres no Agricultural zone…) and then you add your services, your transport links, your special buildings and parks… and you keep going for 5 hours until you realise your city is shit, and then start again. Skylines also adds other problems to think about like Water sources, water and soil pollution, and the absolute nightmare that is road congestion. It’s obvious that the devs have used their prior knowledge from Cities in Motion to put forward some rather impressive road and citizen simulation, this means that unlike other city builders where you can slap everything down and make things look nice, in Skylines you’ll spend more of your time making sure your city is fully functioning rather than dressing it cosmetically. For better or worse, this ‘design for function’ style manages to make the game much more compelling to play than similar games, and you’ll quickly find yourself losing hours of time while putting together a new district because you were so sure that your newfound knowledge would make everything work perfectly.

Cities 2015-03-20 19-31-41-43
Mengville, currently approx 9 hours old and spanning 4.5 Tiles out of a possible 25

 

A deep zoom down to ground level in Skylines will quickly tell you that the traffic and citizen simulation aren’t the only things with attention to detail – buildings have parking areas outside them, takeaway shops have animated TV’s in the window trying to entice people in, trucks leave the cargo trainyard after the train rolls in, and you can constantly see and even follow emergency services around as they go about their day saving lives (or in my case, heading to a fire but getting stuck in traffic). As Mayor you also get to analyze your city down to the smallest details, with easy access buttons to check on all aspects of how things are going (eg. pollution, crime levels, ambient wind?!, education levels…). You can even draw out individual districts and then tailor specific rulesets for them, perhaps you want to forbid heavy goods vehicles in a certain area, or legalize drug use in only one town – these all have gameplay effects of course.

A special paragraph definitely needs to go out to the steam workshop support, consider that the game has been out maybe a week or so, there are about 5000+ buildings available for download, and over a hundred mods which can augment the game – these are effects like making the game mechanics harder, allowing you to expand further, or even letting you view reddit posts ingame. These modders are adding features before the devs themselves can even get to them, i’m yet to find any proper flaws with the game, but some were upset to find no day/night cycle, so naturally people have already modded it into the game.

As mentioned briefly before, the graphics are impressive in their detail, the game looks nice in general and manages to stay fully functional regardless due to a really intuitive UI and easy to understand visual representation when building. There is also a cool tilt shift effect when you zoom in on your city, i liked this.
There isn’t a whole lot in terms of audio if i’m honest, there is some forgettable music that plays in the background along with the ambient city noises but i’ve got most of them turned down in favour of my own music (which says a lot unfortunately). That said, these sort of games often have minimal or crappy music anyway, so it’s not too much of a dealbreaker.

skyline2

Problems with the game are fairly minimal, with most of my frustrations coming from the unforgiving road management and citizen AI hellbent on taking the shortest possible route to get to their destination. It’s a shame that theres no multiplayer interaction at all present, even the ability to sneak a peak at a friend’s city would have been nice; collaborative building would also have been awesome, but i’ll forgive them for the omission of this as I imagine it’s no easy feat.
Err… what else annoyed me…hm. theres gotta be more than that…
– Half the building types are locked until you raise your population a certain amount, which can prevent you from optimal building, but this can of course be removed via a mod.
– The criteria for building a harbour is vague and i’m not sure what im doing wrong, the ingame help for this specific building could be better.. Again I imagine theres a mod that can let me build the harbour in the middle of the city but…
– Certain endgame buildings have silly requirements which are counterintuitive to unlock, things like having a high crime rate.. I shouldn’t have to botch my city just to be able to build the final buildings.
– Underground rail networks are messy and unintuitive, I wasn’t aware that underground trains could turn at right angles.

I guess that’s it for annoyances? Wow.

Verdict:

Cities: Skylines is the best city building game in a long long time, I’ve already lost a fair amount of time to it, and my city is only 4 tiles large – meaning there are 21 tiles left to go.
It really isn’t an exaggeration to say that Skylines nails the genre, and their refreshing openness to player modding and asset creation mean that this is a game which will only get better with time. Skylines is also surprisingly cheap for a modern new game, currently at only £23 on steam, and apparently cheaper elsewhere.

Approximate Game Length : Very Long
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £27 / £23 = 1.17
Should you play it : Yes, especially if genre fan

Rating: 5 / 5

Life – March 2015

posted in: blog | 0

– Book of mormon

Went to watch Book of Mormon in London the other day, admittedly hadn’t really heard a whole lot about it, and knew even less (other than that it’s written by the south park guys, and its about mormons). I didn’t really know what to expect, but was honestly blown away by how good it was. It was a pretty perfect blend of comedy and musical performance – not to mention the dancing and stuff, hell even the props and stage were kind of impressive. At £47.50 for one of the lower tiers of seating, it’s definitely on the more expensive side for a night out (no idea if that’s even a lot for a musical though) but totally worth it, the show runs around 2 hours without intermission and both of those hours really fly by while you’re watching. PS i think ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’ was my favourite song, followed by the other african song about Joseph smith.

– Job hunting again

Once again trying to find a better job, though haven’t had a whole lot of luck so far. Mostly because I dont know shit about MS server, VMware or Citrix which many places seem to want. Oh well, something will crop up eventually.. right?

– van issues

French cars certified pieces of shit. Heating has decided to stop working in the van so now I have to take a hot water bottle with me to work and have a blanket ready for backup :|
This of course adds onto the other problems I still have from before – back door doesnt work, numerous lights not working, battery possibly draining for no reason… Sigh.

– end of anime season

End of season drawing near, Your lie in april finished today and completed a crazy rollercoaster ride at last – definitely recommend watching.
For a change I’m actually enjoying most of the shows I started watching, even idolmaster which I thought i’d drop after a few episodes, same goes for kancolle.

– Games

Sort of a replay this month – with the season pass for titanfall going free, i’ve been playing that again, and seemingly out of nowhere, my love for counter strike has been rekindled, even though I havent really played much of it since early CSS, CSGO actually seems pretty fun, and I might start playing ranked mode once I learn to stop spraying wildly.
There’s also been Hotline Miami 2 which I got for my birthday, that game is pretty hard but in a bad way, the larger and more open levels mean you’ll often get shot from outside of your viewing area, or results in having to play peakaboo with half the enemies to lure them over, Might do a review, not sure yet, but it’s probably a 3/5.
Finally I bought Cities Skylines just yesterday, which was kind of an impulse buy after thinking about the fact that I haven’t played a properly good city building game since Simcity 4 (2003), I am loving the game so far but goddamn is it hard, traffic management in particular is brutal, half of my city looks like the central london roads I hate driving on so much.

– Gym

From 11st to 10st after my diet before Christmas, and now up to 11st again after 3 months at the gym – i’m hoping it’s muscle weight, but who knows? My diet has been kind of all over the place thanks to a stupid attitude of “oh it’s okay, I can eat whatever I want as long as I work it off”, cue me eating a bucket of KFC and then going to the gym for under an hour.
I can’t say I feel much healthier or stronger but I am certainly acquiring my fair share of aches from working out there. Hopefully i’ll be in good shape by the time June (and my holiday) rolls around.

Brand new PC – ‘Sanshiro’

posted in: blog | 0

Opportunity came up the other day to upgrade, basically my parents were considering buying a new PC for the lounge as the current one (my old old one), was struggling to stream HD smoothly. So i kind of threw the idea out there of why not buy my old PC, and I buy a new one…

Arrived home on the Tuesday (super fast delivery from both Amazon and Ebuyer) to be greeted by an actual mountain of brown boxes, and one gigantic computer case box. From there it took me…something like 8 hours to actually get the finished new PC sorted – though that kind of includes rebuilding the old PC as well for the lounge, which involved more or less stripping the whole thing down, sans power supply (mobo backplate for cpu HSF).

Took the opportunity as well to ditch the old win7 (which had been going for about 5 years?) and do a fresh install on my new SSD, the boot speed change is ungodly – basically gone from 5-10minute startup to somewhere around 15-20 seconds, and it comes out of sleep in about 1 second (old one took about 5-10 secs).

Am also taking the opportunity to go through all my old files and have a massive cleanout and rearrange now that I have enough space to actually shuffle files about. Thought i’d change my hard drive naming scheme too while I was at it, since i’ve been using Phantasy Star Online mags for almost a whole decade now. So uh. We Jet Set now.
T
he computer name of course is a reference to Segata Sanshiro, but also matches nicely as Shiro is japanese for white – and that’s about as far as my imagination would get me as far as naming schemes go. (I almost called it Dreamcast 2)

GTAV can’t come out soon enough. I am so ready.

Astro’s Rhythm Game Q1 Meet, and the end of Programmed World

posted in: blog, Games | 1

Just remembered I haven’t done a post about Q1 yet, Astro City were conducting their quarterly community meetup, I turned up on the saturday and stayed overnight.

RIP corin
RIP corin

Lots of antics as usual, we also had a larger selection of home setups available than last time, with people bringing along Sound Voltex, Reflec Beat, and Jubeat – making the arcade very busy indeed, and making sure there was more or less something for everyone to play at all times.

I previously remember Reflec beat not being a whole lot of fun when I played it in Japan, but I actually rather enjoyed it this time round, though the green notes at the top still threw me off. I still don’t think i’d properly spend too much money on it, but it was definitely pretty fun. (oh, and it has ‘Watching you’ by LIL and a bunch of other neato songs, KPP anyone?)
Jubeat actually ended up being the opposite, I remembered it being fun in the arcade but playing it again properly and having a longer go with it, I don’t really like that game much at all as it feels too hard to properly read. Maybe i’m just getting old.

Q1 also coincided with my birthday, so there was lots of birthday love given out, which was honestly a really nice change compared ot the usual treatment I get when I basically just go to work, or sit at home and do nothing at all (I’ve never been big on birthday celebrations if i’m honest.)

Alex previously bet me a free curry if I was able to pass IIDX’s 7th Dan before/on Q1, and I actually somehow managed to pull it off! I guess a good sign that i’m slowly improving, my gauge dropped down to 12% or so at one point. Lua was manning the stream computer so I even got a video copy of it as a souvineer!

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7rYakieW7A” ]

Woo! So basically, I passed a major milestone AND got a free dinner on my birthday.

 

It was a really fun night, and fantastic to see everyone again…. It’s sad then, that as of last night, the community start to fizzle again.

Without going into too much detail, basically we in the UK don’t have proper access to the latest versions of the arcade games, and we don’t have proper access to the online features as they all go through Konami – who don’t operate outside of Japan (and recently, some patches of NA).
We were kind of able to circumvent this through what was basically server emulation, however over the last weekend Konami have decided to take the banhammer to the service (Programmed World), which basically means we are going to lose access to the latest versions of the games we’ve been playing, along with all of the online features – Paseli (digital currency), Score saving, Rivals (data comparison), Clear Lamps… Basically everything which gives the games proper longevity and replayability. Imagine having a version of guitar hero with 4000 songs that you can go through and clear, and it’ll save your hi-score etc… then suddenly that is replaced with a version that only has 3000 songs and wont save your scores or info in any way.

The main worry right now, is that the arcades that supported the games, and in turn relied on the game’s income and playerbase, are now in a position where they will lose much of their custom. Considering there are other ways of playing the games that do have the aforementioned features, it puts people in a position where there isn’t a massive advantage of going to the arcade rather than just playing at home or similar.

It’s really kind of sad because for us, there isn’t even the option of joining konami’s E-amuse service, so we’re just shit out of luck. I’d hate to see the community kind of stop going to the arcade because of this, but honestly, even for me i’m probably less likely to go as a result.