Day’s Gone — An Open-World “Zombie” Game

Day’s Gone is a game that I am quietly optimistic for later this year. This is an “open-world” game, meaning that there is a large map that you the player can explore. It is also a “zombie” game–the reason there are quotes around zombie is that technically they aren’t “zombies,” but “freakers.” In the game’s fiction, these enemies are alive, they eat, and they sleep. However, functionally, they act as zombies would–they shamble/run after you, they exhibit “horde” mentality, and they are extremely hard to “kill.”

I’m a Fan

So, I’ve been a fan of this game every since it was announced and demoed at Sony’s Press Conference a couple of years back. Many of the reactors were disappointed as the trailer was shown towards the beginning of the show and then the gameplay was revealed in the “last slot” of the show. Too many commentators, both journalists and fans, ALWAYS want that last slot to be a Steve Jobs’ “One More Thing” Iphone moment–whether or not that makes sense for the particular company (and/or moment). When they didn’t get their “new” thing that blew them out of the water, they turned on this game (Knack for the PS4 had a similar reaction, including people who should probably know better–“Knack is kack” proclaimed a former editor of OPM on the podcast covering original announcement of the PS4–knowing full well that he wasn’t the target audience for the game).

I, however, feel that (like Knack) this is a game that is worthy of my time (& money) as it does many of the things that I want from a “zombie” game. Like my favorite movie in the genre, World War Z, this game puts one character against a swarm of zombie-like creatures. While I’m not completely sold on the “biker” world of the game, I am sold on the character and the “freakers.”

A World War Z Biker Game

I may be putting words in the game designers’ mouths, but to me, this game is much like World War Z, but with a biker twist. Although it isn’t in the above trailer, your bike is an essential component to the game and you need to maintain it or else it could leave you stranded in the wilds.

I also like the focus on various types of “freaker” groupings (in this trailer), along with little bit about the weapons (also in this trailer). While I probably have too many games already, although I managed to finish one earlier this year (did I tell you that I got a Platinum Trophy on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands? I did, well let me tell you all about it one more time . . . no, don’t leave, I’ll save it for another time.) ūüėČ

Still, I feel that this game isn’t getting the attention that it probably deserves because of the “One More Thing” expectation and the idea that “zombies” are old hat and gamers are looking for something different. I could go off on diatribe about the damage that The Walking Dead “brand” had on the whole “zombie” movement, but I’ll leave it for now and say that, in the gaming space, at least, this looks to be a fairly awesome zombie experience that I’m (again) cautiously looking forward to playing in the near future.

Sidney




  • Current Work-in-Progress–February 2019: Project Dog  (Sci-Fi Short-Story ‚Äď 1st Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel ‚Äď Script, Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32)
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Writing the Platinum Trophy Way — Going through ALL the Stages of Writing

I finished my first short story of 2019! YAY! Here’s hoping: 1) I finish many more and 2) the time I use to write creatively doesn’t come back and bite me in terms of my schoolwork. ūüôā

One thing I noticed, however, is the sense of accomplishment that I felt when I finished my story, Starlight, Starbright. It was a mini-version of when I actually get something published and the feeling of being published is very much earning a Platinum Trophy in a video game–a sense of both accomplishment and mastery that I love to feel and is what keeps me both writing and playing games.

The Sony Playstation Blog team put together a 2018 Awards Post that really crystallized how I think of the writing process.

What is a Platinum Trophy?

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So, my goal when I play games is to “finish” them and see the credits roll. Sometimes that’s enough, and once the game is over, I’m done with it and will move on to another game. In the late 2000s, Microsoft introduced a series of points when one accomplishes certain goals in the game, you get points that accumulate and add to your “gamer” score. Sony took this idea and ran with it, creating a similar system based on “trophies.” Bronze trophies for fairly common/routine game achievements, Silver trophies for harder achievements, Gold trophies for some the hardest achievements (or for finishing a game), and Platinum trophies for earning all the trophies in the game.

Bronze Trophy = First Draft

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Finishing a first draft feels a lot like earning a Bronze trophy. It is fairly easy to accomplish, but still challenging enough at the same time that one might be lulled into a false sense of security. I don’t have to worry about continuity, or characters/characterization, or anything like that–I just need to get the draft finished (which can sometimes be a real accomplishment just by itself).

Silver Trophy = Second Draft

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This is where the real work begins because this is where (for me) the dramatization happens, the characterization, and making sure the work is internally accurate. I’m working on Starlight, Starbright and The Independent now in this area. It also (generally) isn’t as much fun as the first draft because all of the mystery/excitement has been expended getting it out onto paper. Now, its just work and (for me) this is where quite a few of my projects break down. What I’m finally realizing is that it is the character that really needs to drive this draft. Getting a character that I really enjoy working with and investing in will help me see the project through the hard times and hard work of the character.

Gold Trophy = Third Draft

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If I can get the project through the second draft, then I usually submit from there (or sometimes at the first draft stage). I sometimes add in a Gold Trophy stage–for polish and making sure that the story is consistent. I try to do this on my own, but I find that I miss a lot of simple things, even when I follow common “tricks” like reading my work aloud, or reading with a “reader’s eye” rather than “writer’s eye.” This, I think, is where a second pair of eyes might be helpful, but as I only have “one pair,” I think the Writing Center will have to suffice until I graduate and then we’ll see what happens.

Platinum Trophy = Publication

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So, this to me is the “holy grail” of writing. It is also the only step that is out of my hands. I can’t control whether or not I get published. The only thing I can do is make the story as interesting as possible and mimimize the grammatical mistakes so as to create a compelling story that isn’t bogged down by errors in grammar that hinder communication with the reader. Just like a Platinum trophy where I can’t control the list that the developers of the game create–if the list is too hard or onerous, I won’t do them because it would be a futile & frustrating waste of time (I have 16 Platinum Trophies with over 100 games). However, there are many, many gamers who have only 1 or 2 platinum trophies (or none at all). My 16 Platinum trophies puts me in rare company–as do my publications. I’m I as successful as Hakoom, the current PlayStation trophy leader, or Stephen King or J. K. Rowling, both undisputed leaders in terms of money and prestige as writers? No, but just being published is an accomplishment all by itself, and working towards publication is just as satisfying (to me) as working towards (accomplishable) Platinum Trophy.

Time + Effort = Success!

Sidney




  • Current Work-in-Progress: The Independent (Sci-Fi Short-Story ‚Äď 2nd Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Project Star (Sci-Fi Short-Story -1st Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel ‚Äď Script, Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32)

One Day a Week Gamer

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 12
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)

Goal = 3 Pages a week.  Working on Rough Drafting a Graphic Novel Page on one day and then writing the page on an alternate day.
Actual¬†= Finished page 12 on¬†Ship of Shadows and then finished a “Rough Draft” page where I wrote out a rough draft for page 13.¬† I actually think that I did page 12 already and sent it to the artist who agreed to work on this project with me, but I think that somehow it got lost/deleted from the¬†Simplenote app somehow.¬† Anyway, I did it over again and I’m working on new material.¬† Think I might outline/rough draft a screenplay version as I go along, but haven’t yet decided if that is a good idea or not.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: I started this a while ago as a book that I was reading just before bedtime, but I didn’t really make much headway. ¬†I restarted it and I’ve just finished the introductory character generation section and I’m now moving on to the skills section and will be soon moving into the “lore” section. ¬†This is a revamp (rules 2.0) of an old school British RPG from the 1980s. ¬†Updated for modern times, this fairly short book still gives a great set of rules, game system, and lore that I hope will serve as inspiration for new sci-fi works in my own writing life.
  • For School:
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII¬†is a book that I‚Äôve had in my collection for sometime‚ÄďI‚Äôve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover. ¬†Now, with¬†Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Six Days of Gaming Down into One

I used to game on a regular basis.¬† All the time that I worked at the¬†Library and as a¬†teacher, I have taken an hour or two after work (usually after dinner or just before bed) and played a video game or two.¬† I didn’t often game for that long, but I didn’t need to as I was only using the gaming to wind down from the day.¬† For instance, as much as people denigrate¬†Knack for the¬†Playstation 4, I played it over and over during the first year of the¬†PS4‘s¬†lifetime because it was one of the few games out at the time, but I only played it for an hour or two after school.¬† However, even with just that short amount of time, I was able to play it through six (!) times total and to get the¬†Platinum Trophy for it.¬† My point is that even with a short amount of gaming time in one day, over time (six days) it actually is an impressive amount of time in order to make progress in games. Now that I’m in school, however, I don’t actually get to game except on the weekend and it really is affecting how quickly I can get through my¬†backlog.

Longer and Longer Games

I think part of my issue is that not only is my gaming time seriously curtailed, but also that games are getting longer.¬† Video game publishers do not like the “used game” market, so longer, more complex open world games, while giving value to players who want these longer games, also have the consequence of taking players longer to finish and keeps the games out of the “market,” so they have a vested interest in creating longer and longer games (i.e., game extension).¬† Now don’t get me wrong, I love single player games, I like cooperative games, and I tolerate (for the most part) multiplayer games, but long games just to claim that your game is long, doesn’t necessarily make it a¬†good game.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

I’ve been playing this game since late February/early March and while it is a good game, it has outstayed its welcome.¬† My goal with games is to see the credits roll, but even after all this time, I still have several territories left to “liberate” that have a 5 star difficulty (the hardest difficulty in the game).¬† I’ve not looked at how many hours I’ve put into the game, but if¬†Sony does a year-end summary as they did last year, I fully expect that it will be the longest game with a 100+ hours invested (so far).

You might ask, then, why are you still playing?¬† Well, last year I put over 120 hours into¬†Mass Effect Andromeda, but I didn’t do anything with it.¬† This year, I want to write scholarship on every game that I play as I’ve pretty much decided that I’m specializing in¬†Video Game Rhetoric and New Media as one of my two specialty areas.¬† It would be an absolute tragedy to have spent all of this time playing the game, but without being able to use it for school too–remember, work smarter, not harder.¬† ¬†Ah, well, I guess I’ll just have to power through until the end.

So, maybe I’ll be able to give you a Mini-Review of the game in a month or two (or three or four or five or . . .)

Well, that’s all I have time for today.¬† Have a great day!

Sidney




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E3 and Me, 2018 Edition: Ghost of Tsushima (Playstation 4 Exclusive)

ghostsoftsushima_gamespot

Ghosts of Tsushima Cover Image.  Image Source: Gamespot

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • Project Independence Word Count: @4000 words (+203 words)
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

Goal = 121 words (5000 words by July 1).  Currently at approximately, 4800 words
Actual = 500 words Monday & Wednesday morning/. ¬†So, Monday night I managed to hit my¬†Scrivener goal of 127 words, but didn’t make my¬†250¬†word goal. ¬†I was too tired to¬†work on this Tuesday night, but did work on it 4th of July (morning) and got about¬†

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy Novel, Stormlight Archive Book 3)
    Finished this last night. ¬†I’ll write up my impressions of this title and post it for a blog entry next week. ¬†Look out for it.
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
  • For School:
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
    Lingua¬†Fractal:¬†A Rhetoric book that details the convergence of Rhetoric and Technology and how they interact in today’s world. ¬†Finished a Book Review for it on Friday for class.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)

Reading two or three chapters in Oathbringer every day.¬† I really shouldn’t be, but it is so good, that I generally read it while eating dinner (and then I go back out to the library to do reading for school).¬† ¬†Great Aircraft of WWII¬†is a book that I‚Äôve had in my collection for sometime‚ÄďI‚Äôve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover. ¬†Now, with¬†Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

A Ghost in the Machine

So,¬†Ghost of Tsushima debuted at another¬†Sony event about 6-8 months ago, but all that we knew about it was that it was in the form of a trailer, the title of the game, and the studio making it,¬†Sucker Punch, who was known previously as the developers on¬†InFamous, an open world original superhero game (that incidentally taught me how to play open world games–Main Quests and¬†Side Quests and how those two progressions affect the gameplay loop). ¬†Well, they’re back with a new game and¬†GoT (not be confused with Game of Thrones) is an open world game, but features the mongol invasion of Japan. ¬†One samurai fights to save his homeland and you play as that samurai.

Stabby, Stabby Action

One thing that has impressed me about the game was the attention to detail. ¬†I’m just a little bit of a martial arts fan (a huge understatement), so I really like the way that¬†Suckerpunch pulled out all the stops to get their vision of what a martial arts game should be. ¬†I really like the way the world and the system were envisioned in this game. ¬†It is based on a real-world event and there is no magic, no science fiction, no genre elements to this game at all, but what it does do is shows how one person can try to make a difference in the world based on their beliefs and their skill set. ¬†Again, for me this game is an aberration as it has none of the escapism elements that are usually associated with the games that I like to play. ¬†What it does have is great 1) characterization – I feel like I know and understand the character and his motivations for why he is doing what he is doing in the game, 2) the game world – even though based on a real place and a real historical period, it feels fresh and different and new, and crucially, it feels realistic, like some place that had I lived at that time, would have been a place that I could have visited.

This is a game that, while a¬†Sony PS4 exclusive, is a game that really shows what can be done if you “grow” your studios and trust your developers (aka¬†Sony) vs trying to go out and “buy” your way to success (aka¬†Microsoft) and their purchasing of Halo/Gears of War (and now those series have petered out and are also-rans) where this game is an amazing new IP with many stories to tell in its universe if¬†Sony continues to believe in the “narrative” game.

Sidney




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I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

 

E3 2018 Conferences Review

E3

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • Project Paradise Word Count: 357
  • Project Skye Word Count: 1617
  • Project Independence Word Count: 3365 (+324)
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

Changed the way I write. ¬†I moved back to¬†Scrivener in order to utilize the word count tracking feature in the program. ¬†I tried to find a web version (& I did), but it seemed silly to try to¬†wrangle three different websites when I have an all-in-one solution in¬†Scrivener. ¬†Once I did, I was able to to get writing done. ¬†I also¬†reconfigured my workspace so let’s see if that helps.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Oathbringer¬†by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy Novel, Stormlight Archive Book 3) (somewhere in 700s in terms of page count–more than half way finished.)
  • For School:
    Rhetoric in the European Tradition by Thomas Conley (A Book on the History of Rhetoric)
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)

I wanted to read Oathbringer¬†over the summer break before classes started again, but¬†BS said that it might be helpful to read a Novella entitled, Edgedancer, before starting on¬†Oathbringer. ¬†I finally found a copy at MTSU‚Äôslibrary and I‚Äôm reading it now.¬† ¬†Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I‚Äôve had in my collection for sometime‚ÄďI‚Äôve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover. ¬†Now, with¬†Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Game Mode On (What I’m Playing); Updated Weekly (Mondays)

  • Tom Clancy‚Äôs Ghost Recon Wildlands (Ubisoft Multi-platform): Open World, Third Person Tactical Shooter‚ÄďAbout ¬ĺth of the way through. ¬†Special Ops/Military combat in a fictional Bolivia taken over by a Mexican drug cartel.

    Still working my way through–I’m trying to clear out a province a week, but because I’m catching up from¬†E3 so I only got to clear about¬†¬Ĺ of the province I’m currently working on. ¬†I was planning on finishing that province today, but I have far too much to do today, so I’m not going to get to play it next week.
  • Until Dawn (Sony PS4 Exclusive): Third Person, Horror‚Äď branching storyline game that features a variety of choices that affect the outcome of the story using a system call the ‚ÄúButterfly Effect.‚ÄĚI got further along, but now I have a decision to make: do I let the “creepy” best friend die, or do I let the character’s potential girlfriend die. ¬†I decided to stop right there.

Bethesda

Fairly disappointed in¬†Bethesda’s conference as the games that I really want to play are¬†Starfield and the next¬†Elder Scrolls game,¬†Elder Scrolls VI. ¬†Both were teased with basically an environment and a logo, but did not show anything even remotely like a cinematic or gameplay. ¬†They are also at least another year, probably two years away. ¬†Their main game this year was¬†Fallout 76, an online game in the¬†Fallout¬†universe. ¬†That means that there have been (or will be when¬†F76 comes out)¬†two games in the¬†Fallout universe this generation and¬†none in the¬†Elder Scrolls universe. ¬†While I don’t begrudge other players their¬†Fallout high, I’m not really a¬†Fallout¬†player. ¬†I’m intrigued by¬†Starfield as it is a new IP in what seems to be a Sci-Fi (spacefaring) setting, but as it is an unknown quantity, it is hard to get too excited for it.

C

6/19/18 Edit: I forgot that¬†Bethesda¬†also released a trailer and gameplay for the game¬†Rage 2.¬† Having played the first¬†Rage, I found it fairly interesting so I’m looking forward to this game, so I’m raising the score from its original¬†C- to¬†C.

Square Enix

So, the new¬†Tomb Raider¬†game,¬†Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks pretty good as did the trailer for a new IP called¬†The Quiet Man. ¬†I’m also interested in the new¬†Dragon Quest game as I’ve not yet played a game in that series. ¬†Still, it was a short conference (half and hour) and its main claim to fame,¬†Kingdom Hearts III, already had a trailer to drop before¬†E3 started, so it was a bit of a let down.

C

Ubisoft

I though¬†Ubisoft had a particularly good showing. ¬†Their conference was fun and had a lot of energy and they had a mix of games that I’m interested in playing among the ones that I’m not all that interested in. ¬†The Division 2, The Crew 2,¬†and¬†Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are all games that I’m looking forward to playing, although I’m one¬†Assassin’s Creed¬†game behind and I need to catch up.

B+

Sony

So, Sony showed the best games and gave the most detailed look at their upcoming portfolio for their various studios/projects, but they only went into detail about four games: The Last of Us, Part 2, Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushumia, and Spider-Man.  Each of these projects got an extended look and they all look fantastic.  The problem is that Sony only showed these four major games (in addition to several lesser trailers with Control being the highlight of these trailers).  None of these games are listed as coming later than 2019 (although a couple had no date whatsoever, but I have a feeling they will also be 2019 games).

I’m guessing (and¬†ONLY guessing) that¬†Sony’s strange conference is due to the fact they will probably be “reloading” in 2020 with “next generation” games (perhaps even hardware–aka the “PS5”–as the system will be six years old in 2019 and seven years old in 2020).¬† My best guess is that 2019 will be the last major “swan song” for major releases for the¬†PS4.¬† Bold prediction, perhaps, but that is the only thing that makes sense given both the age of the console and the paucity of gaming announcements at¬†Sony’s conference.

B- (A- for the in-depth look at the games, but C for the overall showcase in general).

Winner

Ubisoft–while I didn’t like all the games Ubisoft debuted, they had the most eclectic mix, the strongest conference, and provided the most fun out of all the¬†E3 Press Conferences¬†that I watched.¬† Hopefully,¬†Sony¬†will get there act together next year (hopefully, with¬†next generation games/hardware)

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

“. . . Went and Spent the Money to Make to that Happen”

E3_Videogames_Guide

Images of a several games, a couple of which appeared on Microsoft’s E3¬†stage. ¬†Image Source: Videogames.Guide

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • Project Paradise Word Count: 357
  • Project Skye Word Count: 1617
  • Project Independence Word Count: 3365 (+324)
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

Changed the way I write. ¬†I moved back to¬†Scrivener in order to utilize the word count tracking feature in the program. ¬†I tried to find a web version (& I did), but it seemed silly to try to¬†wrangle three different websites when I have an all-in-one solution in¬†Scrivener. ¬†Once I did, I was able to to get writing done. ¬†I also¬†reconfigured my workspace so let’s see if that helps.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Oathbringer¬†by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy Novel, Stormlight Archive Book 3) (somewhere in 400s in terms of page count–probably reading too much based on my schoolwork, but it is so good.)
  • For School:
    Rhetoric in the European Tradition by Thomas Conley (A Book on the History of Rhetoric)
    Rereading the Sophists: Another book on the history of Rhetoric (finished–had to read this in two (2)! days.
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)

I wanted to read Oathbringer¬†over the summer break before classes started again, but¬†BS said that it might be helpful to read a Novella entitled, Edgedancer, before starting on¬†Oathbringer. ¬†I finally found a copy at MTSU‚Äôslibrary and I‚Äôm reading it now. ¬†X¬†gives a history of Rhetoric. ¬†Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I‚Äôve had in my collection for sometime‚ÄďI‚Äôve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover. ¬†Now, with¬†Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Game Mode On (What I’m Playing); Updated Weekly (Mondays)

  • Tom Clancy‚Äôs Ghost Recon Wildlands (Ubisoft Multi-platform): Open World, Third Person Tactical Shooter‚ÄďAbout ¬ĺth of the way through. ¬†Special Ops/Military combat in a fictional Bolivia taken over by a Mexican drug cartel.

    Still working my way through–I’m trying to clear out a province a week, but because I’m catching up from¬†E3 so I only got to clear about¬†¬Ĺ of the province I’m currently working on. ¬†I was planning on finishing that province today, but I have far too much to do today, so I’m not going to get to play it next week.
  • Until Dawn (Sony PS4 Exclusive): Third Person, Horror‚Äď branching storyline game that features a variety of choices that affect the outcome of the story using a system call the ‚ÄúButterfly Effect.‚ÄĚ

    I got further along, but now I have a decision to make: do I let the “creepy” best friend die, or do I let the character’s potential girlfriend die. ¬†I decided to stop right there.

“A Display of Dominance”

So, I’m just going to go ahead and say it without any preamble–I didn’t really enjoy this year’s¬†E3. ¬†By now, I’ve watched all of the major conferences (except the PC Gaming Show as even though I have a¬†Steam¬†Account, my computer isn’t “beefy” enough to run these modern games)¬†and I have to say that this year’s¬†E3 was far more lackluster than usual. ¬†In my next post, I’ll give sort of a breakdown (mini-mini review of them) and then I’ll probably do one or two posts a week highlighting games that I really like until I run out out of games that I’m personally interested in. ¬†The general consensus is that¬†Microsoft (aka Micro$oft)¬†won E3 (presentation-wise), although¬†Sony¬†and the other companies had better games.

“With a Ton of ‘Big Names,’ even if none of them–very few of them–are exclusive to our platform”

So, this was the comment (as are ALL¬†comments that are in this post)¬†of the¬†Giant Bomb contributors as the “Talked Over”¬†Sony’s E3 Showcase. ¬† While they tend to be a jaded bunch, they are also industry veterans who have worked in the games media industry before so I generally like their perspective (not always though, but in most cases, their commentary is pretty good). ¬†They noted what I noted a long time ago. ¬†Any time¬†Microsoft feels threatened, they just pull out their proverbial “checkbook” and just start writing checks to cover their deficiencies. ¬†Most people don’t notice (or don’t care) as they just want to back a “winner.”

Buying Your Way to Success

So,¬†Sony has had to build up their 1st party studios. ¬†Yes, they acquired them and brought them into the fold, but the difference is that¬†Sony¬†liked their work enough to bring them in,¬†not because they already had successful IPs, but because they make/made¬†good games. ¬†Sony makes an “investment”¬†where¬†Microsoft is just looking to buy a¬†successful IP. ¬†It worked with¬†Halo and¬†Gears of War and they tried the same strategy earlier this generation with¬†Titanfall (Xbox¬†exclusive) and¬†Rise of the Tombraider (1 Year Excusive), but because of their crappy business model at the beginning of the generation,¬†Sony’s lead in console sales made it financial suicide not to release a¬†PS4 version of a game (hence the reason we got¬†Titanfall 2 on the¬†PS4 and¬†Shadow of the Tombraider without the¬†Xbox exclusivity period). ¬†In many ways, Microsoft is like the sports team who can “buy” a competitive team that will win the world series, while¬†Sony is the team who “invests” in a “farm system” and helps them become successful. ¬†Sony will close studios if they don’t perform (Evolution Studios), but they haven’t needed to purchase any studios in years based on the strength of the talent they’ve invested in earlier. ¬†So, its like a baseball team that “buys” its way to a championship vs a baseball team that has had to work hard to get to the championship and hit it out of the park.

I have theories on why Sony chose to do things the way they did, but more on that later.  Have a good day!

Sidney




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What’s on My Bookshelf? InFamous: Second Son (Video Game)

So today on¬†What’s on My Bookshelf, I thought I’d highlight a video game. ¬†I know gaming is still fairly niche, but it has surpassed movies as the highest grossing entertainment genre, so I’d like to give equal time. ¬†The game,¬†InFamous: Second Son is the 3rd game in the¬†InFamous brand. ¬†Despite that, this feels like a “soft” reboot as the main character, setting, and supporting characters are all new, so it is a great jumping on point if you’ve never played an¬†InFamous game. ¬†The basic gist is that, thanks to an explosion in the earlier games in the series, a few people are not so “normal” anymore and have become “super-powered.” ¬†So, essentially you get to play as a “super hero” in this game’s universe.

Characters, Setting and Plot

You play as Delsin, the younger brother to a cop. ¬†Your parents aren’t around anymore, so you’re brother has had to take care of you and like any little brother, you’re just a bit rebellious. ¬†How rebellious is up to you (see below). ¬†The game is an open world game set in Seattle. ¬†While not a one-to-one representation of the city, the game still bears a fair likeness to the city with¬†many of Seattle’s landmarks on display (including a harrowing jaunt to the¬†Space Needle). ¬†As a super powered individual, you get to really let loose against the enemy forces, the DUP, who want to collar ALL “super powered” characters, regardless of their motives. ¬†Add to the fact that you get to also “gain” new powers by absorbing them from other “super” characters that you face and the game gets quite inventive.

Morality

The thing I like most about the¬†InFamous games is that they feature a morality system. ¬†Actions that help the game world bring about a positive change (citizens take pride in their city and help clean it up, etc.) or you can do the opposite (being a bully and a pest drives the city into a state of dinginess and decay). ¬†There are major choices that have this “good vs evil” paradigm along with smaller acts within the world. ¬†Overall, the story still gets to the same resolution, but the game gives you the appearance of agency to affect the outcome of the story by giving you those moments of choice.

If you’re a gamer looking for something new to play, or maybe, you want to try out gaming to see what its all about, this is a good starting point and introduction to the gaming experience. ¬†InFamous: Second Son¬†is available for the¬†Sony Playstation 4¬†video game system.

Have a great day!

Sidney