‘Gamer’ – Hanging the term loosely in our busy lives

To describe ones self as a ‘gamer’ is perfectly fine in my books and I assume the phrase will be used in many different manners as a lot of labels are these days. There are many different types of ‘gamers’ or shall we say, people who play video games. I have certainly in the past called myself such a thing but, upon having a busy work schedule, the amount of gameplay I manage to rake in has varied if not decreased.

With that decrease so has the type of games I play. I used to play everything basically at one point or another and have gone through different phases where I would play indie games, retro games, Nintendo games and now I find myself to be playing more multi-player or online-orientated titles. The reason for this it would seem is that I appear to be afraid of story-based games as they do not take the same approach as an online shooter.

Take a game like Overwatch for example which has become a favourite of mine over the last year. The Blizzard shooter has many different types of shooter mini-games such as capturing the flag, revolving character play, point claiming and objective delivering. Most of these games can range between 2-10 minutes depending on the game and the ability of the team to hold off against the other. These games can be over quickly and with that you are also rewarded for your progress and play with ‘loot boxes’ which are treasure chest unlockable items such as new character skins. Now you don’t get them after every game, but you will probably play at least a level’s worth of gameplay in a sitting to claim something from it.

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Overwatch has become one of the most popular online shooters with a core following of fans

Like other shooters such as Splatoon, it has monthly events which draw in more play-time because there’s that unlockable factor and once that campaign ends, those skins and other unlockables are unobtainable. So in one theory I may not feel as much of a gamer now because I concentrate on one game more than others in my vast (ever-growing) collection. Is it bad to only play one game? In no way is it my favourite but it certainly strikes out more to me than other titles in its genre.

Another way I look at this is almost ‘drug like’ as I want my quick fix of achievement. I did used to play for achievements and try and get as many as I could. There’s many different senses of accomplishment in games and completing a game seems to be one I struggle with these days. The main games you will find for completing at least for the most part are ‘story based games’. You know like something that might lead to end credits after a campaign in Halo or Horizon Zero Dawn and with these and the idea of ending a game quickly is another problem I face.

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Horizon Zero Dawn… I will finish you one day

It might even sound like a chore. I can assure it’s nothing like that but, sometimes playing certain story-based games I feel I could be looking for the nearest save point because I feel I need to take a break from the experience or don’t feel like I can invest too much time into the game. It could even be that I feel the end of the game is so far in the distance I cannot feel like I’ll reach it.

Having so many games provides an issue of what do I want to play or feel like playing. Leaving myself in a difficult position of what to play might just take me to something familiar that I can adjust to quickly like a bit of Battlefront on my PS4 with a game of Blast (first to 100 kills in a team game). Referring back to playing for purpose and achievement, if I am a very busy person which I tend to be balancing work, music, home and other media forms I need to find time to enjoy a story-based game to its fullest and with a game like Gears of War, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Bloodborne or Fallout 4 I want to devote a whole days playing to really get something out of it.

Growing up I played a lot of 3D platformers such as Croc: Legend of the Gobbos and games like this and those inspired by Super Mario 64 let you play at your own pace at times and explore areas. There weren’t time limits like in my other genre love that is side-scrollers (although I played a lot of Sonic The Hedgehog with no time or end wall restrictions). I feel that relaxed environment aided me into playing video games gently…not having a memory card for my PS1 for a long time has probably ruined my engagement for stories as well.

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The average Mario Kart race will last around 4 minutes so a cup race is over quickly

One game I am playing a lot of at the moment is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch and the future games Nintendo have planned fit the same feeling I get with this title. So far on the Switch we have received a small number of big titles which have been the aforementioned Zelda title Breath of the Wild along with Super Bomberman R and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the latter two have major multi-player aspects to them on top of their single player options. Coming this month is boxing title Arms along with July’s Splatoon 2 which are all heavy multi-player games. Since its release I have been a big fan of the Switch and its capabilities and with a lot of my time on it being played with friends and colleagues the thrills of the games are quick and enjoyable.

I guess the benefit of the Switch is that I can incorporate it into work time on lunch breaks so I get the best of both worlds, giving me much needed gaming time. At the same time, I have yet to complete the main story of Breath of the Wild which I hope to achieve by the end of year and I can play this game wherever I go, but at the same time it still feels like a sit down kind of game where I want to be in my own comfort zone. A gamer for me feels like someone who is playing lots of games all of the time and playing them to completion and this was once me but is such a title that important? Maybe we should start a campaign for me to play more games to completion new and old…because man I love my retro games.

Retro games give me another enhancement of how much I have to play as for not being old enough for when the majority were produced. The only benefit to some of them is that they are a lot shorter than other games and probably can be beaten in one sitting. A lot have loopholes (not forgetting modern games like Sonic Boom) which leads to quicker completion. It all may just be a matter of well developed time management and ignore procrastination.

I ask you the audience as I conclude this post, is it important to rush games to the finish or can we go back and play them whenever? Should we concentrate on one game at a time or fill ourselves with a nice mixture?

Thank you for reading
Travis Ward – Wardculture

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Sony: How to steal E3 and make everyone else your bitch in 60 minutes

Sony’s conference was music to my ears, literally, they had an orchestra playing the music of every game live. There’s no doubt that Sony’s conference has been the best yet, straightforward game previews and little to no tomfoolery. With only one more conference left, Nintendo, it’s going to be hard to beat what the Playstation 4 has to offer. What went down?

First off we were revealed that Kratos is back, this time in Norse mythology as there is a reboot to the God of War series. It shows Kratos teaching his son to hunt with the hunting knife given to him by his deceased mother. The son has much to learn at the beginning due to being impatient and misfiring. Kratos isn’t ready to give up and the two go to find the dear but come under trouble from enemies and a troll. Here Kratos’ gameplay is revealed with the use of an electric bow and spartan rage to attack enemies. There’s plenty of fighting in store that’s for sure. Following this, Kratos and his son find the dear and the boy shoots it (oh he also shoots his father and not the troll as well). To finish off he needs to end the deer’s life with the knife and the two do it together with Kratos uttering: “now you are ready.” Like farther, like son, the two will have plenty in store in this new open world title.

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Kratos’ big reveal.

Next came a new zombie title that mashes up Sons of Anarchy and The Last of UsDays Gone showcases another zombie title but this time with a lot more raw emotion. The main character’s wife is deceased and there are hoards of zombies to be fought against. The gameplay revealed fast motorbikes in a world stripped of human resources, bunkers, wolves and horrifying creatures. The protagonist is seen parkouring through a bunker area shooting zombies with multiple weapons before being cornered on a tall metal canister with zombies at the foot of a bridge. This looks like to be a respectable zombie title which you can really get stuck into.

Following this we were treated to a short cinematic trailer of The Last Guardian from Team Tri. It is a game that has been in the works for a long time and one I have anticipating for quite some time. You play as a boy with a an animal which combines many species and the two develop a connection in which the boy uses Trico through speaking to it. Like other Tri games, this one looks set to be emotional with footage showing fighting against enemies and other huge beasts like Trico and ends with the boy asking the creature if his wings are broken. Oh yeah, we finally have a confirmed release date. October 25th is the date you cannot miss.

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The feels: The boy looks to be comforting Trico who is hurt.

One of the most exiting and interesting games for 2017 was up next with Horizon Zero Dawn. The title appears to be a fantasy adventure type which instead of animals has creatures that are robotics. In a post-apocalyptic world the player can harness electricity from these creatures to benefit from and use as weapons. These creatures can be manipulated into being ridden like a bull-type creature (a broadhead) the female protagonist rides on and they can also be ‘corrupted’. This means the creatures are seen to be red and attack villages and other creatures. The player can identify the weakness of the creature such as fire and then use that against them. There are tons of weapons and traps to choose from and players can use grapples to tie down enemy creatures before finishing them off.

Carrying on with technology, the next title shown was ‘Detroit: Become Human‘ which continues with a similar theme I am seeing in other games where you can change the way you play and repeat moments. This has been seen in South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Dishonored 2. You play as an android called Connor who in the game is in a conference building after people have been murdered by a woman’s mad husband who also appears to be an android. This crime game lets you choose the fate and build your own stories. You face the consequences of your actions and reoccur through the same scenes. Targets could die, live or kill more (even you). One of the interesting elements was that these androids who are supposed to serve and seem to have emotions also have blue blood.

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A new main series Resident Evil title, will we see a return to the quality of IV?

Playstation have been working on a new VR headset which is looking to be a big player in this ever expanding virtual reality scene. The next list of games were said to be compatible with the headset and they’re not just small indie titles, oh no, these are some huge names.

The first started with a very eerie house and a man receiving a phone call telling him to get out or ‘they’ will kill him. The man slowly walks through the darkened house before having multiple flashbacks of how he got there and horrifying events occurring. It looked terrifying to watch at half 2 in the morning but all we know is that we have the seventh Resident Evil title set to release January 24 2017.

The headset will sell at $399, very pricey. Next keep a small preview at a rock/dust world in space which looked like one of the screenshots from Mass Effect: Andromeda. However, it wasn’t. It was a title called ‘Farpoint’ which had huge tarantula-like creatures and two protagonists called Eva and Grant. More information will come about as it happens.

Next we found out that Star Wars: Battlefront and Final Fantasy XV will be VR compatible. The trailer showed characters wearing the headset and also riding on well-rendered Chocobo’s. Adorable. Adding to the VR roster, it was announced that a Batman Arkham title would be coming October this year and you can finally see through the eyes of the bat and say “I’m Batman.”

Finally on the VR list was an interesting space title which had space vehicle battles and the infiltration of an enemy base which included opening hatches to send people flying and plenty of gun fire. There also appeared to be anti-gravity games to use on enemies which seemed highly beneficial. What is this game I hear you ask? It was Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The footage shows there might be hope for the series, especially with the sneak peak at the remaster of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Then the news everyone has been wishing for a decade, and finally no more teasers, Crash Bandicoot, 2 and Warped are getting remasters. Crash will also be coming to the next Skylanders instalment: Imaginators.

The fun didn’t stop there because a new trailer for Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens was revealed and the title will be releasing at the end of this month. It is typical Lego humour with plenty of cuts from the movie and lots to make fun of Kylo Ren a lot. Perfect.

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Our lord and saviour Hideo Kojima is back.

Mr Kojima walked out and fans went wild. The former worker at Konami and creator of Meta Gear Solid revealed that he had a new title in the works. And no it is not a new Metal game sadly.

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The sweet rendering of Norman Reedus’ buns. Will he be fighting zombies this time?

Death Stranding was as spooky as a typical Konami Silent Hill title with tons of dead fish and crabs. Normal Reedus is the star of the show and appears to be holding a recently birthed child on this grey beach. The child disappears and Norman’s hands are covered in black and black hand prints appear on his legs and walks up the beach. Norman stands up and looks up at five mysterious figures in the sky. This looks very exciting indeed and with a great ambient soundtrack from Low Roar.

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Spiderman has a white spider on his suit…why?

Finally, Insomniac games revealed that they are releasing a new Spiderman title which is separate from the series. I really hope this title is good and will like any typical Spiderman game with plenty of fighting and swinging. I really hope this is a throwback to good 90’s PS1 Spiderman titles. Fingers crossed.

Well Sony didn’t need much description and just got on with the show and really that is all you need. There are so many great titles coming our way and the show was just shock after shock. I think I know which console most of you will be playing this year.