Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Question: If you could live in any video game, book or movie setting, what would you choose?

Every Saturday there is a channel on Twitch that hosts what he calls the "Jackass Podcast". The channel and Podcast is hosted by Mr. Jacklifear ( who is a big community guy and focuses a lot on the community more then just himself and his channel.

Anyways, every Saturday he hosts the Jackass Podcast in which he gathers a bunch of streamers from Twitch, both big and growing, and they talk about things related to their stream, the Twitch community and Q & A. It is a great Podcast and I enjoy watching it as much as I can.

During last Saturdays Podcast a question was asked that really got me thinking and I wanted to blast the question out to you all as well, but I also want to expand on it a little bit as well. The question was this:

If you could live in any video game setting, what setting would it be?

I really had to think about this question and even to this day, 3-4 days later I do not have a real set answer. I felt this was a FANTASTIC question and wanted to ask you all and get your input, but I want to alter the question just a little bit. So, the New question is:

If you could live in any video game, book or movie setting, what setting would that be and why?

I wanted to expand to include books and movies as well to cover a bit wider audience. Also I want to know why? Why would you want to live there, what is it about that setting that draws you? One stipulation I want to say though, I am only talking setting. Meaning if you choose say, Final Fantasy X, we will assume for the sake of discussion that the main problem in the game (In the case of FFX Sin destroying the world) does not exist. I am only interested in what setting draws you and why.

For me one answer I had was a game but not really a game. My first thought was to live in the world of Sword Art Online. The game world was so very cool. The fact that there was so much that could be done from the different towers and dungeons to setting up a shop and just doing whatever. It was very interesting to me watching the show and seeing that world (If you haven't seen the Anime Sword Art Online, do yourself a favor and check it out on Netflix). Also, as I stated, minus the whole bad stuff which in Sword Art Online is perma death and being stuck in the game.

So, what is your answer? What setting draws you and why? Leave a comment and let me know!


Monday, September 1, 2014

War, war never changes

"War. War never changes.
Since the dawn of human kind, when our ancestors first discovered the killing power of rock and bone, blood has been spilled in the name of everything: from God to justice to simple, psychotic rage." - Ron Perlman Fallout 3 intro.

Ah war, in this case I am talking about the quickest way to an argument on the internet, The Console War. It can be quite a fickle conversation thing. If you are a gamer of any sense of the word you know of this war. It has raged on since the early days of Sega and Nintendo, even before, and has escalated to epic proportions of the Sony and Microsoft fanboys and fangirls. I have generally stayed quiet over this "war" and keep to myself whenever this discussion is brought up, but a recent conversation at work shed some light that I am not alone. Others mirror my feelings towards this mess but are afraid to voice out. Here is my thought on the matter: Video games are great, competition is fantastic, the console war is incredibly stupid.

But why? Why do I think competition is good, but the console wars are hot air thrown in the wind?

Competition is great because it makes sure that there is constant refreshing of ideas and encourages new ideas to be brought out. Imagine if there was only one place that you could get gas from. They could charge however much they wanted and give the crappiest gas but because they are the only gas station around, you have to keep going there and buying from them. It isn't until competition is thrown in that better gas, lower prices get thrown into the mix. Now of course, you don't have to buy games (hahahahaha), like gas but the analogy remains the same, if only Sony was around or only Microsoft they could do nothing but spit out 1 game year after and never improve.

But beyond that, for me it's not so much the companies that I feel anger towards in the "console war"(although with the past couple of E3's I felt there was a real lack of decorum at some points on both side of the equation), but more of the rage and lack of civilized discussion. Go ahead, I challenge you right now go to any sort of gaming news website and look for a story based on one of the consoles, or a game specific to a console. Read through the comments and I can pretty much guarantee there will be a couple of comments about how "xyz console sucks" or something about a fanboy/fangirl. Now granted it does seem to be getting better, but there is still a lot of hostility out there. Why can't someone just like one system over the other without being harassed about it, or without forcing their opinion on it as well.

I play mainly Xbox. It's not because I think Microsoft is better than Sony, I have more friends who play on Xbox with me then I do on the Playstation. I had both a Xbox 360 and PS3, but I got the PS3 first. When I got the PS3 I had a lot of friends who were on it so we played a lot of games together. After a while I had less friends playing games on the PS3 and more on the Xbox so I ended up switching. I still like the Playstation and have a few really good games for it, but I have more friends to play with on the other console.

Essentially what I am saying is like what you want to like, you should be able to have a civil discussion on why you like one console over the other without being attacked or told you're wrong. People are going to like what they like, do your part and don't be a jerk either. Respect others preferences and carry a conversation like a human being.

This blog is absolutely a safe place. I encourage discussion here. What console do you prefer? Why is that your preference? Have you tried the other one and if so, what caused you not to like it? These are things WORTH talking about.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Streaming and the Single Player Experience.

I received an edition of a certain gaming magazine this month and there as an excerpt from the editor that piqued my interested. His comment spoke about streaming killing off the single player experience. Now, since I happen to stream frequently on ( I took a particular interest to his story. I won't go into overly detail on what he said, but to summarize, he posed the question:

     "Does the ability to watch a game from beginning to end (whether stream or videos or whatever) destroy the linear single player experiences?"

I think that is an excellent question and merits some discussion. Let's go back to pre-internet, or pre-streaming however you want to look at it. The only way to experience a game was to play the game or go to your buddies house and watch them play or play there. Now I know growing up if I watched someone play a game it did not diminish my want to play the game, in fact I can think of at least once (Soul Blazer on the SNES) that it in fact increased my want, no, NEED to get the game.

Fast forward to now. When the South Park: Stick of Truth game was released I honestly had absolutely 0, less than 0 even, want to play the game. I hadn't watch South Park since season 2 or 3. (I couldn't tell you what season it's on now, like 30 or something?) but I watched someone else play the game (Faucius at and while watching his play-through I found myself getting very interested in the game. I enjoyed the hell out of it and not only for the fact that Faucius is hilarious and really added to the humor. By the mere act of my watching someone else play a game that I had no interest in I had my original opinion completely flipped around and ended up wanting to get the game even though I have seen a few people now stream the game.

For those of you who do not know, is a website that you can go to and watch people play games. This can be board, video and even card games as well. Some people stick to one game all the time, such as Minecraft and some play tons of games switching out if they beat the game or are getting bored and need to mix it up. The communities can be fantastic and make watching and chatting much more fun.

Now this is just my thoughts on the matter. I have never been one to be bothered by spoilers and the like. I have always felt that if I am going to play a game, or watch a movie I am going to regardless of what I know. That being said is there more of a surprise to find out that Soylent Green was people (lol) by watching instead of being told? Of course! But for me knowing what happened in South Park: Stick of Truth didn't diminish my enjoyment when I turned around to play the game. I still enjoyed the game itself.

Along a similar vein, what about when you beat a single player game. Do you ever go back and play the game again later? Whether to try and 100% a game, play through areas you didn't play or skimmed through? Some games have better replay ability then others, I will use Dishonored as an example here, the first time I played through it I did a special blend of stealth until I was discovered then it go loud time. This game was recently released on Xbox's Free with Gold set of games and I plan on picking it up and playing again. The story didn't change, I still know how it ends, but I want to replay the game even so because of little details or secrets I might have missed. To me, this is the same as watching someone play then playing the game itself on my own, or even on a stream.

What about you? Do you feel spoilers ruin your enjoyment of a game? Knowing how the storyline of a game is going to end up, does that stop you from playing the game, enjoying the mechanics or details of the game? When you beat a game once do you ever come back to the game? Drop a comment below, let's talk about this!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

6/10 - This review is like Skyrim with Guns!

IGN, GameSpot, Joystiq, Metacritic, Kotaku, GameInformer, Youtube, other blogs, hell even this blog (well not yet, but there are plenty of started ones that I just did not like what I was doing with it and canned it.)

We all do it, they are out there, you can Google search hundreds of them. Game Reviews. They are everywhere. People of the Internet (Yes, I imagine it as a place of it's own, if you have delved into any depths of the internet or Youtube "You might like this video" and followed that rabbit hole of doom and despair, you would agree.) In the gaming community give them a lot of flack and mostly for pretty legitimate reasons. I have a love/hate relationship with reviews and will talk about why they are both good and bad, in my opinion, for the game industry.

"Oh man, did you play the new Assassins Creed game? It was so good!"
"No way, it's terrible! I have never liked that series"

These kinds of conversations happen all the time when games are involved. I am guilty of them myself!When the game South Park: The Stick of Truth came out I had no interest in what-so-ever. I have never really cared for South Park and when the game came out I had no interest in it, thought it was going to be lame and never gave it a second thought. Until I caught a stream on Twitch and really enjoyed watching the game. I can't wait to get it and play, it looks like it will be a blast.

But what does that have to do with reviews? Well what exactly are reviews? Someone sits down, plays through a game as quick as they can to fire out a written report on how they felt the game was, what they liked or didn't like. There are a couple of keys here.

  • First off they have deadlines in which the review has to be turned in, edited and posted. This doesn't give them a lot of time to really dive into the games and search through all the nooks and crannies. This isn't inherently bad, or wrong, it's more of an injustice. The reviewer isn't really to blame for this, reviews need to be done and they have to be done before the reviews goes live, in print this could be even quicker. Some games might take a very long time to get into and even more to complete with any sort of majority completion of additional side game areas. This means the reviewer is going to fly through the game as quick as possible to try and get through the game.
  • The next thing is that Reviews are often opinion based. This is pretty widely known, but reading the comments section of a review you would never guess that. I am not a fan of fighting games. I find them tedious, boring and repetitive. I am terrible at them, I know this though and I know I would not fairly be able to review a street fighter game. My opinion is not high for those types of games so I would have a bad taste in my mouth already and would not do so well. Everyone has a specific type or types of games they like and possibly don't like. Reviewing a game you may not like might cause some unfair nit picking. Now of course, that is also speculation, I do not know how every company sets the rolls for the reviews.

  • Last of the nay-saying and thankfully this seems to be getting phased out, but the number scale needs to go away. Giving a game a score of 9/10 or 3/5, two stars and so on is not efficient and doesn't really say anything about the game. There are quite a few places that do a number score and break down pros/cons. I like how IGN and GameInformer break down a wrap up on a review.

As an example IGN and GameInformer both reviewed Dark Souls II. One gave the game a 9, the other a 9.75. While that is a discrepancy it is of course not much of one, but it still reflects that people will judge and rate games differently. But what I like about both is IGN gives some + and - at the end and highlights the review and GameInformer will breakdown categories such as Graphics, Sound, Playability which adds a good wrap up in my opinion.

  • As an example, a review I would write for a game I recently played Titanfall  would be something like this
    • Pros: Running and movement feels very fluid and controlled. The feeling of being able to wall run jump to another wall to clear a titan and land on the back of an enemy titan is very comfortable and simple to do. 
      • During the time playing there was not any weapon I felt that was overly overpowered. I felt powerful within a titan, but still vulnerable enough to make sure I kept an eye on my surroundings.
    • Cons: No single player, "story" kind of weak. Respawn had said there would be no single player and while they mostly kept true to that word they felt the need to include a story mode which is nothing but the multiplayer game with narration. It was really kind of a waste and could have been left out.
    • Overall: I really enjoyed Titanfall. I felt it is enough of a different FPS to not feel like a CoD wash away but is still a shooter to the core. Movement is super good throughout the game and fighting in a Titan is very exhilarating. 
Obviously this is small, this is only to show as an example as to how, in my opinion, a review can be done left purely as an opinion piece leaving out the "score"

Now I know you are asking. "But Leo, if reviews are so bad, why bother?" Great question! Take reviews with a grain of salt. I will happily read a review to see how the reviewer enjoyed or didn't enjoy the game. I will see what they did, how they played, especially games I do not know much of, or want to get. I like to see what they say about the game but if I am going to get the game I am going to get it regardless of what a reviewer writes because my game tastes might be completely different then theirs so while they may hate a game, I might love it and conversely I might hate a game that someone might love.

All I am saying is that reviews can be great for research, but take what you read in a small dose. Someone might only play Shooters, yet review a RPG and hate it or might love a game that you end up disliking. Reviews can be great for helping you learn more about a game itself. Remember that a person is behind the scene playing through and writing it out. We all have different tastes and likes, games are not a one size fits all. Get out there, play some good and bad games and write up something about the game. Why did you like it, why did you dislike it? Great reviews dive into they why's and the how's.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

THE Charity Event for Gamers, "Why I Extra-Life"

It was about 3 years ago, maybe end of August or beginning of September, I was reading through the a game magazine when I saw something about the Extra-Life charity event. It caught my interest because the add was short and sweet and said, "Play Games, Save a Life." I checked out the site, read up on it, and was hooked. Now, following the Extra-Life Facebook they had a post about "Why you Extra Life" which got me thinking. That post, and coming up on my third year of participation, made me want to reflect a little bit about "Why I Extra Life."

It really began some years even before that. I used to work for a game store company (no longer around) that was a pretty big supporter of the Make-a-Wish foundation. One year while I was the assistant store manager my boss came to me and said that they were taking a trip to a local hospital, which happened to be within the Children's Miracle Network(CMNH) set of hospitals, with some Make-a-Wish foundation people to look at a bunch of consoles the company I worked for had donated and to tour the hospital. I had the opportunity to tag along to the hospital visit to see the console setups, talk with some of the kids and just see the organization. I was pretty young, so hospitals kinda freaked me out, so I was nervous, but I thought it would be cool so I went.

The console's were in this box on wheels that could be moved around from room to room which was really cool. But I was really touched by the enjoyment the kids got out of being able to play games during their stay. I talked to a few of them and it was overwhelming for me to see the reaction to something that can be so easily taken for granted as a video game. Some of the kids were in the hospital for months, or were going to be for an extended stay, but they were still cheerful and talkative, challenged me to a game or two and had a pretty damn positive reaction to everything. I was really touched by this trip and seeing the kids and what these organizations do for the kids and parents made me realize how much support these organizations give for them. If you don't know much about the Make-A-Wish or Children's Miracle Network Hospitals take a moment to Google them, or click the names to read a bit more about them. I know I did when I got home and since then I have been a huge supporter of the Make-a-Wish foundation and the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals since.

When I had my daughter I could not even imagine what it would be like to have to go through, or to have her go through any of that. I won't lie, it is a thought that has had me watch her sleeping from her doorway, or kept me up at night worrying when she was sick, but I knew that those organizations are there to help people. So when I saw the cause for the Extra-Life charity event was in support of the CMNH I knew there was no way I could not participate.

So, "Why do I Extra-Life?" I have been lucky to not have a need for any of the services or anything like that the CMNH provide, but I know that without their support, those kids and parents would be a lot worse off. Being able to help, support the network just a little bit and know that I was able to contribute to something MUCH greater than myself in a way that I feel is unique to me is why I participate every year. Some people go out and give a bunch of money, some people go run marathons, it doesn't matter how they are doing it to support a cause they believe it, the fact is they do, and for me I am able to do this through a medium I love (and feel like I am pretty good at haha!)

This year is no different! I am, for the third year now, participating in the Extra-Life charity but this time it is for 25 hours of gaming!

So head click here to go to my profile page. Take a look and if you can donate. If not, share this with someone else to look at so they can share, participate, educate, anything. This year I more wanted to spread the word then anything else and if just one person reads up about this event, or even looks at the site I will have set out what I wanted to do.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Let's Get wait, serious, I meant Serious!

So I have been back and forth on wanting to do so many things. The problem I have, have always had, still seem to have but am trying to work on is my ability to WANT to do so much extra stuff, but never actually sit down and do.

I always feel like I am not doing anything and I want to! But I always back away, worry what if it does not look/sound good?! I am deciding to not worry about it so much. I have always been very cautious to showcase myself or my work and I have decided it is time. I feel that I have vastly improved overall thanks to school, working on side stuff with friends and the super crazy intensive final project through school (more to come on that later!)

You might be asking, "what does this all mean?" Well, I plan on getting serious with a lot of things professionally. I want to be more visible on this blog. I want to keep my portfolio updated ( To keep me on this I have made reminders on my phone, wrote on my calendar, used a handful of sticky notes and more to keep myself reminded and I plan to stick with it.

For good or for bad, I will once again welcome any and all who take the time to read this to the ramblings from my mind. I will post about games I am playing, have played, plan to play and such. I will post about projects I am working on (if allowed) and keep updates going on what I am doing. I will also just post about things that come to mind, but I don't have any plans as using this as any kind of crazy soapbox.

So keep an eye out. I will be posting in the next couple days about either the Extra-Life Charity event I am doing, the school's final project, or some games, I am not sure yet, but keep a look out!


P.S. Bonus points to those who get the Darkwing Duck reference! +1

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Welcome to my blog!

Hello and welcome!
My name is Leo and I am a student at Full Sail University studying Game Design. I decided to start a blog to practice writing, reviewing and just overall thoughts and feelings on whatever else I can think of. I will tr to keep it interesting and see where we go from here!