Are you game?

heros-song

As i have writen in a previous blogpost i enjoy gaming and when im not gaming i follow game news via blogs, websites, magazines, podcasts and social media. Over the years my preferred type of game shifted a couple of times from TBS, shooter, adventure, MMO and (A)RPG besides all the occasional games that cant be placed in a certain catagory. Usually it is with the change of a game catagory that i really get into a new game or get all hyped with anticipation when nearing its release.

This last year i was moving back and forth between some MMOs (SWTOR, LOtRO, Guild Wars 2) i play for some years already and a couple of (mainly) ARPGs like Diablo 3 and Marvel Heroes. I tried to look around for some new games that might fancy my interest and tried a few but none of them really clicked.

Last week however i suddenly read about the announcement of a new game by a formiliar name in the gaming industry. The game, Hero’s Song, is scheduled for release in fall 2016 and is produced by PiXelmage Games. One of the founders of this new game studio is John Smedley who we know from Daybreak Games, formerly SOE.

I wont bore (or eXcite!) you with a full eXplanation of the game since that can be found at http://www.piXelmagegames.com along with media and introduction of all the people working on their first project. I do like to tell you what made me so eXcited. For years everyone is used to (almost) all games being 3D and with the upcoming VR everyone is looking ahead to new and even more immersive gameplay and graphics. Hero’s Song however is a 2D, piXelart style game that takes us back into nostalgic times with games like Chrono Trigger and the Diablo 1 & 2 series. It promises to be as deep as current day games with 10.000’s equipable items, a housing system and a consistant & dynamic world with the possibility to host your own servers. Think about playing with a bunch of your close friends and/or guildmates.

Single Ant1-1Heroes

Ofcourse i can tell you about the races and roles for the game but like i said you can find all that information on their website and im not trying to copy and paste or rewrite any of that. I will be following the developement of this game as closely as i can though so i will be keeping you up to date on major updates and eXciting news.

Last thing to mention is that PiXelmage Games decided to get Hero’s Song on Kickstarted despite (or maybe because!) an already guaranteed $1million dollar funding by investors. To remain independent for the most part it was hoping to get aditional funding so there is no need to get any more investors. After a rocky start and adjusting their Kickstarter project a couple of times they decided after a week to cancel the Kickstarter. They ensured everyone that the game is not in danger since they found new investors but the shot at Kickstarter funding sadly didnt work out.

Im sure there will be other oppertunities to somehow back the project. There will probably be a way to preorder the game at some point but even before that i think the best we can do to help make this project a succes is to give it the attention it deserves. So keep an eye on the PiXelmageGames.com website, follow them via @piXelmagegames on Twitter or Facebook. If you are into gamestreams i would advice you to follow CohhCarnage on Twitch who will be spreading official news on Hero’ Song via his streams.

Ofcourse i cannot tell you at this point if the game will be as good as it sounds right now but i can hope and dream about a game in a new catagory that once again will get me totally hooked… Will you stay around to see if it will?!

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Holiday Frills…

Some things in life happen only once or twice. Events that last a second or several weeks. Other things return (almost) every year. I would like to tell you about one of these events, our holiday. To spoil the end of this post, we havent booked our summer holiday yet so i will get back to this in future blogposts but let me take you with me on the trip, starting with the process of deciding where to go…

When you like to find an affordable holiday location for the summer the best thing to do is to start looking early before all the nice and not too eXpensive places have been booked and you are left trying to find a last minute opportunity or second choice which you most likely regret… And regret is not the feeling you like to associate your holiday with.
With looking early you are best of doing this before newyears so at this point we are already late bookers according to our own standards. First discussions start when laying our general preferrences on the table. “I need sun guaranteed”, “I dont like to drive further than 1000 kilometer”, “I dont mind taking a plane as long as it doesnt fly!” No way will we be able to cater to everyones wishes but we do need to get to an agreement because time is ticking for all the affordable options…

Space and Beyond

space ship

Hundreds of years ago eXplorers set sail to unknown and undiscovered parts of the world. Nowadays we think we know all about our little planet there is to discover and we Google-mapped most of it. At least the surface of the planet that is because i believe there is still much to eXplore in the depths of the seas and oceans. Slowly however we are shifting our focus to the new big unknown, Space and the wonders that are still hidden for mankind.

I love what progress we make though, understanding Space, the stars and planets, counstellations, black holes and cosmic dust… Our ancesters in prehistory have already seen planets with their bare eyes (Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), the star closest to our Sun is 4.2 years away if we ever achieve the ability to travel at lightspeed and the biggest star known to us today is more than 1500 times the size of our own Sun!

This week however there was this article about the evidence for a ninth planet in our solar system… and if you look at the unimaginable size of Space this is news that happened right in our own back yard! The most eXciting thing about this news to me is that apparently there are still giant planets to discover so close to “home” which makes me totally hyped for what future discoveries have in store for us. Anyone ever wonder what we will discover on the dark side of the moon!?

New Evidence Points to Giant 9th Planet on Solar System Edge: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/scientists-solid-evidence-9th-planet-solar-system-36398193

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Netflix: more content more money

In our family we are vivid NetfliX users and about all the devices (iPads, phones, XboX’s, smartTV, laptops/computers) in our household that can be used to connect to the streamingservice actually will be… On a daily base!

We have been subscribed to NetfliX from around the time it got available here in the Netherlands which is about 2 years now. We started out with the free month and never stopped watching, paying the €7,99 per month from when we started eventhough NetfliX upped the monthly price for new customers since then. As a “loyal customer” we get to pay the old price untill May 2016 when we get to pay the price new customers already have to pay, €9,99. We also have a choice to dumb down on quality (from HD down to SD) and number of users/screens within the household (from 2 down to 1) if we insist on keeping the €7,99 per month but did anyone that watched DVD quality got back to VHS? The number of screen you are available to use simultaniously is even more an issue since the 2 maX right now sometimes already lead to friction within the family with 5 people who all like to watch “their” show, series or movie.

Ofcourse i understand proces go up especially when they keep through out shows they produce themselves and with the worldwide rollout they need to commit to worldwide content contracts which both wont come cheap but with the potential of so many more customers coming in this year i cant help feeling they will be making a buttload of money soon!

We will still be watching and paying though, also after May 2016 when payment for us “loyal customers” has also gone up and with our kids growing up the next time they yell because my wife and I already use the 2 allowed screens, we will tell them to pay for their own screens… the devices are on us!

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Chromecast


Sometimes i read about gadgets and think i should get it… The Chromecast is one of those gadgets i have been planning to get from the moment i read about it but only until today i decided to actually go out and grab me one.

Just a quick checkup online showed the device is already on its second version with a new design and the biggest change being the improved antenna supporting 802.11ac wireless.

I have just been able to do a quick testrun and installed it on my livingroom tv… Got the device working but got chased away immidiately by my kids waiting to use the XBoX and made me go to the bedroom tv where i plugged it in. There i couldnt get the connections right untill i reset to factory settings and reinstalled and it works like a charm now. I guess ill be turning in early tonight to play around a littlebit…!

Any of you that has any eXperience with the Chromecast (old or new) that can give me a few tips and tricks on the device?

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Stealing is the way to go

Steve Jobs famously said in 1996: “Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ — and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Single Ant1-1Painting

Latest news from Microsoft in an effort to get more content in their Windows Store is to make iOS apps available to Windows 10. First thought i had was that MS seems unable to make their own apps popular enough and doesnt seem interesting enough to developers to entice them to make Windows 10 apps… Until i stumbled upon the interview with Steve Jobs mentioned in the quote on top of this post which says it all… Microsoft is doing a fantastic job stealing great ideas! Cant blame them for that 😉

Steve Jobs on Stealing (1996)

Gamer history!

One of my passions for spending my free time is gaming. Having a nice job and a great family with 3 little kids takes up most of my time (which is a good thing!) but if the work is done and the kids have gone to bed there is some time left for playing a videogame and getting lost in some virtual world in Middle Earth or a galaXy far far away…

I have been gaming from mid-’80s when my dad brought home our first computer, an Acorn Electron (32kb was all we needed!). We connected the computer to an old black/white tv and opened the book that came with it and had some games in it programmed in Basic. You sometimes needed to type several pages of code to get create the program or game and most of the time when finished you needed to search for typos that prevented the program to run! Asteroids was a favorite of mind back then and ive spend a good chunck of time mastering my earliest gaming skills.

 

Acorn Electron 32kb

 

The Acorn Electron was traded for an Atari128 not long after which had a bunch of nice games which actually had color and we connected the Atari to the livingrooms color tv… I remember a game Thank God Its Friday which could be played with 4 people taking turns and was actually my first “party-game”.

The Atari128 went out when i got my Commodore64 for my 12th birthday. It came with a 5.25inch floppy drive and i somehow managed to get loads of games. This computer sat on the desk in my bedroom and i spend all my spare time playing gems like The Last Ninja, Rainbow Islands, Lode Runner, Winter/Summer/California Games, H.E.R.O., Airborn Ranger and many, many other great games. Another thing we loved to do was make those so-called “C64 Crack Intro’s”. A crack intro, also known as a cracktro, loader, or just intro, is a small introduction sequence added to cracked software, designed to inform the user of which “cracking crew” or individual cracker was responsible for removing the software’s copy protection and distributing the crack. We did not actually crack any software but were so impressed with these cool looking intro’s and their eXciting midi-tunes that we started making those ourselves.

 

The Last Ninja (1987)

When i was 14 i bought myself an Amiga500 and build in an aditional 500k of memory (totalling a staggering 1MB RAM memory!). At that time the A500 was praised for its impressive colourpalet for the ability to produce 4096 colors with most computer still stuck at EGA (16 colors) or VGA (256 colors) at that time. It also came with a build-in 3.5inch floppy drive and taking those floppies to school to trade with your friends was alot safer than the 5.25 disks (and looked alot cooler as well!). I remember spending many hours in games like Sensible Soccer, Monkey Island, Civ, Pirates!, Another World, Dragons Lair, Stunt Racer, Wings! and many many more 😉

 

Amiga 500 bootscreen

Next step came when my sister and i needed using computers for homework more and more so my dad got us our first PC, a Pentium75 and at that time i also took my first steps on the internet. With a cd that came with the PC and a 14k4 modem i connected to Compuserve and i discovered a whole new world. BBS, IRC, MUDs, email and creating your own websites that nobody ever visited were new areas to eXplore…

After that there was a bit of an hiatus in my gaming history… Guess part of it was due to student life being all about going out, drinking beer and meeting girls… A horrible, totally uninterresting time so we fast forward to 2003.

At work a colleague of mine mentioned her boyfriend who worked at a games magazine at that time and was reviewing a game called Eve Online. I was intrigued by the things she told me and i decided to try the game for myself… Those were my first steps into an MMO and it has been my favorite games genre ever since. Ofcourse there were other games i played and i had alot of fun with my friends playing Call of Duty, Medal of Honour and Rainbow Six. However since Eve Online when i look at my gaming history i remember it by the MMO i played at a certain time. Next big game that took 90% of my free time was Lord of the Rings Online in 2007. I got heavily invested and joined the Malevolents of Xibalba (MoX) gaming community and got to eXperience the fun in gaming with a steady group of online friends. I continued playing LotRO up to 2011 and even got myself a Lifetime subscription to the game so up till today i still enjoy VIP status and fire up the game now and then.

 

Star Wars The Old Republic (2011)

2011 was the year that another one of my love interests made the gaming scène, Star Wars: The Old Republic launched on december 20th of that year. Because i pre-ordered the Collectors Edition i got 7 days head start and up till today im lost in this game. Ive never played its predecessor Star Wars GalaXies which is a shame because when i read or hear about that game it sounds like a Star Wars fan wet dream but sadly they shut down the official servers just before SW: The Old Republic came out.

Ofcourse i play other games now and then. I am also a big fan of Diablo 3 (got all classes to 70 and im enjoying all the seasonal journeys), Marvel Heroes 2015 (there is always a super hero to love) and a bunch of MMOs i play irregularly… Lately i also started my Steam backlog in which i have about 40 unplayed games that need some love. To start with ive installed and played through the first chapter of The Walking Dead (Telltale) and i like the relaXed slow story telling pace of the game… With the occasional jumpscare that puts me right at the top of my seat!

I can go on and on about the games ive played and all the ones i still like to play but ill safe that for another post. For now i just like to tell everyone that is into gaming to please enjoy yourself in whatever genre you are commiting and please dont be a jerk online but help your fellow gamers.

Game on!