Pokéstalgia

Prepare to feel a major mix of emotions. Personally I went through a hint of nostalgia with a dash of bloody hell I feel old. The original Pokémon games came out just over 20 years ago, albeit in Japan but still. 20 years! As a 7 year old with a mushroom haircut, my mam bought me the Blue version because Blastoise. I know the majority of people are Charizard fanboys but come on, Blastoise is a badass turtle with water cannons on its back! #TeamBlastoise

I remember when Professor Oak gave you the choice of your childhood – Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur. Whoever picked Bulbasaur needed a talking to. My nephew was playing through at the same time as I was and he picked Charmander so I went for Squirtle. Playing Pokémon didn’t just feel like playing a game, it was an adventure. You had to train and balance out your team to advance through the Gyms. Sometimes you lost but a quick visit to the NHS of Pokémon – The Pokémon Centre and Nurse Joy would fix your tired mons up in a jiffy, for free too, what a gal.

real life pokemon

Seeing that Nintendo re-released the original Trilogy available to download on the 3DS, I felt the urge to play it again so dug my old Gameboy Advanced out, blew the cartridge and fired it up. It worked straight away and even had my old save file. Them feels man. It’s great to see the franchise is still going because that feeling of picking your starter Pokémon for the first time and heading out is unparalleled. I know I’ll be buying my kids the latest Pokémon out at the time and maybe having a quick play on it myself, for research purposes obviously.

Hopefully you’ve been reminded of the time you first played and the nostalgia that comes with it. If you still have your copy, you should fire it up and give it a blast but if you can’t find it, get yourself an emulator and start a new adventure! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to catch ’em all.

358vwi

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Minecraft ~ Digital Lego

The brain child of Markus Persson, Minecraft is a sandbox game with simple graphics, clever game mechanics and a massive replayability factor. So if you haven’t jumped on the Minecraft bandwagon, in one of its many forms, then maybe this will be the push you need!

Minecraft is essentially a world made out of varying blocks which can be mined by the player. Once collected you can make whatever you can imagine with the tools at your disposal. Wood, stone, iron, pumpkins, coal, flowers, gold, sand, diamond, dirt, it’s all in there and more. You’ll also encounter some roaming animals such as pigs, wolves, sheep and ocelots, some of which you can tame and they’ll help out when you’re in a spot of bother! I have a tamed wolf called George and he has a nice blue collar.

In my opinion the best way to experience this game is to jump straight in, experiment and research as you go. You could work your way through the tutorial level which will guide you through the mechanics and how to play the game, but where is the fun in that? If you follow my advice, you will find yourself in one of the 40+ biomes with nothing but your bare hands and the expansive world to explore.

My first goal is always to make a, quite often rudimentary, shelter with some light and a bed to have somewhere safe to wait the night out. You have to be careful when night falls due to the array of monsters that will begin to appear with one common goal – you. More often than not I tend to dig a small hole which is just big enough to fit a bed and a torch, craft myself a bed and torch and that will be my home. Stig of the dump or what.

From this point you can do pretty much anything you want: create a mine shaft to dig for resources like Iron and Diamond; start a farm of varying crops such as carrots, wheat and melon; build a boat to explore your nearby seas, rivers, lakes or ponds; make friends with the local villagers to start trading; or simply start building what ever you can imagine.

Minecraft has come a long way since its humble beginnings and is being used in real world applications such as teaching, team building, code learning, YouTube videos and story telling. I think games can get a lot of bad press so it is great to see games like Minecraft leading the way to show how games help society and bring people together. I do find it slightly ironic that we now have Minecraft Lego which brings us back full circle to one of the inspirations for the game. Nonetheless, it’s pretty cool.

http://www.lego.com/minecraft

What I love most about Minecraft is the fact it’s always there to pick up and lose yourself in. It’s the in between game, as in the game which you come back to when you’re finished with the current one you’re playing and it feels like you have never left. It’s charming, easy to play but most of all, it’s fun. You can pick it up on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android and iOS devices so there’s really no excuse to give it a go.

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The Long Dark (PC) first thoughts

The Long Dark is a thoughtful, exploration-survival experience that challenges solo players to think for themselves as they explore an expansive frozen wilderness in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster. – http://hinterlandgames.com/

Hello! Up next is a relatively quick roundup of my first hour of gameplay on Hinterland Games’ debut title – The Long Dark. I’ll run through the gameplay, mechanics, thoughts and other bits and bobs that I’ve experienced so far. A heads up for those of you who are potentially looking to purchase this game, you will die and often but don’t let that deter you. Lets dive in!

I opted to play on the medium difficulty, dubbed Voyageur, on the first map in the game – Mystery Lake. As I am a creative individual, I called my character Jack. So here I am, dumped on the border of a frozen lake and dense forest with nothing but some basic amenities, the latest Jack Wills winter gilet and the knowledge that i need to start searching the area for food, water, shelter and better clothing. Off I trot with hopes and spirits high.

After about half an hour worth of what can loosely be labelled as scavenging, I found a few sticks, some canned food and drink, a can opener and a bandage. Not exactly a bountiful harvest! What I have learnt in this time is you really have to keep moving and be a little bold, at least for the early game. If you set up camp in one place for too long you will quickly run out of resources. I found myself a watch tower which I stuck to for a while thinking it would be a good base of operations but quickly found my fuel for fire had dwindled and I was a good hike away from the next known supply of wood. This is where being bold comes into play. I feel that in this game you really need to just pick a direction and commit to it. If you hesitate you can quickly begin to freeze, starve or thirst.

One thing you will notice playing this game, watching YouTube videos or looking at screenshots is the art style. Reminiscent of Borderlands and The Walking Dead, it’s a refreshing take on pushing the boundaries of gaming art. You will have plenty of time to have a look around while you’re trekking between camp sites or if not, you should take a moment to just look just because.

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In my quest for survival in and around The Long Dark, I didn’t manage to come across any usable weapons, or none that I noticed anyway. If I was playing on the easier difficulty this may not have been a problem but unfortunately for me I ran into a wolf. This moment in my life felt exactly how King Leonidas felt in the film 300 when he was staring that wolf down. These two scenarios differed  slightly in that my character is (was) not a trained warrior equipped with a spear but instead an average fella called Jack with a can opener. Things did not end well as you can imagine.

After the encounter I was bleeding heavily and had plenty of bruises and bites but I was determined. I stemmed the blood with bandages and used some antiseptic to ward off infection. I can do this. I limp around looking for shelter with spirits high. Mere moments after encountering the wolf, which in hindsight was quite timid in comparison, I bump into what must have been the Alpha of the pack. It charged. I did not even try to run. Game over.

The Long Dark is brutal but it is also beautiful. As it stands, the game is currently in early access for £14.99 from the steam store, so is it worth it? With the current content being exciting and engaging, updates and more features to come, my recommendation – definitely worth it.

Bear Grylls eat your heart out.