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The Last of Us, a game developed by Naughty Dog that was, and still is, highly praised by gamers from all over. Ever since the ending, fans have been waiting patiently for the possible sequel, and now, after being revealed in 2016, we are finally able to experience the continuation of Joel and Ellie’s story. However, due to some serious backlash from fans, I felt that I should bring some positive feedback, to show that the game isn’t as bad as many claimed it is. Because of its playstyle, I decided to take the time to watch someone else (Jacksepticeye) play The Last of Us Part 2, that way I can really analyze everything about the game. Please note that this analysis will be spoiler-free, so I’ll be very vague about a lot of things that occur in the story (out of respect for those that have yet to play the game). One last thing that I want to talk about, before moving on, is that the only knowledge I have about the sequel is the first two trailers that were released. Please keep this in mind as you read this article.
The World and The Game’s Graphics
One of the first things that stood out at the start of the game was the major improvement in graphics and the changes in the world. Looking back at The Last of Us, it’s very noticeable with how much the graphics have aged. I wouldn’t say that they look terrible, they just don’t look as good as they did back in 2013. Despite this, the game is still enjoyable and it doesn’t take away the beauty of the story. Fast forward to 2020 with The Last of Us Part 2 and you can tell that Naughty Dog has really upped their game. Long story short, this game is gorgeous to look at. The amount of attention to detail with the characters and the environment is mindblowing, even small things that wouldn’t seem important were given plenty of love. The way the blood dilutes in puddles of water, the way that nature is reclaiming what human civilization took away, and the different types of reflections from different surfaces were some of my favorites. I also found it fascinating to see the actual changes that your character’s weapons, since I have little to no knowledge in that area of expertise. Even if it was something small, like adding a handle to a crossbow for more stable aiming, it added more to the weapons/equipment.
Despite only four years have passed in the story, the world has definitely gone through changes. Remember how much vegetation was growing everywhere on the buildings and roads in the first game? Well, that has increased when you travel to Seattle, which is where most of the game takes place. There are trees and grass growing in places you wouldn’t even imagine being a possibility. It’s not just the vegetation growing in unexpected places, the destruction that the buildings have gone through over time is absolutely mindblowing. While I have never personally been to Seattle, a ton of research and attention to detail was put into recreating a destroyed version of the city. While not every building is shown (due to copyright with different businesses), the people responsible for recreating Seattle did a phenomenal job. The craziest part is how much is surrounded by water. Hell, the famous Space Needle and the area around it is surrounded by water and has become an island. Because it’s Seattle, it rains ALOT in this game, which constantly made me concerned for the characters’ health. Despite there being so much rain, the rain is very beautiful, especially when you watch the drops hit the puddles. There are sections of the city where you have to travel by boat, and personally, those are some of my favorite sections along with the village area much later in the game. While you only spend the very beginning of the game in this setting, the winter setting is beautiful and brutal. When you’re traveling on foot and by horse, you can actually knock snow off of the lower tree branches, which is so much fun to watch. There are a few moments, however, where the textures don’t fully load and slight glitches, but other than that the game is like walking through a beautiful art gallery. The only warning I have is if you’re afraid of heights, there is a section where you climb up to the height of a skyscraper and the details make the scenario more intense.
The Story and Characters
As the title of the game says, The Last of Us Part 2 is the sequel to the massively successful and award-winning game of 2013 The Last of Us. The story takes place 4 years after the events of the first game, which means new characters and new settings. As previously mentioned, Seattle is where most of the story takes place, but you start the game in a little town as part of a community. Let’s just say that things get intense fairly quickly, which isn’t surprising given how The Last of Us started. As much as I want to go into detail, that is an immensely difficult thing to do given the landmine field of spoilers I’m tiptoeing over. In a nutshell, the story revolves around Ellie and her growing up into an adult. There are some intense lessons that she learns and how her choices can lead to serious consequences. You also get to see the world from different points of view, since there are a few other main groups that you come across throughout the story. Unfortunately, that is all I can really talk about without going into spoiler territory.
With new sequels, comes new characters and there are a number of new characters in this game. There are some that you’ll love, some that you’ll hate, and then there are those that some of the fans will either hate during the entire game or grow to understand and enjoy. Joel, Ellie, and Tommy (played by Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, and Jeffrey Pierce) return with some interesting development to their characters and have grown with age and experience. Like the first game, Troy, Ashley, and Jeffrey absolutely killed it with bringing their characters to life. Honestly, with all of the characters (old and new), their actors and actresses didn’t hold back, which is a great reflection on how hard the directors pushed them. When I’m talking about the director pushing the actors and actresses, I don’t mean in a bad way. There are negative ways for any director to push their actors and actresses, but with both The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2, you can tell that both sides worked together as a powerful team to effectively bring the characters and powerful scenes to life. While it took time, I really loved Abby’s character and Laura Bailey was phenomenal in every second of screentime she had with bringing Abby to life. While I personally can’t think of any characters that I hated the whole time, I know that there were times where I didn’t like Ellie (I know I’m going to get some hate for that), Abby, Tommy, or even Owen. It was mostly due to the choices they made and how they treated some of the other characters.
The gameplay is pretty much the same as the previous game, although there are a few minor additions to the sequel. You spend a large portion of the game exploring the area and searching for ammo, supplements to help you gain new abilities, parts to upgrade your weapons, and supplies to craft items (there are a handful of new items to craft). Along with these, you also find notes (which give you more lore of the world) and cards of superheroes and villains (maybe Naughty Dog will make a game revolving around those characters). You also occasionally find coins, but there don’t appear to be as many as the cards, not sure why. Super listening and brick/bottle-throwing return in this game, which always comes in handy with using stealth to sneak past humans and the infected. Speaking of the infected, there are about three new infected, which makes adapting to various scenarios more interesting and intense. Remember those tense and spooky sections where you explore dark, spore-infested buildings filled with the infected? Yep, those sections are back and they’re just as intense. There are a few sections where you ride a horse and (as previously mentioned) you can also drive a small boat through the flooded areas of Seattle and there are small “puzzles” that you have to solve in order to get to other sections. Speaking of puzzles, there are a number of puzzle-like sections where you carry ladders and/or planks to reach your destinations. There are also moments where you need to wheel pallets of stuff in order to block gates or climb up to new heights. You also can use ropes or chords to climb up to or swing across to a different spot. Let me tell you, the physics of the rope and chord is one of the detailed parts of the game that has so many people talking (not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing). A new mechanic that is super helpful for stealth moves is being able to crawl on you your belly and using the tall grass to hide from your enemies. Of course, the grass can’t help keep you hidden forever, since the human enemies have dogs that can track your scent, which is a cool addition. The only thing that myself and other gamers hated about that is…..you have to kill the dogs in order to move forward. Even if you take out the other humans, the dogs will keep on coming after you. While that is a hated thing about the game, it’s a very real thing that would happen in that world and our current era. Sometimes we have to do things that go against our morals in order to survive and The Last of Us Part 2 doesn’t hold back with the real and serious topics.
Like The Last of Us, Gustavo Santaolalla (joined by Mac Quayle) created another soundtrack full of human emotions. This game’s soundtrack both blends in well with the gameplay and adds that sense of loneliness you might feel in a post-apocalyptic world. Along with the sense of loneliness, there a peaceful wonder, and this intensity, that fits perfectly with a number of scenes. You can tell that they went above and beyond to bring you another special collection of music that can be listened to on a variety of occasions. This probably should be discussed in the “Gameplay” section, but because of the brilliance of it, I felt that it should be mentioned here. Ellie does have some sections where she plays and sings songs on the guitar, but the most impressive part is that, with enough practice, you can have Ellie play a variety of songs on the PS4 controller (thanks to the touch-pad). There’s even a moment where Joel performs a song for Ellie at the beginning, which is an incredibly touching scene. All-in-all, even if you don’t care for the game, the soundtrack is well worth listening to.
What I Enjoyed About Jasepticeye’s Playthrough
Since I mentioned watching Jacksepticeye’s playthrough for research, I believe that it would only fair to create a spot to discuss the parts I enjoyed the most. First things first, I really enjoyed how much genuine passion he had for the game and the positivity he expressed towards the game. With the way the internet is destroying this game, this sequel that we’ve waited so long for, there needed to be someone to give some positive and constructive criticism. Sure, there were parts he didn’t enjoy, there were certain mechanics and parts where the story could’ve been told in different spots. Despite this, Jack made some good pointers as to what could make those parts better. Watching his playthrough was not just entertaining, it was also very informative in both graphics and story-telling. As a writer, this game and his playthrough commentary really gave me some good pointers on how to write certain themes in stories. When I get more serious with my writing and write one of my stories, this is one playthrough I am definitely going to look back on for guidance. If you haven’t Jacksepticeye’s playthrough of The Last of Us Part 2, below is a link to the first episode, if you’re interested
All-in-all, despite the issues with the story’s pacing and the repetitiveness, I believe that The Last of Us Part 2 is worth giving a chance. Honestly, it’s not as bad as numerous people claim it is. Is it a perfect game with a perfect way of telling the story? Well…no. It has its flaws and some parts could’ve been done better with the pacing and deciding when to end. I whole-heartedly agree that chunks of it could be used for a third game. There were multiple times where it could’ve ended in preparation for The Last of Us Part 3. Despite this, it’s a visually stunning game with a decent story, a beautiful soundtrack, a powerful cast, and fun new additions to the roster of creative monsters. Personally I would give this game a 7/10 maybe even a 7.5/10, mainly due to the pacing issue.
@Diablo via @Geekologie
I’ve written before about the surprise of finding myself in an inter-geekery relationship. If you’re in a relationship with diverging geeky interests, you might not ever be one of those couples who shares a hobby. But the time intensive nature of gaming can leave you with plenty of time to hang out together, even if you’re not actively doing the same thing.
So pull a chair up to the gaming station and do these things while your partner is busy farming in WoW:
Why not indulge in your own nerdy hobby while your partner games and crack open a new book? It’s a quiet, immersive activity to do when you need to occupy yourself for awhile.
Open Reddit on your own device and read the most ridiculous r/AskReddit and r/RelationshipAdvice posts out loud to your partner while they play. Not only will you find yourself in hysterics over the ridiculous responses, some great conversations can be prompted by Reddit.
The beauty of having a triple monitor set-up is that you can throw up a small window for Netflix (or your streaming service of choice) in the corner when not in an action-ridden part of the game. This way you can both watch something together without shorting in-game hours.
Coloring books are one of the best quiet, relaxing activities. They pair well with other activities going on in the room because they require so little extra mental effort.
Knit socks. Scrapbook. Whittle. Small craft hobbies are entertaining and portable. If you’re seriously invested in a particular craft, why not set up a craft station next to your partner’s PC and make a hobby den?
Just because you are not a “gamer” doesn’t mean there aren’t games you’ll enjoy playing with your partner. More narrative games—like the recently released The Last of Us Part II, The Long Dark or Firewatch—are similar to a choose-your-own-adventure movie. Throwing on a narrative game in single-player mode and playing it together is a great way to learn about gaming without the pressure of competition. You don’t have to be invested in each other’s hobbies to be in love, but sometimes it’s nice to share.
*Not applicable for raid nights.
We are at an unprecedented time where everyone is stuck at home, but at least we still have video games to escape our boredom. With the internet, it’s even better that we can also connect with others online and play most of these games together. With so many video games out there to choose from, it’ll be difficult to know which ones are worth it during our new reality of life. Well, to help you all out, we have chosen some of the best games to check out if you want to play with your friends and have a good time while everyone is in the comfort of their own homes.
If you are among those who haven’t joined the craze of this Battle Royale game, now is your chance to join in on the fun. Think of it like this, imagine you are among a group of about 100 people launched into an island with nothing but an ax at your disposal. The main objective of this game is pretty simple, just be the last one remaining on this island. The only thing is you have to survive long enough to win, and in order to do that, you must eliminate the competition. On this island, there are plenty of weapons you can find and even build yourself some cover against other players. In this game, you can either compete solo or become part of a squad. The only thing is, once you lose, the game is over for you and you start over in a new game. It’s a highly addictive game with millions of players online, whether it’s on a console, PC, or even on mobile.
Mario Kart has been an instant classic for Nintendo ever since it’s inception for the Super Nintendo. It has grown with lots of sequels across many different consoles over the years. This new version of the game can be played anywhere on your phone and it’s absolutely free either on an iOS or Android device. The game has had a recent update where you can know play against other players around the world. Every two weeks, the game sets up new courses to keep the game fresh and exciting, so you’ll never get tired of racing though the same tracks. There’s also tons of unlockables like new characters, costumes, carts, and parachutes. It’s the perfect game for new and old players alike.
With everything happening in the world, sometimes you just want to find a sense of escapism from reality. Ever since Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out, everyone has suddenly found their new home away from home with their slice of paradise. Creating a home on a getaway island is only half the fun as you can customize your character and grow different kinds of fruit as well as crafting materials for your island. You can even visit other players’ islands to trade or even check out their version of a sweet escape. Under these circumstances that we face, it seems like now is the best time to check out this game and see what all the craze is about.
It’ll be hard to invite friends over for some party games, but thanks to certain games, everyone can still have a good time while in isolation. Back in the 90s, You Don’t Know Jack grew in popularity with their crazy and insane trivia games. Since 2008, developer Jackbox Games saw a resurgence during the age of mobile gaming. With Twitch, anyone can play these games on the latest consoles. Filled with dozens of party games, Jackbox Games can make any night into a friends’ party night. Whether it’s answering insane questions on Fibbage or playing a fun game of charades in Drawful, these mini party games will surely be fun for those who just want to let loose during these unfortunate times. With the Jackbox Party Pack, you can enjoy all these different mini-games with friends just by streaming it online for everyone to partake. What’s great about these games is that even if you aren’t playing the games, you can still participate with just your phone and cheer on for your favorite person to win.
The Grand Theft Auto series has had a lot of success over the years with their games. The latest entry, Grand Theft Auto 5, ended up becoming their best selling title and breaking huge records. It’s not just for the story that’s bringing players in, it’s also the online mode. In Grand Theft Auto Online, the game offers a different experience from the single-player campaign as you go through the city of Los Santos robbing banks with your crew, participate in street racing, and completing some fun missions. The online community is still going strong for a game that released back in 2013. Ever since it’s launch, the game continually makes the online experience so much better with free updates being added. With up to 30 players in one session, the amount of content and things to do in this open-world is endless.
I’m walking in some very murky waters talking about this game since it was the centerfold of controversy in 2018 for the reasons I will explain later on.
Battlefield has been a well-known franchise for quite some time now as it was pretty much the main competitor to Call of Duty for the entirety of the 2010’s since the release of Battlefield 3. It was the beginning of a franchise war that has been raging on, with the absolute peak reaching the release of Battlefield 1, and the absolute dog turd that was Infinite Warfare, and unfortunately, it reached a massive decline in 2018 for obvious reasons. Look at the games both franchises released in October and November. Black Ops 4, a game I refused to play, as I was just sick and tired of futuristic garbage, and the lack of a campaign just made me say “I’m done” and I just waited on BF5, and Jesus Christ was I disappointed.
Battlefield 5 has probably the worst reputation in franchise history for a myriad of reasons, most notoriously, the people behind the game insulting the fans for the direction they decided to go with this World War 2 title, which I will explain later on, just wait a bit, and now the developers pulling the plug on the game in June after a painfully long decline since launch, that saw a boost of players in January, only for DICE EA to absolutely butcher the game about a month and a half later, and they never recovered. This game was an absolute nightmare, and since they pretty much confirmed that Battlefield 6 will be ready for release in the fall of 2021, let’s talk about the 5 things that BF6 needs to do better than BF5.
If you have no clue what I’m talking about, basically TTK stands for Time To Kill, and it’s an essential gameplay system and gunplay engine in any shooter game. Well, except Fortnite where it STILL uses RNG and probably has the worst gunplay in any shooter. The TTK in BF5 was not so good at the beginning of the game, but by the time the Pacific Theatre DLC was released, the game was actually a whole lot of fun. But unfortunately, for whatever reason, DICE EA decided to nerf literally everything, and made the TTK a whole lot slower, and made a lot of guns completely useless and made the game a whole lot less playable. TTK engines are very delicate as the balance is essential when engines like these are in play. But when you mess with them, then it’s a lot to fix, and everyone hates it when something takes a long time to fix, or doesn’t get fixed at all. BF6 should have a solid TTK system that is well balanced and solid enough once the game launches so it can be a fun and enjoyable game from the start.
While I’ll absolutely lampoon Black Ops 4 for being the true black sheep of the CoD franchise because CoD Ghosts actually tried to be a good game, and for being nothing more than a cash grab of a game by selling a game for just its name value and nothing else while also a similarly broken Multiplayer mode that had next to no support, the thing that kinda annoyed me the most about BO4, was the fact of no campaign and is set during a very irregular time period within the now tainted Black Ops franchise. And while BF5 did have a campaign, it’s gonna be cut short due to it being basically canceled because it was a live service game. This is something they shouldn’t have done at all, and whoever thought it’d be a good idea to have the campaign progress through updates didn’t think this far as to the what-if of “what if this game gets canceled?” and unfortunately it did. Battlefield is probably the only franchise I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t have a campaign because their multiplayer has always been the core of their games, so it’s either make a campaign that is full and good or just do what Black Ops 4 did and not make one… except Black Ops 4 canceled their campaign because “single-player campaigns aren’t worth it.” At least Battlefield tried.
This is the part where it gets very, very murky as I mentioned at the beginning.
So if anyone remembers, when BF5 had their reveal event, the people, for the most part, were unpleased with the lack of authenticity of the game, given it’s a game based in World War 2. Some people were feeling more unpleasant that there was a woman on the cover, which I think is a stretch to be upset about it, but it was a gripe that some people did have. A gripe I did have was that the woman that was in the game (or basically the reveal trailer), had a prosthetic arm, which immediately made me and a lot of fans of the game go “shouldn’t she be at home with a purple heart and maybe a medal of honor rather than being on the frontlines with a whole arm missing? It seems unrealistic.” But, it was pretty much confirmed by then CEO Patrick Söderlund that he put some of his modern-day political beliefs in the game, while also saying, “We stand up for the cause because I think those people who don’t understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game. I’m fine with either or.” That’s not a good way to market the game in any way shape or form. And that pretty much annoyed the fans even more that they double-downed on their beliefs. While I don’t mind the portrayal of women in a World War 2 game as there are ways that you can portray a woman in the frontlines of WW2, the way it was handled, was really bad. They portrayed women pretty good in BF1 in the campaign and even in multiplayer with the option of being a female character who was part of the female sniping regiment in the Russian Army when you played Operations on one of the Russian based Operations. But the way they did it with BF5 was pretty much the polar opposite of that and amplifying the beliefs by very high levels. DICE EA would triple down on this by having a second event talking more about the game, and they insulted the fans who were displeased about the game, and that made the fans even more annoyed with the dev team. Patrick Söderlund would then leave the company in August, which caused the production of the game to be delayed from a September release to a November release because they wanted to dial back the issues that caused this massive controversy.
I know politics isn’t a good thing to talk about since it’s very divisive, and the modern landscape of things is about an insult away from causing a riot on the internet since no one can go outside. Unless they want to get sick. But the problem is, you really can’t talk about BF5 without bringing up the primary cause to the issue that began a lot of the issues behind it, which was shoving their views down people’s throats, which no one, developer, CEO or any average person should ever do. The way they did it in BF1 was the right way to do it, and they should’ve probably kept doing it that way. Even in BF4, Hannah, one of the main characters, is a woman, and the way they portrayed her was good. I’m not sure where they went wrong in portraying women in Battlefield games especially the era they decided to do this game, but it wasn’t a good way in doing so, because it showed their true intentions, and also showed a side of them that made fans like me refusing to purchase the game. And it was all because they insulted the fans because what they thought was right, and what we as fans thought were wrong, and personally, that’s not how a game should be marketed. While yes, they wanted to try something different, and yes, this was the game they’ve always wanted to make, it backfired hard when there were a lot of logistical holes as to why they made it the way they did, and fans weren’t happy. As time went on, the devs have listened to the people as best as they could since the entire incident, and that’s a good thing, but because the damage was there, and the damage control was next to non-existent, it hurt the overall game to the point where it gives not only the game a bad reputation but the companies involved in the game a bad reputation.
For all people to remember: if you ever start a company, band, business, or literally anything you want to do that’ll garner mainstream or internet attraction: DON’T, INSULT, THE FANS.
I’m honestly getting tired of the live service games being released, like Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and unfortunately Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 because the primary issue of these live service games, is that there will be bugs from launch until the game stops getting support. I love Modern Warfare 2019, but I also hate it because it’s a live service game and there will be bugs in the game, and even the gunplay would suck sometimes, but at least they found a TTK engine that works and didn’t rearrange it to the point where the game is unplayable and causes more bugs in the process… oh, wait.
CoD did have an update earlier and while it included a new weapon, it also destroyed the matchmaking system and also messed up the servers of the game. This is what happens when it’s a live service game, bugs are gonna keep popping up, and it’s a matter of a year for the bugs to go away. I’ve never been a fan of most of the modern multiplayer games because it always felt like I was paying for half of a game rather than the full game, and while live service games do reduce that by adding in free DLC via updates, it comes with the massive con of it’ll come riddled with bugs. I feel like I need an exterminator talking about this.
In my personal opinion, I’d rather have the literal full, raw, unapologetic game right at launch with all the maps, all the guns, and all the everything. I’m fine if the game has microtransactions as long as it doesn’t affect the game in any way to make their extra chunk of money, but please, I’d like a game where I can just have everything in one go, instead of having to wait months in advance for something new. Although I’ll admit right now, the only good thing about it is that it gives the game longevity. Kinda makes my whole argument kinda invalid now that I think about it.
And don’t bring back loot boxes ever again.
“There is no balance!” Thanos screamed to the heavens before he got snapped into oblivion by Iron Man, which I still haven’t seen either of the movies yet, but that’s all I know of what happened in Endgame, Battlefield’s main selling points were the entertainment in the game, the fun you have playing it, with how authentic it is, and how real can it be. BF5 only checked two of these boxes: entertaining, and realism. Yeah, this balance is worse than the gun balance in Battlefield games. BF5 had a bit of a major identity crisis to the point where it was just another Battlefield game, like Battlefield Hardline, or as I like to call it: Battlefield Cops & Robbers. And while the game did get better with time, and also had their own battle royal mode, one mistake drove the game to irrelevancy. And with Modern Warfare 2019 sweeping the entire nation and the whole world, as well as Warzone, being the biggest thing since sliced bread while being twice as good as PUBG and 1000 times better than Fortnite will ever be, Call of Duty once again pretty much checked all the boxes that BF5 couldn’t check. I’ve been playing MW 2019 religiously since launch and I haven’t had this much fun or haven’t been as entertained by a game since BF4 and BF1, while the modern-day authenticity makes sense, and their realism is most definitely there given it’s based in the much more modern-day. BF5, on the other hand, has struggled since launch to capture the attention of the gaming community, because, in #3, they insulted the gaming community and ignored the game to the point that even if it did financially well, it was a marketing and commercial failure and they have admitted it. BF6 pretty much needs to check all the boxes when it gets released so that way, it can grab that attention and keep players hooked to the game as I have with MW, and when you have fans hooked to a game, then that’s when you know you’ve succeeded.
Battlefield 5 will, unfortunately, be forever remembered as the game that was over-politicized and heavily panned to the point that the developers knew they messed up, only for them to mess up to the point where the game shot itself in the foot from the bombardment of hate being aimed towards their way. I can’t understand how they went from the ultimate high that was BF1 where they literally had the world in their hands, only to make a mistake so bad, the walls literally caved into the point that now, the game is in a bunker, after another mistake, the game hid up in a bunker and hoped for the best, only for the devs to say that the game had its trusted Luger from BF1 and decided to fire up for an early cancellation in June. The irony that the announcement happened in late April and it makes my joke make more sense if you think long and hard about it.
BF5 is now the undisputed black sheep of Battlefield, and now, all hands are on deck for the development of BF6, as even Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been confirmed that its support will now end, although with a satisfying conclusion. With the fact that now Battlefront 2 will be closing its doors and BF5 decided to wave the white flag after an endless barrage of mistakes from the devs and the former CEO (and it’s about damn time that it wasn’t the French to wave the white flag), all eyes will now be on Battlefield 6. A good game ends, and a bad one crumbles, and I really hope that BF6 blows the water with BF5, but because the game was… a nightmare, my expectations will have to be cautiously low until the first trailer is released. Also if the game goes to a modern direction again, can we have one game where the damn main enemies and antagonists aren’t the Russians or China for a change? I’m getting bored of the Russians and China being the enemy in every single modern-day shooter. If Battlefield can go to 2142 and have a plot thinner than my thinning hair, then I’d like Battlefield Steampunk for a change in a dystopian world where the main antagonist sits in his/her throne inside the Big Ben clock tower in England with their massive army of British steampunk soldiers, which would be interesting as hell to see what a Steampunk version of the S.A.S. would look like, and it’s down to America to topple this evil empire in the UK to restore order within the country. I just came up with an idea that would actually be very interesting, as the only steampunk games I can think of is the BioShock Trilogy and Deus Ex Mankind Divided. And maybe Wolfenstein.
Basically, this is Battlefield’s last chance, and it’s time for them to go all-in with their next game and they need to surprise the hell out of us with whatever it may be that they will release next year, and only time will tell what DICE EA will do next.
One of the successful indie games of all time is the game Journey, which was developed by the indie game studio Thatgamecompany. It was first released on March 13th,2012 for the Playstation3 and later on July 21th,2015 for the Playstation4. There is also a PC version that came out on June 6th,2019.
In Journey we slip in the role of a nameless figure, who is almost completely wrapped in a large cloth cloak. We don’t know the name or have any details about the background story of the mysterious figure.
(Our nameless character)
At the beginning of the game we are pretty much alone, we don’t know where to go or get an indication of what to do. It only become clear that the big mountain on the horizon is our goal. Why the mountain is our goal is not explained to us. So we travel with our thin-legged character through the extensive deserts, explore mysterious ruins and dark catacombs. When we have discovered a ruin we ask ourselves what happened here and do a little research. We also have to solve a little riddle to get to a new stage in the game.
We also quickly notice that our character can only jump, slide through the sand, and glide through the air, which was not really a problem for me because it’s all we need in the game. How far we can glide through the air or how high we can jump depends on how much energy we have collected. By the length of our scarf, we can see how much energy we have collected. The longer our scarf is, the more energy we have.
During our journey through the game, we find symbols, paintings, and other references to the background story of Journey. We don’t get a lot of information about the backstory, so everyone can make their own backstory of the game. I think it is a good thing because everyone has their own experiences and emotions during the game. It’s a different experience for everyone.
What impressed me the most about the game is the music in the game. It has something calm and relaxing that always fits every situation and location perfectly. There is also a multiplayer mode in the game. Sometimes we can meet other players in the game who can join us on our journey. The only problem is communication with our comrade because there is no chat in the game. Which makes the communication a little bit complicated.
However, this creates a special multiplayer dynamic, which together with the breathtaking gaming experience, creates a unique atmosphere.
Journey is a beautiful game, just right to relax after a long day. Which makes it perfect for this, with a game length of only around two hours.
When I played the game for the first time it was a very emotional experience for me. Because it teaches us that no matter how difficult or hard the path is sometimes, we shouldn’t give up but keep going forward. It’s important that we always believe in ourselves and that we never lose hope in difficult situations. Because we can only reach our goals and dreams if we believe in ourselves.
What also impressed me was the wonderful world in the game, the almost meditative gameplay, and the simple but interesting multiplayer mode. Journey is a wonderful gaming experience that everyone should experience once.
For a geeky person, dating is always nerve-wracking, wondering when your inner geek will become full-fledged outer geek to your new love interest. When they spot the Harry Potter doll sitting on your bedside table? When they stop by unannounced when you’re six hours into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, hair a mess, chin greasy with buttered popcorn? Someday it will come out.
But what if you’re not actually the nerd of the relationship? What if the other person in your relationship is the one that brings the real nerdiness to town? Sure, you can recite every episode of Buffy that James Marsters ever appeared in, but what if the person you love most the world can spend 14 hours straight playing World of Warcraft with breaks only for a new bowl of cereal? Perhaps you were prepared to disclose your geekiness to your new partner, but are you prepared to be the one dating the geek?
In my case, I wasn’t. I was used to being the quirky one with unusual interests. For the first year my now husband and I were in a relationship, I didn’t know he was a major geek. He wasn’t hiding it, but circumstances were such that when I did see him play video games it seemed to align with school vacations and be the exception not the rule. He had mentioned being a top-ranked WoW player years before, but as I come from the books/movies/tv sector of the geekdom, I didn’t really know what that meant. We spent more time at my apartment and he studied abroad for five months. When he returned from his trip we both moved to new apartments. I started spending more time at his place and saw…the set up.
It’s a modest one, to be sure. A massive Craigslist-find pressboard desk. A home built PC. A 40-inch tv screen. A chair he bought at flea market for $10. But the hours he spends at command central, fully engaged, began to surprise me. A year into our relationship all pretense was done away with. I spent the weekends on his couch doing homework while he played Ark with his roommate in the other room and his best friend who lived a floor above, talking to each other for hours via headset despite being less than 15 feet away from each other.
And I had to admit—maybe I didn’t get to be the geek in this relationship.
Since then, I’ve taken on a role many partners have who are in relationships with serious gamers—Warcraft Widow, i.e. I get a lot of alone time on raid nights! Like anyone with a life partner who is seriously committed to a hobby, I’ve come to realize what exactly it means to love a geek, and how much fun you can have along the way.
You already knew that we HAD to talk about PC gaming in this long series, and don’t worry, it’s time to talk about it.
PC gaming has always been known as the top echelon style of gaming due to the components, hardware and graphical power behind some of these titan like PC rigs of the modern era. And believe me, I was willing to spend over $3,300+ on an ungodly tank of a PC, but luckily, Evan talked me out of it and wants to make me a cheaper PC. That’s if I even get a job during this whole pandemic or at least we’re planning on it depending on the time this article comes out. Consoles and PCs have coexisted as far back as the introduction of the Magnavox Odyssey, the first-ever video game console in 1972, but didn’t get a proper boom until the 80s and over time, it became the be all end all for gaming now in the modern 20s. So let’s get into the time machine once again, and talk about how PC gaming started and became to be.
PC gaming has been around for a long time, and it’s an engine that’s obviously far stronger than a console, and while PC gaming existed in the 70s, it wasn’t all that big. Home computers were sort of a novelty and a niche market since most computers back then could literally fill up an entire room. The Trinity of home computers, or what was then called “microcomputers” to start the computer revolution to bring computers to everyone’s homes were the Commodore PET 2001, the TRS-80, and the legendary Apple II, all three of these computers were released in 1977, and it was the birth of the microcomputer revolution that eventually sparked the rise of the personal computer.
The Commodore PET
The Apple II
All three computers together
The home computer was on the rise after these three computers were released, and it was pretty much off to the races when the 80s came around and floppy disk drives became more common, even to the point where the 80s, a lot of schools started using Apple II computers, or at least from what I know of the machine. The most money making market was obviously schools, so it made sense as to why computers were normalized in the 80s. However, the most famous computer that would revolutionize PC gaming was about to come. Commodore released the VIC-20 in 1980, and at the time, it easily beat out some of its competition with ease due to its low price, and it’s simplicity. Keep in mind that back in the 70s, all PCs were the keyboard, and nothing was all in one just yet, unless you had a portable computer, and all in one computers didn’t start popping up until the TRS-80 Model II in late 1979.
Commodore then released the legendary computer, The Commodore 64, which to this day, is the highest selling computer of all time, selling between 12.5 – 17 Million units from 1982 to its discontinuation in 1994. Not only is it the highest selling computer, but it’s possible that it has the largest library of software up to 10,000 and games, with an estimated 23,000 titles. Can you imagine how big a basement, let alone a house needs to be to cram 33,000 games and pieces of software on either a floppy disk or cartridge? The PS2 was famous for its large library of games, amassing 4,500 games in total. Steam (although a game distribution company) currently holds 30,000+ games across the decades, however they’re just a digital distribution, not a company making the games, which is mind numbing to imagine that a computer has the largest library of games and software compared to today’s standards, where most consoles barely break 1,000 titles. I’m pretty sure that to this day, absolutely no one has a complete Commodore 64 collection.
A complete Commodore 64 computer
Commodore also made a portable version of the C64 called the SX-64 or “The Executive” in 1984. I wanna own it and it looks cool and it’s better than having all the gubbins on the table.
Also because of aesthetics.
The Commodore SX-64
The video game crash of 1983 unfortunately murdered the gaming industry as a whole until the NES and Sega Master System drank some Quick Revive to bring it back to life quickly in 1985, but in that two year window, PC gaming erupted into the megalodon it became today as well as the PC market exploding with computers like the C64 and the all too familiar original Macintosh. That does explain the large amount of games Commodore could make, but not only that, big game companies like Activision and EA had a bigger boost into the giants they are now, because of the video game crash, and lack of trust into the console market. PC gaming pretty much went on a massive rise even after the crash ended, with the eventual bringing of actual dedicated gaming PCs being made in the 90s. The earliest record of it was in 1993 by company Falcon Northwest with their computer, the Falcon MACH series.
Now if I’m gonna be honest, gaming PCs are pretty vague for me around the 90s as most people used pretty standard computers that weren’t graphic intensive. But then again, what graphic intensive games in the 90s? Really, the 90s was a bit of a plateau or a decline in PC gaming. But hey, it was the birth of shareware which was how Doom and Wolfenstein got to where it is now. Let’s skip to the 2000s.
The 2000s pretty much saw the rise of gaming again as well as the explosion of the internet, Windows 95 being a nostalgic trip to make for the Vaporwave conosur like yours truly, Windows XP being everyone’s childhood, Windows Vista being a nightmare I’ve never experienced before and dedicated PCs but around this time, it was pretty expensive to have a rig that could handle the ever increasing strength and graphic intensive games that were being made and for a lack of a better term. There was no such thing as a budget gaming PC in the 2000s, as most were high up in the low to high thousands, so if you wanted to make a PC build, you’d have to pay a pretty penny for one. In a way it’s a good thing that these dedicated PC builds were as expensive as they are, because the 2010s literally became the birth of gaming PCs where the capabilities to have mastodonian amounts of power was possible and a whole lot more affordable.
Nowadays, Gaming PCs can be made with just 500-600 dollars, with them going as high as the thousands, so it’s no surprise as to why almost everyone (excluding myself) owns a Gaming PC, and the Gaming PC Master Race is something that sure as hell isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The 2010s pretty much became the Renaissance of PC Gaming in a nutshell with millions of people using Steam and doing a lot of their things off of computers, where you can have a strong PC, for under 1000 or even 500 dollars. It truly redefined PC gaming as a whole and morphed it into what it currently is today, where everything is interchangeable and you can experiment and tinker with the equipment compared to the years prior.
And yes, I don’t own a PC. Don’t worry, I will be getting one soon, I’ve been making ends meet for several months. I think at this rate we’ll be owning supercomputers by the time the 2020 decade is over… well I think.
But I know that we all have that burning question in our mind that no one has yet to ask, or someone has asked, but never got an answer to it. How high and strong can PCs go before they eventually become the end of consoles?
To Be Continued…
[Image description: Extremely blocky, white font that reads “CATAILS” in all capitals as one word. Two small boxes sit on the ends. An outlined cat stretches from the very edge of the A to the L.]
Cattails is a game that originally came out in 2017 by a small husband-and-wife duo, Beka and Tyler Thompson.
It’s a relatively simple game wherein you play a pet cat that was summarily abandoned by your owner’s mother because she couldn’t stand you or didn’t want you anymore.
[Image description: Two images in sepia tones.
First image: The shadow of an adult looms over a very young girl. The shadow has anime anger lines extended out from the head. The little girl looks scared and the cat to the left of the frame also does.
Second image: A cat is in the lower one-third of the left side of the screen while a car drives away on a road. The scene takes place in a forest.]
You end up joining one of three colonies: Mountain Domain, Forest Colony, or Mystic Colony. Your choice doesn’t have much bearing on anything other than offer you different NPCs to interact with.
There is further plot beyond the initial setup, but it’s relatively minimal. It’s essentially a bunch of fetchquests to restore the Forest Guardian so you can create your own custom colony. You can choose to do it or not; it’s up to you.
The game has a number of activities from hunting to battles to mining, all of which are encouraged. The only one that’s needed is hunting as you have a hunger meter. There are numerous difficulties in the game from Very Easy to Very Hard which you can change at will in the options menu.
[Image description: A very retro-looking video game pixel style. A wintry pallet of dark grey covers it. The center of the screen holds a basic menu with Controls. Audio, Mode – V. EASY, Credits, and Exit to Menu listed. ‘Exit to Menu is selected with text that says: “Exit to Menu: Close the game and exit to the main menu.”]
I personally tend to play on Very Easy mode because it’s very manageable and relaxed. Your hunger meter depletes in every setting, but in Very Hard mode, it drains like every second or so. I personally would get far too stressed out to play on anything too high if just because of the hunger meter. According to the Cattails Wiki, difficulty also effects rival colony influence over territory as well as item prices. Some people will like this challenge, but I personally just want to chill out and wander around the huge forest as a cat.
That also does bring up a good point that can be chosen to be explored or not: colony influence. Basically the three (or four, should you pursue the custom colony plotline) colonies each have territory and more can be won through battles or not. A map can end up looking like this:
[Image description: In the center of the screen is a grid-based map, ten by ten. The heading reads “World Map and Politics.” The bottom right-hand corner of the map reads “My Reputation: Forest: 97%, Mountain: 97%, Mystic 100%.” Red takes up roughly the third around the bottom right-hand corner, green takes up approximately a third of the the left, and blue takes up approximately the top third.]
This is a feature that the player can choose to invest time into or not. I’ve noticed that, if I don’t really pay attention to battles, then things remain pretty stagnant. But as you win more and more, your colony expands and so do the others. You can choose to win as much territory for you colony as you want. (I’m personally aiming for complete domination for Mystic Colony (red) on this particular file. ;P )
This might seem rather complicated, but it’s really not. If you notice, there are two exclamation marks on the map which are your randomly generated battles for the day. Swoop in, do those, and you raise your colony’s influence in that area. You can see influence in the small gauge at the top of each square. You can also use lavender to increase it in small increments too.
And that’s literally it for how growing territory works.
You’ll also notice the “My Reputation” bit which is simple. Basically it’s just how friendly the colonies are to you. Your home colony will always remain at 100% as far as I’m aware. You need to give the others gifts in order to get a good reputation with them. If you don’t care about the plot, it’s really not necessary, but if you’re going after that custom colony, then it is. You can give 3-4 gifts to each colony each day. Obviously, certain items are much higher value than others, but basically anything works. You will have to keep it up, but at least in Very Easy mode, it goes down at a snail’s pace. It’s probably a lot faster in the higher difficulties.
There are also some RPG elements in the game in the form of Passive and Active Skills.
[Image description: Two images. Both show menus. At the very bottom, both have a light beige box that says XP in red lettering and outlined by a box as well as a very bright blue “364.”
First Image: Top of window reads “Passive Skills.” Four options are presented: Hunting, Fighting, Swimming, Foraging. A blue bubble that says “Active Skills” sits below them. All four are maxed out at ten out of ten.
Second Image: Top of window reads “Active Skills.” The options presented are Sprint 5, Diplomacy 5, Wild Slash, and Summon Allies. The first two are marked as “Equipped.” Below the options, it says Page one of four with “previous” and “next” options below that.]
This is my pretty far account, so I have everything maxed out.
But yeah, basically Passive Skills are your abilities. The more you upgrade them, the better you become at that target skill and they can have some neat perks. For example, with Hunting and Foraging, you’ll get little dots on your minimap that shows you where prey and plants (respectively) are. That’s at Level 10, but even so, it’s great once you get there.
Active Skills are ones you choose to use and are mapped to the right thumb stick. They range from allowing you to sprint to warping to certain areas to various combat-related abilities.
You gain experience by doing things like defeating enemies and catching prey (this does not include catching insects). At least on Very Easy, you get one point per victory or prey capture.
You also apply things as you see fit. If you want to focus on just hunting for a while, you can.
Passive Skills upgrade on an incremental scale. So, like, going from Level 1 to 2 may be 12 EXP but 2 to 3 might be 17.
Active Skills upgrade on a flat scale, being 100 points between the different levels. Each skill can be upgraded five times and each upgrade increases the duration and strength as well as lowers the cooldown period.
Perhaps the most other major thing of note is being able to pick a mate and have kittens.
[Image description: A very cute retro pixel style. Six cats are visible on screen, one at the very top “Nil”, one in the very center “Dove”, one more toward the center left side of the screen “Echosong”, one toward the bottom left “Snowfeather”, one toward the center right “Snowfeather”, and one even further to the right “Cinderheart”. All are varying shades of grey and some have white splotches.]
You have to court your mate by giving them presents and then giving them the Shiny Trinket (a ring) which allows you to get married. Kittens are determined by how many gifts you’ve given your mate and how desirable they are. I got four beautiful babies, so that means my mate was pretty happy with me. When your mate asks if you want to have them can take a while and they can take even longer to arrive. It’s all pretty random which is frustrating, but it’s exciting when it does happen.
Admittedly, the NPCs in this game…aren’t very deep. This is a life sim and those generally aren’t known for the deepest of NPCs. Their personalities are very basic and are really just to facilitate general interactions.
Obviously, there are more things to the game, but I’ve covered a fair few of the major things.
And that does bring me to perhaps the biggest con, but it’s one I’ve noticed with life sims in general: it gets repetitive and fast. You basically just hunt, wander around, do a couple of battles, and go on fetchquests. It’s very relaxing for a while, but it can eventually just begin to wear you down and make you lose interest.
However, like I said, this seems to be something that’s common to a lot of games like this. Be it Stardew Valley and even Animal Crossing, doing the same tasks gets boring.
That doesn’t mean I don’t love to revisit these games, though. I’ll just play them obsessively for a while, burn out, then come back and enjoy them again.
All in all, this is a sweet little indie game that’s a very fun time, available and PC and Switch. If you’ve ever wanted to live out the fantasy of the Warrior cats books, this is the best chance you’ll get!
Cattails Game | Become a Cat. (n.d.). Cattailsgame.Com. http://cattailsgame.com
Difficulty. (n.d.). Cattails Game Wiki. https://cattails-game.fandom.com/wiki/Difficulty
Hey geeks and goobers! We have great news. All Ages of Geek was listed as Feedspot’s Top 20 Indie Game Development websites. At All Ages of Geek, we are all about supporting, promoting and working with indie game developers to assist them with the promotion of their indie video games.
We want to give back to the indie game dev community because the stories in these games are truly remarkable or just don’t see enough of love compared to their triple-A competition. We’re working hard to develop new ways to allow these creators to shine and have their games be reached by all-new audiences all over the world.
Here’s our interview with Guinea Pig Parkour game developer Jeff Mumm to give an example of our work with indie developers.
If you would like to be featured on The Geekoning Podcast to talk all about your work with indie video games please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about your work as an indie game developer.