The future of this site


All right, so it has come down to this. I love all of the experiences I have had in the XBLIG scene over the last few months, but I am going on haitus for at least the semester for reviewing games. Not only do I have to study (maybe), I also want to focus on developing my own games. It has been awesome, but I have things in my life that have shot to the forefront that I would prefer to focus on as well. Thanks for all the fun. If you for some reason don’t know about other XBLIG sites visit:

indiegamerchick.com
gearfish.com
armlessoctpus.com
twofedoras.com
vvgtv.com

Also, remove all of your credit card information from your XBL account ASAP. The hacking have started to escalate and I refuse to believe it is phising on all accounts. So for your own safety, remove credit card details and try to set up as many precautions as possible.

On a more personal note, I just returned from a college Christian conference (Passion 2012). It was an amazing experience an has changed my outlook on a lot of things. Just having the striking comparison’s between how Christians in America act and how the Bible says we should act is eye opening. The only reason I go to the church I go to is because the pastor is incredible and screams for revival every week, but unfortunately gets next to no response from the congregation. If you do consider yourself a Christian,  I would highly suggest reading Esphesians in depth to try to fully understand what your actions as a Christian should look like.

On that note, I will be posting regularly is this blog: http://christianlifeincollege.blogspot.com/ hopefully

Goodbye everyone, hopefully you will be able to play some of my games in the near/distant/somewhere in between future. It has been real. God bless

Long time no post


Hello. If you happen to be one of the 20 people max who will read this, congrats. You have nothing else to do with you day apparently. You might want to leave now before you lose all dignit…. too late. Anyway I have not posted in forever because of school and the work that comes with it, the commute that comes with it, and other assorted things. I have been playing some video games, but thank goodness this past while of indie games has been kind of a flop. There have been games like Dead Pixels, Dark Delve, etc., but not as many good games as the summer had. Oh yeah, other video games have been coming out too. So far we have had Batman: Arkham City (which is by far the best game I have played this year) and Battlefield 3 released in the last few weeks. Maybe indie developers realize that the last month and the next few months are terrible times to release games.

In PC Indie game news, its Humble Bundle time again! This time I was especially intrigued because as of right now the bundle includes the amazing XBLIG Blocks that Matter, the second game from the creators of Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac, and some other game the bundle was built for. Honestly I just bought it for Blocks that Matter and The Binding of Isaac. I would highly suggest checking it out. Blocks that Matter seems to support an xbox 360 controller, so that is nice. The cool thing about the humble bundles is you pay what you want, which is usually a lot lower than normal price. I would pay at least 5 dollars so you don’t come off as a jerk. You have to pay about 5 right now to get more than Voxatron anyway. Pick it up now!

That being said, November is looking somewhat promising for indie games. I am looking forward to 3 indie games in particular:

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Escape Goat      Escape Goat (released for 240 msp) from the creator of Soulcaster I and II

Looks to be a great puzzle game. Is a great puzzle game. Whether or not there is enough content to justify the 240 msp price tag when the amount of content in the game is less than 50 MB remains to be seen.

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DLC Quest   DLC Quest (released for 80 msp) from the creator of Lair of the Evildoer

— Looks to be a fun platformer/RPG with lots of satire. And Horse Armor!! Review coming soon. Buy it.

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Volchaos (will release next week) from the creator of HSOoC and Nasty

— Interesting speed platformer with things like coins to collect, extreme levels, etc.

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I am looking forward to all of these games because 1) they are from competent developers who have made great games 2) they all seem to have something original and unique 3) They look awesome to play.

Now onto the topic of AAA games. Arkham City is awesome, Skyrim is almost here (at that point you won’t see me for awhile), and Battlefield and Modern Warfare fanboys are still having a crying contest (while the world continues not to care). Halo CE AE is coming out soon. I will not be getting it yet, maybe once I move into the dorm it would be nice to have. The holiday season is quickly upon us, so I expect a huge lull in indie games. Sure we are going to see Volchaos release, but after 11/8 your ability to sell games starts to get lower and lower by the day. Hopefully I am wrong and we see an awesome indie game that sells well, but that is doubtful. I am hoping good games don’t get buried by the holiday season AAA game rush.

I have also been working on my own game ideas. I think of myself as not completely stupid because the first idea I am fleshing out is just taking breakout and messing around with it and making it fun. Notice how I said “idea”. Well that is because with my workload in the honors college I have not been able to do any extra programming at all. But, in the middle of boring classes, I have been able to fill up 30 pages or so in a game design notebook of assorted ideas. I am thinking about learning C++ whenever I have the time, because Java just won’t cut it. Hopefully I can get some more time over winter break and next semester, but I have ideas! I promise.

That is all.

Ninja War and xblaratings.com


Overview

As I am sure some of you are keenly aware, an indie game called Ninja War STOLEN SCROLLS released over the weekend. The game’s release has spawned some internet bashing of Ninja War because it is a “blatant attempt” to copy a particular game on XBLA where you engage in the act of Crashing Castles. I personally am in the “What is all the complaining about” camp. There is a difference between blatant copying and imitation. In particular, the argument is going on over at xblaratings is the center of this issue right now. xblaratings.com a site where anyone can post a review of a game and give as little or as much explanation as they want. I think xblaratings would work a lot better if people weren’t so attached to their favorite games and would actively write reviews with reasoning behind their score. People do not seem to realize that just because they disliked a game demo, they should not give a game a 1 and just say “It suxs”. xblaratings is a great site that I continue to use because it has a very cool idea that I would love to see furthered, but it is way underused. This is kind of a call out to reviewers and gamers alike, support xblaratings. Simple as that, and I will explain how below. Hopefully you enjoy this piece as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

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lets do this!

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Ninja War and The Great Internet Bashing of… Today

I will cover a lot of the mechanics of the game in my review that I will post later. Basically this game is low-budget Castle Crashers. I am able to admit that because it is painfully obvious. From the art style to the map and from the opening cutscene to the backdrops, the game shows Castle Crashers some love. Technically this is not such a bad thing because the game tries to do its own thing, but it could have taken a bit more from Castle Crashers. A few complaints I have about the game are its lackluster control scheme and failure to take advantage of some things. There is no customization whatsoever of your character. No weapons to buy, gold to collect, stats that you can actively raise, etc. It is Castle Crashers combat with a heavy focus on magic. The game is firmly rooted in the mentality that magic is what you want to use. I did enjoy using it, but more combos would also be better. There was the really cool addition of showing the last enemy you attacked health bar. I really hate complaining about the game when I had a ton of fun with it, but it saddens me that this game had so much room for improvement.

Ninja War may be heavily influenced by Castle Crashers, but to compare them to each other is kind of unfair. First of all Castle Crashers cost 15 times are much as Ninja Scrolls and was made by a bigger developer. It is also one the most downloaded and top rated games on XBLA. Ninja War is a $1 indie game people, don’t expect Castle Crashers 2.  To summarize, Ninja War could have been an amazing game instead of a good game, but to call it out for not being Castle Crashers is just insulting to the developers of both games.

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Art Style

     

These settings are very similar….

     

as are these…..

That is enough of that. Ninja War is a love song to Castle…

     

I said that is enough!!! Jeez. Any way it would be dumb of me to say Ninja War is completely original in every aspect, but it does not copy Castle Crashers, it just imitates it in a handful of categories. Castle Crashers was a one of a kind experience, especially with friends, and I am surprised this is the first attempt to imitate it. Ninja War does a few things well with most of the game being average, but Castle Crashers fans will feel right at home.

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xblaratings.com and how to support them

As you can see by the discussion linked above, people are giving Ninja War mixed reviews with very little reasoning behind any of the reviews. Games usually do not get 4 reviews this quickly on the site, so it piqued my interest when it happened. I plan to add my review to the site later on tonight to make the number of reviews 5. The most recent review I will kind of ignore because it is not uncommon for people to give a game a 1 because they find a glitch and are mad. I will try not insult them, but we have all encountered and surpassed glitches before, giving a game a 1 is not the appropriate way to handle this. So if you decide to support xblaratings like I do, don’t do that.

The main reason xblaratings rating system is so volatile is because of the lack of reviews. When a game is lucky to get 1 review over its lifetime, the rating system is not exactly balanced. My challenge to you, as a game reviewer or as an indie game fan, is that once you play an indie game, rate it on xblaratings. It is not that hard, you do not even have to make an account on the site. The one thing I will challenge you to do is to explain your reasoning a bit. If you happen to have your own review site, post a mini review on xblaratings and then have the url of your site with the full review listed in the xblaratings review. This does two things: 1) More ratings means a little more balanced scoring system, so games will be “properly” rated. 2) Gets more views for your site.

—psssttt. do it—

I am going to make a habit of putting a mini review up on xblaratings for every review I put up on my site. You do not need to copy and paste the whole thing, just a paragraph of summary and a link to the full review on your site will do. To those of you who do not like to give number scores this is a bit of a pickle. You have to rate a game in order to post your review. In this situation you can just give the game around the average score and list in your review that the score doesn’t mean anything.

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Thanks for reading, feel free to comment below.

Stuffs you should play


Yeah I don’t post much, but here are some games that I believe you should play, because they are awesome.

Dark Delve (80 msp) — Old-School Time!!! seriously this game’s concept is older than me, but is very well done. You make a party of up to 4 characters from 3 separate classes. Those classes have 3 separate skill trees. In essence there is plenty of character customization. You go and explore local ruins for clues to continue your quest… and that is as far as I got. Being the efficiencyist that I am, I decided my character load out was sub par, so I started over. Crisp graphics, nice ambiance, and readable text. Readable text is a rarity on XBLIG. I have easily put 4 hours in so far, and the game totes a 7 hour story, but I have heard that is a gross under estimate if you explore and take you time.

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Wizorb (240 msp) — Nice Arkanoid clone with some mild RPG elements. By mild I mean largely unnoticed, but highly useful to curb your frustration.

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Dead Pixels (80 msp) — If you haven’t played this yet, what is wrong with you!! Go play it now. It is a brilliant mix of Side Scrolling Action and RPG elements. With Zombies.

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9-25 Update –The Value of the Dollar in Video Games


I know I do not post much, but I will try to make this one worth your while. This week I have really been pondering the worth of the dollar in video games now. I can go to the store and pick up Fallout: New Vegas for 20 bucks. I have already put about 55 hours into and have just started my second playthrough. This game is amazing and so far, and with an original price of 40 bucks when I got it that averages out to a little less than a dollar per hour of play. On the other hand I can go to the indie game marketplace and download games like Blocks That Matter (14 hours — 3 dollars),  Avatar Golf (19 hours — 5 dollars), and BloodyCheckers (60 hours — 1 dollar). These might be extreme examples, but it has got me thinking about what I really pay for with AAA titles.

This is not to bash AAA titles, because there are plenty of worthwhile $60 games out there. My only point is when comparing money to amount of enjoyable gameplay indie games seem to have the upper hand. Most one dollar indie games will kill at least an hour while only a handful of $60 games will break 60 hours. I also understand that AAA titles have amazing graphics, storylines, and create more lifelike experiences. Does this mean that an hour playing a AAA title is worth more than playing an Indie Game ? Maybe, it is up to personal preference and really depends on the game.

In the end it all comes down to the game. I have had the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim paid off for almost a year now, and I have no doubt it will be worth the $60 admission for me. Others might want to invest their money in Modern Warfare 3 or Batman: Arkham City. I have no doubt those will be good games for their targeted demographics.

The whole point of me writing this is not to tell people to buy indie games instead of the next AAA title, but if you are like me and have 20 dollars to burn at a game store like I do, maybe consider picking up some Microsoft points instead of a $20 game that you might play for 5-10 hours max.

What I am playing:

Retail:

— Fallout: New Vegas

Indie:

Blocks That Matter
— Apex
— Dead Pixels
— OSR: Unhinged
— Doom and Destiny

What I am looking forward to:

— The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (11/11/11)
— Wizorb (9/29/11)
— Portal 2 DLC (unknown)

FortressCraft vs. Total Miner: The Forge


FortressCraft Chapter 1    vs.   Total Miner: Forge

Well recently I have tried both FortressCraft and Total Miner: The Forge. I kinda liked both of them, but they are both different, so I have decided to have a contest. Basically in the next week or so I will post my “First Impressions” and “Final Verdict”. This is just me comparing them for fun and is by no means the definitive comparison of the games. No I will not wait until the next Total Miner Update because I don’t have the time to wait. Maybe when the update comes out I will re-compare the games a little bit (if need be). It should be fun because I generally like building things. So far I like FortressCraft a little better because I can actually read the text on the menu for the boxes I choose, but I have only player a little while of each.  Will update  later this week.

Check out my side Blog


hey this site I have going now is great, but I am not sure how much longer I can support it all the time. The Summer Uprising was great, but now I want to focus on my own game development. For that I have created a new blog:

http://newdeveloperblog.wordpress.com/

This is where I will document my progress through the beast that is XNA. Being a student as well that is probably all I will have time for, so this site will hopefully still be tended to, but I cannot guarantee it.

Thanks for the 1,500 hits so far, hopefully I will be able to put up a review every now and then