Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Gamespotting 050 - Recession gaming and Bargain Hunting

Lets face it, gaming is an expensive hobby. During the glory days of student loans and university living, every time a new game came out. I would go to the Manchester Arndale and hot-foot it to GAME with my reward card in hand and cash in the other.

But since leaving education and entering full time employment, Full Price Games and new releases are not finding a way into my monthly budget as much as they used too. Portal 2, Battlefield 3 and the Devil May Cry/Metal Gear Solid HD collections have been pre-ordered and not bought as planned. I feel like I have been left out of the loop for a while Video Game wise, even though I have been reading my preferred Video Game site, Destructoid and listening to podcasts whenever I can (on a side note, I recommend Podtoid, TheGameoverCast and Digital Gonzo to name a few).

Over the last few months though, I have had two saviours which have been satisfying my gaming needs. First is the all-mighty Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) for loads of games, Fez has been finally released for a measly 800 MSP and I was having an awesome time until I encountered a game killing bug which the developers ensured would be fixed in the next patch. Also I have been enjoying the weekly/monthly sales they have been having, the most recent includes the always epic and highly reccomended Beyond Good and Evil HD for a measly 400 points. (Footnote: Download this game, especially for this price. Don't buy the DLC for the crap game your currently playing and download this epic classic.)

But an unexpected place where I have been finding some great games for little cash is the second hand media stores like CEX and Cash Generator. I always pop into these stores because in the case of Cash Generator; you can always find a DVD you would like to watch for £1 and in the case of CEX, can find some classic and rare games without the need of going on Ebay. But recently, I have found some epic bargains in both the Stockport and Manchester branchs of Cash Generator.

Bargain Number 1: Batman: Arkham Asylum (X360) Price - £3.49

I was blown away when I saw this game for this price, immaculate box and the disk does not have a scratch on it. I originally played the first Batman game when it came out, but only put about an hour into it. I got stuck trying to sneak past Harley Quinn when she is holding Commissioner Gordon hostage. That and a combination of not finding a specific Ridder Trophy which put me off. How wrong I was, I have not put this game down since I have bought it and loving every second. Also was served by a Girl called Penny Lane in the store so this made the purchase more awesome.

Bargain Number 2 : Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (X360) Price - £1.49

This is an unbelievable purchase from the same branch of Cash Generator, in all fairness though. I do not like the Call of Duty games, I find them highly overrated and even though they have a high level of polish and production which can be seen. This type of game does not appeal to me. Also my only time playing Call of Duty online was an onslaught of abuse and uses of the word 'noob'so this put me off. I have not yet played the game but for this price, its on the "to-play" pile at the moment. It was this price though because the disk did have a lot of laser burn and scratches on it, but a £1 ride on a disk re-surfacer at my local branch of Grainger Games has sorted this out fine.

Bargain Number 3 : Fallout 3 - Game of the Year Edition (X360) Price - £7.49

This was a bargain and a half, the full Fallout 3 which must be a 40 hour game easy, with all the expansion packs included make this a bargain for the price. Especially as each individual expansion pack for this game are priced at 800 MSP a pop.

So for £12.50, I have acquired three awesome games, each providing at a minimum 20 hours of gameplay and all for a third of the price of a full retail game. In conclusion, if you find yourself with nothing to play and only a 10 pound note in your wallet, check where your local branches of Cash Generator and CEX are because you can grab yourselves some great deals and even better deals of you like a bit of retro gaming.

Get out their and find yourselves a bargain, you never know what your going to find on them shelves.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Gamespotting 049 - Off The Shelf and Gamespotting 2.0

30 SYSTEM REBOOT IN 3....2....1...


Hello their, if your still their that is.....

Welcome to the new and improved Gamespotting Blog brought to you by me Luke Bale, a graduate of the University of Salford with a 2:1 degree in Computer and Video Game Design. I have not done this for a while so please accept my apologies as since leaving uni, life has not allowed me to sit down at a computer and write my thoughts of the day about video games and the various other things that are on my mind.

I have felt that since leaving uni, I have lost some creativity and my ability to write many blog posts within a week, not only towards my coursework but in general also. I did have a position at a blog called Eternal Gamerz in 2010 but sadly that was short-lived but allowed me to branch out into more detailed and self-opinionated work which was awesome. Which has brought me back to my original blog, Gamespotting. I need to get myself posting more stuff and now that I have a week off work, I thought it would bring a perfect oppertunity to blow the dust and cobwebs off the blog (which are of my own creation) and get my opinions out their once again.

So the plan from hence forth will be that I am going to post more than twice a week about video games, I already have some plans for posts lined up one of which will be composed this afternoon over a cup of tea and half pack of Jaffa Cakes so I hope you enjoy the plans I have lined up for the blog and hope you enjoy reading my posts.

See you all on the other side

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Gamespotting 048 - Hello there and how have you been

Well; I know that in the last post on my blog that I said that I would keep stuff more regular on the blog; but after a change of job and sorting out a Maths Retake course; it has kind of gone on the back burner for a while, but I have been ready to talk about what I love once again and to make sure I cover everything; I have broken everything down and make sure I get everything off my chest.

Games I have Been Playing

Well; the annual summer Holiday in the games market has once again taken place which leaves me with nothing new to play; but does allow me to work through the list of games I have wanted to play for a long time. I don't know where to start as it is kinda big list.

The games which have taken most of my time up at the moment are; Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction which I have wanted to play for a long time managed to pick up for £4 off Ebay a few weeks ago which has been a great game so far and is full of laughs. In my opinion; it is an unappreciated title in the PS3 Library and also one of the most memorable games I have ever played which is Final Fantasy 6. It would take up about an entire post on my views on the game (Which will come very soon SPOLER)but in my opinion; it can be classed up there and even maybe overtake the title of Best Final Fantasy Game created and that is a very huge task in my opinion.

Also; in-between all this, I have managed to drag out my Dreamcast for its annual playing putting classics such as Jet Set Radio and Shenmue back into its drive. So even though I have taken a rest from the blog; Gaming has remained a big part of my daily life which is always a good thing.

One game which has dissapointed me since the last post was (I can't believe that I am going to say this) but; No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. I wanted to love this game as I have praised the original so much to almost Preacher status, but it was such a let-down. Don't get me wrong; it was a ride and a half, but everything I loved from the first game has been deleted and replaced with gameplay mechanics which don't work. The boss fights have completely changed and gone have the cool Boss Introductions which would build up the oncoming battle with this uber killing machines. But instead; it just throws you into the battle and tells you who you defeated after you have beaten them which just ruins it. It could have been so much more; but instead I find myself playing the original even more than before.

Films/ TV

A lot of DVDs and TV Shows have managed to come into my DVD collection over the last few weeks of all Genres and Classifications. I have remained faithful to my Twin Peaks Box-sets which I have watched a good few times as well as returning to an old friend which I have not seen in a good while. The genre in question is Anime and yes; I have gone on a bit of a buying spree with the Boxsets as of late. On my hitlist has been Martian Successor Nadesico; Mahoromatic and a few others just to name a few and I have forgot how good some anime can be.

It has been good to get back on my Blog and I know there will be a bit of deja Vu going on but I want to keep this up. I feel that since I have left uni and started to focus on my teaching career; I feel I am loosing touch with the acedemic side of the games industry which I do love to observe and comment; so be ready for some major updates and rants on major stuff (Gaming and Beyond)

Monday, 7 June 2010

Gamespotting 047 - I'm Back and raring to Go

Hello there; how are you. Oh my God, I have not seen you all in ages. Thats right, I am back on my Blog and raring to discuss some great stuff which has happened since the last update. I do apologise for the lack of content on my blog for quite some time, I have been very busy finishing my Degree course which is now completed and I am just starting to enjoy the time off. (It has been very weird to go from Always on the Go and Busy with something to Nothing within a Two Day period but I am slowly getting back into the Groove of it all now).

I have finished the biggest bane of my life which was RIFT after a very bumpy last week of development and now focusing on trying to start my teacher Training which might even mean going back to college for a year which will be a very weird experience after leaving already, but it will be fun. I have also had a few Interviews for some teaching assistant positions within a few schools in the local area which were unsuccessful, but it is all experience at the end of the day for when I do actually get one.

I also got my Dissertation back with the mark of B+ which for something which took me a year of playing Sonic Games (It was very Hard Work and I had to replay them several times to absorb all of the Information from them)and read some very detailed pieces of Text but it was all worth it in the end.

Finally, after all this work. I did something which I have not done for a while which was walk into the closest HMV and had a look round. So much stuff has been released while I have been trapped in all this work such as Twin Peaks - Season Two (Only Two and a Half Years Late but better than never I suppose), No More Heroes 2 - Desperate Struggle which I plan to write an artical about soon, Ponyo (The next Ghibli Film which looks amazing) and a few other bits and bobs which found their way into my shopping basket. So these will take up my time for the moment and keep my occupied while I start to relax and unwind for a few weeks.

I am planning to keep my Blog entrys regular over the next few months/years so that I don't leave a rather huge gap like I have done previously but I want to maintain this blog for the future Generations to come back too and see what the Hell I have been rambling about for all these years. So sit back and enjoy the up-coming ride as Gamespotting is back in Business.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Gamespotting 046 - An Eternal Update

The Easter Holidays are here finally and I can (for a few days at least) can have a break from everything and start to focus on the finishing line. I am focusing on finishing off my final project; concepting my two new projects for my portfolio (one being Eternal and A Second to be confirmed) and finally play some games which over the last few weeks is only becoming a luxury.

I have been purchasing games for the last few weeks but only managed to get a few of them; I managed to play a bit of the excellent Flower; Sun and Rain from the ever excellent Suda 51; The Orange Box to finally play Half Life 2 and its episodes and also Pokemon Soul Silver which comes out this Friday and everybody at uni is training up for over the Easter Break for a major on scale battle when we return.

I also have some books to read; but this cannot get in the way of the work which I must finis for when we go back; so if I get to play and read these items will be another story. So I will keep you updated when I have concepted Eternal some more (of which at the moment is in Alpha development) and hopefully it will go well.

If you would like to see some more posts of my gaming experiencing; I am writing for at the moment and am uploading my articles daily so please visit the site and see what you think

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Gamespotting 045 - Its Eternal what we go through

Today has been a very important day within my Game Creation career as I have had an idea for a game. I know it is a bit of a shock for a games designer to create a game but it is like nothing I have ever designed before.

The inspiration for my Idea has come from two places which I have listened to today; First is the Destructoid Podcast (This Weeks Episode) when they were talking about the difficulty of various Boss Characters in games they have played before and how they defeated them; all having different styles and secondly Brenda Brathwaite's lectures about her collection of games known as "The Mechanic is the Message" and how they all affect how the player thinks about some truly horrible Story Elements such as a Train Driver taking Jews to Auschwitz in Train.

All these elements has me thinking; does the type of Game Player affect how the player would play not only the games mentioned in these examples; but all in games in general and with this has come the Birth of Eternal.

At the moment; Eternal is an additional piece to go into my Portfolio; but it is also an experiment to see me try and answer this question of Player Interaction with the product. it might have been done before; but this will be my attempt at it and hopefully it will pay off and be a nice addition to my Portfolio.

I will add more content to the blog when I have fully concepted the Idea but I want it to be a tribute to the ideals of Serious Games and what they are trying to achieve within the Industry.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Gamespotting 044 - I don't know about other people; but I like playing in the Heavy Rain

Like many gamers over the last few weeks; I have bought, played and finished in Heavy Rain and I must say I have enjoyed every second of the game from its detailed storyline; likeable characters and its everything has a consequence style of Storytelling has all combined to make a truly enjoyable gameplay experience. But after I have finished the game; I looked at the reviews from my favourite game sites and much like Heavy Rain; they all had different experiences with the title and liked it some places while hating it in others.

Destructoid's editors loved the game but questioned it's storyline; especially the Twist in the ending scenes of the game; while others loved its simplistic gameplay which did not interrupt the game's main focus of the storyline.

But personally; I found very little faults with the game and it immersed me deeply within its storyline which has not happened to me personally as a gamer since I first played Code Veronica on my beloved Dreamcast. Of Course there are a few problems with the game such as the sometimes jerky controls and some texture clashing with the camera; but at the end of the day I loved this game and what is trying to achieve within the Industry.

No other game for a long time has me truly worried about what will happen next within the game; no other game has had me clutching my SIXAXIS to try and complete the relevant cut scene in the right times; but also no other game has had me going to the top of my monitor and listening carefully for an audio clue to where to go next within the game's storyline and for that; I thank it for providing me with some great gaming time.

But it has provided me with a problem; now that I have played Heavy Rain, I am very intrigued to go back to Quantic Dream's previous title Fahrenheit and see if the gameplay from Heavy Rain stemmed from their previous work and I can go for the ride all over again. I hope it is not raining anywhey.