Monthly Archives: January 2015

#489 Another PAX East 2015 Post

We are now little more than a month away from Boston hosting the next Penny Arcade convention. Soon Boston will be runneth over from nerds and geeks from all walks of life  Card game geeks, board games, to videogames, lets players and streamers to cosplayers and all around general nerds will converge  for a 3 day extravaganza.

Having Boston host PAX East  is  a more prestigious honor than housing the Olympics. ...In my humble opinion

Having Boston host PAX East is a more prestigious honor than housing the Olympics. …In my humble opinion

Along with them, major AAA and indie development teams from around the world will converge to onto Boston to show off their newest and latest games on the expo floor and expo theater halls will be full of panels of discussion ranging from gameplay philosophy to entertainment and journalism.

but as I said before, “the Convention is only as good as the people there, and while the panels and flashy booths on the Expo floor are a major crowd pleasers, the best part is the people you meet and the activities you do after the expo hall shuts down.

Lately I have been asking the people who tune into my stream this question for a while and I traditionally dedicate a few blog posts to reach out to everyone on WordPress and beyond to ask the simple question, “Who’s going to PAX East this year?”

If you are reading this and are planning on going for either one or all three days, leave a comment down below with what you are most excited to see at PAX this year. And lets see if we can meet up on the expo hall, exchange 3DS streetpasses or play a few rounds at the arcades booths that they always have set up over there.


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#488 Heroes of the Storm First Impressions

Over the weekend, due to a combination of some free time, watching various PAX South Streams, and remembering that I actually had the game in my inventory, I booted up Blizzard’s second Free to Play game, the A.R.T.S/MOBA game Heroes of the Storm for the first time to play a few rounds.

I played between the two free ranged and support heroes of that week, Malfurion and Falstad, for a few matches in the Raven and Haunted mines map. I did have a fun time playing the game, winning my fair share of matches and even scoring a few killstreaks here or there, I contribute that to my months of Twitch training.

 Its weird starting fresh in new MOBA/ARTS game, relaying on the free champs that week instead of the handful of champs you know so well.

Its weird starting fresh in new MOBA/ARTS game, relaying on the free champs that week instead of the handful of champs you know so well.

My first impressions is that it is a fun game with more of a focus on map objectives than player kills, and the objectives are fun to partake in. from collecting skulls to power up your bulldozer of a Grave Golem as it marches from one side of the map to the other to claiming capture points to ensure that your team gets the highly prized buff or inflicting a powerful curse or attack on the enemy’s defenses.

I have only played for a handful of matches, so I do not know how I feel about Heroes of the Storm choosing a heavy focus on Talents and upgrading and side-grading the hero’s abilities over the item approach for character improvement. I definitely know that I am not a fan of Blizzard’s gameplay choice to let players pick their champions first and then enter the queue.

I lost quite a few solo-queue matches because our team was comprised of two supports and no damage and that was because there was no time to communicate to the other players and and change our team competition before rolling out.

I do not know how those two complaints will might work with the competitive scene of the game when it comes to the staple pick/ban phase and counting other champion’s play style we see in other games, that is if there is a community interest to move towards a competitive or metagame route.

of course it will, we have competitive Hearthstone tournaments

of course it will, we have competitive Hearthstone tournaments why wouldn’t we have a competitive HoTs scene

Those two complaints are not enough to deter me from the game all together, and I will still plan to play it but recreationally, I know that if I play Heroes of the Storm any more than casually I end up losing money, fast.

I know that if I lose money it will not be because of HoTs’s microtransactions or colorful unicorn mounts but by resubbing to World of Warcraft. It was the same problem I had with Hearthstone. While Heroes of the Storm uses assets from their Diablo and Starcraft games the game is heavily designed with the World of Warcraft Universe in mind, taking a bit of priority over the other Blizzard intellectual properties, with maps, building designs, heroes, mounts, sound effects, and the inclusion of Hearthstones as the item used for recalling back to base.

Even now, after playing a few games, I can feel the itch, the Warcraft itch to resubscribe to reenter the world of Azeroth to revisit those lands and important characters. The itch is especially bad with that new expansion that involves New Outland and time travel. I left World of Warcraft more than a year ago and I know that if I go back I will be lost forever giving $15 a month to Blizzard for the access to a game that I will hardly play.

I wish I could go back to World of Warcraft again, but I just do not have the time, thanks to my current schedule to to allow the time investment for the hours of preparing and committing to a guild that raids end game content continuously and progressively as I would have want.

The kicker is if Blizzard added a special champion costume exclusive to the World of Warcraft subscribers

The kicker is if Blizzard added a special champion costume exclusive to the World of Warcraft subscribers

Another reason that HoTs will not be played anymore than casually is because I already have a main A.R.T.S/MOBA game that I play,on a scheduled basis. A.R.T.S are like MMOs, you can only really choose one to sink enough time into to get the best benefits and I already have one and it’s not this one.


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#487 Diving into Bravely Default

As a follow up to last week’s story finally opening my copy of Bravery Default, I decided to spend a few hours this past weekend in to dig into a proper Square Enix game. The first thing that struck me was how much of a JRPG this game is.

I have not played a proper JRPG in years, if you do not include the Pokemon series, my last game in the genre that I played through was Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced way, way, WAY back on the Game Boy Advance.

Looking back I'm kinda glad that FFTA was the last game I played, because it was had the best plot of all and of course it had the greatest villain of all time, Marche.

Looking back I’m kinda glad that FFTA was the last game I played, because it was had the best plot of all and of course it had the greatest villain of all time, Marche.

First that I boot up the game a cut scene started with a little fairy flying around the the screen forcing me to promise that I once I start the game that I play through the entire plot, which is definitely one way to get the players attention.

Then a small farmer’s town, that the protagonist lived all his life gets blown up, we meet up with a woman with a past, and the game has a heavy focus on managing my character’s gears, weapons and move set to maximize the most damage and random encounters.

It is like FF without the name

It is like FF without the name

As I played through the first tutorial I also noticed that the difficulty curve with the monsters you fight against is a tad steep, although I am willing to admit that I might be playing the Jobs system wrong and a looking up a min-max strategy or a few hours of grinding might be in order.

To top it all off the first quest you complete rewards you with a straight up with a Phoenix Down. Bravely Default is so unapologetically Japanese that it caught me off guard. Never the less even with all the cliche plot and micro managing of equipment I feel like I am going to be enjoying this game simply for the touch of nostalgia of the staple of my High school gaming life.


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#486 The Bravely Default Story

Since I first received my 3DS at the start of last year I have been able to collect quite a collection of games in my library, from physical games, digital games, and virtual consoles. From Pokemon to the staple First Party Nintendo titles like Kirby, Zelda & Mario titles, to some of the few third parties games.

Following the universal unspoken rules of being a big brother I have always offer my old 3DS games, that I have played through, to my younger brothers. Out of all of my collection, only one game in my possession it was only one game caught my brother’s eye and shown an avid interest in playing through, Bravely Default.

Bravely Default is a Square Enix game, published on the 3DS back in late 2012 and it received critical acclaim by reviewers and online personalities praising it as a GOOD Final Fantasy game in all but name. Out of all of my game titles in my handheld library,it has been the only game that my brother has been eyeing since day one, for the very same reasons I bought it.

 I have not played through a JRPG in years, and while I am still working my way through the first part of the plot, I can say the game knows on to capture the audience's attention.

I have not played through a JRPG in years, so I was also a bit hesitant getting back into the genre

While I will gladly let my younger brothers borrow any of my 3DS games that I have already played through and the funny thing is that one game has been placed on my perpetual backlog for various reasons that are only slightly outside of my control.

Just before I started thinking of cracking open Bravery Default, other more noticeable Nintendo and PC games grabbed my attention, then the most recent to the Pokemon games came out, then Smash for the Wii U and then the 3DS. Since my free gaming time is a limited in my schedule all those games took precedent over the Square Enix game and pushed back my play sessions with that totally-not Final Fantasy game back a bit each time. The funny thing is months later my younger brother he still asking if I have played the game yet. It has almost become a running gag, every few weeks or so he will go out of his way to ask me if I have even touched it yet and I point to the factory sealed game, give him my answer and he tries again in later.

I was not in any rush though, just between you and me, consider it punishment for my brother for not have good enough taste to enjoy/ lift a finger to play through any of the Mario, Zelda or Kirby that I highly recommended him to play.

I was not in any rush though, just between you and me, consider it punishment for my brother for not have good enough taste to enjoy/ lift a finger to play through any of the Mario, Zelda or Kirby that I highly recommended him to play.

The kicker is it was only this week when I finally removed Bravery Default from it’s seal to get access to the Club Nintendo code, In an attempt to redeem all the codes, earn platinum raking and cash out on free 3DS games once the customer rewards program closes later this year.

It actually worked out perfect for me, because last month finished my fix of Pokemon with Omega Ruby, and I have just recently unlocked all of the characters and stages in Super Smash Brothers for the 3DS in preparation for all the random kerfuffles I will be having with people at PAX East.  Right now and the re-release of the North American Majora’s Mask 3D  I have a sliver of time where I finally, finally sit down and started playing Bravery Default.

Now my brother finally knows how to get me to play through the games he wants to inherit through the big brother code, by trying to shut down another consumer service that I hold near and dear to me.

Don't worry guys, Steam has the family sharing program.

Don’t worry guys, Steam has the family sharing program.


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#485 Goodbye Club Nintendo

Sad news for Nintendo fans, but Tuesday morning Nintendo made a press release announced that their six year old consumer rewards program, Club Nintendo, will be closing down by the end of this year.

The rewards program is based on the nostalgic codes included with physical copies of games which you could exchange for physical or digital goods. Nintendo has started to phase out the service, by preventing anyone for signing up for an account the day the press release went live, the last day of March (31st) will the last time Club Nintendo users to earn and redeem coins, with the closing of the entire service for North American users by June 30th.

The funny thing is, only two weekends ago I went through to my collection and redeemed my Wii U and 3DS codes to finally achieve platinum status.

The funny thing is, only two weekends ago I went through to my collection and redeemed my Wii U and 3DS codes to finally achieve platinum status.

It is a shame to see it close down, but not surprising factoring in the potential cost of production and shipping of some the nicer Nintendo products out there

I only started the the participate in the Nintendo rewards program at the start of 2014 and since that time I was able to redeem several very nice complimentary gifts including; the virtual copies of the first Legend of Zelda, Kid Icarus, Metroid and Super Mario Bros. for the 3DS,  the remake of  Zelda Wind Waker for the Wii U, the physical copy of Super Smash Bros soundtrack and the code for Mewtwo DLC in Super Smash.

It is honestly a toss up between what Club Nintendo Reward I hold dear, a free HD remake of a childhood classic or the two disc soundtrack

It is honestly a toss up between what Club Nintendo Reward I hold dear, a free HD remake of a childhood classic or the two disc soundtrack

Nintendo has stressed that with the closing of the Club Nintendo program they will be rolling out a new, updated, consumer rewards program later in the year once everything from Club Nintendo has successfully be closed down.

Hopefully with the connectivity that Nintendo’s handheld and console devices has with the internet and Nintendo servers, I hope the new rewards system is something more automatic than entering codes online through a website, maybe Nintendo can make it work with a special 3DS/Wii U New rewards system app

I also hope that with the new Nintendo Rewards program is that they keep the free digital games as a reward (which I would not expect to be dropped because digital codes are the one reward that cost nothing to the company) but on top of that I hope they improve the quality of the games in the reward sections.

The free 3DS and Wii U games given away through the Club Nintendo program has always given me the impression that it was A novelty or consolation prize for the the people who could not earn enough for the good physical items. The original titles of the Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games are nice to have as artifacts of the old times but those were the cream of a some rather uninteresting crop of games.

Something beyond the NEW/Gameboy era of gaming

Something beyond the NEW/Gameboy era of gaming

Nintendo I know you have some of those really good Super Nintendo and GameBoy Advance 3DS ports placed under lock and key, its time to bust them out for this new program and maybe, for the high level rewards offer some cross buy titles to boot.


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#484 Sick Day

I caught quite a nasty stomach bug over the weekend and I am still recovering from the whole ordeal.

An artist's interpretation/ Image from WoWWiki

An artist’s interpretation of my weekend
Image from WoWWiki

Nothing too bad to warrant a trip to the Doctors or the ER, I believe I have survived the worst of it thanks to a steady prescription of OJ, Chicken Soup, comic books and preferred videogames when I have the time.

See you guys Wednesday, with a proper Blog Post.


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#483 Thoughts on the New 3DS Handheld

In the middle of this week Nintendo hosted their monthly Nintendo Direct NA feed across the internet. Nintendo started the new year running with status updates on some confirmed games for this year, while revealing some new upcoming projects and most importantly Nintendo showcased their newest handheld, the New 3DS device.

As of right now classic 3DS is going to be pushing four years old next month, so it was not too surprising to hear that a newer, slightly upgraded model coming to the shelves. Because of this wonderful thing called ‘The Internet’ and ‘Globalization’ the western world knew about this for quite a while, and I have given it some thought over the past few weeks on whether I should abandon my old 3DS device, go out, and purchase this new edition to device line.

The funny thing is that while I just celebrated my 3DS's one year anniversary, my brother just got his 3DS XL last week just for Smash and Pokemon.

The funny thing is that while I just celebrated my 3DS’s one year anniversary, my brother just got his 3DS XL last week just for Smash and Pokemon.

Th New 3DS model comes has some new features and gimmicks added over the classic model. Besides the Super NES colored buttons, the major selling points Nintendo has stressed are; faster processing power than the regular 3DS, Amiibo/NFC support added to the bottom screen, face tracking technology so that no mater what angle you face the screen the device will adjust itself to prevent any 3D tearing.

All those selling points are interested and neat, but so far it is not worthy enough to do a day one buy for this newest Nintendo handheld, but possibly to replace if mine 3DS ever breaks down, considering it as a replacement rather than an upgrade. The big question is, “How much will the New 3DS be a must buy to enjoy future Nintendo handheld games?”

In order to have the New 3DS be considered a hard hitting, must buy, successor to the four year old 3DS, it needs to have some hard hitting system sellers that utilizes the Amiibo capabilities and the faster processor. Currently Nintendo has confirmed that 3DS smash will be patched in with Amiibo support  and they also have the New 3DS exclusive Xenoblade Chronicles port but I need something more to convince me that this is a good investment, worthy of upgrading.

As always Nintendo could force my hand by making their next big Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon game exclusive to the New 3DS handheld. We might see that in the upcoming year, I honestly do not know the future of Nintendo and their New 3DS.


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

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