Tag Archives: Be MOP

#518 Returning back to Binding

Just this week I was able to power through and got around to beating one of the multiple end game bosses, allowing me access to the right item needed to unlock the path for the two proper end game boss.

as a sidenote: I love how in Binding of Isaac, the game keeps moving the goal posts from you whenever you beat the game. First the objective was to kill MOM, then it was to kill mom and survive two more levels to beat Mom’s Heart, then after beating Mom’s heart ten more times you unlock the tougher version of Mom’s Heart, It lives, which then allows you to to chose one of the two branching paths, up the Cathedral to fight Isaac or down to the Sheol to go against Satan. And after you beat each of those bosses enough times you finally unlock the time to go beyond that. And that’s not even talking about Mega Satan.

As a side note: I love how in Binding of Isaac, the game keeps moving the goal posts from you whenever you beat the game. First the objective was to kill mom, then it was to kill mom and survive two more levels to beat Mom’s Heart, then after beating Mom’s heart ten more times you unlock the tougher version of Mom’s Heart, It lives, which then allows you to chose one of the two branching paths, up the Cathedral to fight Isaac or down to the Sheol to go against Satan. And after you beat each of those bosses enough times you finally unlock the time to go beyond that. That’s not even talking about Mega Satan.

But as I reached that milestone of unlocking The Negative and sinking my 80th hour into Rebirth I remember when the re-master edition was about to be released when I was worried about two things:

First the very scary potential that the burnout I felt in the original Binding of Isaac would carry over to the new edition. I beat the last game, at that time I was just unlocking the side content) As explained in a blog post back in September (Be MOP #436).

That concern got place to rest almost immediately and it is self-evident that the new game re-energized my interest in the Rougelike dungeon crawler. I did have some qualms going through farming and unlocking characters and items that I already unlocked long ago in the old game. Besides that the game added enough new content, bosses, stages, and items for me to still find interesting, even after 400+ hours gameplay invested into the series.

As a second concern was that I would despise the new pixel art upgrade, which I know from reading the dev blog posts was a necessary evil when porting the old game’s content from the old, shoddy at best, flash engine.

The pixel art is a petty complaint I know but it fact that the original Binding of Isaac stood above all the other indies at the time because it opted out of the pixel art, but I would hold the first Binding of Isaac as a perfect example of an indie game that; did not use pixel art, had high replay value, was extremely challenging, and over all a generally good game.

So with one of the endings unlocked I went back and booted up the original game to see if the old, original, game still held up. The short answer: NOPE!

First thought when returning: 'I didn't realized I left 'Big Head' mode on"

First thought when returning: ‘I didn’t realized I left ‘Big Head’ mode on”

Going back to the old game was like night and day, there were noticeable drops in the framerates, there was a lack of the items that I was used to in the new game, the boss’s shot speed was terribly fast and there was no steam overlay. Overall the entire game looks and feels subpar after playing so long with Rebirth in mind.

I guess the moral of this blog post is that Rose colored glasses often clashes with reality. The moral of this story holds true with the original Pokemon game and most of your favorite childhood T.V shows.


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#517 Boston FIG 2015

A few weeks ago I received an announcement email from MIT that they have started selling tickets for this year’s Boston Festival for Independent Gaming event.

because there is no way of isolating your entire readership than by limiting the blog post to a geographical location

Boston FIG is one of the few gaming conventions to grace their presence on the east coast, hosted on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus, Boston FiG’s main purpose is showcasing the newest New England indie games that has recently or will be launching in the near future. I attended the past two years and last year with my younger brother, going by last year’s activities, Boston Fig has one expo floor for Indie board/card game expo floor, a separate expo hall for the video games and a handful of classrooms dedicated to panels and indie game discussions.

I would not lightly recommend Boston FIG to non-indie fans, the event is there to serve a very niche demographic of the videogame world, with their talks and panels heavily focused towards the indie developers side of the indie gaming scene, with the panels focused with the game developer in mind, with talks about on how to create interesting levels, characters, and music for their games.

Even though I am not a game dev, by any stretch of the imagination, I still found those talks interesting and fun because I am one of those people who enjoy taking apart and examining the foundation and inner works of my favorite games. Plus I get to increase my indie game nerd cred by claiming that I saw these games first on the expo floor before they became incredibly successful on Steam and around the internet.

My brother and I have already bought my tickets and if you are are in the Boston area this September and have an interest in either seeing the newest batch of independent games or your have interest in jump starting your own personal indie game project the price for the tickets are ten dollars and you can sign up to register HERE. If you are are still on the fence about attending, I could say you would be hard pressed to find any other videogame themed activities for $10 in Boston on a lazy Fall Saturday day trip.


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#515 Games from my Backlog for the month of April 2015

It is the turn of the new month, April is here and it looks like Spring has finally arrived to New England. With the start of a new month it is time to look back on the couple of games that I self assigned myself to play through. Last month I challenged myself to play through the recently released 3DS port of Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask and the free steam game, Expendabros and this might be the worst month for this mini series.

I started out a bit late out of the gate because I only got around to buying Majora’s Mask very late into the month, once I was able to financially justify a full game purchase after PAX East and when I actually was able to get my hands on the game we were already three fourths of the way through the month, so I am still in the thick of the main story campaign and I have not even tried to make headway with any of the side quests around Clock Town.

But I do intend to 100% the game because I want the Fierce Deity's Mask equipped when I finally go against the final boss.

But I do intend to 100% the game because I want the Fierce Deity’s Mask equipped when I finally go against the final boss. Image via: Zelda.wikia.com

The other game was the 2D pixel platform game, Expendabros, which I was expecting to be all over but during the month of March I just could not motivate myself to play the game or even boot up the program.

'Of all the games of computer or pen & paper, the saddest are the ones not played

‘Of all the games of computer or pen & paper, the saddest are the ones not played’

I think I am a bit of a gaming funk right now, from doing Games from my Backlog over the course of little more than a year has left me with all the a good chunk of video games that I wanted to play has already been done, and all that are left are the the extra games I picked up from various Humble Bundles consolation prizes, Steam Sales impulse buys, and the few of the newer AAA games that are too good that they should not be played on my current laptop system that support them at 1080/60. That will soon change with the slowly-but-surly self-funded effort of building my own, better, gaming system.

All Platinum games needs to be played on the best possible setting, anything less is a disservice to the program

All Platinum games needs to be played on the best possible setting, anything less is a disservice to the program

Because of my current gaming funk I am not going to assign myself any game to play through the month of April and hopefully I can find some other new games that I will look forward to playing during this and the next month.


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#512 Let the Political Games Begin

Ladies and Gentlemen this has been an amazing week, if you live in the United States and had access to any form of News Media you would have heard that US Senator Ted Cruz sent out a tweet announcing his candidacy for the 2016 presidential elections. With that one single tweet it marked the start of my favorite gaming event, the 2016 Presidential elections.

Yes one of America’s greatest gaming event, more complicated than Eve online, more difficult than Dark Souls, and more popular than League of Legends and it’s better than Civ 5 with the Brave New World expansion pack. This game has been in closed Beta for a few years now and just recently we saw glimpses and the battlefield of the game in the open beta but we had no idea when the electoral games would officially be released until this very week with that bombshell tweet.

Per the rules of the game, the previous champion can not run again so this season we will be seeing an all out brawl from all sides of the political spectrum.

Per the rules of the game, the previous champion can not run again so this season we will be seeing an all out brawl from all sides of the political spectrum.

Right now we are in the pick-bans phase of the early primary election brackets of this two-year long competitive gaming tournament, with each side trying to find the best team to put up for the final match that ends the on the first Tuesday of November 2016.

The political season is my favorite game because it offers so much value and entertainment for such a wide range of people, more than over any other gaming or sporting event out there. Within the next two years there will be parades, rallies, political drama, and internet hashtags for politicians and voters can enjoy. For the more competitive members we also have intellectual debates, speeches, on top of that all party war rooms, internet forums, and coffee shops alike will be discussing strategies and candidate’s actions and predicting future activities.

There will be major political plays followed by the counters from the opposing teams, analysts looking over every move discussing it in-depth while always talking about the change in the meta-game between this and last season, fans avidly rooting for their favorite teams, new undecided participates, ranks and tournaments and lets not forget about the eventual gaffes and unintentional slip ups that will birth various memes that will prosper around every corner of the internet. I will admit I am a bit bias, I live in New Hampshire, the co-capital of early election politics, so I have grown up in the middle of fray of every major political power grab.

Being first in the nation comes with some benefits

Being first in the nation comes with some benefits

The biggest reason I love the presidential, and all other political, elections is because it is completely Free-to-Play for everybody who wants to watch or run. As a candidate or voter there is no subscription fee or any mandatory start-up cost besides the initial registration fee for both groups which is akin to paying for the internet service rather than buying the game At the end of the day is always up the to the player in these games to decide how much they are willing to spend on their political own campaigns.


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#511 A weekend of Nintendo

Following my Friday’s Blog Post, it seems that the magic Nintendo Stars aligned to grant me a wonderful Nintendo filled weekend. First my paycheck arrived and with that I finally caved and bought the Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask 3D edition. I will talk about that game more once I sink more play time into to to get past the second or third dungeon and enough of the side quests. I will say Majora’s Mask has some excellent level designs, with the ability to communicate what the game wanted me to do without any handholding or tutorials beyond the movement controls and it has some of the best 4D puzzles I have ever seen in a game.

I've been eyeing this game for a while and it was ...wait for it... about TIME I picked up this game

I’ve been eyeing this game for a while and it was …wait for it… about TIME I picked up this game

After that I remembered that Club Nintendo was closing down and I still have not cashed in my Club Nintendo Fun-Bucks, along with the complementary Flipnote Studio 3D app for being a Club Nintendo member I also downloaded the Virtual Console edition of the Game Boy color game, The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening DX.

Link’s Awakening is the Game Boy port of Link to the past, which is the predecessor of my favorite 2D Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds and the inspiration to one of my favorite games series of all time, the Binding of Isaac. Lets hope the port holds up with compared to it’s other brothers in the genre.

I did not realize I was as much as a Zelda fan I was until this generation of consoles and handhelds.

I did not realize I was as much as a Zelda fan I was until this generation of consoles and handhelds.

The other highlight of my past weekend was that I finally received my free copy of Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. I wrote about this before but this was free promotional gift to everyone in Club Nintendo that bought both copies of Super Smash Bros and registered on the Club Nintendo site.

The Album is two discs with 36 songs and tracks each, one from the 3DS soundtrack and the other from the Wii U version of the game and best of all it is a physical copy of the soundtrack, with a colored insert and all. The thing is this was only for Club Nintendo users, and it would have incredibly simple, and cost effective to simple email everyone who qualified a web link to one of their servers for just a simple .zip file. But no, Nintendo went out of it’s way to order, produce and ship these out to the presumed thousands of people who bought both games.

They did not have to but because they did they have earned a bit more respect in their customer appreciation department now.

They did not have to but because they did they have earned a bit more respect in their customer appreciation department now.

This is a great weekend because with the purchase of Legend of Zelda, Majora’s Mask and Link’s Awakening have been looking for a reason to open up and play my 3DS beyond just updating and exhausting all my free turns in Pokemon Shuffle. Now only if I could find a killer game that would give me motivation to boot up my Wii U.


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#510 Let’s hear it for the Nintendo Girls

It has been a big news week for Nintendo, with their announcement of going into the mobile gaming market, their hints at a new Nintendo Hardware device simply codenamed “NX”, and the launch of the Nintendo’s newest edition of Mario Party and their next wave of Amiibos, along with that one Walmart exclusive Golden Mario Variant. Out of everything I could talk about today, for this post I want to focus on a wonderful little critical Huffington Post blog post against Nintendo’s choice of celebrating their Women characters for Women’s History month.

This month Nintendo had decided to release a series of promotional art work of Nintendo’s take on the iconic Rosie the Riveter World War II posters with some of their leading ladies from their popular games. These posters stars: Rosalina, Nintendo’s newest princess,  Princess Zelda’s alter ego, Tetra, from their incredibly popular (and just recently released in HD) “Legend of Zelda Wind Waker game”, Samus Aran, one of the first female protagonist of the 8 bit era from the “Metroid” series, and Platinum Star’s own, and recent to the Nintendo family, Bayonetta from “Bayonetta 1 & 2″.

Samus is akin to Wonder Woman of the video game world. A independent woman that has been around since the beginning of the console lifespan

Samus is akin to Wonder Woman of the video game world. A independent woman that has been around since the beginning of the console lifespan and a trend setter in her own right.

The author comments on the lack of Princess Peach representation in these promotional posters, and I agree with her idea that Nintendo might have chosen not to go toward with her as one of the stars because of how often the Mushroom princess has been kidnapped in all of the Mario games.

The author does takes issue of how Tetra is kidnapped by Ganondorf and must be rescued by the hero of time, you, and once the plot reveals how this leader of a pirate gang is actually the reincarnation of the princess of Hyrule and wielder of the Triforce segment of Wisdom. She is prevented from leaving the underwater -and protected- Hyrule Castle, until Link rebuilds his missing piece of the triforce lest Ganondorf recaptures her and assemble the entire Triforce and gets his one wish of returning the land of Hyrule to it’s original state, destroying all the land and inhabitants that lives above the sea.

Then the author goes on and talks about how Bombette, from Paper Mario, and Toadette are “just pink versions of the male characters” forgetting that they are not pink characters of male characters but pink characters of their entire species.

Toadette's biggest characterist is because she a girl because she, and all other toads have no personalities . If I was to put on MY over thinking hat I would argue that the toads have no personalities because they are all no-name proletariats, there to only serve Princess Peach; the only member of the Bourgeois in the Mushroom kingdom

Toadette’s biggest characteristic is because she a girl because she, and all other toads, has no personalities . If I was to put on MY over thinking cap I would argue that the toads have no personalities because they are all no-name proletariats, there to only serve Princess Peach, the only member of the Bourgeois in the Mushroom kingdom

The author also mentions how ‘problematic’ Bayonetta, a character that has passed the Bechdel Test, is for having an uncomfortable levels sex appeal in her game. As someone who played through both of the Bayonetta games just last year, Bayonetta has always come across as someone is determined in her mission, never to be distracted by anything petty like men or shoes. She is sexy not because it is bad character aspect of her personality, but because she is so much in control of anything that heaven or Hell could throw at her that her sex appeal has become a luxury, using it to taunt her friends and foes.

She is so confident about herself she has achieved Self-actualization in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. She has reached her full potential, she is pursing it, and she does not care any anyone else thinks of her. She is having fun

Bayonetta is so confident about herself she has achieved Self-actualization in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. She has reached her full potential, she is pursuing it, and she does not care any anyone else thinks of her. She is having fun

The author of this Huffington Post closes with mentioning games with more powerful women characters, like Naughty Dog’s “Last of Us” and Ubisoft’s “Beyond Good and Evil” as a few other non-Nintendo games that have done women characters the right way.

From my own point of view, as a reader of the post and as an avid videogame player, this post smacks of looking a gift horse in the mouth. Out of all the video game companies out there, from Sony to Microsoft and Steam, Nintendo is the only one going out there and putting themselves on the line to celebrate women in the media. I do not see any other companies going out of their way to plan, make, and execute a promotional event for Women’s History month, but after the blow back from Nintendo I have an educated guess on why they might want to abstain from talking or mentioning politics with their female characters.


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#508 Do not play Pokemon Shuffle

I talked about Pokemon Shuffle on last Friday’s blog post,but I am returning back to writing about this game after spending an entire weekend playing Pokemon Shuffle and then waiting to play Pokemon Shuffle over and over again. The 3DS exclusive Pokemon Shuffle game is one of the few Free to Play games on the handheld’s market and it is nothing short than an evil game packaged inside of a Skinner’s Box.

The game makes the unholy F2P gameplay gating mechanic, limiting your play sessions to five turns before having to wait a half hour to earn back on more attempt. You take that and then you add the Random Number Generator factor when you want to catch the pokemon of the stage, to add to your collection and you get the worst example B. F. Skinner’s experiment.

I suspect that the game devs behind this game purposely skewed some of the catch percentages on the Pokemon needed to progress in the harder levels.

I suspect that the game devs behind this game purposely skewed some of the catch percentages on the Pokemon needed to progress in the harder levels. which is nothing less than evil

The game is filled with freemium upselling suggestions and microtransaction reminders. The game suckers you in with rewards, in the form of Freemium currency and in-game coins in the style of “the first one’s free” and for opting-in the program that sends your play session data to Nintendo, in what I assume to be for future data mining purposes.

But all that being said…

Pokemon Shuffle is  a great game. It is fun collecting and building your Pokemon collection and using your Pokemon’s type advantage to wipe the floor against the latest challenge.

The game also gets major points for having fun and interesting mechanics in a potentially simple match three game, some Pokemon stages limiting the number of Pokemon you can bring in while other stages freezes a handful of your block every few turns. Pokemon Shuffle also adds the Mega Evolution twist with bringing a Pokemon into a stage, and once you matched enough of that one Pokemon it unlocks it’s almost overpowered abilities of clearing an entire column or row.

The game also has a truly difficult expert mode, that made me sweat and focus more on the game than any other point while playing the story campaign. On top of that Pokemon Shuffle has free post-launch support in the form of special promotional legendary Pokemon stages. I would gladly grind through those stages over and over again, if it was not for the fact that I am limited to five attempts per play session.

I can not recommend this game to anyone in fear that they get as hooked on the game as I am, which would send the wrong type of data to both Nintendo and Pokemon company on how to build a good Free to Play game. Instead of a Pokemon Shuffle going free to play I would rather have the game include an in store item that unlocked the entire game with no Free to Play gimmicks. More importantly I can not wait for Puzzle and Dragons Z to be released soon, because from what I have seen Puzzle and Dragons Z is all of Pokemon Shuffle, move type advantage and all, with none of the constant upselling.


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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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