Tag Archives: Video game

#529 Games from my Backlog for the month of May 2015

It is the first blog post of the month of May and that means it is time hop back on the bandwagon and get to work on my gaming backlog. Last month I announced that I took a month off of my personal project of mine to relax and enjoy some videogames without an end goal in mind.

During that month off I finally finished Majora’s Mask for the 3DS. Not only did I beat the game, I went out of my way to collect all the masks to unlock the Fierce Deity mask and wiped the floor at the last boss.

30 total hours of game play from the start of the first day and the final third day

30 total hours of gameplay from the start of the first day and the final third day

I justify cheating with Fierce Deity link for the first encounter because the amount of time I took to complete the side quests would be about the same time of unsuccessful attempts of fighting Majora as kid link.

And to nobody’s surprise, I have also been playing my fair share of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

I reached the 100th hour sunk into this game. For reference: I stopped playing the original at the 334th hour

I reached the 100th hour sunk into this game. For reference: I stopped playing the original at the 334th hour

I have been making some serious headway with the many, many of the game’s unlockables for far for the past month I unlocked: the Lord of the Flies achievement, Finally beat the second, other, final boss -The Lamb-, and with the Lamb kill I also beat both end game bosses on Isaac, Cain, Samson, and Lazarus.

I am so close to unlocking everything else, I just need to beat the final bosses on the rest of the characters and the rest of the challenges, currently I am at 63% completed with the game. At this rate I am projected to 100% the game in 2016.

That month was a much needed break but it’s back to the grindstone of playing through the games I want to play. This month I am going to be focusing on the backlog that have been growing on my 3DS library.

The first game on the chopping block is Pushmo, the Last farewell gift from Club Nintendo, a causal pushing block puzzle game.

I have played a bit of it and I have concluded that Pushmo is extremely causal, extremely cute, and extremely Japanese

I have played a bit of it and I have concluded that Pushmo is extremely causal, extremely cute, and extremely Japanese

The other game is Pokemon Pearl.

I bought this Pokemon copy second hand and I have been itching to replay a Pokemon game and I want to revisit the Sinnoh region for quite a while now because Generation 4 was my least played Pokemon game, and I want if it was because it was my least favorite Pokemon generation or it is because forgotten forces from real life, ie High school, prevented me from playing that game as much as all the other games.

Plus I need it to finally finish a project I have started a long time ago.

Plus I need it to finally finish a project I have started a long time ago.


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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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#528 Twitch Trilogy: Personality

Welcome back to the final installment of the week of Twitch blog posts. Monday we talked about hardware, Wednesday we looked at software, and now we get to talk about the most subjective part of streaming; finding, creating and cultivating a personality for your stream broadcasts. The first thing you want to ask yourself is, “What type of streamer do you want to be, and CAN be?”

I break down almost all streamers into two major categories. The Hardcore, pushing the end game/meta to the cutting edge, the MVP for ever match, or the eSport champion streamer and the more casual, laid back, social streamer.

You can choose either one, there is a crowd and demand for both type of streams but you have to realize there are costs AND whichever one you choose to be you have to walk the walk to back up the talk.

I can not help you with being a good hardcore streamer. I realized early on that I could never be on the cutting edge of endgames so I elected for the social school of streaming, that was realizing my limit of free time to invest in the meta, practicing and realizing I could not be competitive enough ranked matches.

Start out by mainly playing one game, gets yourself cred and settled within a games community, after that you can branch out with other games that you and your viewers might find interesting. I had a short stream session at the very beginning  on Wednesday called “Wildcard Wednesdays” where I would stream a game I wanted to stream or that I found interesting to stream, indie games, TF2, and games kicking around in my backlog. I soon noticed that when I switched from game to game for every stream had significantly less viewers and participation than my regular Infinite Crisis nights.

No matter who you are or what type of streamer you want to be you have to find something to make you unique. I have seen some people adopt alter egos, other speed run classic games, some streamers have giveaways on stream, and a few who cosplay while streaming. I, from the start, have made good use of my positive personality, my corny jokers and extensive comic book lore to make myself out as a sunny, charismatic, and wholesome comic book geek who stream to talk about nerdy stuff, which worked really well with the game I have been streaming since day one, Infinite Crisis.

I also view my stream sessions as shows rather than live feeds of my gameplay and I draw inspiration for my on air personality from listening to how Political Speakers and Radio DJs talk and interact with their crowds.

When you start streaming you need to realize that people will be tuning in to watch you stream and if you want them to stay you need to provide a way to entertain them. That means not fumbling around with your broadcasts and doing your part to avoid extensive periods of Dead Air.

To help you with this, learn how to monologue. Go to YouTube and listen to public speakers and actors, see how they hold themselves and pay attention to how they talk to a big crowd, especially with politicians when taking questions from an audience. And always stream like the world is watching, never do a half-hearted stream just because only 2 or 3 people are there, instead cherish those few people who choose to spend their free time with you.

That being said it is normal and natural to completely botch your first few streams. When I was starting out my stream was a nervous mess and very early on I went into my setting and disabling the “record past broadcast” button, taking comfort in knowing that even if my stream session was terrible nobody would be able to find it after the stream ended.

If you get past your embarrassment and push yourself to keep streaming and keep talking, even if nobody is there, you will build confidence and you will develop a voice that warrants viewership. If you are still having problems set some time aside before streaming to make a short list of talking points and topics to mention and monologue on air. I did it when I was starting out and still do it now, it stops you from trying to scramble on air for interesting topics to talk about.

Outside of streaming be sure to deck out your channel’s panel area below, make sure it has a F.A.Q and links to all of to contact you, and make it professional looking. Also brush up on you knowledge of framing with your camera. Make sure you have a clean background, find the best position and distance to sit from the webcam and learn where your camera box ends so if you, like me, use your hands when you talk your hands do not fly out of frame.

Another solid tip I can give to all up-and-coming streamers is to have a great intro and outro for every stream session. For me, at the start I greet everyone with a “Good Morning everyone! My name is Spencer Nozell, this is Be MOP streams, and today we are playing ”

At the end of my stream I go full screen with the webcam, so it is just me at center stage to thank everyone for tuning into today and then transitioning into my ending monologue that covers; the suggestion to hit that follow button as a way to see me again, how to friend me on all the gaming platforms I am on, and plugging all of my social media links, followed by a hearty ‘Good Night’. At the beginning of my time streaming, I would also do a little comic/video game show and tell as a special thank you to the people who stayed until the end. I did that streaming segment until I ran out of stuff to show

This next tip is a big one from me, is use your chatroom on your stream. This works great with your second monitor that I suggested earlier this week, no matter what game you are playing people will eventually swing by your stream and chat room and when that happens be sure to be on the proactive and engage with them the moment you detect them, by saying hello and asking how their day has been, and thanking everyone who press the follow button (I always have my phone or my mailbox inbox at hand to see Twitch’s automated ‘New Follower” email come in real-time).

People tend to stay longer and follow you if you have a genuine conversation with them. Talking to your chat room will also make it easier to stream, by having a conversation it leads into topics and discussing you just could not reach just by yourself.

My greatest tip is do not imitate someone who is already important, instead draw inspiration and wing it and see what sticks and what doesn’t. What works for me might not work for you and your game’s Twitch community, but regardless of the community be transparent, especially if you do a one time company sponsored promotional stream or joining a partnership program. Be sure to disclose those fact from the start. It is alright to make connections with gaming companies, it is NOT alright to withhold the fact  and not disclose that information when streaming or when you give your opinions or review of the game. Trust me when I say you do not want to get caught up with conflict of interests accusations, those sort of things can destroy the year and years of faith and trust you built with a community.

For reference THIS was the YouTube video that help me understand Twitch and helped me to develop in the streamer I am now and he might be able to better better communicate some of the points I made here today

But with that I hope this mini-series worked and good luck with your own streaming adventures.


I’m also on Twitter

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

Disclosure: I am apart of the Streamer Partnership Program for Turbine’s A.R.T.S/MOBA, Infinite Crisis, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

This blog post was written without approval, consent, or knowledge from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment or any of it’s subsidiaries

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#527 Twitch Trilogy: Software

Welcome back to the second part of the week long Twitch blog post series. Last time I talked about the bare minimum hardware that you will need to stream well, now we get to look at the other side of the computer coin and talk about the software needed to streaming.

The first and most important software you need is a game you want to stream. There are a ton of games out there that you could play and there are games that are ideal and some that are not ideal. From what I have seen and streamed a rule of thumb for games to stream, you want a game with high replayability and very little important voice dialogue and cut-scenes.

There is a reason why ARTS/MOBA games like League of Legends, Dota 2, & (my main streaming game) Infinite Crisis and FPS games like C.O.D, HALO, and Battlefield are preferred games to play on Twitch. All of those games have a next to no story lines, high amounts of action, and a nice amount of consistency that allows any viewer to tune in even during of a middle of a match.

Games like TellTale’s works and the Final Fantasy series with heavy story campaigns with no new game plus are not ideal for streamers starting out looking for a game to constantly play on air. Those games are great the stream once you have a viewer base and want to do a one-off gaming mini-series.

When I was preparing to start my own twitch page, I had a short list of games that I wanted to stream that fit into those parameter and in another life I could have been celebrating my one year twitch anniversary as a League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Heroes of Newerth or Binding of Isaac streamer.

I will mention this in Friday’s post about the social side of streaming but you will need to find a game and play that game near exclusively until you attract a following, and you will eventually. Then you can branch out into other games, that is why it is important to find a game that you actually enjoy and feel comfortable playing, but never feel like you are locked into one game forever.

The second most important bit of software you will need is a streaming program. Twitch has a recommends a few on their site, I personally use Open Broadcasting Software (OBS). For first time streamers that choose OBS I recommend THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO. If you choose another streaming program I am positive that you will be able to find an online tutorial on how to navigate through the broadcasting and resolution settings.

Before you start streaming on your official debut stream, make sure you know the ins and outs of your preferred broadcasting program. That means fiddling around with your resolution, the layout, where to put your webcam and everything else and making sure you can connect to the Twitch servers. Mock my words, there will be times when you are live and something malfunctions and it will be up to you to fix the problem, ideally without interrupting and turning off the stream.

And pro tip: listen to past broadcasts to check if your gameplay and voice sound levels are balanced, for the longest time my game volume was drowning out my voice on air.

One last thing, because I this streaming tip won’t fit into anywhere else in the three categories: Make a solid streaming schedule that has Days the Hours you start streaming and stick to it. People like consistency and it helps the people tuning to know when they can catch you on air again.


I’m also on Twitter

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

Disclosure: I am apart of the Streamer Partnership Program for Turbine’s A.R.T.S/MOBA, Infinite Crisis, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.


This blog post was written without approval, consent, or knowledge from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment or any of it’s subsidiaries

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#526 Twitch Trilogy: Hardware

This week I am going to be reaching an very important milestone with my Twitch stream. Come this Tuesday I will be reaching my one year anniversary of taking the plunge and diving head first into the world of live Streaming on Twitch. As a treat, here’s last year’s blog announcement about Twitch.

Since then I have been streaming almost every Monday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and because of my adventures I have made some new friends, have become a member of the Infinite Crisis Community Stream Team, and even received some fan art from the people who watch me stream.

I have a folder full of fan art. This is the most nomral

I have a folder full of fan art. This is the most normal

So to celebrate my one year stream anniversary I am going to spend this week’s blog posts breaking down everything I did when I started streaming, from prep-to-execution covering everything I have done from hardware to social interaction.

Today I am going to be focusing on just the hardware that I feel like you need to competently start streaming.

Let this week serve as a giant responds to anyone who might ask the question, “Spencer How do I start streaming?” or “what streaming tips would you give me?”

Hardware

My advice to anyone interested in streaming is to get started RIGHT NOW. Despite what you or I might have initially thought about the requirements of streaming, you do not need a super high-powered computer to start streaming. Start streaming now, get your name and your face out there in the community with whatever computer you currently have right now and slowly upgrade from there.

That being said, do some trail runs first to make sure that the computer setup that you have can handle the resource inventiveness of streaming. Don’t worry about the graphics, just make sure that you can meet the bare minimum before setting out and then working up from there

A decent computer is necessary for streaming, but there two additional accessories and one luxury item that are must haves if you want to start streaming, at least in my book.

First grab a decent headset with a mic. This is a no-brainer, if you are going to be streaming, you will be talking, and you will need to make sure that your voice is being properly picked up by the mic without much background sound. Just grab a sturdy headset from a Walmart or local electronic store for $5 – $15.

Next you will need a webcam. I can not stress this enough, you NEED a webcam if you want to attach viewers. Speaking from experience, and I am sure you can attest, it is much more enjoyable watching a stream with a live webcam feed in the corner than just watching a feed of some narrated gameplay. People on Twitch want to match a face to a voice, and to see people actually talking to them and more importantly people will tune in to see your reaction when you make a big play or fail expressly hard in a match, it is part of the Twitch experience.

Most laptops have webcams built-in, if you do not have one, again they are not too terribly expensive at the stores.

The luxury item that I mentioned before is a second monitor, for me, personally, it is a must have. This second monitor I have attached to monitor output on my laptop lets me play and stream the games I want at windowed full screen while still being able to look at the chatroom, check on my Twitch Dashboard, and see the status on my OBS without ever alt tabbing away from the game. It does not matter what screen resolution the second monitor is and if you have a tech savvy Goodwill/Savers/Salvation Army shop you can grab a second hand 720p or 900p screen for pretty cheap. Besides all the benefits of streaming a second monitor serves as a nice personal upgrade for your computer.

To get back to the main point of this blog post, it does not matter if your computer is not cutting edge in the hardware department, I am speaking from experience with this. I am, at time of writing, currently streaming on a four-year old gaming laptop (an Asus G73Sw). She is a beauty and she has been able to play most proper games at around 30-60 frames per seconds at medium graphics but once I started streaming and getting the rest of my set up running I had to crank that graphic setting of my main streaming game, Infinite Crisis, to VERY LOW, just to achieve stable frame rate so I would provide a fluid gameplay on stream. Even then I have been running into issues with my CPU hitting it’s limit and for the first six months of streaming I was using the built-in 480p webcam, but people still watched me and came back for future stream sessions.

People do not realize it but the people on Twitch do not tune in for the graphics, they watch for the gameplay or for the personality, I know I’m living proof of it.


I’m also on Twitter

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

Disclosure: I am apart of the Streamer Partnership Program for Turbine’s A.R.T.S/MOBA, Infinite Crisis, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
This blog post was written without approval, consent, or knowledge from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment or any of it’s subsidiaries

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#523 Here’s to the Mature Games

Grand Theft Auto V’s PC edition and Mortal Kombat X has both launched and for the both of them I wish their launches  the best of luck and I will hopefully pick up GTA V PC later, when it is featured in one of steam’s famous seasonal sale sessions and once I build a better computer that can handle Rockstar Game’s newest game at 1080p resolution at 60 frames per seconds.

Since their first editions of GTA and Mortal Kombat both game series has received their fair share controversies over the years. From claims from promoting and encouraging violent activity and negatively impacting how the player view and interact with reality to being too gruesome for the players.

In the past few months and recent years we have seen a push to try to make the videogame world more grown – up and artistic, tackling social and economical issues of the real world and society and a noticeable push back against the violent games and games with sex appeal. The news stories that came out around the time of MKX, GTA V, Hotline Miami II and Bayonetta comes to mind.

Despite the fact that several scientific studies have found that playing violent or high sex appeal videogames does NOT make the players more aggressive or sexists, we still come back to this conversation with every new mature game.

At this time I just want to take this time to congratulate and applaud all these mature games, From first person games taking place in setting that mimics the conflicts that are taking place in other corners of the world, to fantasy games with questionable story lines or themes, and games with an unnecessary blood and depiction of violence.

Thank you to Rockstar for making a sandbox game where you can commit felonies in detail, thank you to Platinum Star for creating a female character who is confident enough and has achieved Self-Actualization to fight demons from the deepest corners of hell while confidently showing off the assets she has, and thank you to the people behind Hotline Miami 2 for having just the right amount of too much violence and blood.

Thank you to the game developers for making all these hyper violent and hyper sexualized games for us to enjoy and more importantly making the decision to make their games even within this gaming political environment. I respect the self confidence in a game that realize their main selling points might not be for everyone, or might get blowback from some people, and then going ahead and advertising it anyways.

Being mature means doing what you want, choosing to be violent as you want but realizing that there will are challenges that you will have to face, taking responsibility, and deciding if it worth it to go ahead and do what you want anyways. Not every mature, or any game needs to face important contemporary issues (or have them in there in the first place) and these games knows what sometime people just want a videogame to have fun by performing ridiculous over the top acts of violence that either, like the case of Mortal Kombat, physically could not perform or, like in GTA V, could not commit and still carry on with their normal non-felony life.


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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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#420 A Response to “Are We Becoming Too Critical Of Video Games?”

For today’s post it is another response to one of Gamemoir’s Question of the Day posts from earlier this week. The post (found right HERE) talks about the abnormal amount of cynical criticism videogame players have with recently released AAA games when it comes to user reviews on meta-critic, using the Watch_Dogs backlash as the example.

I should get a frequent flyer card for how many responses I made because of them

I should get a frequent flyer card for how many responses I made because of them

Well you know where this one post is going, I am not going to be dedicating an entire blog post to echo someone else’s opinions, when it comes to the recent game releases we as consumers should never demand less our the amount of critical comments from ourselves, in fact I think we need all the critical observations we have right now and more so to ensure that only the best gets recognized.

Many – if not all – of complaints of Watch_Dogs spawned from Ubisoft’s over-promising features on their next big new IP game and under-delivering. From the launch of Watch_dogs we saw Ubisoft made the executive decision to hack off Week One DLC, create console specific and exclusive DLC, gimp the graphics on the PC version of the game and shoehorning in an unstable DRM service…ALL while advertising Watch_Dogs as a next great next gen game.

a next gen system that was released on the previous console as well.....hmmmmm

a next gen system that was released on the previous console as well…..hmmmmm

On the flip side there is hardly any criticisms towards games that simply told you exactly what it was going do and delivered it in spades.Just compare what promises given from Nintendo when they announced their most recent Mario Wii U game to the promises and designs from Ubisoft’s Watch_Dog reveal.

That is not the say that every game ever released by anyone should be held up the gaming standard of the cream of the crop, just like movies titles can be released two different -although VERY simplified- categories;

The first one is the fun to watch but stays in the comfort zone of slight immaturity, like what we see from Kirby titles and the over the top silliness of the Deadpool game. Or continuing with the movie parallel, the Die Hard series or any major summer action blockbuster movies It is there just to satisfy that itch in our brains of seeing stuff explode and have mindless fun.

The other category is the more appealing release for both consumers and gaming developers desires, the academy award winning titles that pushes the envelope of what it means to be a part of that media, the Spec Ops: the Line, the Walking Dead seasons, or the effects caused within the gaming world with the release of coveted, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The reason Zelda OoT was so big was because it was the first time there was such a big paradigm shift a series. Going from a top down 2d to a full 3d third person open world game.

The reason Zelda OoT was so big was because it was the first time there was such a big paradigm shift a series. Going from a top down 2d to a full 3d third person open world game.

 

The problem with a perceived too much criticisms of games is when a company advertise a new release claiming it to win awards and show the true powers of what it means to be a game in the advertisements and lead up and gives us a run of the mill open world game with nothing new to offer. It is like going in to see Gravity in 3D IMAX and end up watching it in one of the smallest non-3D screens, it is still the same movie but the expected experience is completely different from the what we got.

There will always be people who constantly act as the nitpickers in movies, comics, music, and games but it is important not to let their complaints of not entering every house in an open world game drown out the legit critical claims of the game and the industry.

As patrons of this of a field of arts that is still just developing, we also need to be hyper critical of executive policies that would hurt the medium on the whole, like say rehashing franchises, excessive sequels, shoehorned in product placements, and practices that are only in place to line the higher up’s wallets instead of furthering the advancement of the media as a whole.


tmnt2014

 

 

But I want to know what you think, after reading the question from Gamemoir and my response here, where do you side with the about of criticisms in the gaming world?

 


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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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#412 Games from my Backlog Reflection

As I realized in my last blog post, my monthly “games from my backlog’ project quietly and unexpectedly reached it’s one year anniversary.

This entire project was something that was born after realizing how many games that I had in my library just collecting dust after I canceled my World of Warcraft subscription and just realizing my slight addiction to Team fortress 2 and various other time sinks(as talked about in Be MOP #360)  and this was a way to knock out some game titles that I have been meaning to play or that i gathered along the way by dedicating a each month a few games to play for my limited free game play time.

A series you can catch up with by reading all installments right now: Be MOP #258, #268, #281, #294, #307, #320, #334, #346, #359, #372, #385, #398, and #411.

Between that start of this little project I have removed about 30 games from my backlog, on top of a whole bunch of other games I played on the side.

Look how organized everything is, that habit does not reflex my organization of physical collections

Look how organized everything is, that habit does not reflex my organization of physical collections

 

Since, setting this up and forcing myself to games I might never have picked up by myself, I have found some favorite new titles and genres , They Bleed Pixels, Cloudberry Kingdom (and opening the floodgates to any pixel perfect and indie platformer), the Walking Dead series, Deadpool and Dust: an Elysian Tail. Basically any other game that I have dedicated a full blog post to or mentioned in future posts during or after the initial month.

Some of the games I picked were non-starters for me, like  Serious Sam 3 (motion sickness Be MOP #352) Borderlands 2 (lack of players on hand to play the game with co-op), & Gotham City Impostors, Final Fantasy VII, and the first Assassin’s Creed (lack of drive to boot up or play through the game).

Contrary to popular belief – or what this project’s mission might have been at the beginning-  its not about completing or even beating theses games it was about working through the mammoth amount of games I have trying out new games, dusting off some that I bought ages ago and just now playing, and trying new types of games after years of playing just one or two games exclusively from Highschool through College.

I am going to continue this project for the future because it is fun and pushing through and playing games I would never have thought to pick up I believe I am a better well rounded gamer because of it .

and studying for my blogging and streaming patterns it looks like I can not stop partaking in projects that has no dedicated end mark

and studying for my blogging and streaming patterns it looks like I can not stop partaking in projects that has no dedicated end mark

 


I’m also on Twitter

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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