Tag Archives: videogames

#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.


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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

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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#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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#504 Gone PAXin’

If you are reading this, it means that I am currently in Boston enjoying my first day at PAX East.

If you are interested in following me and my adventures navigating through the expo hall and my thoughts on all the panels, people and parties IN REAL TIME you can follow me on my Twitter page @Snozell. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will be tweeting about anything and everything in between.

Street passes and proper Boston style pizza, here I COME

Street passes and proper Boston style pizza, here I COME

 And be sure to check back here this Monday for my thoughts on the new games I saw and the event on a whole


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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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#503 The Mega Man White Whale

This past weekend I did an unprecedented thing, I woke up early on a Saturday morning when I had a no third party obligation to do so. I woke up early to travel to the next city over’s Best Buy to finally capture my current white whale, an Amiibo of the Blue Bomber for my very own.

As I wrote during the last time I talked about Nintendo’s newest wave collectible figurines, I wanted the Mega Man Amiibo only to buy him Ironically. As it is established, Mega Man is a part of the Smash Bros character roster who is a third party Intellectual Properties. From how we have seen Nintendo’s rocky-at-best relationship with other gaming companies and how CAPCOM handle Mega Man’s future games I can almost guarantee that Mega Man will have no Amiibo support for any non-smash game during the Wii U life cycle.

In fact I bought him because of that, same reason when Duck Hunt comes out. because someone has to buy their are so few officially licensed products.

In fact I bought him because of that, same reason when Duck Hunt comes out. because someone has to buy their are so few officially licensed products.

 

With Mega Man in my possession, I can now stop activly hunting Amiibos and constantly thinking about Amiibos at least for a while.

No more weekend Amiibo hunting trips with my younger brother going up and down every toy store in town, no more casual drive by to stores before and after work. No more searching and constantly refreshing the pages of Twitter, Reddit, and Amazon hoping to find an online store that had Mega Man in stock. I  was so close to caving in and buying from a Amazon scalper at twice the price.

Most importantly of all I can stop worrying out the terrible thought of missing my window of opportunity of securing the Amiibo I want before Nintendo stops producing him and the demand, and cost goes through the roof.  I can put all that fret and worry behind me because I have him now. Currently displayed on my makeshift Amiibo shelf, only to be taken out of his box when a New 3DS or Wii U game is released that specially support him.

He has to earn his freedom

He has to earn his freedom



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#500 Thank You PAX East #Thankacreator

Boogie2988 recently created the #Thankacreator hashtag, and in his video he explained that the purpose of the Hashtag was to use the Internet to spread a little bit of positivity around the net by personally thanking your favorite entertainer and content creator. This will be my fifth year attending PAX East, and every time it has been able to one up itself in terms of content and entertainment. For my 500th blog post I would like to dedicate this post to the wonderful people who planned and execute the PAX East Expo each year.

pax east black

Thank you people behind PAX for organizing and supplying enough content and entertainment to last for a three day weekend.

For years the PAX Staff has constantly reached out to Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, the other major videogame companies, and gaming personalities to fill up the expo hall to the brim and still have enough panels constantly running in every theater from open to close. I have participated my fair share of event planning for my small college and I can only imagine the nightmare of negotiating with these Triple A game companies and major videogame celebrities living and working in different time zones around the world to make sure everyone shows up and are happy with the PAX East accommodations.

It does not go unnoticed

It does not go unnoticed

Thank you PAX East for making such a welcoming place.

I attended my first PAX East when I was well into college and at that time I overcame my insecurities about being a geek, by the time I first walked through the front door of the BECE. But I can see the importance of an event that is all about a celebrating and embracing everything it means to being a gamer, a nerd, or a geek to a middle or high school student who might might still get picked on or bullied in class for still playing Pokemon or Magic the Gathering

IMG_20140411_163303_119

And despite what the news might claim, PAX East has always been a safe environment for any and everyone, with enforcers stationed everywhere, offering help if needed and checking and evaluating every prop weapon to making sure that they could not harm anyone. I have seen harassers that have attended panels be dealt quickly and responsibly, even this past year, with the aftermath of the Boston Bombing, PAX had upped security but as an attendee, I never felt restricted while I was there.

But most importantly, I would like to thank Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins for giving East Coasters something, anything videogame related.

America’s East coast kinda gets shafted when it comes to videogame conventions, with all the major events; E3, Comic Con, GDC, BLIZZCON, and even the recently announced TwitchCon choosing to stay in California. So thank you Penny Arcade for all that you have done in regards to launching and continuously supporting an event that people from New England to Florida can look forward during the spring of every year. While I do not speak for them, I assume many Southerners and Australians gamers share the same sentiment.

I don't see the appeal in California. East coast has the best Pizza and Sea food.

I don’t see the appeal in California. East coast has the best Pizza and Seafood.


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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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#499 The return of the 3DS Time Capsule

I have recently run into a bit of a conundrum, I have currently run out of 3DS games to play. I gave up on Bravely Default game, after much self hype (Be MOP #487). Funny enough it was a just game that could not click with me, too much of a micromanagement JRPG for my liking. Besides that, I have been waning and waxing on my other source of 3DS entertainment, my burning desire to be the best, that no one ever was, by completing my X/Y and OR/AS pokedex.

At this point I can not even be bothered to finish the regional dex, let alone the national dex.

At this point I can not even be bothered to finish the regional dex, let alone the national dex.

 

Right now I am patiently waiting for the window of opportunity to open for my time to buy Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask for the 3DS. sometime after my next post-PAX paycheck. Two games I have been sinking my teeth into.

Some recent cleaning have allowed me to unearthed some old DS games, the two are the original New Super Mario Bros. and the other has held the focus of my spare time, Super Mario 64 DS, a game that takes the title of Nintendo’s worst gaming name of all time.

Its a Super Mario game with two suffixes, so much worst than any  Nintendo games with "New" in the name.

Its a Super Mario game with two suffixes, so much worst than any Nintendo games with “New” in the name.

I have played through it all the way once before when I first received the game back in 2004, but it is only replaying it now how much I appreciate Super Mario 64 DS as a wonderful game. It has all the original N64 textures and graphics with the added gameplay feature of the second screen serving as the map for the area and the option to play as Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario on top of the original Mario.and the gameplay is greatly improved by the addition of the 3DS circle pad.

Playing through Super Mario 64 DS for two reasons, one to get me back into the N64 play style or the OoT and MM3DS ports a kin  sequel to my pre-smash hype (Be MOP #429) where I played some origins and best of retro games of some of the Smash characters. More importantly I have been playing through Super Mario 64 DS because I can, out of all of the gaming companies, Nintendo is the only company to embrace backwards compatibility, meaning I can still play a 10 year old game and any other Nintendo DS game just like new.


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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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