Operation Backlog Completion 2017

Jan 302015
 

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., the new 3DS turn-based strategy game revealed by Nintendo during E3, is due out on March 13. In the meantime, the demo is available on the Nintendo eShop.

Code-Name-STEAM

I downloaded the demo yesterday and tried it. So far, it’s taught me two things:

  1. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. has some really fun gameplay ideas, such as coins you can collect on the field and use at save points to restore your characters’ health/steam…
  2. …I am terrible at strategy games.

I’d like to give you an estimate of how long the demo is, but I can’t, because the sheer amount of time I’ve spent dying has stretched out my gameplay time. Other than that, I only have one criticism with it, and its one many other players share: the enemies’ turn takes far too long, and since everything is shown from your characters’ point of view, you sometimes have nothing to do but watch the camera vaguely bob toward things you can’t seen. An overhead perspective (or at least the ability to skip straight to the important bits) would make this a lot better.

As I mentioned, I like the coin system. I’ve also found collectible gears on the maps, which I like. The combat and Overcharge system seem interesting, and of course I like the alien designs. I haven’t seen enough story content yet to say anything about it or the characters (right now I only care about the protagonists in terms of how I can use them in combat), but that may be because I haven’t finished the demo.

So, while I continue to struggle with strategy, let me know your own thoughts on the Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. demo!

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Jan 292015
 

The Retro Gamer Crate from Man CratesA few days ago, a company called Man Crates asked me if I would write about my personal gaming nostalgia, memories that inspired my love of video games. If you’ve ever wanted to receive a gift that you have to open with a crowbar to get at the contents, take a look at this place. Man Crates sells bacon bundles, zombie survival kits, and many others–including retro gaming crates, which is why they’re interested in nostalgic stories from gamers.

It’s hard to pinpoint what caused my enthusiasm for video games. My early memories of watching my parents play Mario and finally trying it myself? The first full game I ever played through, Banjo-Kazooie? The day my mom handed me Final Fantasy IX and started a lifelong love of RPGs? My amazement the first time I tried Pokemon?

The more I think about it, the more I realize I enjoyed gaming long before it became one of my favorite activities. For me, games were present for so long, how can I pick one as the experience that made me a gamer?

But one gaming memory really stands out from the rest. More than any other, this one is wreathed with nostalgia. I was a little older, in 7th grade, and I was playing Final Fantasy Anthology (Final Fantasy V & VI)Final Fantasy VI. I liked to play a little bit each day before school, and since it was winter, two-hour delays and snow days gave me even more gaming time. One such snowy morning, I witnessed Shadow’s dreams for the first time.

The mysterious assassin was already one of my favorite characters, so the dream sequence fascinated me. I had to know more about what just happened, and my strategy guide didn’t help. For the first time, I looked up an Internet walkthrough.

I learned about how to get Shadow’s dreams–and also about controversy over how many there were. This led me to read about other Final Fantasy VI secrets and myths. Suddenly, a whole new aspect of gaming opened up to me. When I went to school, I finished the work in my computer class early (the two-hour delay might have altered the schedule so that was the first class), and used my free time to look up more about FFVI. (At least I found a guide debunking several of the myths before I attempted to circle a mountain 1,000 times to unlock a new party member…)

These memories are bound together in my mind. To gather the ingredients for this nostalgic crate, you’d need to bottle a snowstorm, capture the magic of a two-hour delay or snow day, and bundle them alongside the old PC from the school computer lab and my precious PS1 copy of Final Fantasy VI.

This isn’t the sort of package Man Crates could conceivably create, and it isn’t necessarily the moment that turned me into a gamer. It’s just a very special time in my gaming history that I’ll never, ever forget.

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Jan 262015
 

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshot featuring a griffin

Update:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt live stream is now over, but if you missed it, you can still enjoy its content. If all you’re interested in is the new gameplay footage, check out the commentary-free Youtube video below.

However, if you’d like the full experience with the commentary and Q&A with Damien Monnier and Miles Tost, you can still watched the archived Twitch stream. It starts at about 11:22.

Additional information confirmed about The Witcher 3 includes the ability to customize the HUD.

So, what do you think?

Original:

My Witcher knowledge may still be limited to The Witcher Adventure Game, the start of the book series, and an hour of so of the first game, but I’m excited about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Join me today in watching a special GOG.com live stream featuring 15 minutes of new Wild Hunt gameplay footage. CD Projekt RED’s Damien Monnier and Miles Tost will provide commentary, answer questions from the GOG.com forums, and even respond to comments from the Twitch chat.

The stream begins in at 2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM PST, and you can watch it with me right here.

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