Monday, 24 April 2017

Megadrive Box art, my love of the Japanese art 2: Jewel Master

So I made a post back on Thursday the 28th of July 2016 about my love of Japanese Mega Drive box art. As I previously said when I was younger I had a lot of  Japanese MegaDrive Games, the main reason for this was that older Japanese titles which had since been released in the UK tended to be ridiculously cheap in comparison to there UK equivalents. So it was a cheap way of getting lots of games for little cash. Now days though things are a little bit diffrent it is often far cheaper to get an English copy of a game than it is a Japanese game So I proberbly only have 4 boxed Japanese games in my collection but I still love to look at the Japanese case art. (I have Japanese copies of Eswat, Gain Ground, Monaco GP2 and Arrow Flash

This is what led me to do a post showing an example of the diffrence between box art which can be seen here.

In that post I only showed the art for one game and that was Eswat, the reason for this was that It was an extreme case where I feel the Japanese art was a million times better than the European and American but it wasnt the only case, this was a topic I always intended to return to but  somehow I kept forgetting, other topics came up, other ideas came into my head

There is a lot of box art I could talk about but as a friend the blogger DS90 has written several simmilar posts that include comparisons between streets of rage and Golden Axe covers I will leave those alone and just post a link to his box art posts here, I recomend you have a look at them.

In bringing this back as a returning subject I have decided that I will start with a game I have a great love for, I own this game and play it quite a bit, but I am dissapointed to say I own the English version and I am sure once you have seen the covers you will know why.

This is the English Cover, I am not saying that its a bad cover, but I think it could be a lot better, and the funny thing is in the game you can have up to 4 magical rings on at a time but only 2 on each hand so its technically inacurate as well, still its passable.

This is the American version it is basically the same piece of central artwork but they have shrunk the picture down and given the case more well for want of a better term blank space. (They also appear to have turned the contrast up).

This is the Japanese cover and I simply love it, the main piece of art might not show any form of battle or action but it is I think in its own right a beautiful piece of art. I do admit there are issues in that you see a man holding a sword where as in the game the weapons are your rings but its something I would be more than happy to have up on my wall in a frame.

Once again I couldnt help myself but try to make an English case which would use the central picture and themes from the Japanese case but incorporate our logo's and feel. I know my work is not perfect but this is basically someone spending 10 minutes using nothing more than a graphics programme to cut and paste elements togther. Yes when I did the custom Eswat cover I made a few actual alterations to the cover but I dont think the main piece of art on this cover could be alterd in anyway which would improve it at least not with my talents. I did look at the image at diffrent levels of contrast and brightnes but as far as I was concerned the image looked its best as is.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Making sure you have a good life/gaming balance

Recently I was reading a news article about a man in Japan who believes that his divorce was cause dby Dragon Quest . I want to talk about a few things in connection to this so lets start with the basic story. There is a Japanese TV show called Ie, Tsuite Itte Ii Desuka? (“Is It Okay If We Follow You Home?”). In this show random people are stopped on the street and asked if it would be ok to take a peak into there home.

Well on one episode they stopped a 43 year-old systems engineer called Kaccho who talked about his love of Dragon Quest and went on to discuss the effect it had on him and his family. He agreed to let the show film inside his apartment. Kaccho’s apartment was filled with Dragon Quest merchandise, pretty much everything Dragon Quest wise that you could think of toys, key holders, figures etcetera but it didnt stop there he had photos of himself with the Dragon Quest series creator Yuji Horii and other various developers.

Kaccho talked about how he got divorced four years earlier. Kaccho believes that his constant Dragon Quest X playing is what caused his marriage to fall apart. He tried to get custody of his daughter, but lost.In some ways I feel sorry for him but then he did admit himself that “I used to look after my kid until I started gaming too much,. I love video games dont get me wrong they are a truly awesome invention and I think a great way to spend your free time but it shouldnt be to the detrement of the people in your life who really matter. I have a daughter myself and I got divorced, I won full custordy of my daughter though and every second of every day she makes my life all the better just by being there. It can admitidly be hard to be a good parent and also not loose site of yourself, its hard to balance giving them all the time they need but still finding a moment for youself to allow yourself to relax but I feel that particularly when your children are young you need to make sure that the majority of if not all of the sacrarfices are yours and not theres, you should game less and spend time with the. Heck share your love of gaming with them it can be something you bond over, me and my daughter have enjoyed every new Pokemon RPG togther, we have played many diffrent types of co-op game but I have also made sure we have spent time playing chess and monopoly and going outside on walks and trips, playing sports and even just talking.

Now was Kaccho addicted to Dragons Quest X, I am not sure, I dont think you can really call him an addict if he is managing to hold down a full time job, did it destroy his relationship, well youd have to ask his X wife to know the true answer to that, it could have been how much time he was spending on the game, the fact she felt it was more important to him than she was or there daughter was or it could have just been a reason she felt was good enough to give to mask her true reasons.

So what can we learn from this? To have a look at ourselves and at how we prioritise things in our life, my games are important to me and they may be important to you but they are ultimatly replacable loved ones are not.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Snes Review 116: Top Gear 2

Top Gear was one of the first racing games to be released on the Super Nintendo, that's probably one of the reasons I made it one of the early reviews I did for the SNES (it was my 27th review). I wanted to leave it a good while before touching on the sequel but I guess I went and forgot and left it alone for a bit to long, so here I am a long time latter looking at its Sequel Top Gear 2 or as the Japanese would name it Top Racer 2. Again this game was nothing to do with the show of the same name.

Top Gear 2 was released in August 1993 for the SNES about a year after the first one. The original game was only released on the SNES and although Top Gear 2 came out on the SNES first it made its way to both the Mega Drive/Genesis and the Amiga in 1994.

Just like with the first game Top Gear 2 was developed by Gremlin Interactive and published by Kemco (On the SNES at least Vic Tokai published it for the MegaDrive/Genesis but that's not really relevant here).

When reviewing the first game I noted that before making Top Gear as the same developers had created the famous Lotus games which had been released earlier on the Amiga and the Sega Mega Drive and that therefore they had a fair degree of experience in this field, so by this point you'd hope that with having both that experience and having previously worked with the SNES and having produced a very well received racer they would have an excellent base to work from, then again there is the chance they'd just slap a 2 on it and add a token sprinkle of extra content, so if you are so inclined you can play a little game here and try to guess which way this will go.

If you have played the original Top Gear then when you start playing Top Gear 2 you are likely to notice very quickly that this time you do not get to choose a starting car. In the original game you had a choice of four cars to choose from. When you first start racing if you have played the original you will probably find that it feels pretty much the same. Yet it doesn't take long at all for you to realise that there is a lot more challenge here, in the original game it was quiet easy to quickly find yourself in first place again and again its not quiet like that this time around, in this one you have to fight to come in a decent place, I am not saying this is a bad thing however it depends on what your personal opinion is when it comes to a challenge.

The main reason you don't pick a car is because this game is more about upgrading, the higher place you manage to finish in the higher amount of cash you win, and with the cash you win you buy upgrades for your car, ones to make it more durable, to make it steer better, or to make it accelerate faster for example. This does add an extra layer to the game but does it make things better well yes and no. It does add to the game, it gives you more of a reason to race and something to do with the cash you earn, it also makes you feel like you have a career to pursue but there is a fly in the ointment so to speak. The problem is that with how much you earn being connected to where you place it can mean that if you are qualifying but not placing high enough to make enough cash then you can find that you back yourself into a corner where the competitors appear to be more upgraded than you are and you have set yourself up for failure.

If you want to do well overall then you will need to learn to upgrade wisely and consistently so as not to find yourself in a place where you are outclassed by the competition. Yeah if your opponents didn't get harder then this would ruin the whole upgrading idea basically making you unbeatable once you'd slapped on a few upgrades, when you think of it like this its a very hard to implement a system like this and have it work, one way they could have worked around this would be to have you be allowed to enter extra races, for example prize only races which while not progressing the game allow you to earn the extra money you might not have made if you hadn't placed high enough.

The game also features something else the original didnt and thats damage, your car can become damaged and then drive worse and slower, this makes you need to be a little more careful, if this is a good thing or not depends on if you like being careful.

Ok so I realise that I have spent the vast majority of this review comparing it to the first one but thats because its these diffrences which make it a came of its own. Yes the grasphics  and sound are roughly the same as the first entry but they have changed enough things to make this more than a cookie cutter sequel, is it better or is it worse? Well that strongly depends on what you want in a racer, do you want upgrades and damage or not? If you want those things try this game if you dont then the first is best for you. I would give this the exact same score 7 out of 10 and just say go for the one which sounds the most like your kind of thing.

When I talked about the original I said that it was cheaper to get the second one with the first one being about £8 for an import or £15 for a UK version (cart only) and I said the sequel would be cheaper, its funny how times change, when I did a little searching for this review I found you can now get Top Gear for the SNES for around £8 for a Uk version and there actually seems to be a lot less copies of the sequel around with the cheapest copy I could find being £15 for a loose cart. I guess it just goes to show how the retro game market can change and flow one way and another.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

SNES Review 115: The Troddlers

So when I first started the whole retro collecting thing it was a case of trying to get what I used to own when I was younger, then I seemed to start trying to get games I had played at various friends houses and wished I had owned, then this went on to trying games which I had heard good things about. In the end it came down to the fact that I would buy pretty much anything which was being sold for what I consider to be a good price. Sometimes knowing if a price is good or not simply comes down to pulling my phone out and checking the kind of review scores it got and then looking at the kind of price it tends to go for. I will happily buy a supposedly bad game to give it a bash as long as I can get it for a low price, if its supposed to be good then I am happy to dip my hand a little deeper in to my pocket, and obviously my hand will go lower if its a complete version with the box and manual as well as a cart. I came across the game I am talking about today a few weeks ago and although I like to think I know a lot about games and that I have played a large amount of them I had no idea what it was, but it was sat there in a shop window complete for £9.99 , it wasn't the only boxed game in fact there was a copy of the Page Master on one side of it for £19.99 and Bubsy the BobCat on the other side for £24.99, this game wasn't just less though it was in much better condition and I knew I had never played it before. The game was called Troddlers and the first thing I thought when I saw it was ''oh I think this game looks a little bit Lemmings like'' the second was ''oh it uses the SNES mouse, I have a SNES mouse''.

So this is how I ended up with Troddlers and how I came to learn that it existed, now you would think that if it was any good then someone would know about it, someone I knew back when the SNES was popular would have owned it, or I would have seen it in a magazine. There are so very many games on the SNES which are good old classics then on top of this there is a whole heap of games which are considered to be underrated cult classics, yet the beauty of the machine is that the library of games for it seems to be so large and wide that just when you think you have seen all of it something else will come along and surprise you, so with this in mind I am not surprised to find something new, the main thing that surprises me is that I had until this point never heard of it despite the fact that it received a Pal release and was also formerly on the Amiga another machine I owned and enjoyed back in its day.

The Super Nintendo is a very well loved machine with a very big fan base, with collectors and fans in general going out of there way to hunt track down and purchase titles that they haven't tried before, importing games, trying to play titles which are only available in Japanese. The thing is though that usually people find there way to new games by looking at stuff which was made by companies they are familiar with so they look for Capcom games, or Konami games for example where as Troddlers was programmed by Atod a video game developer located in Helsingborg, Sweden and as far as I know this was the only game they made for the SNES, and it was published by a company called Storm which was a subsidiary of The Sales Curve / Seika Corp. Now these are hardly the names that dreams are made of, lets face it this was released in 1993 the year both Star Fox/Wing and Mario All Stars came out, so maybe I did see it in passing but when it was sat on the shelves beside giants and I was a kid with limited income it wasn't going to stand out with unknown company names on the box and a very childish name and box art, lets face it back then there was no internet to check to see if a game was good, instead you had to take a chance with your cash and it was always easier to bet on a known name.

So first things first what kind of game is Troddlers? Well in simple terms it's basically a puzzle game with platformer elements. Now when you have something which is obviously a cookie cutter rip off its easy to go well its a clone of this however there are not that many games which can be compared to Troddlers in fact I think the closest game I could name as a point of comparison which most people will have played would be Lemmings.

It would be totally unfair and incorrect to call Troddlers a Lemings clone though as there are many differences between the two games which I shall get into latter on in this review. Just to make this point plain. The SNES version is actually a remake with the original having appeared on the Amiga. It often suprises me how many games have found a home on both the SNES and the Amiga as you would think that they were very different systems which would attract a different audience, yet I suppose if you have a finished game which only needs a little converting to end up on a different platform and make more money then why not go for it? Still I will add I have never played the Amiga version so I wont be discussing differences or if its better or worse instead I shall merly be discussing the game on its own merits. 

I know I don't always break games up into there various components, in fact I am very aware of the fact that my review style seems to change from game to game but there are often reasons for this, sometimes a game personally means something to me, when I play a game it takes me back to the time and place when I either first came across the game or to the point where I fell in love with it, in this case though this game is totally new to me so I find myself being a little more clinical when looking at it. With this in mind I will start with the story.

In the past I have frequently talked about how bad the death of the instruction manual is, but I can see why companies have chosen to give them the big shove, mostly its to save money but in honesty they are arguably not as needed as they used to be. Games now days are often very story driven they have all these cut scenes and voice overs which help to add layer after layer of story to the proceedings back in the 16bit era typically the stories were far simpler some of them hardly made any appearance in the game at all, sometimes unless you read the instruction manual you wouldn't really know that there was a story, Troddlers is one of these cases. If you read the manual then you will discover Troddlers back story, and I will lay it out here in brief

Hokus and Pokus (the games main characters), are trainee wizards, there boss is a sorcerer called Divinius, who is both bossy and lazy. Hokus and Pokus are troublemakers who constantly play pranks, these pranks annoy Divinius and so he orders them to clean out his massive storeroom which he has not cleaned for countless centuries. Hokus and Pokus however basically slacked off and didnt do the work instead spending there time mucking around this is when they realised that if they didnt do some work pronto they were going to get in big trouble. So they decided that they would move various boxes around in order to give the impression that they had actually done something, while moving boxes they found one with writing on it, writing which said "WARNING! Instant magical troddlers - Just add water. May turn into zombified variety if allowed to teleport. DO NOT TOUCH!" These "troddlers".

The troddlers are basically little men with limited intelligence, who exist to do chores. So in Sorcerers apprentice mop bucket fashion Hokus and Pokus decide that life will be much easier if they can get the Troddlers to do there work for them. So they quickly ripped there way into the box accidentally spilling the contents into their cleaning bucket, and this caused hundreds of troddlers to appear, troddlers who quickly start marching towards the nearest teleporter. It was at this point that Divinius stormed in to the room just in time to see this happening and he responded by yelling "Go after them right this instant and get back as many as you can!! And don't bring back any bleedin' zombies!!"

OK I freely admit that its not exactly a work of Shakespeare but as far as 90's video games go its not to bad and hey at least the characters are not full of 90's-tude.
The music and the graphics in this game are both rather basic so I will talk about them quickly and together.The music is simple but it is actually kind of catchy. There are several different backgrounds that you will see throughout the game, and you get different tunes which corresponds to these nicely. For example, one of the backgrounds shows pyramids and such, and it is coupled with music with an Egyptian style to it. Graphically, the best way to describe the game is with two words adequate and functional. On the bad side a lot of things are rather plain and rather small but on the plus side every single one of the objects on screen is clear, its easy to work out what they are and all of the movement appears smooth.

OK so now on to the most important part of a game which is obviously the gameplay. In Troddlers, you play as Hokus if your playing in single player or Hokus and Pokus if your playing in multiplayer (player one automatically being Hokus and player 2 Pokus). The game is broken up into missions. About 175 so a heck of a lot to be fair, and before each mission your shown what your objective is and given a few key facts, for example the amount of troddlers in the level. In each level you must complete whatever task you have been given within a set time limit. The main objectives the game are leading troddlers to the levels exit (this is the part which will most remind people of lemmings), then there are levels where the goal is to destroy zombie troddlers and then there are levels in which you collect gems. Its not as basic as each level having just one of these objectives, nope in fact many of the levels will combine some of these tasks asking you to collect a certain number of gems while also destroying a set amount of zombies for example.

OK so unlike Lemmings, Troddlers places you in control of an on screen character either through using the control pad or the snes mouse. You can place blocks and erase blocks, which you use to form a path to direct the troddlers towards the exit or for other things such as blocking enemies from reaching the troddlers. You don't have an unlimited amount of blocks though, so you have to use them wisely, with the blocks you have available viewable on the right side of the screen. There is a limit to how many blocks you can have but you can place one block and then pick up another (the max holdable is 15). There are many different types of blocks in the game, each of which has its own special effect. The block on the bottom of the right hand of the screen is always the one that is placed down next, and when a block is erased, it is automatically added to the top of the pile.

OK so in order to make the game interesting you have various different types of block with which to play Normal blocks are the most common and have no special skills, but then there are ice blocks, mine blocks, flipper blocks, bouncer blocks, and pauser blocks, they all basically do exactly what they sound like they do and with a few minutes of playing around with them you will begin to realise just what you can achieve by either using one or a combination of them. You will find yourself working out how to use these blocks both to help the Troddlers but also how to use them to stop or slow down the Zombie troddlers

So I find myself at that point again when the game needs a final verdict, I guess it depends very much on if you like this type of game or not if you do then its a good solid example of a well thought out puzzle game, which plays well and is overall pretty darn pleasing and if you dont then your not going to buy it regardless of whatever rating I give it. If I had to give it a number out of 10 I think I would go for 7, I like it and there is not much else on the market like it for the SNES well apart from the Lemmings games (and king Arthur's world). Last time I looked up the price of it well it seemed to be sitting at around £15 for a cart and I think its a fair price, obviously I would recommend you look around and try for the best price you can but that's advice I would give when your making any video game investment.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Bonanza Bros: why I think it should have been the start of a series of games.

I have previously talked about Alien Storm and Gain Ground as being games which Sega made which I feel should have been the start of franchises, well here is another game I feel falls in that category the game is Bonanza Bros.

Bonanza Bros is a game which I find a little hard to explain I guess, I have seen it described as a shooting platform game but I dont think that really does it justice. It has something in common with Gain Ground and thats the fact that it was originally on the Sega System 24 arcade system board.

So in Bonanza Bros you take on either the role of Robo, or Mobo (they are referd to as Mike and Spike in some PAL versions), who were apparently modeled after Jake and Elwood The Blues Brothers. Robo and Mobo are basically expert burglers and the objective of the game is for the player(s) to make there way through the various levels which include a bank, a casino and an art gallery amongst others and steel the loot and make your get away with it by making your way up to a blimp which is on the roof. Sure you can shoot, but you can also try to be stealthy. I am not going to say that this game was the first of its kind both the plot and the gameplay is very simmilar to an older title on the Atari 2600 called Keystone Kapers but I feel that Bonanza Bros just hit all of the right notes in the right ways, it was a particularly good game mostly due to the atmosphere it creates with its look and feel. I find this game particularly enjoyable in Two playe mode where you play cooperatively at the same time.

There is a slight regional diffrence when it comes to plot which I feel I should mention this is that in the Japense version the players characters are simply thieves attempting to steal valuable treasures for there own personal profit whilst avoiding the law; in other regions they are instead merly experts who are recruited by the Police Chief to test security facilities, its kind of funny really how back then there seemed to be such regard for wether the player could really play what essentially is a villian or not when now days you can easily pick up games in any region where your a criminal.

So as Robo or Mobo basically you walk around the various levels using the limited skills you have but mostly with your wits to try and get the goods and get away with it. You can jump, you can shoot and you can move in to the background, hiding behind columns or furniture, in the shaodows, you cant actually kill guards you can only stun them for a few seconds to get away from them, either by shooting them or by slamming a door open onto them. The game is very simplistic but that works for it, its quick to pick up and play and always good for a quick burst of fun especially in two player mode.

The arcade version was the original but clearly it was popular enough to get around enough back in the day it was ported to the Sega Mega Drive which is the version I am most fammiliar with but it also found itse way on to the Sega Master System, many home computers such as the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad in Europe at least as well as the Amiga and Atari ST and proberbly a whole host of conversions I am unaware of. The game despite this popularity never got a proper sequel but there was a few spin off games, they are spin offs because they dont follow the gameplay style of the original they are instead puzzle games so in my oppinion at least they dont count, they along with the characters inclusion as playable characters in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, a cameo in the "Race of AGES" track in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. alongside them getting there own "Bonanza Bros." slot machine shows that the characters havent been completly forgotten. To be honest its not just the characters that have remained in peoples minds it the game too. Its popularity doesnt seem to have gone away as in recent years it has cropped up here and there, it was included in the Japanese version of Sonic Gems Collection, It also got a Sega Ages release on the PlayStation 2, and that version was included in the English compilation Sega Classics Collection. It was in the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PSP. The game next appeared in Sonic's/Sega's Ultimate Genesis/Mega Drive Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. As well as making its way on to various online stores such as the Wii's virtual console and Steam and some models of mobile phone.

So one of the reason I think we need more Bonanza Bros is because there is nothing quiet like it, I also think that we need far more offline multiplayer co-operative games, now days mutliplayer tends to mean online, it also tends to mean competitive a lot of the time, I think that a download title for modern consoles which takes what was in the original Bonanza Bros and builds on it would be something to behold.

Now I want to go off on a slight tangent and mention a game I played recently which I feel has an element of Bonanza Bros in it and that game would be Not a Hero. It shares a degree of its graphical style with Bonanza Bros, it also has a lot of humour and very simple but tight gameplay, it differs from Bonanza Bros in the fact that it throws in a darker type of humour, bad language and mega violence at the screen, its like Bonanza Bros meets Hotline Miami and while I very very highly recomend it its not one to show your kids, thats why I would like a new Bonanza Bros and why I think it should have been the start of a series, as long as there are new machines and new kids getting in to gaming then we could do with more of this kind of thing.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Should you sell the past to fund the future: A gaming debate.

I am not sure how many of you will have done this and how many havent but have you ever sold your old games to buy ones for the next big thing? Now I dont mean have you swapped Xbox 360 game A for Xbox 360 game B at your local indy store while throwing in a few quid, what I am talking about is have you sold the games from an older machine to buy games for your latest machine for example did you sell your SNES games to buy either an N64 or N64 games, or did you sell your gamecube games (and maybe machine) to buy a Wii or Wii games.

I would like to say I have never done it but unfortunatly I have. In fact I can think of a few occasions where I did this. I know for a start I sold my first N64 and the about 8 games I had, this wasnt to get games for a newer machine though it was from pure economic needs. What made me decide to write this blog post though was when I looked at my original Xbox Games, the thought hit me, how many do I actually have. Well  just after I had finshed counting how many Xbox Games I have (101) I realised that this number was kind of an important number to me, it was important because it was a new high for how many original Xbox games I have owned at any one time. You see I got up to 100 Xbox games before I began to trade them in towards games for newer systems. At the time I didnt regret this as well I wanted the new stuff, I wasnt using the old and it seemed like a good idea but latter I came to regret my decisions, I then started to purchase original Xbox games again partly just to collect and partly to correct my ''lapse in judgment''. In one of my previous posts I talked about premeptive retro purchasing which I described as buying something which was considerd to old to be considerd hip and new but not old enough to yet be considerd retro. It is kind of the norm that a lot of people will sell there old games (and/or machine) either during the lead up to a new console release to help fund the purchase of this new purchase or just after its release to buy more games for it and when someone is young or just doesnt have much cash its a very understandable tactic, its understandable but its one I have decided I will never do again. I think that most of the time if you hold on to your games sure they will see a big drop in value but for some of them at least this will just be a downwards curve which is at some stage reversed.

So If I started collecting Xbox games again, I think an important question is have I ended up with the exact same games I originally had? No, in all honesty I cant remember exactly what I had in the first place, do I like what I have though Yes. I have a mix of stuff including some games I really adore and thats good enough for me. I did track down particular titles such as Grabbed By the Ghoulies, Jade Empire, Knights of the Old Republic, Max Payne, which I know I owned before and regretted selling but I have also gotten ahold of games I never had but wanted originally such as Marvel Vs Capcom 2.

So should you sell your old games from the past generation to help you get games for the next? I can fully see why people do it and I have done so in the past, I cant really knock people for it but in all honesty I really dont think its a good idea at all. I would argue that if you are going to sell your past games that you make sure you do it in a rational way, dont just run to a games shop with everything you own under your arms, stop and think about it. Have a look through what you have. Is anything in that pile likly to end up being worth a fortune in the none to distant future, well if so then dont sell it, is there anything in that pile that your going to either wish you could play again or even wish you just had for sentimental value (did someone get it you or does it in some way mean something to you) then if so dont sell it. If you are comfortable that its value is only going to drop and drop or that your getting such a good deal on it that you can live with it then as long as you know you wont miss it then yeah feel free to get rid of it but even then I would suggest you look at the best way to sell it, look how much several shops will offer you for it and look how much they sell it for, get an idea of its value then either go for the best price quoted or sell it yourself to a friend or through a facebook sales group or something on that sort of line. I suppose it helps if you remember how much you have spent on your games in the first place. I tend to get a lot of games second hand when I can for as little as I can manage and if you do this yourself it helps to ensure that whatever you sell your games for your loosing less because you invested less to start with, heck if your lucky sometimes you might even turn a small profit.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A review of Fire Emblem Fates Conquest as well as an oppinion on what makes a good Fire Emblem title

I had thought about posting about Fire Emblem Fates a lot, and in a way this is my post about Fates but it is more than that, it is a post about Fire Emblem in general and about what I want from Fire Emblem titles. I am going to start exploring this by talking about Fates. I kind of always knew I was going to get the game even when I found out it was split into basically 3 games I knew I would get them, then life got in the way and I forgot all about it and it got very close to the games release. It was at this point that the big all 3 games in one edition was tottally sold out so I orderd Birthright and Conquest for the best price I could find £29.99 each and figured I would download the third one when I needed to as well I know Nintendo they never produce enough of anything so the above all in one set would become scalpers fodder being sold for ridiculous prices online that I simply wouldnt pay. I couldnt get as mad as I would like as I have to admit I did drop the ball and not pay proper attention to when it was coming out but that still doesnt stop me feeling annoyed about the way Nintendo handles things once again. (I have also missed the boat on the new Fire Emblem's limited edition but as I am not really into having too many art books etc this doesnt bother me too much).

Conquest Arrived 2 days before the game was due to be released so I opend it and began to play the game, by the time Birthright arrived on the day of release I was already about 6 stages into Conquest and so far I havent even undone Birthright.

Part of what has spurned me into commenting on Fates now is having read the brilliant blog post by DS90Gamer which I will give you the link for before I continue This wasnt the only article I had read about the game(s) though I had read an article about Fates being a Waifu simulator a term I will explain latter as well as various reviews, criticisms and all kinds of bits and pieces on why this is the best or worst entry of Fire Emblem to date as well as articles on why the next entry in the series Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia would be better or worse than Fates.

Something I need to talk about now is the fact that in a way the Fire Emblem fan base seems to have pretty much split in two to some degree, there are those who want to play Fire Emblem for the tactical gameplay, who see it as a chance to stretch there grey matter, they kind of see it as a mix between risk and chess, where they can pit there wits against those of a computer controlled enemy and those who are in it for the characters to see there development, to see there growing relationships and to well I guess to have a hand in deciding which warriors will team togther and be best friends, and who will marry who. I am not saying that you cant fit in to both of these camps, heck I do, I love both the tactical side of things and all of the relationships, I think the two go hand in handto other an experiance which is multilayerd and more than the sum of its parts when put togther. Fire Emblem Awakening deliverd in both of these areas and was seriously one of my favourate games of all time so its possible to offer both.

 Ok so I guess its time to take a break and say what a Waifu is... Now there are a lot of slightly diffrent explanations but here goes, oh actually wait first I am going to start by saying what a Weeaboo is. In basic a Weeaboo is someone who is obsessed with Japan/Japanese Culture (Usually used in terms of Anime obsessives) someone who attempts to act as if they are actually Japanese, through doing things such as learning Japanese words by listening to Anime's and trying to use the subtitles to know what they mean usually resultiung in them either pronouncing them wrong or using them out of context and generally just coming across as stupid, if I make this sound bad its because the term is essentially used as an insult. Now I feel I need to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with enjoying other cultures or trying to adapt some of there ideas however I think some of the stigma around this comes from how some people do it and to what degree. I adore a lot of Japense games, cartoons, food and elements of there culture but I know I am really just an outsider looking in.  Ok so now thats out of the way a Waifu is a term as far as I know that was coined by obsessives to basically refer to a fictional Anime or Video game character that they have a crush on, who if real they would happily pursue and try to make there wife. There is a certain element in the Fire Emblem fandom who see it as a Waifu simulator they basically like to make there avatar and then ship themselves with the female who they are most attracted to either due to there looks, personality or elements of both. A lot of people will make jokes about Weeaboo's being obbsessed with there Waifu's and being either unable to or simply not wanting to go out and get a real relationship instead investing all of there time and effort in to fantasy. Now why do I bring this up, well its because of the fact that sometimes if people claim that they really like one of the modern Fire Emblems for the relationships/drama side of it then they get accused of being Weaboo's who want there Waifu's and I want to say that as far as I am concerned there is nothing wrong with people enjoying the relationship component of this game or any other, just because you like the characters and like seeing how diffrent couplings come togther it doesnt make you a sicko or a weirdo (sure some people might take this too far but there are always those crazy few).

Its also important to note that I also have no issue with people who want a game of tactics which is free from friendship and dating marlkey, I can understand why some people would want to keep things pure and focused. I guess all that is left to do now is to talk about what I want from a game like this I am one of those people who actually likes both sides of the coin, I like the tactics and the relationships and find that they work hand in hand to offer a deeper more involved product overall. I am a little sad to hear that Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is going to be relationship free, I like to see who is going to end up beings whoise buddy, to read the support conversations which are sometimes funny and other times quiet touching but I enjoy the raw stratergy of these games enough that this wont put me off, hopefully it will stand on its own two feet but I would sooner have something more like Awakening which offers the best of both worlds.

So back to Conquest well I played and completed Conquest, I found that there were characters I liked a lot and some who I could easily have not botherd with and at first I was quiet in to the story but without any way to grind my characters I started to really struggle with latter levels more than I have in prevuious Fire Emblem games, and this was to the point that it actually started to make playing it a drag, I would go so far as to say I limped through the last 6 stages having to play them again and again really not enjoying them very much in order to just finish the game. Part of me says that I would have enjoyed the product and given it a more favourable review if I had simple stopped playing once it began to piss me off. I finished the game and have no desire to ever play it again I would proberbly give it a 7 out of 10 and in all honesty for the time being it has put me off playing Birthright and therfore my copy is still sealed and on the shelf (Although I am thinking about buying Revelations on my daughters advice). Since finishing Conquest I returned to Awakening and replayed it enjoying every single second, the missions were better , I found the difficulty better and I found the characters and relationships in general better. Conquest was a let down but it was only a let down because Awakening had set a very high bar for its successor to try and reach