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Video Game Quiz!

Guys! It’s been far too long. Like four months too long.

My first ever blog post was a video game quiz, so seeing as I’ve been away for a while and a bit rusty on the old blogging malarkey, I thought I’d get back into it with a new Video Game Quiz that’s popped up on Tumblr.

Please feel free to use the quiz for your own blogs!

Here we go:

1:Do you try to stay away from walkthroughs?

Generally yes. I feel like they can spoil the game, especially if you read a bit too far ahead and reveal too much of the storyline! I usually have a rule where I try on my own for at least half an hour, then if I’m still stuck I can have a sneak peek at a walkthrough. I’d never judge someone who uses them or needs them to progress in a game, I’d rather finish a game with a bit of help than leave it on my shelf because I couldn’t get past one section!

2:Company you’re always loyal to?

I wouldn’t particularly say I’m a loyal gamer, but going through VG companies I’d say Rockstar is up there. I’m still waiting for another game like LA Noire.. This is probably embarrassing to say but the company I’m most loyal to is probably Treyarch, or just the Call of Duty franchise as a whole. I can’t help it, I have a love/hate relationship with those games!

3:Best game you’ve ever played?

Oooooooh. Tough one. Probably Portal (I consider Portal 1 and 2 one big game, that’d be like having a favourite child). I actually cried when I finished Portal 2 because I was so upset it was over. I got a bit obsessed with the games, I was having dreams of jumping through portals and was rushing home from work just to play it.

4:Worst game you’ve ever played?

I think I’ve mentioned this before.. but SPICE World. I don’t think it should be allowed to be called a game, it’s just one big giant pile of disappointment. My dad took me and my brother to GAME (or Gamestation, whatever it was called in 1998) and said we could each pick a game of our own. He tried to buy our love with video games, what a guy. I can’t remember what my brother bought, either FIFA or a mundane racing game, but I bought SPICE World. This was my first video game that was mine, not a game for the family to play, it was for me. Little Amy in her Spice Girl platform shoes, with her bubble coat and weird see-through plastic backpack. In my mind the game was going to be like the platform games out at the time, kind of like a Lego game where you can switch characters and unlock outfits. But no. NO. You pick a Spice Girl song, then “remix” it, which creates a choppy, out of time mess. Next you go to a dance studio and learn a dance routine of buttons, THEN you go to a TV studio where the crappy song plays and you press the dance routine buttons. THAT’S IT. This is the kind of shite they thought was acceptable to push for young girl gamers to play, and it still happens today with the Bratz or Barbie games (there’s plenty of YouTube Let’s Play videos of people taking the piss out of these games). Clearly it still upsets me..

5:A popular series/game you just can’t get into no matter how much you try?

Halo. I played it a lot on the original Xbox with my brother back in the day, but I never carried on the franchise. I tried to play Halo 3 on Xbox 360 but felt out of touch with it so gave up. I don’t own an Xbox One so I can’t even play The Master Chief Collection to try it again.

6:A game that’s changed you the most?

Tomb Raider was a big game for me growing up. I was never very good at it but I really enjoyed playing it and watching other people play. A few years ago when I was going through a rough patch I played Tomb Raider Legend four times in a row. I would get overwhelmed by new games, so decided to stick with Lara. She got me through a bad time!

7:A game you’ll never forget?

Besides Tomb Raider, I’ll never forget PT. I know it was just a demo, but playing it in the dark with a mate at 1am and absolutely crapping ourselves was such a fun time. The hype, mystery and eventual let down of the cancelled Silent Hills game was unforgettable. 

8:Best soundtrack?

Child of Light’s soundtrack was so beautiful, it made me cry a few times throughout the game. I’m currently playing Unravel which also has a gorgeous soundtrack, it’s so laid back but sad at the same time. I’m waiting for the official soundtrack to be released so I can buy it!

9:A game you turn your volume off every time you play it?

I don’t think I’ve ever turned the volume off in a game?

10:A game you’ve completely given up on?

Not going to lie, there’s a few. One franchise I really wanted to play was Mass Effect. I hit a big, game destroying glitch in the first game and that kind of killed it for me. Maybe one day I’ll give it another go.

11:Hardest game you’ve played?

I tried Dark Souls, it wasn’t for me. (Not just the difficulty, the game in general)

12:Shortest time you’ve beaten a game in?

I’m a pretty slow gamer and don’t really clock my time in a game, but I completed the Call of Duty Black Ops III campaign in one sitting. Went to bed at 7am. It was awful.

13:A game you were the most excited for when it wasn’t released yet?

LA Noire. I don’t pre-order games, but that game was pre-ordered. Also the Tomb Raider reboot from 2013. (I’m still waiting on the PS4 version of Rise of the Tomb Raider!)

14:A game you think would be cool if it had voice acting?

I don’t know. Games without voice acting work because they have no voice acting. Like Child of Light, I don’t think it would have worked if the characters spoke.

15:Which two games do you think would make an awesome crossover?

Tomb Raider and Uncharted? Or is that too cliche? 

16:Character you’ve hated most? From what game?

I can’t think off the top of my head of my all time most hated, but I really disliked Chloe in Uncharted 2. Always making snarky comments and getting in the way!

17:What game do you never tell people you play?

There’s no hiding your gameplay these days, might as well embrace it! I don’t think there’s ever been a game I’ve been embarrassed to play. My mum bought me Shrek 3 on Xbox 360 and I still own it! It’s a terrible game but I actually had a laugh playing a few of the mini games.

18:A game you wish your friends knew about?

Mate, I wish I had more friends that played games..

19:Which game do you think deserves a revival?

I’m excited for the Crash Bandicoot Remasters, but I’m a bit worried they’ll botch it up. Looks like they’ve done a good job with the Uncharted series, but Crash is a lot older.

20:What was the first video game you ever played?

It was either Tetris or Super Mario Bros. My parents bought a NES in 1991 when I was about 18 months old. Seeing as it was quite a robust console they let me bash about on the controller from a young age.

21:How old were you when you first played a video game?

18 months old!

22:If you could immerse yourself in any game for one day, which game would it be? What would you do?

I feel like I’m repeating games in this quiz, but Portal would be amazing. I’d love to use one of the portal guns. But just being in a game where you can run for long distances or climb walls, I know people can do that in real life but I can’t!

23:Biggest disappointment you’ve had in gaming?

See above for SPICE World story.. 

24:Casual, Hardcore, or in the middle?

In the middle, leaning more towards casual. Depends on how I’m feeling and how hyped I am about a game.

25:Be honest; have you ever used cheats (like ActionReplay or Gameshark)?

Besides the cheats in the old school magazines you could buy in the 90’s, or the cheats in The Sims (rosebud!;!; and motherlode anyone?) I’ve never used cheats.

26:Handheld or console?

Console.

27:Has there ever been a moment that has made you cry?

I cried at the end of Portal, The Walking Dead, Child of Light (throughout the game), and got emotional at the end of Wolfenstein. My first ever game where a character dies as part of the story line was Final Fantasy 7 when Aeris dies. I had to google her name because my brother changed her name to Jenny, which is my mum’s name. Bit weird watching your mum die in a video game at 8 years old.

28:Which character’s clothes do you wish you owned the most?

The Assassin’s Creed outfits are pretty damn cool.

29:Which is more important, gameplay or story?

For me it’s the story. As much as I enjoy bigger games like Skyrim, I can get a bit lost as to what I’m supposed to be doing.

30:A game that hasn’t been localized in your country that you think should be localized?

I can’t think of any game that hasn’t been released over here in the UK? I’m assuming there’s a lot of cool Japanese games not released here, I’ve never looked into it though.

 

And there you go! Like I said please feel free to use the quiz in your own blog post (unfortunately I can’t credit who created the quiz as I can’t find the original post on Tumblr!)

Hopefully I’ll be posting again on here soon, I’ve been playing a lot of games that I want to talk about!

– AmyGames

Twitter: @littleamyhere

Etsy: Curly Stitches

 

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Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This review has been sat in my drafts for a while now, so apologies!

Before I start, yes I will be discussing the book in detail, so if you haven’t read the book and intend to, you might want to skip this. I’m serious – spoilers ahead!

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The story is set in the year 2044, a dystopian future full of poverty, illness and all round crappiness. Humanity have one thing to take them away from reality – OASIS. A virtual reality set up by James Halliday, a billionaire who grew up in the 80’s and filled his pixelated utopian world with every scrap of 80’s nostalgia you can think of. OASIS was used worldwide for work, education, entertainment, retail therapy, and most of all: gaming.

When James Halliday passed away, a video was released on his website, explaining that somewhere in The OASIS was an easter egg. Whoever found the egg would inherit his $240 billion dollar estate, and the ownership and management of OASIS. The winner would have to find three keys (copper, jade and crystal), three gates, and complete the riddles and quests thrown at them.

For five years, millions of people searched the entire virtual world of OASIS, in the hopes of finding the first key. Most people gave up, thinking the game was impossible. That was until 18 year high school student Wade stumbled across the first key. As you can imagine, all hell broke loose.

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Now I was born in 1989 so didn’t exactly grow up in the 80’s, but I grew up surrounded by a lot of 80’s pop culture: TV shows, movies, games, music. When I started reading the book I was incredibly excited, I understood the 80’s references and really enjoyed the nostalgic buzz.

After a while though, it got a little boring. Nauseating. A bit confusing. I’m not sure if I can believe that an entire generation would grow up obsessed with a decade from over 50 years ago, sticking to pop culture, even fashion (God help them) from just that generation. Besides a few references to Firefly and the Lord of the Rings movies, there was hardly any mention of the 90’s or 2000’s, two decades that were crammed with nerd culture and also the time of the technology boom. Why would James Halliday, a man who grew up obsessed with video games, not also enjoy pop culture from his adulthood? Crash Bandicoot? Babylon 5? THE X FILESTEKKEN?!

I began thinking about it more, 50 years ago it was 1965. I enjoy a lot of 1960’s music, some movies, even some of the fashion creeps into the latest trends every so often. But to become completely immersed into the 60’s decade and have no interest in the 50 years after it? I couldn’t do it, and I couldn’t realistically see a teenager from 2045 ignoring over 50 years of games and movies to play 8-bit games and watch Ladyhawke all the time.

The book is one giant trip down memory lane, with no way back. I’m sure a lot of people loved it, but if the future of gaming is getting hooked into a simulator to play Space Invaders and Black Tiger, then I don’t want it. Look how far games have come since those very first video games, we’ve seen the Wii (some people laugh at the Wii now, but it was a major step in physical gaming), Kinect, voice command on consoles, amazing high quality graphics, the Oculus Rift and even the Virtuix Omni (a walking platform used with the Oculus Rift, amazing stuff!). Even comparing the first Tomb Raider game to the latest version released in 2013, gaming has come a hell of a long way in less than twenty years. I used Tomb Raider because Lara Croft’s my girl, and this image is bloody incredible:

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Besides the giant plot hole that I couldn’t get my head round, I did enjoy the book. The quest for the egg kept me going and I was just as eager as Wade and the other characters to find out what happens when the egg is found.

[Actual spoilers from here, so if you’re still reading and don’t want to be spoiled.. STOP!]

One of my favourite parts of the book was when Wade’s best friend, Aech (pronounced H..), reveals that they are actually a black lesbian female, and not the white male that her avatar portrays. I’ve read different opinions on this plot twist, some people were happy with the representation of race, gender and sexuality, and some were saddened by it. They were concerned that Cline believes that the world in 2045 will still contain prejudice, leaving those from a minority having to pretend to be a completely different person in order to be successful in the OASIS (and to avoid being targeted no doubt). Considering the story is based in a dystopian future, and also looking back through history – racism, sexism and homophobia has been around for a hell of a long time. Looking at the world today, I doubt it’s going to stop any time soon. I think Cline used it as a bit of a slap in the face with reality: if things don’t change now, if we don’t stand up and try to make a difference now, then bullshit like this is going to carry on happening in the future, with people still being scared to show their true identity.

The final battle scene was really fun to read, and is something I’d love to see or take part in myself! Thousands of gamers coming together to help the main characters make it through the third gate, stopping the bad guy Sorrento and his minions from getting hold of the final key. Cline threw in a good twist with the Sixers setting off the Cataclyst, obliterating everyone in the OASIS, including the main characters. I did think it was a bit cheesy with Wade gaining the extra life from previously beating the Pac-Man score (I knew when he won the quarter that it would come in handy later on), but considering only one person could enter the final gate, it was the only fair way to allow Wade to go in. If Art3mis and Aech weren’t blown up (virtually..) I’m sure Wade would have insisted they go through the gate instead of him.

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Overall, yes I did enjoy the book. It took me about three days to read it and I was eager to know what happens in the end. I can understand why it appealed to the nerds, geeks and gamers who enjoy reading, yet I wonder whether people enjoyed the hype of reading a book with lots of pop culture references more than reading the story itself.

I’m sure everyone has already heard the news that Steven Spielberg is planning on making Ready Player One into a big blockbuster movie. Do I think it would work? Potentially. A lot of books don’t translate well to cinema, but I can already imagine the big fight scenes and an epic soundtrack in the background. Maybe the story will work better in movie form, Spielberg is obviously incredibly talented and has worked on book to movie projects before. I’m interested to find out which actors they decide to cast, and whether they’re anything like I imagined. Now it’s just a waiting game I guess.

Book rating: 3 out of 5

I just want to make the point known that this is my own personal opinion of the book. I’m up for a discussion and encourage people to leave comments down below! Or if you have written your own review of RPO leave a link and I’ll give it a read.

– AmyGames

Twitter: littleamyhere

Nerdy Cross-Stitching: Retro Style.

If you’ve read a few of my older blogs you’d have seen a few nerdy crafts projects of mine. Well here’s another one!

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It’s still slightly unfinished, I just need to stitch on some backing and I’ve got my very own NES controller bookmark!

I only started this as a tester to get back into cross stitching, I’m starting a big project as a gift for my Mum, so wanted to make sure I wasn’t jumping in head first and getting overwhelmed. This took me one week to make, it sounds a long time for such a small piece, but with working full time I just don’t have the time to sit and stitch. Hopefully I can get a little bit faster as I keep practising.

The great thing about cross-stitch is it’s just squares, it’s basically 8-bit on fabric, which means I can have a go at stitching pretty much all the old 8-bit games. I’m thinking of making a piece with all my old favourite characters on it, it might take me a long time, but wouldn’t it look great?!

– AmyGames

Twitter: littleamyhere