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E3 is now over and for the most part it was pretty – okay. xxxBoxOnexxx managed to reveal some sequels to well know franchises but also gave us some new ip: Sea of Thieves, Anthem and A way out. Sony gave us an update of all the games it showed us  2 years ago. For the first time in about 4 years Nintendo actually put some effort in and gave us what we wanted.

Not too bad really.

Now we just have to wait for everything to show up. Unfortunately this is where it all falls down. Beyond Good and Evil 2, is rumoured to have only just started development and games like God of War 4 are still another year away. Problem with this approach is people get bored of waiting, or generally loose interest in games which are still a good 2-5 years away.

Some games manage to buck this trend and take ages to be released but then people loose their shit when it finally comes out. For example: Breath of the Wild. Some games release never ending gameplay trailer until it looks dated or someones already re-hashed the ideas into a game thats available now. Others choose to release early and go with the episode approach like Hitman. For some people this is fine, but for me I like to buy the complete product not be drip fed episodes then made to wait for the next one, which could turn out to be crap.

The best announcement for a game, I can remember was the announcement of Fallout 4, a game that rode the hype train and then massively under-delivered. But people rode that hype train, they didn’t have chance to think much about it. From announcement to release was about 4 months.

Most of the time dragging something out is worse than not announcing anything at all. If Sony took the approach of only announcing games that where at maximum a year away people would loose their shit more than a game thats like 5 years away.

But then if all you have is a selection of games 3-4 years away the last thing you want to do is a Nintendo where you go on stage and cry into the camera.

Difficult.

 

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Pokemon Go – A Casual Player’s Reaction

If you haven’t heard of this small mobile game that has taken over the world by now I’m pretty sure you’re either living in a cave, or you cut yourself off from all popular culture deliberately as you find yourself above such plebeian pleasures – either of which would make it very unlikely for you to be reading this very blog (although with the second one I still find it hard to believe you wouldn’t have even *heard* of it), so let’s forgo the basic description and get right down to it.

Pokemon Go is a phenomenal success – never in their wildest dreams did Nintendo predict it becoming as popular as it has done. Children run around with their parents, adults who grew up with the original Red and Blue run around with mixed feelings of excitement and nostalgia, hardcore gamers mingling with us casuals and even those who don’t generally play anything more complicated than Candy Crush – all running to parks and public venues to battle gyms/collect items and catch Pokemon.

I think one of the things I have loved about this game is that you see people playing it *everywhere*. Last night the future-husband and I were in the car driving to where we believed a Bulbasaur spawn nest was located, and not only did we see kids running around looking for it, we saw people our own age (and older) in their cars with passengers bathed in the electronic glow of multiple phones. I then went on Facebook and my friend had posted that she had spent her date night with her husband on the hunt for elusive ‘mons. It’s EVERYWHERE.

People have posted time and again how important this game has been in helping people connect, and although I could happily join in I realise I would just be repeating things better said elsewhere, so I will try to limit the gushing. What I will say is something that the FH (see I’m abbreviating it now) said to me when we started playing this together:

“I love that I’m part of something mainstream again.”

We geeks do love and embrace our identity, but sometimes I think we forget how fun it is to be able to engage with something we enjoy with literally anyone. The FH has managed to go out and started to recognise familiar faces on Poke-Hunts, and then start up conversations about what they have caught and if anything good is nearby. I don’t think he realises it, but the quote I shared (probably paraphrased by my terribly memory) is something he has started to regularly say when we talk about the game, or when we’re out together hunting (HA! Never thought there would be an innocent and environmentally way to talk about hunting did you?!), so I know how much he’s enjoying that feeling.

pokemon go loading screen

I will say this though – the game isn’t perfect. Because they didn’t predict the kind of global reaction this game has received, the servers are nowhere near stable and glitch all the goddamn time. And don’t even get me started on my issue with the sensitivity of throwing a bloody pokeball (my depth perception with this isn’t the best either, so I piss through pokeballs which irritates me no end). My last bugbear is the tracking, which is broken to all hell. In fact it is so bad I’m pretty sure that’s why Pokevision has become so popular (although I don’t really believe that, people will do anything to get a legendary).

But I forgive all of these. If the game kicks you out, you just wait and try to get back in when you can. Pokevision is a good alternative to tracking whilst its still broken, and has resorted in some pretty spectacular sights (the FH went out to catch a Snorlax at a school nearby, he arrived at the same time as a bunch of cars, and then proceeded to watch a stream of people break into school grounds and run across to catch this one guy. I would like to point out at this time he did not join in, instead he came back to tell me about it)

The positives definitely outweigh the bugs that come with Nintendo quickly learning how to wrestle this epic beast they have created. They have persuaded people to run around outside, and socialise in groups they wouldn’t otherwise. All whilst playing the most hated of gaming platforms – the free-to-play mobile phone game. I tip my hat to them all.

It also means I can fulfill my dream to become the Joey Rattata of Psyducks. Top percentage of Psyducks here I come!

Marina's_Psyduck

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