Lets talk about Pokemon Go

We had a couple of articles about Pokemon Go when it first came out. Mostly positive. Now that its been a year what the real consensus on the game? I still know a few people who easily put £40 into the game a month, I think these people are called whales [thinking-smily-emoji.com].

Unfortunately I lost my interest in the game about 2 months after launch, which is to be somewhat expected of a mobile game. My reason fell more around the fact the game was just broken, instead of being boring.

I find the game to be broken even now, 1 year after launch. The GPS warning is mostly my issue, also the fact that when i do turn it on nothing shows up. I do live in quite a rural area, my road has some 50 people and we are mostly out populated by cows. Should this stop me from playing your game – well no.

Its easy to list off what Niantic need to do in order to fix the game, everyone and their mum has had an opinion on what the game needs to do. If you go to any game forum you will find 10 posts on what a game needs to do and how some unemployed 16 year old can make a game better than you. All i really want is the game to work.

Niantic know what to do but give no fucks; since they are milking this cash cow dry….

Im not sure what Niantic are doing, so their failure so far must boil down to two things: Niantic know what to do but give no fucks; since they are milking this cash cow dry, or they really have no idea what they are doing and have the best contract pitch team in the industry.

Im not even going to talk about the massive failure they managed to pull off at the 1st year anniversary. Another fuck up which could have been avoided by just hiring people who know how to handle large scale event/meet ups. I have never run a company but if i had figures in front of me that said 20 thousand people where going to attend an event i planed – i would probably get a specialist in to handle it.

Every company has issues and a rocky 2-3 months can be somewhat forgiven. Unfortunately i’m confident that if we look back at the game in another years time this article will still be relevant.

 

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Is VR the future of gaming?

Is VR the future of video games…

Errr difficult one. Yes. But not yet.

The state of VR is impressive. Its a marketing team dream, it sells itself. Everyone is going nuts over a “immersive” experience  which allows you to further remove yourself from the blackhole which is your life. Want to spend quality time with the kids, nah fuck it – VR porn.

But despite the impressive marketing spiel will people actually buy into the idea.

“LOL a Rattata on the toilet”, get in the bin.

Along with VR we also have its cousin; augmented reality. You have already used augmented reality if your one of the many Pokemon Go player gorging yourself on pidge’s down the local park. Allot of people/blogs have talked about Pokemon Go finally making augmented reality a thing. In my opinion the game is easier and better with out it. It in no way adds to the experience, all it does is help make rather funny imager posts – “LOL a Rattata on the toilet”, get in the bin.

Augmented reality is a trend, until it jumps from a shitty phone apps to something more seamless, i’m talking computers in contact lenses. Or fuck it, robot eyes. Getting your phone out of your pocket to interact with a laxative app on a billboard is not going to happen.

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I feel the same way about VR. Lets not forget VR was about in the 80’s. Look how well that did. The idea of putting a fuck off head set on just to essentially have two tv screens 2 cm from your retinas wasn’t as appealing as we first thought.

Also the cost of the thing, and Im not entirely sure what you even get with an Oculus rift other than debt from paying out 2k for a gaming PC to run the fucking thing and the headset (queue flame war about PC prices).

People do not have the money to payout for a VR headset. The same people never invested in the Playstation eye or the Xbox stalker bar thing (Kinect) so why would they pay out for this.

Despite the negativity I really do hope VR sells so that in 3 generations time we get the VR experience we deserve: I want movement, I want recoil on the gun i’m shooting or the keyboard I’m using, I want to collect the thumbs of the people I kill, I want a large collection of games and above else I want it at a cost. I also want it to replace my current gaming set up and not just be another peripheral I pay for and then put in the cupboard.

Me, me, me, me, me.

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Putting on a pair of glasses then having a full on immersive experience with out being tethered is the future of gaming. Unfortunately we have a long way to go, but will get there.

Probably not in my life time.

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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.

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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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Imaginary Hype: Beware the Fake Trailer

When Bethesda revealed Fallout 4 at e3 this year they did something shockingly refreshing. They debuted a largely finished game, only a few months away from release, with a fully in-engine trailer. It worked wonders on me, being the decisive step in convincing me to finally upgrade to a newer console.

It’s a shame that this sort of approach is a rarity. Instead we live in the age of empty hype and announcement trailers.

The same e3 brought us SquareEnix’s announcement of the Final Fantasy VII remake, and fans promptly lost their shit imagining how wonderful such a game was going to be. Imagining is the key word here, as frankly we have nothing to go on apart from a cinematic CG tease. No gameplay. No in-game graphics. It’s an empty promise, and handing this sort of blank cheque to players to pre-imagine their dream games in their heads is dangerous for everyone, especially the developers, when the time comes to actually deliver something.

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I’ve been accused on negativity over this announcement in the past, but I truly hope that it’s amazing when the time comes to play it. Until then, however, we need to temper our expectations over how the huge, profit oriented teams that spent 5 years crafting the exciting corridors of Final Fantasy XIII can fully comprehend and reproduce a past masterpiece that took a smaller artistically-minded team 2 years to make.

But when it comes to fake trailers and imaginary hype there’s a new heavy hitter on the scene.

Did you see that? We’ll be finding Pikachus scurrying around in our bushes, and summoning tangible Poké Ball’s out of thin air to throw at them and, and, and, no. No. No. No. None of this will happen. I truly wish we lived in the tangible augmented world of Dennou Coil but we don’t. Has anybody been looking at the one actual screenshot that exists and getting excited?

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All of the hype has come from that fake trailer, meaning that once again we have another game that will probably be a whole lot of fun to play, but it won’t even come close to matching the imaginary game we all see after watching the trailer.

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And now I’m just sad that we don’t yet live in the world of Dennou Coil… Boo.

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