RSS Feed

Gaming News: Halloween Events in Games 2018

Hey everyone! It’s my FAVORITE time of year! October! Halloween! Black cats and Vampires roam! And hopefully they find their way into our favorite games! I know that all year I look forward to Halloween events so I thought I’d share a few that have great looks and fun stuffs to do!

First up, Fortnite.

fortnite

As I’m writing this, we are in week 2 of Season 6 in Fortnite Battle Royale. This season is full of spooky costumes, new pets and challenges to keep you busy. While Epic hasn’t officially said what is going on for Halloween this year, there are big expectations since their original release was around Halloween. There has been some information leaked that there will be Halloween quests for the PVE side, Save the World. Also, they have already decorated for Halloween on the Battle Royale Map for Season 6. You can find spooky ghosts hoisted up randomly on lightposts and houses. There are spooky cornfields in Fatal Fields and a Halloween Store in Retail Row currently. And they’ve already had a few costumes out in the store. I know I’m looking forward to seeing all that they release this year!

Next, Overwatch.

frankensteinOW

Everyone knows that Blizzard loves their holidays and this year is no exception. As always with Overwatch, previous years skins are available during Halloween Terror. There are also 6 new skins available this year and a limited-time brawl. Junkenstein’s Revenge is a fan favorite, including mine, where you can rage against your friends or random people. New this year to Junkenstein is the ability to use Brigitte and Tracer. Also, if you feel like dropping some cash on it, if you buy the 50 Halloween Loot boxes bundle you can get 10 free. This even started on October 9, 2018 and goes through the end of October.

Another Blizzard Favorite – World of Warcraft.

wowhallowsend

Every year, we get the Hallow’s End event. There are temporary broomsticks to ride, masks to wear, and tons of Inns to trick or treat at. There are achievements for wearing all the masks, eating so much candy you get sick, and interrupting the other sides fun. You get to go burn the opposing faction’s wickerman and you can eat G.N.E.R.D.S and kill them in PVP. It’s always fun to put out the fires and kill the Shade of the Horseman. Make sure you put pumpkins on all races, clean your teeth with toothpicks, get transformed by all the wands, and going to all the Candy Buckets. Most of all, make sure you ready up and kill the Headless Horseman in the Scarlet Monastery. I don’t know about you, but I’m still itching to get his mount! This goes from October 18 – November 1, so don’t miss it!

A new game this year – Monster Hunter: World

mhw-autumn

Currently in this game, they have an Autumn Festival going until October 18th. This seems to include their Halloween activities this year and has costumes for your Palico and Poogie; as well as a new dress for your handler. Not to mention, the spooky gear you can get for yourself. There are quests as well which seem to be extended to October 25th due to some issues. If this is your game, make sure you don’t miss this!

P.S. If you already have this game, you got a free voucher on the 5th for a one-time character redesign!

Another MMO, Black Desert Online.

bdohalloween2

It isn’t entirely clear what is going on in BDO this year, but if it’s anything like last year there will be quests with hat rewards, event boxes, and possible login rewards. They do already have bundles for sale (IRL money) on their store from previous Halloweens. There are costumes, mount skins, prop bundles, wall décor, a lighting set, a table set, and even a Jukebox available. Some are in limited quantity so make sure you get them while you can!

An honorable mention for Halloween that makes me sad: Ark is foregoing its annual Fear Evolved event because of the new DLC drop the beginning of November – Extinction. Until next time, play what you love!

– Azkadelya

Recap Review: The American Girls Premiere

622043-the-american-girls-premiere-2nd-edition-macintosh-screenshot

One lovely summer day, my parents were summoned to the basement for the world premiere of my very first play created on the computer.

This one-woman show invoked the minimalist style, in the sense that almost nothing actually happened. Its protagonist, Felicity Merriman from the American Girl franchise, crossed the stage and recited a brief soliloquy in robotic monotone: “Hello. My name is Felicity.” Then she curtseyed and walked off the stage.

…well, I thought it was a work of genius at the time. And it was the start of many more bizarre plays starring the American Girl characters.

For those unfamiliar with it, the American Girl franchise started out as a doll collection. Each doll was based on a fictional nine-year-old girl living in a specific period in American history. Around the time that the franchise caught my interest, there were six of them: Felicity, living in Colonial Williamsburg just before the Revolutionary War, Josefina, living in New Mexico before it became a U.S. territory, Kirsten, a Swedish immigrant, Addy, a slave who escapes to Philadelphia with her mother, Samantha, an orphan who lives with her wealthy, old-fashioned grandmother in 1904, and Molly, whose father is a doctor overseas during World War II.

The dolls each had six books that described their misadventures with family and friends and showed how important historical events had an impact on their lives. I loved reading them as a kid. I also loved staring longingly at the many, many accessories and clothing that you could purchase for the dolls in the American Girl Catalog, most of which I couldn’t get because they were just too expensive.

And then came an odd but kinda amazing addition to the franchise: The American Girls Premiere.

The American Girls Premiere was a computer game for Windows and Mac, where you could create your own plays using the characters from the American Girl stories. It gave you numerous tools to work with: characters, setting, props, music, sound effects, lighting, and actions.

Unfortunately, it did have one big limit, story-wise: you couldn’t create an epic crossover starring Felicity from 1774 and Molly from 1944, or Josefina from 1824 going on adventures with Addy from 1864. Once you picked one of the girls, you became confined to her time period, her settings, and her supporting cast.

I’m guessing that the company didn’t want girls coming up with plays that were too wacky, but in hindsight, they might as well have let us go wild.

The most memorable part of the game was the horrific, computerized voices that you got to use to make the “actors” say their dialogue. Technically, the game also provided a voice recording option if you had a microphone with your computer. I didn’t, so I could never get that feature to work and had to rely on the voices given to me.

The results? Well, you can watch this masterpiece of a play to get an idea of what they sounded like:

I couldn’t find many videos of people’s American Girls Premiere plays anymore (and I suspect some of them were removed for copyright infringement), but “Meet Robot Felicity” is a perfect representation of how these productions often looked and sounded, and then some. You could indeed make characters soar through the air or burrow underground.

Although the game came with a basic tutorial, I ended up uncovering most of the ins and outs myself. It offered me an opportunity to mess around and see how far I could go when putting together a play. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, it also offered a learning opportunity in how to create something with limitations. Need to show the character sleeping in a bed instead of lying on the floor? Levitate him or her so that he or she would appear to be lying on top of the bed. The computer can’t pronounce the lines correctly? Well, time to deliberately misspell the words so it would.

The American Girls Premiere wasn’t perfect, but it offered many, many hours of fun.  It served as a nice introduction to the different elements in creating a play: having the right props, the right lighting, etc.  The silly robot voices added some unintentional humor to the whole experience.  I’m glad it existed and I miss playing it.

Influental Women in the Gaming Industry: Claudia Billie Stræde

claudia 3 

Some women are just powerhouses from a young age. Claudia Billie Stræde is one of those women. She has accomplished so much already and doesn’t seem to have any intention of slowing down.

Claudia is a Danish filmmaker and animator. She was admitted to the Danish Film School. There Claudia was the youngest director in the animation department. However instead of staying there in 2006 she dropped out to attend the Academy of Untamed Creativity instead. Claudia found a better fit for her passions there.

That was when she started to learn about animation. Claudia also found like minded students at the Academy of Untamed Creativity. In 2007 they banded together to create and event called The D.I.Y. Film Club. This event was an opportunity for more obscure films to have a place to be shown. It featured films that ranged from obscure art to homemade documentaries.

Claudia then attended the Copenhagen Film and Photo School. She was able to study live action filmmaking for a whole year. There she got to also experience different aspects of filmmaking. Claudia was able to do everything including; directing, producing, cinematography, editing and sound design. After that Claudia felt the pull to go back to the Danish Film School.

This time Claudia stayed. She got to work on many different projects, including computer games. Here she had access to state of the art equipment. Claudia teamed up with other students to create a horror game called Blackwell’s Asylum.

claudia 2

Blackwell’s Asylum is a horror themed adventure/roleplay game. The team was inspired by the true life experiences of Nellie Bly, a female journalist who went undercover in an insane asylum to expose the horror in the mental health field at the time. The game has the player wake up, drugged in an asylum in the early 1900s. The goal is to get past wardens and escape. Claudia was the director of the game. Blackwell’s Asylum won the 2011 Game of the Year and winner for the Adventure/Roleplay category in the Intel Level Up 2011 Game Demo Contest.

Claudia is a great example of working toward your passion on your terms. By learning and experimenting your goals will be exceeded.

During this holiday season give Blackwell’s Asylum a try…if you think you can get out with your sanity in tact.

 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

 

Dungeon Crawling: Bards

danddlogo

Lords, Ladies, Lads, and Lasses, today I present my take on Bards.

A class I have never played.

You may ask, “How the heck can you have an opinion on Bards if you’ve never played one?!” Easy, I’ve played along side them, and I’ve DM’d for them.

The Bard class is a charisma based spell caster, a jack-of-all-trades, and mainly considered to be a support class. Their sub-classes are broken up into Colleges, with two in the Player’s Handbook, and three more waiting within the pages of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. 

The basic class uses Charisma as their casting stat, can use a musical instrument as their spell focus, and is also a ritual caster. They are performers, and if you have a problem being the “face” of the group, coming up with witty one-liners for your Vicious Mockery cantrip, or can’t parse together a quick ditty to sing inspiration for your fellow party members, then you’re playing the wrong class.

They have access to all skills from the get go, and those they don’t choose they can add half of their proficiency to any way at 2nd level. At 3rd level they can choose two that they are proficient in to gain double proficiency in as well.

And 3rd level is when you choose your Bardic College. This choice will slightly alter how you use your Bardic inspiration. Lore bards can distract with their words, protecting their allies in combat. Their foe’s attacks will strike with less impact, or sometimes even miss altogether.  Valor bards on the other hand can help add to their allies damage, or their AC. Those bards who enter the College of Glamour from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything can grant a group of people temporary hit points, and a free move. Sword college bards are master of the flourish, their bardic inspiration helps them dance around their foes, pushing them about, striking a second enemy, or even simply boosting their own AC. Those bards that join the College of Whispers can literally strike terror into the minds of their foes. Their Bardic Inspiration dice can be used to do psychic damage along with their melee attacks when they so choose.

Each of the five current official colleges only expand upon their themes as you level. Lore bards gain greater expertise with their skills, add spells from other classes to their repertoire. Valor bards gain training in medium armor, shields, martial weapons, and an extra attack. Eventually they can even cast a spell while making an attack with their weapon. Glamour bards gain power over the crowds, charming the masses, enthralling them, and dissuading them wanting to harm the bard in the first place.  Sword college bards gain extra attacks, medium armor training, and proficiency with the scimitar. Eventually they can use a free d6 for their flourishes instead of using up the finite resource of their Bardic Inspiration. Finally the College of Whispers allows it’s bards to steal the visage of the recently deceased, gaining the general knowledge and memories they would share freely with a casual acquaintance, and allowing the bard to pass themselves off as the deceased with greater ease. Eventually they can convince a target that they know a deep secret and charm them for an extended period for fear of revealing said secret.

So if you wish to sing, and cast spells whilst playing at being a Skill Puppy, a Duelist, The Center of Attention, a Dervish, or an Assassin they maybe, just perhaps, the Bard is the class for you.

 

Sword Art Online: An Anime Review

sao manga

Sword Art Online is an anime series about a multiplayer game based on a manga of the same title. It originally aired in 2012 and is comprised of three seasons.

When the MMORPG that everyone is talking about is finally released gamers cannot wait to get into the game. Sword Art Online is created and released by famous game developer Akihiko Kayaba. Gamers scramble to purchase the game and the nerve gear technology that goes with it. Beta testers spent months in the game before. One such tester, named Kirito is also eager to get back in the game. After befriending a new player and gaming together Kirito finds he cannot log out. All the gamers are transported in game to receive a message from the Game Master. They cannot leave, any attempt to do so will leave them dead in the real world as well as in game due to technology in the nerve gear. The only way out is to beat the game.

sword-art-online-movie

Sword Art Online is a truly beautiful anime to watch. The art really is amazing. With the setting being a game the artists really have a chance to shine as they create the world and graphics of the game. The detailing that goes into the costumes of the character’s avatars is so vital to the story. We see the characters grow and develop as they spend time in the game and their avatars level up. The work done to make everything from towns to pastures to dungeons is really fantastic. The score is also a treat for gamers and anime fans alike.

I really enjoyed Sword Art Online. I love watching characters develop and as leveling up is an integral part of plot viewers get to witness that. As a gamer I really appreciated the work done to show what it is like to be deep in a game. I enjoy the main character and there are many secondary characters who are also really fun to watch. There are also characters that do not thrive being thrown into the pressures of having to beat the game. I appreciate that Sword Art Online did that. We have all met jerks while gaming online so it makes sense that this game would be no different, only now you are stuck with them. You are also stuck with newbie gamers like me. Do you help them or leave them behind to insure your own success? These predicaments are all explored in the show.

Sword-Art-Online-2

I would recommend Sword Art Online to many different kinds of anime fans. Gamers especially. Fantasy fans will also enjoy it since many of the games selements and settings are fantasy themed. Hopefully if you haven’t watched Sword Art Online yet you will give it a try.

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

 

Review: To The Moon

to-the-moon

You may or may not know this, dear reader, but part of the VanriTheRogue persona is the fact that I don’t have emotions. At least, I don’t have strong ones.

In an effort to see my emotions, a long time viewer decided to take matters into his own hands. Randomly one day, I received a gift on steam. One of my friends and our long time viewer, Plottrig, had sent me a story-heavy indie game called To The Moon. He wanted me to play it on stream, so that I could feel the feels.

What’s it about?
To The Moon follows two scientists who work for a company that grants dying wishes to dying patients, for a price. The game begins with the scientists arriving at the house of their patient. We meet his caretaker and her two brat children. We find out that the patient is in a coma upstairs and his final wish is to go to the moon. The scientists set up their equipment and prepare to enter the patient’s mind. Their plan is to rewire his memories so that he thinks he’s gone to the moon.

moon1

What did I think?
The game doesn’t have much gameplay to it. You walk around a bit, find things that are important to the patient as memory points, and solve small puzzles to jump from memory to memory. It’s in the retro, 8-bit style that I love so much. The detail in the artwork is amazing, I wish I could have explored more.

The story itself is powerful and sucks you right in. I completed the whole game in one sitting because I just couldn’t bring myself to exit out of it. There’s no voice acting, but the soundtrack creates the perfect atmosphere for a story as heartbreaking and heartwarming as To The Moon’s.

The only problem with games like these – not just this one, but all of them – is that there’s no replayability. The story is the same every time. The items and the puzzles are the same every time. If you go through it once, you could go through it a hundred times. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but I do like my choices games and my multiple endings.

Do I recommend it?
Yes. I recommend you go and buy it right now. Play through it and feel the feels that I felt… and showed… on stream. (I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING!) Go and be as scared about the outcome as I was. Go and experience the amazingness that is To The Moon.

Thank you, Plottrig!

Top 10 Steam Games Under $5

I trolled through my house today looking for loose change. All in all I found $4.82. Not bad. As a kid growing up in the 80’s this would have been a spectacular find. That $4.82 is a sweet, sweet candy stash. Today, not so much. In 2018 this kind of couch change doesn’t have the same kind of impact… however, for under $5 there are a plethora of enjoyable games you can find nestled in the deepest depths of Steam store.

(Before I start a quick note on how I choose these games. Every single game I choose are games that I have personally played and can vouch for. I realize that there are many games out there under the $5 mark that could easily make this list. This is MY list. I did not include games that are Free as that’s a whole other list… I also looked for a plethora of games that could be enjoyed by various audiences and appeal to many types of gamers. That’s that. I hope you enjoy the list and please, feel free to let us know what you favorite $5 and under game is, and if there are any suggestions you may have.)

Organ Trail

10. Organ Trail: Directors Cut. When I was in 6th grade I was introduced to PC gaming by a fun little experience called The Oregon Trail, in which you follow the historic trek many took across our country in a time when dysentery and fording a river were more dangerous than we could possibly imagine. There were hunting mini games and indian attacks. You usually didn’t make it… Imagine that set in the zombie apocalypse, and that’s what Organ Trail is.

Town of Salem

9. Town of Salem. This game is fun… with friends. Please bring your friends. With that in mind Town of Salem is a great time and a ton of fun, and if it tickles your fancy you can look into the tabletop version…

Xcom

8. X-Com: UFO Defense. Sure this game is old as dirt. Sure it has a bunch of bugs. Sure it can make you want to throw your controller through your TV… But, you still love it. It’s charming and horrible and well worth a look if not just to see the origins of the rebooted X-Com series.

PLants v Zombies

7. Plants vs. Zombies GOTY. In which you plant plants to fend of a zombie invasion. It’s fun and addictive, and hard to put down… Tons of game time packed into a charming package. Well worth a look.

Sally Face

6. Sally Face. What a great little game. This horror adventure has a uniquely catered art style that reminded me of classic Nick cartoons like Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. This aesthetic combined with a disturbingly unique story line make this a great pickup.

VVVVVV

5. VVVVVV. A 2D platformer where instead of jumping you control gravity. This colorful masterpiece is simultaneously ridiculous and charming. I don’t recommend this for those that are easily frustrated as each level takes a bit of trial and error, and can be quite rage inducing at times. It’s still well worth the price tag.

Reigns

4. Reigns. Yes or No? As the new king you need to decide what sort of entity you will be. You are presented with requests from your citizens and need to decide what is best for you or your kingdom and impose your will. Reigns is simple in concept but hides a layer of strategy well worth looking into.

Overlord

3. Overlord. You are in charge and your decisions matter. Its hard to deny the surprising charm Overlord brings to the table. Every action you take on the battlefield has lasting effects on the world around you. Command your plucky minions to do your bidding in this quirky adventure. Take them on raids in villages or fight monstrous beasts. What kind of Overlord will you be?

header (2)

2. The Binding of Isaac. Roguelikes are a dime a dozen anymore and their influence on indie developers are like a blanket on a hot and humid day. I wish they would go away so we can finally move on. That being said, there are a number of great roguelike games available and few have the draw and prestige of the one of the greatest. The Binding of Isaac is one of the originals and is still loved today.

Superflight
1. Superflight. Wow! That was my initial reaction when I first picked up this game. There is something to be said about simplicity and atmosphere. Superflight is a game about adorning a flight suit and traversing beautiful procedurally generated atmospheres. You can feel the speed as you dip and dive your way through colorful landscapes. Even with the intense feel of falling it is a surprisingly relaxing experience. I was initially gleeful with my experience and was overjoyed to find myself willing to go back and play some more. If you haven’t seen this title, do yourself a favor and give it a solid look.