Case for Shenmue

In the late 1990’s, Yu Suzuki set out to advance video games yet again, Shenmue was originally in development for Sega’s brilliant, yet much maligned Saturn console, but focus shifted onto the next generation hardware and the numerous possibilities that it would offer them. Coining the term F.R.E.E. (Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment), Suzuki set out to deliver a level of freedom unheard of in video games, a fully realised world of day/night cycles, realistic weather, complex AI and full voice acting for even non-playable characters. A world that would simulate other aspects of reality too, from playing games to working a day job. Shenmue was never going to be something that you played, but rather lived, and in that respect, it was a glorious success.

Whilst at its core, the story is a fairly simple tale of revenge ripped straight out of a kung-fu film, but this is also part of its inherent charm and beauty, ably assisted by the incredible Virtua Fighter style combat mechanics and stunning quick time events, Shenmue set the unassailable standard by which all other open world games should be judged. RPGs have always offered character progression, it’s key to the genre,


Dragon Age Inquisition

Story

Dragon Age Inquisition places us in the middle of a battle between the mages and the Templars in which there’s no clear winner. However, in the beginning of the game a large explosion takes place and opens a rift that spawns demons, and this changes the course of things immensely. We play the role of an inquisitor that tries to destroy the rift and all the smaller ones that appear throughout the land, in an effort to bring peace once again to the wonderful world of Thedas. Of course, there are lots of twists and turns as you progress but overall Dragon Age Inquisition manages to provide you with a wonderful story that will keep you glued to the screen.

Gameplay

Unlike Dragon Age 2, Inquisition allows us to explore a massive game world that does have a lot of inspiration from the previous game, but which also manages to bring a plethora of new stuff as well. First of all, we have the dragons which are much more detailed and harder to defeat, in fact they are so large that you will need to attack different parts of the body, each one with


Final Fantasy 3

Centuries have passed and a rational world now exists with Espers living only in myths, until one frozen solid since the ancient wars is unearthed. Suddenly, there are reports of magical attacks on civilians. Imperial Commandos launch raids using magic powered MagiTek weapons. Magic is obviously alive and the world is in danger again. Who or what is behind the rediscovery and redeployment of this legendary power? What chaotic plans exists that will wreak havoc on this orderly world?

Final Fantasy III is one of what many consider to be the classics for RPG genre games. Released as Final Fantasy III for the SNES in 1994, it is actually the 6th installment of the immensely popular Final Fantasy series produced by Squaresoft. The game takes place about 1000 years following the ending of a great war called “The War of the Magi” which removed magic from the face of the world.

It is a typical turn based RPG with the player having control of over 15 playable characters each one with his or her own strengths and weaknesses and different fighting styles and stories to tell. The main character is a young half-human, half-Esper girl whom


Mario Kart 8

Starting out, you have the option to use either the Wii U’s gamepad tilt controls or the classic analog and buttons. Being a purist, I had to stick with the traditional controls. I found that the tilt controls seemed more or less twitchy so I figured I should just stick with what I understood. Before the game started, of course you had to pick your character. Personally, I can’t play a Mario Kart game and not be Mario.

When the game has loaded the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s gorgeous. I can confidently say that this game is easily the best looking Wii U game to date. It had incredibly vivid colors, the environments looked alive and characters seemed almost like something out of a Pixar movie. Even the items seemed to get an overhaul- I never thought that green turtle shells could look so beautiful.

But visuals don’t mean anything if the gameplay isn’t there. And for the most part it is. There were a lot of features that weren’t available during the E3 demo. For example, in Mario Kart 7 you can collect coins on the track to give your kart a boost but


Elder Scrolls Online Maps

  • The Elder Scrolls map of Skyrim: A vast northern region in Tamriel, home to the Nords, hardy men and women with frost resistance.
  • Map of Cyrodiil: Cyrodiil is known as the imperial province and you guessed it, home of the imperial race. It is in the centre of Tamriel, where the emperor and the Elder Council make it their home.
  • TESO Map of Hammerfell: Home of the Redguards and Alik’r Desert, under the control of the Daggerfall covenant.
  • TESO Map of Aldmeris: Very little is known of the high Elven home land.
  • TESO Map of Vardenfell: It is a large island in situated in the crescent shape of Morrowind where a race of vampires live there.
  • TESO Map of Valenwood: The next Elder Scrolls game is supposed to be set in Valenwood, home to the wood elves.
  • Map of Elsweyr: Home to the Khajiit, under the control of the Aldmeri dominion led by Queen Ayrenn.
  • Map of Summerset Isles: The Summerset Isles consist of three islands under the control of Queen Ayrenn and the Aldmeri Dominion which is home to the Altmer.
  • Map of Morrowind: Home land of the Dunmer and the capital of the Ebonheart pact Mournhold.

LittleBigPlanet 3

LittleBigPlanet was really cool when it first came out in 2008 because it had three “layers” so to speak. Your sackthing could switch between these layers to move through the side-scrolling level. It was a nice way to upgrade the age old way of playing a 2D video game. Another one of LBP’s strengths is the art value, integrating textures and combining art styles within stickers and level props. What they’ve done in this version of the game is added a secondary layer that your character can jump to or use other items to slide into, so essentially you have two main pathways with 2-3 layers in each (or maybe just two, I’m only onto the second act or so in the game). I like the way this adds depth to an already interesting series of levels.

They’ve also added some interesting new angles of gameplay – whether you’re picking up a totally different character to run through a level at an aerial view, or building a race car and racing another character, there’s a slew of new ways to play the game. Inside the game. It’s just miraculous.

The game interface differs slightly in this version


Gin Rummy Plus

To begin with, the game play in Gin Rummy Plus is pretty good, and it looks fantastic. Card games are a dime a dozen, so the only thing that really separates them are graphics and extras.

Peak Games has done a fine job on the graphics part. The look is fantastic, the animations are smooth, and the user interface is very intuitive and learned in seconds.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much it with this one. Even after connecting with Facebook, the “leaders” and “friends” buttons are non-functional, giving you a nice little “coming soon” balloon.

This is disappointing, especially the friends option. One of the selling points to games like this (e.g. Words With Friends, What’s the Phrase?, Dice With Buddies/Yahtzee With Friends) is the ability to play against people you know. As of now, this option does not exist… In fact, I would prefer it if they hadn’t even put the button in there to show users and upcoming feature, instead letting the game stand as it is.

As it is, it is a fine game. As I’ve already said, the graphics are very nice, the animations are smooth, and the matchmaking with strangers


Forza 5

When you first start the E3 demo you’re given a choice of which car you want to drive. Like everyone else, I picked the bright red Ferrari over the Lamborghini. The only mode available was just a race around a city. There were no other cars to race against and it could have been more exciting if all of the E3 testers could race against each other via system link but alas this wasn’t the case. I still had fun testing out the racing aspect of the game. As opposed to previous Forza games, this time the cars actually felt like they had some weight behind them. It took a little bit of getting used to but Forza veterans and newbies will quickly adjust.

One of the new Xbox controller’s main features is the rumble in the triggers. While sliding into a sharp turn the rumble felt realistic as you can feel the tires grip the pavement. I was skeptical about the rumble feature of the triggers when Microsoft first announced it but now I don’t know if I can go back to play Forza Horizon without it. The concept works and it will be fun to see if different cars have different


Great Classic Spiderman Fighting Game

Unlike most Spiderman games today, Maximum Carnage does not feature a lot of web-swinging, challenges, achievements or a lot of unnecessary graphic details. It has a simple 2D beat-em-up gameplay that was designed to cater to the video game market at that time, so don’t expect it to have the same features that most games have these days

What makes this game a truly great game is that it manages to combine simplicity with entertaining, button-mashing fun. For those of you not old enough to remember, most Marvel inspired video games during the nineties were all about how fast you can mash the “Y” button on your SNES controller, and Maximum Carnage was a good example of this.

Instead of the acrobatic action of many new Spiderman games, the game’s mob battles required more strategic thinking as well as expert crowd control tactics. So if you like the rather unique fast-paced action of most 90’s and early 2000’s games, Maximum Carnage can be a great Spiderman fighting game for you to try.

Even after all these years, Maximum Carnage remains a very fun Spiderman game. If you have an SNES emulator on your tablet, you


Almanacs Of A Bygone Era

Medieval playing cards display a lot of individualism and the freedom of expression. When the Renaissance came the curiosity of the world around grew, the art became truer to life, and explorers were born. Then during the Industrial Revolution the production of the cards were made by power-driven machines in factories.

From playing cards we can learn about craftsmanship, the assembly and amalgamation of elements & materials. These cards have been the focal point for design, invention, or advertisement almost like a cigarette pack-sized almanac of a bygone era.

These decks have a tremendous educational worth, an extensive history and myriads of types & styles all over the world. Some have historical value, others political, then there are souvenir decks for tourists.

The early allusions to playing cards in Europe came from Brabant, Catalonia (Spain), France, Florence, southern Germany, Sienna, Switzerland, and Viterbo (Italy) in the 1370s. No cards from this era have survived but some sources point out that cards were gilt or painted in gold as well as various other colors all done by hand. This hints on the fact that these were luxury packs.

The Medieval theme took pleasure in ornate