Editorial, Gaming

Retro Reviews #1: Kingdom Hearts, Does it Hold Up?

I love retro gaming. Love it, love it. I have a growing collection of old console and games and I need a reason to play them, so here is what I’m going to do. I’m going to play my old games and I am going to review them! “So what,” you ask? “How are you different than anyone else who plays and reviews old games?” I’m not really, but what I want to do is play said retro games and review them with the standards that todays games receive. Are the graphics any good? How well does the camera work? Is the voice acting really bad? Most of us look back on our favorite games with rose tinted glasses and I want to try to go into these games with a clean slate. Many of them I haven’t played in years so I am not breezing through them after my 100th play through.

Let us first set some ground rules before I go into my first review. First off, I am going to be playing these games on the system they were made for. No HD remakes or DLC releases. I want to be fair. I am not just going to be bashing on everyone’s favorites. I will be pointing out the good things as well as the bad things. I won’t be playing anything on the Xbox 360 or later. Everything before that is fair game to me. Lastly, you won’t hear me saying this was good “for its day.” That isn’t the point I am making, and really whats the fun in that? At the end I will give it a “Does it Hold Up? Yes or no.” Ok, now that those are all settled, here we go!

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: The Last of Us: Left Behind

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog is an excuse for me to be held accountable for completing my massive video game backlog. These articles are a hybrid of experiential reflection, informal critical reaction to the content, and a springboard for discussion on all of our social channels. Plus, I like talking about games and what better way to kill two birds with one stone?

This series is fair game for spoiler territory, and so with that being said, if you haven’t completed the game in question and want to have a completely unhindered experience, please refrain from reading any further.

With a brand-spanking-new PlayStation 4 merely weeks old and begging to be experienced, I took some time to play the bundled in Last of Us remaster. I played the main game upon release on the PS3 but never had the chance to experience the DLC prequel / midquel, so this week I’ll be diving into The Last of Us: Left Behind.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: Shovel Knight

Welcome to another entry in my on-going series: Alessio & The Beastly Backlog. Last week we talked about The Astronaut’s The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, which was a first-person exploration / crime-solving simulator game with a whole lot of story to drive the player forward. This week we have the opposite type of experience in a myriad of ways: Shovel Knight, a fun side-scrolling adventure game more akin to Zelda II and Megaman that has very little narrative other than just enough to get you motivated to get through its beautifully designed stages and boss encounters.

Editorial, Gaming, News, Video Games

The Misadventures of Tron Bonne: Now Available on PSN

After catching a glimpse of this, often forgotten, PSOne game in a toy store many years ago and not having the foresight to purchase it, I now have the great fortune, as do you dear reader, to digitally purchase as many copies of The Misadventures of Tron Bonne as I’d like!

The Playstation Network is now allowing users to purchase a copy of the unfortunately named Megaman Legends prequel for $4.99 for use with the Playstation Vita and the Playstation 3 systems. This will come as a relief to many as most used copies of the game run for anywhere between $90 – $150 on eBay or Amazon, and you can pretty much forget getting a shrink-wrapped copy for less than $250.

For those not in the know, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne follows the titular Tron Bonne in a prequel adventure set in the Megaman Legends universe. She must collect 1,000,000,000 zenny to buy back her family’s freedom from a rival air pirate named Mr. Loathe. Not having gotten too far into the game, this is as much as I can say about it, but you better believe that I’ll have my formal run-down of this title in my Beastly Backlog series soon as I’ve been wanting to check this out for quite some time. Now to casually delete that .iso file that found its way on my a friend’s computer recently.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Alessio & The Beastly Backlog: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Hey guys! I’d like to usher in this new wave of GeekTime articles by starting a series that helps me help you help us all. In short, I have a massive backlog of video games inching ever closer to drowning me in physical disks, cartridges, and cases as well as in digital downloads, server space, and hard drive real-estate. I want to put a sizable dent in this mountain’o’media to keep myself from paying for more games that I don’t have time to play and to help me generate some content to push out to you, our lovely hypothetical audience.

Editorial, Feature

Welcome Back

From the beginning, GeekTi.me was a passion project. It went through a few iterations and a lot of behind the scenes changes, but the core of what it was always remained the same. GeekTi.me was simply a group of geeks who used what little free time they had to put their passion out into the world. Did that passion always see the widest audience? Perhaps not. But then, that was never the point.

After stuff and things tugged us in different directions, the amount of time we had to focus on GeekTi.me dwindled severely. Writing took a sharp dive off a steep cliff. It became virtually impossible for me to hold a steady schedule with the guys to do the show. As such, GeekTi.me just kind of ended. There wasn’t a huge fanfare. There wasn’t some kind of family gathering or social function to talk about the good times. GeekTi.me simply remained in its corner of the internet, sleeping soundly while its core did other things with their lives.

It hurt. It hurt quite a bit for me personally. It was mostly because, after dedicating a handful of years to it, the wheels unceremoniously stopped turning. This was the website that made me more confident as a writer. This was the website that made me more confident as an on-air personality. This was the website that made me more confident as a comedian. And it just stopped.

So what do you do about this? What do you do over a year after you ditched the car on the side of the road? Well, you call a freaking tow truck! You get it to a mechanic! You try it again!

Within the next few days, you will be hearing the first new GeekTime Podcast since February 2014. It’s going to be a monthly podcast (as far as we know,) but ideas are trickling from our brain spaces constantly to make sure we can still deliver content to you regularly. Hopefully you stick with us, as we are once again dedicated to entertaining you the only way we know how: creating dumb stuff and hoping you laugh at it.

Thank you so much for joining us on the trip anyway.

 

<3

Editorial, Feature, Video Games

Ten Crimes That Were Blamed on Video Games

Every day, violent crimes are committed with seemingly no rhyme or reason. In these cases, it is only natural that we desire to find a culprit in order to make sense of a senseless crime. Unfortunately, we can also be quick to jump to conclusions and put the blame on an easy scapegoat instead of trying to find a true root cause. Media, such as movies, comics, books and TV, have been a scapegoats for violence for years. With its ever-rising popularity and recent releases of games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, video games have become the most recent victim. Here are a few crimes that video games have taken the heat for.

Editorial, Feature, Film & TV

Matt Smith to Leave Doctor Who

[Author’s Note: This is not a retrospective or a comprehensive look at the Eleventh Doctor. Not even close. It is merely an apreciation for Matt Smith and the things he has done as the Doctor]

It’s hard to believe that after four wonderful years, Matt Smith, Doctor number Eleven, only has two more adventures left. In a press release by the BBC on June 1st, it was revealed that Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor would be regenerating in 2013’s Christmas special.

200px-EleventhdoctornewI read that news with an almost sort of disbelief, even going so far as to surprise myself when I realized I didn’t believe it even more than I didn’t believe David Tennant was leaving back in 2010.

You see, I was one of the lucky ones. I was living in England in 2005 when Christopher Eccleston took the screen as the returning Ninth Doctor. I was there through every single twist and turn of David Tennant’s tenure. Though I had returned to America by this time, I was there for Matt Smith. For the past eight years, in some strange and wonderful way, Doctor Who has been an important part of my life. It hurts to see a Doctor go.

It was sad when Nine regenerated.

It cut deep when Ten regenerated.

I have to sit here and imagine how bad Eleven is going to be.

Because while David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston were amazing in their time, so too was Matt Smith. He did so many things with the character that were so incredibly intriguing and wonderful. He played his Doctor with a terrific reckless abandon, always one step away from human. Always strange and always clever and always eccentric, but never unfeeling and uncaring. When he came up with a plan, he often did it on the fly, a few times commenting that he didn’t have a plan yet because he hadn’t finished talking and analyzing the situation. He was always so very smug and overconfident in his abilities. It was often for good reason, but he was so much more subtlely arrogant (and sometimes not so subtlely) than Nine or Ten. He’d get so caught up focusing on something important that he would shut everyone out, even if it meant being insensitive (“Amy, you’re dying. Shut up.”) Even so, he did this because he cared and because he was trying to find a way to save everyone.

"What in the name of sanity have you got on your head?"
“What in the name of sanity have you got on your head?”

My favorite among his quirks was his complete disregard for traditionally cool things. He embraced things like bow ties and bunk beds and fezzes, things society doesn’t necessarily think are cool, and somehow made them cool. His childlike love of the world and the weird things inside of it was refreshing to watch.

This is all merely a layer of the Eleventh Doctor, however. His goofy and charming exterior is merely a surface – a coping mechanism, if you will – to the Doctor that lies beneath. This emotionally tortured, tired, and sad Doctor who uses the goofiness as a crutch to stop himself from hating himself. This is the Doctor who just came off of eliminating his entire race…for a second time. The Doctor who had just come back from seeing all of the people he had lost and would perhaps never see again. This was a Doctor who proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that the companion is the most useful tool in his arsenal as something to stop him from becoming a monster. Something even more terrible than he considers himself already. Smith was a naturally charming and energetic Doctor, but to see him in those dark moments. In those heartbreaking moments. In those moments of anger and pain and loss. It was truly a sight to behold. He is a man who wants to be forgiven for the things he has done, sees no way for this to happen, and carries on anyway.

Because of all of that, the added layer of care he spent on the Ponds was pronounced. He had lost so much already, and he was going to make sure that Amy and Rory (his family) were cared for. This is why their final act in the Doctor’s life was so emotionally draining. The devastation that Smith displayed upon their final moments was absolutely flooring. His odd and complicated relationships with Clara and River Song were also incredibly fun to watch, but the relationship he had with Amy and Rory was probably the most rewarding companion relationship in the revived series.

The Doctor and the Ponds

It was just amazing to watch Smith work. How he effortlessly transitioned through his absolutely wide range of emotions as the Doctor was fantastic. The way the man delivered a speech was fantastic. It’s clear to me, as it should be to you, that Matt Smith is fantastic. His time on the show has been a roller coaster ride. Not a single dull moment. All of it fast paced and fun.

Of course, Doctor Who is at it’s most exciting when a new Doctor is about to walk in. Despite the fact that we, as a viewer, know so much about what the Doctor is and what the Doctor stands for…the regeneration is an exciting time because it’s like everyone is walking into a brand new character. We don’t know how this new Doctor is going to be aside from the base set moral code of the Doctor…and that’s the unknown factor that keeps the show fresh. As strange and sad as Smith leaving is, he’s been involved in so many large scale things as the Doctor that it’s hard to imagine where he can go from here. Perhaps it’s a blessing that he realizes this. Good luck to the Twelfth Doctor (it’s so weird to type and say that), though. I hope he’s prepared for unreasonable hate, whoever he is, because the fans will not sit back and realize that this show now has a track record for picking the right star.

Still, it’s not like we’re never going to see Smith again. He will be starring in Ryan Gosling’s “How to Catch a Monster,” an incredible chance for him to stretch his legs and really show the world what he can do as an actor. And you can bet I’ll support him through every step, but still. Knowing he’s gone…knowing that by the end of the year, the silly face that has made me laugh, cry, and everything else will be someone else’s face…it’s uniquely heartbreaking.

I’ve struggled with this decision for quite a while now, never once making a final choice, but here it is. You can shout at me, or tell me I’m dumb, or anything else, but I’m finally ready to say it officially:

Goodbye Matt Smith. You truly were MY Doctor.

Editorial, Feature, Gaming, Video Games

Old News… Bungie has Revealed Destiny

On a sunday, the seventeenth day of the month of February of the year two thousand and thirteen, Bungie, the all powerful developer, under the allowance of the much revered publisher Activision revealed unto thee the game of Destiny.

And Bungie sayeth, “be this not merely a first person shooter”. But this taketh from the greats of beyond: Halo, Borderlands, Planetside, the World of Warcraft. “We shall construct upon thee a shooter where thall shalt share the world and universe with friends and players alike to take down evil and allow the race of humanity to grow and persevere”.

Ok, so now that I have had time to let that sink in and I am not all like “OMFG BUNGIEZ MAKZ NEW GAMZ” or something of that sort, I can actually sit back and analyze my thoughts on Destiny. Here is what I got out of all of the information, including video, Bungie released to commemorate their new game.

This Game is Not a Normal First Person Shooter Translates to: this Game is Not Halo.

It is a first person shooter, but it isn’t Halo, I think is what Bungie wants to tell us. Nearly everyone I spoke to about the game so far is saying that it looks like Halo. Comments on news sites and blogs are constantly reminding us that Halo was also a sci-fi first person shooting game based on Earth’s future. But Bungie clearly does not think so, and they clearly state that this game will not be another Halo. I do believe them. I do not think it is going to be another Halo, but my question is this: will the universe, story, and lore of Destiny be able to drag me in like Halo‘s did? Obviously we won’t know that until we can play it, but Bungie seems quite confident that they can capture the crowd once again.

This Game is not an MMO but There will be MMO-like Gameplay.

Now this is the part that really starts getting confusing. Bungie is calling Destiny a “Shared World Shooter”. What the hell does that mean? Well, no one really quite knows yet, but it seems that it will be a huge, ever changing, world where you can travel to virtually anywhere even through out the solar system. People can play together and do missions together, but even when you aren’t playing with your friends you will be with people playing the missions at the same time like in an MMO… or something like that. And I believe there will be Guild Wars 2 (Editor’s Note: instanced) style events that happen… maybe? Bungie wants the players to create their own story-lines through a mixture of missions, player interaction, world interaction, customization, etc. I have not completely wrapped my head around the whole idea just yet, but it all sounds really cool. It also sounds like a whole lot to promise.

Bungie Wants Destiny to be Around for a Long Time

Ten years to be exact. This whole thing boggles my mind. Bungie has plans for ten years worth of content for Destiny. First off this means that the game will be carried through to the next consoles (one of which may or may not be announced by the time this is posted). Activision and Bungie both say it will be available for Xbox 360 and PS3, which is fine because these systems still have a little bit of life in them. The thing that gets me is that Destiny will not be out this year. With a game of this scale, I can easily take a shot to the wind and say that there is a good chance it will be pushed back past next year. I am not saying that the developers at Bungie don’t have the talent to get the job done by next year, but I am just saying that this is a really, really, tall order. On that note, next generation consoles will be starting to pick up steam and the Xbox 360 and Ps3 might be on their way out the door by Destiny’s release, so releasing on those consoles would probably be a misstep in my opinion. Activision did say that the game is prepared and capable to be played on next generation game systems, so this raises interesting questions about the next gen consoles in question. Will there be backwards compatibility for a big title like this, or will I ultimately need to buy myself a new copy once I upgrade? Will my character be able to change systems with me, or will Bungie and Activision ultimately nix the old for the new since this game is clearly going to need a whole gob of horse power?

The “Plot” of Destiny Sounds Cool

The golden age of human civilization was practically wiped off of the Earth until a sentient, extra terrestrial, all powerful being called the Traveler saves a small group of humans who grow and thrive and are ultimately able to get back on their horses and traverse the world once more. Once they do they find all types of baddies that want to kill them. It actually sounds pretty generic. But what I really like is how open this idea actually is. Bungie wants the players to create the story and the world. The best way to do it is to give a great big open-ended world where the player is not restricted in the least. Bungie has not given away a ton of back story, but I feel like they won’t really have to. This game is about the future and not the past. I am sure that we will learn more about it, but in this sense I am actually quite satisfied not to know a whole lot more.

This is all I have to say on the subject for now, even though there is so much more to talk about. Bungie.net will have an all new social system installed to text you game related news, you will be able to create a space craft to travel between worlds, and so much more has been said and not said it is so hard to even contemplate it all at once.

I am really interested to see where all of this is going to be heading. Destiny sounds like a fantastic game on paper, and I hope Bungie can pull it off. There are just so many questions floating around right now that it is so hard to not look at Destiny in a very confused way. Hopefully the awe-inspiring ambition will still be there the day we pop that disk in the tray and many years after.