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Video Games

The Steam Summer Sale ’17

The infamous Steam Sale has come again, and amidst the veritable deluge of prices crashing to earth there are some serious bargains. I can honestly say I’ve bought more in this sale than I have done in years, a few of those curiosity pieces reduced to pennies, blockbuster titles of yesteryear brought to all time lows. Financially speaking the going has been good this summer if you’ve got a nice full wishlist so you can monitor the good deals when they come.

Steam’s efforts to gamify their sales process and engage their users in the buying process may- at one time – have revolutionised the retail industry, but their recent efforts have been a little lacklustre, repetitive, and at times a little sloppily executed. So let’s talk about the latest attempt, the sticker collection.

Every 24 hours you get the usual chance to cycle through your discovery queue ignoring the popular games, watching the odd trailer that catches your eye, maybe racking up an item or two for the wishlist, and collecting trading cards for the regular badge that you’ll never quite complete. The queue also earns you stickers, as do two other “quests” that change every day that get you further and further involved in Steam’s various community features. You slowly build up a sticker collection that build up various scenes of game characters enjoying typical summer activities, barbecues in the park, going to the seaside, time out in the wilderness with friends, that sort of thing.

And yet I find myself thinking that this may be one of the least interesting and blandly transparent, and maybe that’s because I’ve seen too many. Sure there’s plenty of new users who’ve never taken part, maybe aren’t aware of all of the community features they’ve got going on, and they’ve added a few lately that they probably want to shout about a little, and rightly so, they’ve put in the backbone to take their once barely known selling platform for their singular line of games and created a monster of the industry that’s stripped PC games from the highstreet and have forced the consoles to give deep thought to their business model… but that’s a different article, I’ll stop now.

Turning your engagement in a product and into the sale into a game is the perfect approach for Steam, but it requires some feedback, some reward, and filling up a sticker book with some mostly boring stickers? Ok, seeing Geralt of Rivia flipping burgers is entertaining enough but most of those stickers are cups. One of the pages has mostly cacti, and to be honest a few of them just don’t fit the background.

And I find myself asking unpleasant questions like: “What exactly do Steam levels do for me?” and “Why am I so entertained by collecting the cards?” I’m not in this to chase numbers, I find I want more out of my experience, and practically any amount of return on investment would make me far more interested.

I’m well aware that the Steam sales are a deal that benefits everyone, we get cheap games, Steam makes money, and the creators make money (although… no, y’know what, that’s another article again), so I’m not saying that the sales are a bad idea, far from it. But they have a motif to pursue, and right now it feels like they’re just rolling out the same recycled picture show and haven’t even reached the bar on that either.


Gaming Genres: Roguelikes

What is a roguelike?

Well, it’s a game like Rogue. (Obviously).

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Free Game Review: Creativerse

Creativerse is a title that’s not unlike Minecraft, so you may see people compare the two games quite often. In fact, as a spoiler, Minecraft will be name dropped a lot in this article. However, whilst Minecraft-like games usually don’t appeal to me, Creativerse certainly does. It’s a cute, clean game which is thoroughly well made. Furthermore, servers are really well looked after – So come and take a peek at this beautifully imagined game with us!

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Top 10 – Finishing Moves

GeekOut Top 10s

The fight is fought and won, there is no more glory to be had here, so why are you lingering? Why it’s to finish the job in style of course; because no epic fight is finished with one guy just bleeding from his wounds, or simply limping away to feel sorry for himself. You have to let them know who’s won, you have to do it in style!

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GOVG – Video Game Night #6

Guess who’s back? Back again? Yes, GeekOut Video Gamers are back – So tell a friend and come play some video games with us! So if you’re looking for something to do on Saturday 24th June, then come join us for some fun and games!

 


Yes, we’re known for playing a lot of games here in GeekOut. It doesn’t matter where you’re from for this, if you’d like to join us for a bunch of games (most of which are free to play), just jump onto Discord and come play with us. Feel free to join us before the night, as we’re a really friendly bunch!

Games schedule so far (This can change on the evening):
Brawlhalla:
18:00-19:00
Creativerse:
19:00-Whenever
Anything else: When Creativerse ends!

Possible games:
Team Fortress 2 (Mann vs Machine mode)
Brawlhalla
Creativerse
Path of Exile (Diablo-esque game)
Civilization V
Tabletop Simulator
Killing Floor
Minecraft
League of Legends
Castle Crashers
Transformice
Quiplash
Drawful 2
Worms W.M.D, Worms Reloaded, Worms Revolution

GOVG – Video Game Night #6

Saturday, Jun 24, 2017, 6:00 PM

Discord (GeekOut Video Gamers channel)
https://discordapp.com/invite/0115v9py6MC6y2TDC The Internet, GB

1 proud geeks Attending

Guess who’s back? Back again? Yes, GeekOut Video Gamers are back – So tell a friend and come play some video games with us! So if you’re looking for something to do on Saturday 24th June, then come join us for some fun and games!Yes, we’re known for playing a lot of games here in GeekOut. It doesn’t matter where you’re from for this, if you’d lik…

Check out this Meetup →

Join us on Discord (https://discordapp.com/invite/0115v9py6MC6y2TDC) for a night of fun and games. We’ll arrange a game for people to download in advance that’ll be our main game for the night, so if you know of any really good free to play games, please let us know in the comments below.

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Video Game Review: Rocking Pilot (Free Giveaway!)

Think you’re good enough to be a Rocking Pilot? This game seems to think so, as you take charge in your single attack helicopter against an army, or two. Thousands will fight you, as you aim to take them and all of the evil oppessors down. It’s bullethell madness and a throwback shooter with a modern twist – So join us as we take a look at this cartoony and colourful brand new game on Steam and at the end of the article, you can be in with a chance of winning one of our two copies of the game!

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Top 10 – Video Game Films

GeekOut Top 10s

“Wow, this game’s story is so complex, it’d make a great movie!” – Ancient proverb.

Okay, so the above isn’t really an ancient proverb, but let’s be honest: You’ve heard a gamer say this at least once in your life. I know I’ve heard it a dozen times and nine times out of ten, this ends up being a bad decision. However, sometimes we get something that’s a little bit special. Video Games are interactive media, as opposed to a static media, which means the stories they tell can be varied and even of branching plots.

Whatever you think about video game movies, we’re here to discuss the Top 10 Video Game Movies. Before we get into the actual list, this means that the film must have a game as well. The film doesn’t have to be based on the game or the game doesn’t have to be based on the film, but the actual setting and world needs to be used in one capacity or the other.


Top 10

10) Ratchet and Clank

For the uninitiated, Ratchet and Clank are two very strange fellows indeed. A mechanic ‘Lombax’, a cat-like fictional race made for the purposes of the franchise, becomes friends with this adorable little robot who he names Clank. Ratchet having learned of an alien race known as the Blarg, who were going around on a ship called the deplanetiser, wanted to join a resistance group against them, but is ultimately rejected. Still keen to ensure the safety of his planet, Ratchet goes on a mission.

This was a box office flop, so even if you’re a fan of the games this could not go any higher than this. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people will barely know this film exists, but we had to make a mention to it. The film was released in 2016 and whilst critics panned it and it wasn’t profitable (indeed losing money), it was cute enough to be considered for the list. But it wasn’t just because it’s cute; The film was made of pretty well done CGI, but more importantly, it used game assets to make the film. This really was a non-playable version of the game.

9) Angry Birds Movie

Let me begin by saying that I wanted this spot to go to Max Payne! But somehow, SOMEHOW both the box office and the critics disagreed! I understand that Angry Birds is a more popular game (which is just… I mean it was done to death before the game was even released) and that Max Payne is something of a brutal game series lacking in “family friendliness” but there’s no question which was the better film.

Parents of rabid children who are allowed to get at mummy and daddy’s iPad were dragged to a puerile plot beleaguered with fart jokes and characters thinner than the premise, whose announcement was greeted by disbelief by both fans and detractors. That popularity earns it a place at #9 on our list, and is probably to blame for the Emoji movie that’s on it’s way.

8) Mortal Kombat vs Street Fighter

There can only be one true fighting game film.

Mortal Kombat is well known for having reached number one in the US box office for three weeks! We look back at this film and can barely believe it, as it’s such a cheesefest. The plot of the film basically revolves around the tournament, featuring all of your favourite characters, such as Raiden, Liu Kang and a guy who basically says he’s Johnny Cage (I don’t know what I was expecting really). It’s a tournament of goodies vs baddies; if the baddies win, Shao Khan will be able to invade and take over Earth. Marvellous!

Conversely to Mortal Kombat then, we have Street Fighter. Featuring some massive names, such as Kylie Minogue as Cammy, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile and Raúl Juliá (known for being Gomez Addams in the first two Addams Family films) as M. Bison. Cheese galore, character roles are switched up as Ryu and Ken become swindlers and BANG – You’ve got yourself a film that was a humongous flop in the box office; costing 35 million and earning them less than a million. Yeowch!

But, it’s all about the impact these films left on you – Which of these two packed the most punch?

7) Super Mario Bros.

An early example of video game films going bad, Super Mario Bros. was a film based on the hyper successful video game franchise of Mario. Featuring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi, the two brothers find a parallel universe, where King Koopa (Bowser as we better know him) is a ruthless ruler. Upon finding out about both universes, King Koopa wants to merge them to rule over them both. The Mario Bros. team up with Princess Daisy to stop King Koopa in his tracks.

Okay, so this film was a flop, being criticised on almost every front. It still managed to win some awards and in some cases, it won our hearts. It’s somewhat of a cult classic these days, which isn’t too surprising when you think about it. But, overall, this wacky film just wasn’t the best way to adapt the plumber brothers to the big screen. A crying shame too, as the cast was actually pretty good!

6) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Jerry Bruckheimer brought Dastan to the big screen, and while it was amongst the first big titles to be spat at for Hollywood whitewashing, Jake Gyllenhaal is rarely bad in anything. In effect Sands of Time may have ended up something more akin to a repaint of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it managed to give us the wall running, fast paced action one might expect of a platformer, an edge of the mythic, a Disney love story, and ostrich racing.

The plot is transparent and incoherent in equal measure, the action sequences are beautiful if a little over-padded to fill run time and give us stronger ties to the game, and yet the final result is a video game that got real blockbuster attention long before Assassin’s Creed or Warcraft. Ok, a forgettable blockbuster amongst a flood of bland blockbusters, but it got its own Lego set.

5) Assassin’s Creed

We’re under no illusions here, despite the massively award winning cast and the enormous franchise it built upon, Assassin’s Creed isn’t going to be winning any awards of its own. It suffers a lot of the same issues harboured by a lot of video game films, but did a lot of very positive things for the format. It played well to the core concept, took an original stance without destroying everything that came before, and made the sensible decision to include an original central character.

The enormous animus arm offered a more dramatic take on the link between host and memories, and gave us a very “video game moment” for the final escape from the Templar compound. The narrative may have been very rushed but it was fairly well executed, may have been a little over-reliant on people knowing the games, but overall it was a well presented and stylish spectacle that may very well have helped the video game blockbuster along just a little more.

4) Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart and friends return, two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. With Sephiroth gone, a trio have been found kidnapping children, inflicting upon them a dreadful disease. After being summoned to a meeting, Cloud and co find out that the trio were a physical manifestation of Sephiroth’s soul, which was inflicting serious damage. The crew get back together to find and stop the trio.

Stunning; truly stunning is what I’d call this. The animation was fantastic, even if the plot itself was a little bit lacking. You also need to take into account that the film was made back in 2005, which eventually got remastered in 2009. Over the years, the animation quality got more and more impressive, seriously spurring on some top quality CGI that could make even Pixar cry. Yes it’s true; we can’t rate it higher, as really this is a pretty niche game to put in the list – Especially since the film was a Direct-to-DVD release.

3) Resident Evil vs Silent Hill

Our second versus in one article; there can only be one horror video game movie!

Resident Evil

Resident Evil has been a constant success in the box office; the first film alone more than tripled the production cost. The Umbrella Corporation, with a lab underneath Racoon City, called The Hive, are doing genetic research; creating the ultimate lifeform. When a thief tries to steal the formula, the Red Queen awakens, sealing The Hive and killing everyone who was inside. In an attempt to get an antivirus to stop the now spreading gasses which were causing the dead to walk!

Resident Evil is a bit of a weird one to place in this list, if only because it’s sometimes hard to think back about the films. In 2016, the franchise of films was finally finished with a film decisively called “The Final Chapter”. Okay, see you again in a few more years then, Resident Evil production team! I jest, but honestly, the films have gone up and down in ratings over the years, but none can deny the amazing scene in Resident Evil 2 where Alice rides through a Church window on a God damn motorbike. Holy mother of God, that scene is cool!

Silent Hill

The nightmarish world of Silent Hill lends itself beautifully to the big screen, a visually haunting spectacle that directly impacts the character who appears therein. In the case of the film it becomes a town enslaved to the malice and vengeance of a little girl burned for witchcraft, the zealous monsters within trapped forever by monsters born of her worst nightmares.

Lots of monologuing makes for a hard sold plot in between visual spectacle, and the less said about Sean Bean’s accent the better, but we were presented with the classic imagery of the game franchise, and all of the monsters who dwell in its fog ridden streets. It’s even a very watchable film, positively enjoyable, but ties to the game may have gotten a little too tenuous for some fans to tolerate.

2) DOOM

Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban head up a team of expendable jarheads played by equally expendable actors, but between them and Rosamund Pike we get some comfortably high quality performances plunged into a very FPS style narrative complete with horrifying demon monsters. The film suffers in AvP Requiem style darkness to hide the rubbery monsters, cheese levels spare us such horrors as “wooshing” torches, but spare no cliches on dialogues, crappy jump scares and unlovable one-dimensional characters, but DOOM didn’t get this far in our list by being adequate.

DOOM has been cited as a prime example of “what not to do” when adapting a video game to film, but take a moment to really consider some of the key components and you may come to appreciate what was being attempted. A group of combatants are given a quest, to sweep a compound and secure three servers for data, important information is drip fed to them gradually, giving a slow burning horror, culminating in the film going full on First-Person for Urban’s final showdown against big-boss The Demon-Rock Johnson. In many ways the content would have made for some fantastic video game moments, but did not make for a terrific film. Not bad for 2005, but at the time we saw a glimpse of what might be…

1) Warcraft

With the Fel Orcs tearing apart their homeworld, the Warlock Gul’Dan looks to expand his people’s homes into a new world – Azeroth. The Guardian of Tirisfel, Medivh, is warned by a young mage, Khadgar, about the fel energies that were appearing. The Frostwolf Clan who came with the Fel Orcs try to liaise with the humans to warn them of the dangers coming their way – Only for them to be ambushed. With such tension between Orcs and Humans, the World of Warcraft’s story has begun in a big way.

Anyone who saw this blockbuster will be filled with hope; that video game films are finally on the horizon of becoming a massive thing. Blizzard put so much love and care into this film, that honestly, you could feel like this was a love letter to their fans. This was the sort of tip of the hat we expect from Blizzard when they’re not being complacent. This is the Blizzard we love; and this film was their thank you to their fans. Hopefully, this film made a few new fans… and I can’t wait for the next film. Want to know more? Check out our full review of Warcraft. Also, let’s not forget the fact – This is the highest grossing video game movie adaptation of all time as of the time of writing.


Honourable Mentions

Now it’s over to the less popular opinions; the honourable mentions. These we felt deserved to be included, because they might not quite fit our criteria, or they were just absolutely dreadful. It’s worth noting however, these still basically count for the video game movie category we’ve defined, it’s just they kind of fall outside of the direct criteria.

Wreck-It-Ralph

It may not be entirely possible to summarise the whole of the arcade gaming world in a film so elegantly as Wreck-It-Ralph. Not only were there cameos from diehard classics like Cubert, Sonic, and Pac-Man, but we also got a heartwarming story from the perspective of a bad-guy about how much easier it is for other people to accept us when we accept ourselves.

While Ralph may not be based on any real in-game character like his friends were, there’s a rather obvious parallel to Donkey Kong, whose nemesis was a plumber rather than a builder, the game-style is very similar, and of course Donkey also went on to be a heroic character himself. Even without that transparent homage we’d be doing this list a disservice by omitting this one.

Pokemon Movie

Relegated to the honourable mentions section because – let’s be honest with ourselves here – the Pokemon film is more directly linked to the supporting anime series, a tie-in to a tie-in if you will. We’d still be incredibly callous to leave it out. In this standalone story we follow the origins of Mewtwo, derived from the genetics of Mew. In an unsurprising Mary Shelley twist, creation turns on creator, and a civil war of sorts ensues.

Unapologetically heartbreaking, the film sets out to give us a lesson of unity and togetherness as Mewtwo comes to realise that he has become everything he despised in his master, and that that can be genuine love between Man and Mon. If only Ultron could have seen Pikachu trying to wake up Ash, I bet his vibranium heart would have melted.

A Dishonourable Mention

Just one, despite a dearth of bad films, many of which receiving bigger praise than they deserve here, I must spontaneously bring to bear the one name that all will hold aloft as the curse wrought upon the marriage of video game and film industries, and the only director whose name I curse more highly than Zack Snyder. Mercifully retired, but a blemish that shall linger, courtesy of Bloodrayne, In the Name of the King, and Alone in the Dark. Many of his films were somehow crowdfunded, meaning people wanted to see them happen!

If you gave money to Uwe Bol, you are an accessory to Uwe Bol. Let us say no more.


That’s it, your time is up and it’s now game over! Time for us to count the scores for the potential list for next week, so click on the one you most want to see listed and we’ll be sure to throw together another high quality article… At least, we’ll push our articles through our Quality Assurance guys. What? There’s a bug in our articles? NOOO!

We’ve seen enough video game movies to last a lifetime, however we hope that with the recent rise in quality of video game movies, we start to see the medium taken even more seriously. Perhaps video games will be the next comic movies? Or perhaps not. What did you make of our list? Did the best ones get in? Did we forget any really big video game movie? Is our order right? As always, let us know what you thought in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

 


Top 10 Grass-Type Pokemon

Last week we planted the seeds of an idea in your mind, an idea that you’d like to see a brand new Pokemon based Top 10. Your decision has been logged, and we’ve gotten down and dirty trying to root out the best examples of grass type pokemon, based on style, popularity, and combat effectiveness. We aren’t going to judge for all of these points at the same time; We estimated how much we thought each of these Pokemon fit in one or more of the criteria and went from there.

Let us run down our prize turnips, our growers and climbers, our Top 10 Grass Type Pokemon.

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Mobile Game Review: AdVenture Capitalist

Clicker games kicked off when an innoculous little game called Cookie Clicker hit the internet, to which we all had a good laugh. There were earlier clicker games, the technical genre name called incremental, but most people will cite Cookie Clicker as the first. But since then, the genre has gotten a lot more variety. One of the most popular and well-rounded clicker game is AdVenture Capitalist, which was created on the Browser Game website, Kongregate. It’s been on mobile as well as Steam for a while now, so what can this clicker game offer for us and is it actually any good?

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UKGE 2017: Games and RPG’s

As Joel (terraphi) mentions in his article we were at UK Games Expo 2017. Over the three days I spoke to a lot of people and walked several miles wandering around the show but we both walked away feeling like the show was generally very good. Joel and I sat down and had a little chat at the end of day 2 about what we liked and didn’t like about the show.

Games

Let’s start with awesome Polish publisher Board And Dice, I managed to get a bit more of an in-depth look into two of their games. Pocket Mars is a worker placement game where you aim to take all of your astronauts from Earth and place them on Mars and bills itself as a big game in a small box. From the explanation I got I can definitely see why and it’s gone onto my wishlist for the future. The second game of theirs was SuperHot a card game based on the computer game of the same name. SuperHot is a deck building game with a difference, where you can play in a solo mode, co-op or against a second player who plays as an AI and there is even a 2 on 1 mode where two players can try to take down the AI. It’s very true in the way the game looks and feels which is a huge credit. The game and the designer have even implemented a mechanic that attempts to simulate time moving when you do.

Next, we will move onto Brain Crack Games, who are based in Southampton. I played their corporate greed based card game called Down Size where you have to build up funds in a company as fast as possible and then think about firing all of your employees. I also played a fantastic little exploration game called Mined Out where you mine for gems in a very unstable mine, both of these games again appeal to me because the boxes are quite small and portable and there is enough gameplay in there.

I also had a go at a nearly complete version of Grublin Games heist game called Perfect Crime. This one is a bit more long form but is a very novel new concept and as far as I know, the only board game that uses blueprints as part of the design. As suggested by the title you play the part of bank robbers who set out to plan and execute a perfect heist. One player plays as the bank and then all other players (maximum 5 including the Bank) act as the robbers to try and find their way to the vault. The team at Grublin are looking to get this complete for September and even though I don’t do long form games that much this one has me rather intrigued.

RPG’s

The thing with RPGs at a show like UKGE is that you have very limited time to absorb them. That is unless you have done some research beforehand, so I tend to go on instinct with these things. I did come across two RPG’s that caught my eye and with any luck, we might be able to get hold of copies of them to give them a full review.

First off we have an RPG called Sins. Sins is a really interesting sounding game with a simplified dice system that I feel really works with its premise. It’s being billed as “a high-octane, dark and driven game of cinematic proportions“. I love the fact that the creators have already embraced that music can be very influencial in setting a tone and they have released a few Spotify Playlists to help players and the GM alike. I spoke to the designer Sam who is a really nice guy and very enthusiastic about his own product. Rightfully so, the demo book he had was beautiful and when he explained the dice system my interest really accelerated.

The second RPG that I found is from the Italian game designers Tin Hat Games who we hope to get hold of their new board game Dungeon Digger that was kickstarted in an amazing 3 days. They have a really nice super being based RPG called Urban Heroes. Having seen the actual print book again I must say it’s beautifully put together. Urban Heroes has been around for a while and if we can’t get hold of a copy for review then I am more than willing to dig into my own pocket for a PDF version at only $19.99 (USD).

That’s not all folks?

There is so much more and Joel and I will be working on getting more posts up related to UKGE over the next few weeks/months. Trust us when I say we have plenty of content to write up. I certainly would say that UKGE was a great expo and well worth checking out. Speaking to some of the people who attended it I got confirmation from them that it was well worth the money even if you only went for a day trip. Did you go to UKGE and if so what was your experience of the show? Did you manage to pick up any bargains from the show? Tell us all about it in the comments section below or over on Facebook.