Why do you play Borderlands? Is it the Story or The Action?

Spoiler note: This post contains plot spoilers about Borderlands and Borderlands 2 and, by default, spoilers about the characters in the upcoming Pre-Sequel who also appear in Borderlands 2. Spoiling Borderlands 1 for you might actually be doing you a favor, though. That ending’s terrible. With Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel right around the corner, I recently explained why the first two games are so hard to put down. You might notice that that post doesn’t talk about story at all. You don’t play Borderlands for the story. But—and this is coming from a gamer deeply interested in video game storytelling—that’s okay. Some games are fun enough that they can do just fine with no narrative interest whatsoever. Borderlands is one of those series. That being said, the ending of the first Borderlands was one of the bigger narrative train wrecks in recent gaming memory.  But to their credit, Gearbox admitted it, learned from it, and made the story and characters of Borderlands 2...

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Grand Theft Auto V Storyline is a Brilliant Achievement - GTA

I recently finished a fifty-five-hour playthrough of Grand Theft Auto V. It’s a ridiculously fun game. It’s also can be a very disappointing game.  Unlike Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto V is a flawed masterpiece worth playing, thinking, and talking about whose good will never erase its bad and whose bad doesn’t, for me, overwhelm its good—it just cheapens it.   About ten hours into my Grand Theft Auto V playthrough My wife said to me, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you giggle as much as since you started playing this game.” And she was right. So many of the things that Grand Theft Auto IV almost got right were beautifully executed in Grand Theft Auto V. Driving (and piloting) was fun in its own right, and the different handling based on vehicle and terrain kept it exciting and strategically interesting. The quantity and quality of random things...

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Enough is Enough - When to Throw in the Towel Mid-Game?

When it comes to games with stories, I’m a completionist. I’m a story completionist rather than a gaming completionist—once in a long while I’ll aim for 100% completion in a particularly great game, but mostly I’m content to do the main content and a selection of the side quest-y stuff.  But I almost always finish the main campaign of games I start. Or at least I used to. In the past couple of years, I’ve found myself giving up on games halfway through more and more often. Which puts me in decent company, as recent studies suggest that even among dedicated gamers, about 10% reach the ending of a given title and only about 1/3 of gamers finish even the most successful games. As I’ve gotten older and face more demands on my time, I’m more likely to put down a game that’s sort of fun but a big time commitment....

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7 of the top Nintendo Gamecube games to play with friends

We know what you’re thinking. With all the retro systems out there, why are we talking about the GameCube? What do GameCube party games have that you can’t get from other systems? Actually, a lot of the best party games ever made are found exclusively on the GameCube, like Super Smash Bros Melee. And yes, we know that most of the franchises on this list have moved on to newer, “better” systems. Ok, fine. So tell us, where else you can find another Mario Kart: Double Dash title besides the GameCube? The answer: nowhere. Double Dash is a super-unique Mario Kart game that was only released on GameCube. And this is just one of many GameCube exclusives we’re going to review for you today. Get your multiplayer retro gaming party on with these hit GameCube titles. Oh, and don’t forget: GameCube games are playable on Wii consoles, too. 1. Mario Kart:...

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5 Reasons: Shin Megami Tensei Persona Games Are so Damn Good

One of the most pleasant surprises of the end of the PS2’s life cycle were Atlus’s Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3, Persona 3 FES, which was an add for Persona 3 (2007) and Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4 (2008), all released in North America long after the next generation of consoles had come out. The Battle System in these RPGs is party-based combat In standard level-grinding dungeons, but the other half of the gameplay makes Persona games unique. Each game is split almost evenly in half between dungeon combat. . . And working through one year in the daily life of high school students in Japan (including occasionally answering questions in school). The player directs the protagonist To determine how to spend free time, by spending time with friends, potential girlfriends (all playable relationships are heterosexual and only Persona 3 Portable the PSP version offers a female protagonist), or local residents, eating or...

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Perfection! Telling A Compelling Story with in Game Music

In 2010, I was a music minor in a composer’s group at my college that met once a week to discuss various issues in music and composing. One day I proposed to the group that at an upcoming meeting I’d make a presentation on video game music as a serious emerging venue for the musical art form. A couple gamers in the group got it, but there were a lot of blank stares from people whose impression of video game music had solidified, unfavorably, in the 8-bit era. I put together a short presentation, focused mainly on music from Final Fantasy VII and VIII, but I never got to make it – the group had many other things going on, and because it was the thing that the group saw as most expendable, the video game music presentation kept being the thing that was pushed back, right up until I graduated...

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Why Storytelling and Video Games are the Perfect Match!

In 1941, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote a story called “The Garden of Forking Paths” that was basically a “wouldn’t it be cool” vision of a story that could include all of its different possible outcomes—when a decision was made, the story could follow each of the forking paths that result. Nearly 75 years later, Borges’ vision has come to glorious in the medium of video games. Games that give the player the agency to make story-impacting decisions are commonplace, popular, and dramatically interesting and represent the biggest innovation in storytelling since the rise of film as a narrative medium for telling stories with moving pictures (and, later, matching audio). Forking-path games (a genre often called “interactive fiction”) Like Adventure and the commercial Infocom games (Zork, A Mind Forever Voyaging, etc.), which featured optional content, variable sequencing, and often multiple endings and subplot outcomes. In the 1980s, multiple paths...

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15 of the Best PS2 RPGs Ranked - The Old School Game Vault

Putting together a list of “the best PS2 RPGs” is both easy and difficult. It’s easy in the sense that there’s no dearth of role-playing games—the system has more RPG titles than some short-lived consoles, like the TurboGrafx-16, has of any kind at all. The difficult part involves separating the wheat from the chaff. The good news is that it can be done, and the below entries make up our 15 RPGs for PS2 (ranked from 15 to 1).  These amazing titles are sure to please any role playing enthusiast. Some of these options, dare we say, rise to the level of modern classics.  You can also find lots of PS2 on sale right here on our website! 15. Kingdom Hearts II The first “Kingdom Hearts” entry initially confused many gamers and reviewers by throwing Disney Characters into a “Final Fantasy” world. Kingdom Hearts II sticks with the same basic premise of the previous game,...

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Unleash Your Inner Gamer: Embrace the Nintendo Switch with a Game

Discover a world of gaming adventures with the Nintendo Switch! If you're an avid gamer or looking to unleash your inner gamer, the Nintendo Switch is the console for you. This innovative gaming device offers a unique hybrid design that allows you to play your favorite games anytime, anywhere. Whether you're gaming on your TV, playing in handheld mode, or even competing against friends online, the Nintendo Switch delivers an immersive gaming experience like no other. With a vast library of games to choose from, there's something for everyone. From captivating single-player adventures to competitive multiplayer battles, the Nintendo Switch has it all. Find yourself engrossed in epic fantasy worlds, embarking on thrilling quests, or challenge your friends to intense Mario Kart races. The Nintendo Switch is not just a gaming console; it's a gateway to endless entertainment. With its versatile Joy-Con controllers and intuitive gameplay, you'll find yourself immersed in...

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Trust Me! Play Video Games Anywhere, Tailored Games follow

Where we game has changed a lot in recent years, not only with the success of the Nintendo Switch as a system where games are played in a space, not just on a screen.  Also, as mobile devices led to a huge wave of casual games and as increasingly powerful and affordable laptops and cloud servers let PC gamers take AAA games around the house or even out of it. With such variety, gamers are more aware of where they are playing And the relative perks and drawbacks of those spaces – than ever before. So are game developers. In April, Microsoft unveiled a prototype technology called IllumiRoom, which involved a projector sitting on a coffee table projecting images around your TV to supplement the game on the screen, so the game seems to expand and take over your room, immersing your field of vision in the experience. Last month, Microsoft announced...

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Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a PlayStation Vita

Buying a new gaming device is always exciting, but it's important to be prepared to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Before you purchase that new PlayStation Vita, make sure you understand everything you need to get started. The Models & Features The PS Vita is available in two models: the 3G/Wi-Fi model and the Wi-Fi only model. The 3G/Wi-Fi model is more expensive, but it allows you to connect to the internet and play games online. The Wi-Fi only model is less expensive, but it only allows you to connect to the internet when you are in range of a Wi-Fi network. Both models of the PS Vita come with a variety of features, including: A 5-inch touchscreen displayA dual-analog stickA rear touchpadA front-facing cameraA microphoneBluetooth connectivityNear Field Communication (NFC) The Games: You can buy PS Vita games as digital downloads (via PlayStation Network) or on physical game cards from stores like GameStop....

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What is Interconnected Game Play? And does it Work?

In the last couple of years, interconnected games in which player actions in one game affect options or situations in another have started to pop up more frequently than usual. Mass Effect: Infiltrator launched for mobile platforms simultaneously with the console and PC release of Mass Effect 3, and the Intel collected in the mobile shooter could be used to increase a player’s Galactic Readiness score in ME3 (which helped open new ending options), rewarding players who checked out the spin-off title. Mass Effect: Datapad was also released as a free iOS app, which let players/users read up on various elements of their Mass Effect 3 situation and the ME universe, get messages from characters, and play mini-games that also improved their ME3 Galactic Readiness score. Cloud Gaming & Interconnection How Cool is This These interconnected cross-platform experiences allow players to take Mass Effect with them and engage that world on...

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The Nintendo DS is discontinued, but Should I still buy One?

Many people can find many classic DS games for sale on eBay. The DS Library is still in high demand. The following are some of the most common Nintendo DS games available for sale. More Common Titles you see Mario Kart, Zelda Spirit Tracks, Mario & Donkey Kong, Pokemon Platinum, Chrono Trigger are a few titles with availability online. The Pokémon series is one of the most Popular With 19 titles released for the Nintendo DS. You can get many of these titles for sale used with free shipping. Are games still for sale on a DS? Unfortunately, Nintendo will stop selling 3DS e-Shops by 2022. After completing this process, it's impossible to buy a 3DS game on eBay. You only have a chance to legally acquire a copy of a game from an authorized dealer. Which is better, Nintendo DS or DS Lite? Nintendo DS Lite has a smaller, slimmer body...

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Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol.2: All 10 Games Reviewed

4 days ago, SNK tweeted an announcement that had retro-gaming nerds like us drooling in anticipation. Today, November 9, 2022, we see that promise fulfilled. SNK has just released its second volume of 10 long-lost Neo Geo Pocket Color games on Steam and Nintendo Switch. If you’ve read our recent account of the original console’s tragic failure, this is very uplifting news indeed. Even better, the 10 titles included in Neo Geo Pocket Color Vol.2 make up an awesome collection. This selection exhumes many exclusive spin-offs of familiar franchises, like SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash. There are also sports games, a puzzle game, and one rare oddity that finally gets a worldwide release. Using our extensive nerd knowledge, we’ve reviewed each of these titles in detail. Read on to see why we’re super excited about Neo Geo Pocket Color Vol.2. 1. Rockman Battle & Fighters Rockman Battle & Fighters is...

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The 10 Best Mech Games of All Time - Target Locked

Before we begin, let’s get something out of the way. There’s literally no one on the planet who hasn’t dreamed of waking up one day, receiving a holographic phone call from a hot secretary who tells you “The world needs you. Now!” as you smirk out of bed, put on your suit, head over to the bay and strap yourself into a 40-foot machine built for absolute destruction. I mean, words and diplomacy can solve a lot of problems, without a doubt. But sometimes, you need to pilot a badass mech and just… Blow. Enemies. Away. Mech games are a lot of fun. When they’re done well, it’s almost too much fun. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best mech games of all time. Note that these aren’t in any particular order, they’re all awesome games. Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. Full Boost – PS3/Arcade Extreme Vs. Full...

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Game-Breaking Glitches: A Problem That Needs Resolution

Maddeningly, we’ve all had the experience. You’re progressing through an enjoyable game, devoting your time and being rewarded for it, when all of a sudden there’s a glitch. A glitch that makes it impossible for you to carry on as you were. A game-breaking glitch. If anything, this seems to happen more often these days Mainly due because though dev teams are bigger and publishers throw more money at AAA titles than ever before, the scope of the games has gotten so big that it’s easier for a weird set of game-breaking circumstances to slip through the cracks in the Quality Assurance department. More pessimistically, it seems that since the advent of downloadable patches, developers are more willing to ship games with a less thorough testing process and fix them later in order to hit their release deadlines. On the one hand, then, bugs are the price we pay for epic...

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How Great Game Play, Can Strengthen Halos In Game Narratives

I never owned an Xbox system until I bought a 360. I was almost exactly ten years late to the Halo party when I fired up a hand-me-down copy of Halo 2 that fall. Halo 2 was showing its age by that point, of course, but it still made an impression in a couple of ways. First, it was clear that this was a shooter with an unusually elaborate universe and backstory. Second, I was surprised by the large investment seemingly required to get much out of that story. As I continued on to Halo 3, Halo 4, and then (backtracking). I was struck at each point by How difficult and nearly irrelevant it was to figure out what was going on. Should Halo Expanded it's giant Universe going forward? Or Not? I played most of these campaigns local co-op Is Local Multiplayer on Its Way Out—or Its Way Up? (on Legendary)...

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Why is Bloodborne on the PS4 is Hard As Hell, but Fun As Hell?

I’m not the kind of player who longs for “the good old days” when games seemed to hate you and want you to die. My attempt to replay Paperboy and recapture the glory of my NES days was short-lived as I realized how needlessly, unrewarding cruel that game is—I just didn’t know any better as a kid.  But I’m also not the kind of player who wants games to be easy. My first walkthroughs are more often set to Hard than to Normal. My biggest disappointment about the death of my first PS3 Console was that I lost the save data for my finished Hard play through of The Last of Us and so wouldn’t be able to play Survivor mode next. The difference is in what makes the game difficult Difficulty, like everything else in a game, can be designed well or poorly. To see what good difficulty plays like,...

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Remastered Video Games Worth It? Or a Ploy for Money

As entertainment consumers, most of us love remastered old releases. Whether it’s music or film, giving the classics an update is more often than not a net positive. And the trend of remastering old video game titles has also grown to be a mostly positive thing, as we discussed in a previous post. That article ended with a call-to-action that encouraged readers to think of video game updates that have all but ruined the originals. But besides the titles themselves, there are factors to consider when weighing the negatives and positives of video game remasters. Remasters from the development perspective Another one of our posts politely elucidated the myriad ways in which publishers are screwing gamers for money. It’s a real problem and these companies should be taken to task for their anti-consumer practices. But where it concerns remastered video games, it might be valuable to look at the trend from...

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Why The Home Gaming Console is Still the King!

Every few months or so, I see another article about how the home gaming console is at death’s door. I don’t buy it. Most of my gaming happens on consoles, or handheld gaming console, and I expect to keep it that way for the foreseeable future. Here’s why. New Technology Doesn't Influence Me: I don’t have to keep up with the newest tech to play. I just need to know the name of my console(s) and I’m good to go. Once I buy a console, I know that there’s a whole library of games that will not only play on it, but play on it well. My console doesn’t barely meet the minimum requirements for play, it is the machine the game was designed for. “But,” I hear you argue in my head,” a lot of console games are ports from PC, so they’re actually not the machine the game was...

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