Was Link Dead? Was it a Dream? GT Breaks It Down!

Hey gamers!

Just wanted to share an old video for you all, from the MatPat at GameTheory.

In one of his most viewed videos to date, he asks the audience if Link was actually dead in Majora’s Mask, and if it was all an allegory for death and grief.

Give it a watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S1SVkysIRw

Until next time guys, it’s been a slice!

  • Chris Pie

 

Unpopular Opinion: Who Actually Wants Mobile Games?

Hey gamers!

Another unpopular opinion here for you all. Today’s topic: mobile gaming.

We all know them. They’re on every 12 year old’s iPhone or tablet. Heck, some of you probably have them on your smart device.

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I’m no saint! I have a few myself. I won’t deny it!

But today, I need to talk about the over abundance of them on every mobile app store, and their exhaustive nature and lack of quality.

  1. They. Are. Everywhere. 

    Between posting ads online, television, subway boards, or even on other mobile apps and games, these little games occupy so much space.It’s almost impossible to escape them. Their ads are loud and often are obnoxious. They’re so often the loudest and most annoying five second ads before the video you are watching on YouTube. Worst part is, they hit you again with the same ad, a few videos later.It’s exhausting. Really.I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t feel this way, then you must be either using an ad-blocker on your browser (good idea, folks) or you are oblivious to the world around you.

    THEY’RE EVEN IN MOVIES NOW!

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    Ugh…

  2. They remove the freedom to play, at the expense of the player’s patience and money!

    Do you have a friend who is addicted to Clash of Clans, Game of War, or Candy Crush? Of course you do. Now, ask that friend how much money they’ve spent on the game, to avoid waiting for an in-game cool-down time.Go ahead. Be disappointed in them. And come back to reading this.

    Unlike other console or handheld games, mobile games don’t have the time to invest you into story, or grinding, or farming. Instead they almost prey upon you to spend your hard earned cash, time and time again, to avoid waiting to play or get specific resources.

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    This mechanic is the fundamental principle in the “Free-To-Play, Pay-To-Win” model. And I don’t like it.

    Every time I log into my Google Play account on my phone, I pour a glass to all of the mothers and fathers whose credit cards died for these apps…

  3. They are not fun! Period.

    I’ve gone on record to state how much I love the Pokémon series. I’ve been a fan ever since Pokémon Red and Blue‘s tidal wave of popularity in the 90’s. But damn did I get sick of Pokémon Go fast. It’s such a stale and shallow experience, especially at launch. It was fun to watch a social phenomenon sweep the country, including my small hometown, but it was fun on a sociological and anthropological level.Pokémon_Go_-_screenshot_of_map.png

    I have convinced myself that these games, and their kin, are just “companion” games at best. From Fallout Shelter to Super Mario Run, the games that are often praised as good mobile games, are still companions to their larger and more prestigious counterparts; potentially created to get you to buy and play their larger, more fun and more expensive console and handheld experiences.

    Not to mention, there are so many copy-cat crap games out there, trying to capitalize on the name-brands mentioned above, that they will literally steal a Pokémon game, rip it into a new app, and re-brand it as “Friendly Monster Battles GO” or something.

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    Shameless.

    Anyway, that’s all this time gamers.

    Keep on gaming, it’s been a slice!

    – Chris Pie

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Music You Have to Check Out – Hyrule Castle (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)

Hey gamers!

Just wanted to post a link to one of my favourite musical pieces from the newest Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

After nearly 150 hours, finding this song/medley waiting for me at Hyrule Castle was truly epic!

Here’s the link to an extended version, for all of you Zelda Music Study-Nerds: Hyrule Castle – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Music

Until next time gamers, it’s been a slice!

  • Chris Pie

4 Things Bungie Should Do To Make Destiny 2 Amazing!

As a longtime Destiny player, for better or for worse, I feel as if I have a vested interest in Destiny 2. The new features and concepts that Bungie will implement in their AAA sequel could have major implications on the FPS and console MMORPG markets.

Ever since their Vanilla launch, players have held the cross-platform game to an incredibly high standard, and for good reason. The team behind the original Halo’s were backed with a long term plan and a massive initial budget. Players who have invested hundreds of hours, like myself, have been critical of the game for years, but continue to play it due to the improvements to gameplay and lore, over expansion releases.

With Destiny 2 being teased earlier this week, and a release date of September 8th, 2017, “Guardians” across the globe are in full alert.

Here are X things that can make Destiny 2 amazing!

  1. AN EPIC STORY

    This one has to be the first and highest priority for Bungie. It was the biggest complaint at Destiny’s original launch. Fans were disappointed with the vanilla game’s unexpectedly minimal story, to say the least.They’ve added to the story with the expansions and raids, but the mainline quest felt lackluster in comparison.

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    For D2, Bungie has stated they have focused on emphasizing the story, and I hope it’s for the better.

  2. EXPANDING THE UNIVERSE

    I mean this in the literal and metaphorical sense.By branching out to more planets, more moons, or even more systems, Destiny has a space-exploration experience, becomes more enriched.

    destiny-planets

    The gameplay is fantastic, and so are the visuals. Bungie needs to capitalize on both of these strengths by letting players fight the darkness in spectacles across the vast depths of space.

  3. ADDING AND KEEPING FEATURES

    When Destiny introduced the Sparrow Racing League, players were given the option to earn loot and have fun in a totally unique playground. Features like the SRL allow gamers to lighten the rooting and grinding load by taking some time off patrolling the planets, to race across them.

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    Features like these, and the special holiday/themed events, need to make a return.

    Through introducing challenge modes, players were also allowed to play through old content, with new initiative. This was excellent game design! Keep this going!

  4. IMPROVE THE SINGLE PLAYER EXPERIENCE

    During my early Destiny days, I was playing almost exclusively alone on PS3, working and saving towards a PS4. My friends and then Destiny Clan mates, were already on the new console, and when you have no one to play Destiny with, it can become quite exhausting, and boring.

    What Bungie needs to do, is to add to the single player experience. They added exotic exclusive quests and bounties to the game’s hubs, that allowed players, individual or not, to chase after rewards and loot to diversify the grinding. This is a step in the right direction.

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    Bungie should experiment with previously completed missions, to enhance the way the play; by maybe having a boss run-like mission mode, where you have to race through and score high, via a similar scoring system that the latest strikes use, to qualify for loot or gear. This could really break up the simple patrol and strike basic formula.

    Realistically, we have lots of time before we see more. When the Destiny 2 teaser hit the Internet this past Thursday, guardians got excited. Let’s hope that Bungie is able to deliver on that excitement.

    Until next time gamers, it’s been a slice!

    – Chris Pie

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – IMPRESSIONS

So after a mild hiatus, I’m back!

Tl;dr: School is/was insanely busy.

Anyway, I picked up the newest Zelda earlier this month and oh my goodness… Podcast incoming for sure. After nearly 3 weeks, I want to share a few things with you. Keep in mind, I haven’t finished the game’s story upon writing this blog post, but I have invested roughly 120 hours into Link’s newest quest.

Lemme list a few things that I want to note about this game:

  1. This game is BIG!

    The world is huge! Seriously.Coming from a guy who has played Skyrim for more hours than I care to share on this blog, Hyrule this time round is massive.

    And the best part is, it doesn’t feel empty. The world is truly immersive and alive. The NPC’s are colourful and reactive. The

    Don’t believe me? Check it out!

  2. The combat is fluid!

    Disclaimer: I consider myself a seasoned Zelda expert.
    However…

    I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I didn’t say that the formula wasn’t becoming repetitive. The differences between Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess are few, in my opinion. And what Breath of the Wild does is great for the franchise.

    The game meshes exploration and combat; eat your heart out, Egoraptor!

    egorapter

    The game brings back the targeting mechanic from previous 3D Zelda games, but liberates the gamer at the same time. No longer do enemies feel like they’re taking turns attacking you, or you can just spam the same attack to get by. Battle decisions have consequences and timing is everything.

  3. Be prepared!

    On the topic of combat, being prepared no matter where you go is essential in Breath of the Wild. If you don’t have enough arrows or any meals ready when walking into a new area, you might be in for a shock.There are various ways to approach each situation, but always be ready for things to go south. You never know how hard an enemy might hit you, ending your adventure in a blink.

    Always make sure to grill those veggies before hand!

  4. It’s truly an open world.

    There is just no better way of saying it. The world is inviting in nearly every way.You can visit any region, in any order. You can challenge any dungeon, in any order. You can do nearly any side quest, in any order.

    And with Link being able to climb nearly anything, the possibilities are endless. No experience will ever be the same.

Anyway, my scatterbrain still has a lot of game left to process, and I don’t want to spoil anything for any new gamers.

But I just gotta say, this might just be my favourite Zelda game to date. Like ever!

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It’s been a slice guys!

Until next time!

  • Chris Pie

Unpopular Opinion: I Don’t “Love” Pokémon Sun/Moon

Hey gamers!

So this might be a spicy banger of a post, but it’s a topic, that I need to share. So here it goes…

I don’t love Pokémon Sun/Moon.

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I’m not saying it’s bad, or I hate it, but I don’t love it.

Allow me to explain!

THE INTRO

Oh my God… The intro to this game is brutal. As a long time fan, the last thing I want to do is to have my hand held through the first several hours. I get that it’s catered to new fans of Pokémon, but come on… It’s excruciating.

I am a big believer that they way a game interacts with the player and it’s world, is indicative of the trust that the developers have in those who play it. Pokémon Sun and Moon guide you through ONE of the FOUR Islands, in it’s entirely.

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There are several games that lost me in the beginning because it’s introduction was tacked with tutorials and interruptions, and Pokémon Sun and Moon almost made that list…

THE NEW POKÉMON

Okay, let me preface this by saying that not all of the new Pokémon are ugly or bad, but good lord, some of them are atrocious.

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I’m not expecting every new creature to be a 10/10, but I expected some of them to look at least pleasant enough for me to catch, instead of ignore completely. I honestly think that some of the designs deterred me from catching or battling wild Pokémon, just because I didn’t want to see them again.

Like look at this “thing“:

avK4VLp.pngEven it’s name is ugly: “Bruxish“. Ugh. No thanks.

THE UNWANTED CHANGES

So these next few things are personal, obviously.

I really liked the Super Training mini-games that allowed trainers to beef up their Pokémon that was introduced in Pokémon X and Y. Sun and Moon completely remove them, and force players to raise the EV’s in the wild, often via prolonged critter battles.

This is a harder way to track the stat changes, and it’s often a more boring way to do it.

Also, not a big fan of the changes to the gym leader format. I admired what the Kahuna and Trial Captains were as characters, but their challenges or “boss fights” were often lame and uninteresting. I miss the intensity of the gym leader battles from previous games.

In the end, my gripes are my gripes; they may not be fair for everyone but they are specific to me. I still enjoyed my play-through of the game, but I really don’t see myself returning to the region of Alola anytime soon, at least not on 3DS… 😉

Until next time gamers, it’s been a slice!

  • Chris Pie

Soundtrack of the Week: Majora’s Mask

What’s up, gamers?

In a little segment I like to call “Soundtrack of the Week” (original, I know), we will be delving into the world of video game music. I usually talk about gameplay, story and graphics so often in blogs and podcasts, I figured it would be borderline criminal to ignore the tones that accompany the video games we love so much. So let me begin this new and exciting segment with a classic!

This week, I want to highlight the music behind one of my favourite games OF ALL TIME! The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is one of the most unique Zelda titles in the series, and its music is no different. Despite displaying the iconic, yet presently dated, electronic tones that it’s Nintendo 64 counterpart produced in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the music of Majora’s Mask is constantly thematic and never disappointing. Each track perfectly captures the tone that the game developers were trying to achieve. To summarize what is a genuinely dark and gritty game within a light-hearted adventure franchise, Majora’s Mask centers around the former Hero of Time, Link, as a child attempting to locate a lost and beloved friend from one of his previous quest. The game sees Link journeying through the Lost Woods only to stumble upon a mask-possessed Skull Kid, who not just disfigures our hero, but holds a small town and the entire world hostage.

Koji Kondo, Composer and Arrangement Director for the game knew just what parameters he was working within, and delivered some of the best pieces of cinematic music to date. He knew just what the developers were envisioning and he wanted to create music that would be a perfect soundtrack to Link’s perilous adventure to save Termina.

The theme of the game was about healing, forgiveness and grief, and the soundtrack embodies those themes. Kondo incorporated various other Zelda music inclusions that would bring joy to fans of the series, while introducing songs that directly affected the plot of the game. Songs like the “Song of Healing” provided restorative relief to those suffering in the games plot.  A good example is when Link finds and rescues a struggling Zora in the Great Bay waters. Mikau, the previously mentioned and injured Zora, explains that he was trying to save his band-mates future offspring from sea-faring pirates, but was mortally wounded while doing so; thus asking Link for mercy and assistance in the form of the “Song of Healing”. In turn,  Mikau’s spirit is put to rest, knowing that he can trust Link with doing what he could not. It’s kind of gruesome if you think about it, but the simple notes within the “Song of Healing” detail just how painful loss and suffering can be.

I could sit here and spit-ball all day about each and every track within the game, and I wont. However, what I will do is briefly detail some of the most notable tracks and explain why they are perfect for the game. Keep in mind, these are all of my opinion, and you are welcome to disagree, like always! (Links included, and puns intended!)

  1. Clock Town (Day 1, 2 and 3)
    I realize I kind of cheated right out of the gate by putting three songs in one, but it’s the same song, just arranged differently depending on the day in which it is being played. It helps to understand that Link is given three (3) days to save the land of Termina before Skull Kid crashes the moon into the earth. So it’s interesting to see Kondo arrange this track to accurately reflect the ever growing desperation that the characters, and the player feel while looking up in the sky at the gloom-and-doom moon. Its when Day 3 arrives, that you realize that you only have so much time left to do what’s needed, before ultimately resetting time, or challenging the powerful Skull Kid yourself. As the stakes increase, so does the tempo of the songs!
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0kXVfqPrLs
  2. Final Hours
    This is another piece of music that is heard primarily within the boundaries of Clock Town. Once the third and final day has concluded, the game REALLY, REALLY wants to set the mood by letting  church bells echo throughout the region, only to be met with absolute silence. That deafening silence is what makes this piece so epic, because the player realizes that there isn’t really anyone left in the town, because they’ve all abandoned ship and fled to safety. Essentially, you come face to face with the fact that you are the only thing standing in between the safety of the world, and it’s cruel destruction.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e056R97svz8
  3. Stone Tower Temple
    Talk about eerie… This track from Kondo accurately portrays the life and struggle of the Ikana Canyon. The area is described as the canyon of death, and this song echo’s a chilling sense of mortality. The final, and most difficult dungeon in the entire game has this song playing throughout it’s corridors, and to great effect. The unnerving sounds of the Ocarina as it plays on top of a ritual-like hum, drums and tambourine will quickly send chills down the player’s spine. The song’s bars capture the psyche-testing challenges and puzzles within the dungeon in pure melodic form.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab60XEyA5OQ)

As I said, I could do this all day, but I want to save a little bit of Majora’s Mask excellence and brilliance for another post! Feel free to comment what you’re favourite Majora’s Mask song is. Hey, I’d even open it up to what your favourite thematic piece of video game music is!

Until next time guys, it’s been a slice!

– Chris Pie