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Archive for February 2015

Life is Strange Review

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Please Note: Many reviewers out there seem to think it is appropriate to discuss the events of previous episodes of Life is Strange as if everyone who would read it damn well should have already played the previous episodes.  It has been my experience that if you have held out this long and haven’t already played this episode then you are most likely wondering how the game progresses throughout the season and will decide whether or not to buy when all episodes are out.  This is why each episodic review is spoiler free for the entire season, not just this episode.

Episode 1: Chrysalis

Adventure games have always been a bit of a split for me.  I was never good at them, never completed many of them, and thus I wanted to write them off as worthless but what they did for storytelling is undeniable.  TellTale somewhat switched up the definition of what goes into an adventure game, but try as they may I was hindered by either losing investment in the story or just not valuing these games any more than my current frustration with trying to beat Grim Fandango Remastered because I had never played before.  I guess the biggest problem for me was the balance is never quite there.  In a point-and-click adventure game there’s too much emphasis on puzzle solving and figuring out the developer whereas the TellTale games traditionally have too little and stand as nothing more than slightly interactive movies (that always seem to end in the same place regardless of those decisions).  Life is Strange stands out because developer Dontnod (known previously for the great action title Remember Me) acknowledges the reality that you are a player interacting with an environment, but also allows you to relate to the person on screen so distinctly that you get the best of both worlds.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 13, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Remember Me Review

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remember_me_boxRemember Me is not a sum of its parts.  That’s an important factor to keep in mind as you progress through this game, and frankly, is quite counter to a majority of experiences out there.  This title is trying to tell a complex story in the world of interactive fiction, which has been tried before with varying results, and manages to keep its focus on the big picture instead of being bogged down by the limitations of a video game.  As I played through it was fascinating to me how I wanted to keep note of the little gripes and problems I was seeing instead of paying attention to what was going on.  This is the one large hurdle, or caveat if you choose to view it as such, that separates whether you will enjoy Remember Me or pitch it to the wayside as a product of the end of this cycle.  Keep in mind it is by no means perfect, or even groundbreaking, but it offers a story and world that are unique and manages to maintain suitable gameplay that makes progressing the plot intriguing.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 12, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in PC/Mac, PS3, Reviews, Xbox 360

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Podcast: Beloved Games That Suck

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This week Fred and Jam are responding to a listener mail from Blake regarding games that we know are bad but love to play anyway.  After only a few short minutes they discover that it’s mostly childhood nostalgia and that everyone has their own long list.  Then the onslaught continues as both hosts and the chat confess and defend the skeletons in their closets.


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Written by Fred Rojas

February 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast

#IDARB (It Draws A Red Box) Review

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#IDARB, much like the name suggests, is intended to initially have you make a weird face and a question mark appears above your head.  Developed by Other Ocean, makers of one of my favorite retro throwbacks Dark Void Zero, the title began as a single drawing of a red box and took input from friends and Twitter to evolve into a game.  That game, while simple in nature, is a very meta representation of what could be the next big party game.  Since its release earlier this month on Xbox One (and free for anyone who currently has XBL Gold) #IDARB has definitely become the zeitgeist of the moment.  With retro-style graphics, social media integration that changes the game, and a whole glut of coverage, what’s not to love?  Well, that all depends on the type of gamer you are.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Opinion: Re-Releases, No One Understands Them

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dt_remasteredThis weekend I sat down and spent some time with Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered and while the responses were mixed, it dawned on me that no one – publishers, developers, gamers – has a clue as to what they want out of a re-release.  It sounds funny and foolish at first, but the concept of the re-release has, in recent years, become quite the quandary.  As a fan of the past and games of those time periods, I can’t say that I even know what I want and this shines light on the daunting task of trying to make sound business decisions around it.  Furthermore, the vocal minority don’t often account for the way sales work out, and often times, are the exact opposite of what actual sales data states.  Couple all of this with the stubbornness, and I do mean that term specifically, of gamers who would rather a publisher waste time to bring an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 game to the Xbox One or Playstation 4 simply because they didn’t hang on to their old system is – in an exaggerated overstatement – a sin.  To be clear I’m not even talking about games like The Last of Us Remastered or Halo: The Master Chief Collection, because at least those games were redone and improved upon visually, but rather direct ports of simple games like the arcade port of Double Dragon on XBLA coming to Xbox One.  It’s a waste of time and it won’t generate more than a few thousand sales, stop wasting everyone’s time asking for it.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 9, 2015 at 11:29 am

Posted in Blog, Remakes

Retro Game Night: Fahrenheit Indigo Prophecy Remastered

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This week we take a look (in glorious 1080p) at the remastered edition of Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy).  After recently booting this up for our review, I’m not quite sure who this particular port is for.  It looks just like Fahrenheit, plays just like it too, and I could be wrong but I think the original could be pushed to 1080p on PC (where this version is currently exclusive to) so I think they just did some re-rendering of textures, glossed it up, and slapped it online.  Perhaps that was all we should expect, I don’t know.  Anyway, check it out for yourself in the video below.

Written by Fred Rojas

February 7, 2015 at 8:00 pm

A New Obsession: Retro Gaming Achievements

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Please Note: All screenshots in this post are taken from retroachievements.org and were not created nor are they the property of Gaming History 101.  I only used them to demonstrate the wonderful project and site that has been created.  Please visit Retro Achievements to take advantage of the software and see for yourself the world described in this blog post. – Fred

retroachievements.org logo

retroachievements.org logo

I think the argument over the value of achievements/trophies/accomplishments/arbitrary rewards is all but required to occur at least once a week in video game enthusiast circles.  It’s one of the least interesting and most divided discussions happening.  At its core, however, it all boils down to one factor: do you or don’t you like achievements.  Just because you like them doesn’t mean you’re a so-called “achievement whore” and I’m not saying that those who ignore them completely are getting any less out of their games than others, but it’s always a hotbed topic.  I like achievements.  I would say I like achievements more than most, especially when it comes to retro games.  That’s like the one thing that few developers take the time to integrate into many ports – not remastered editions, but ports – most likely because the games weren’t built for those kind of triggers so retrofitting them must be a pain.  It’s for this reason that when I stumbled upon the site retroachievements.org and found a series of emulators that have achievements built into them that I instantly fell in love.  Retro gaming achievements just got “real”.

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Written by Fred Rojas

February 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Posted in Blog

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Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy) Review

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fahrenheit_xboxindigo_prophecy_ps2Platform: Xbox, Playstation 2, PC (both the original and the just released Remastered Edition)
Released: 2005 (worldwide)
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Atari
Digital Release? Yes – Available on Xbox 360 as an Xbox Original and Remastered is on Steam ($9.99 for all versions)
Price: $8.00 (disc only), $10.99 (complete), and $46.97 (new/sealed) per Price Charting (prices are for PS2 version, Xbox/PC versions a bit lower due to re-release)

Jam’s Take

Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy in America) is one of those games that attempted to create a interactive film experience. Some excepted this concept with open arms, some people frowned on it proclaiming it technically wasn’t a game. Well several years has passed since that fateful release in 2005 so lets see if Fahrenheit is still worth investing in.

Fahrenheit’s story has you following three character Lucas Kane a 9-to-5 IT worker who has a fondness for reading Shakespeare in diners, Carla Valenti a young cop who is claustrophobic and Tyler Miles, Carla’s police partner and your typical comic relief in a cop duo but he likes basketball, which is ok in my book. Essentially New York as well as the world is starting to get cold, really cold and bizarre murders are occurring round the city where normal folk are killing innocent people then themselves. I won’t spoil the story too much as it is the games strongest draw. What I will say is the game is filled with a fair few twists and turns playing out very much like a film, if it hooks you from the beginning it is very likely you will play through to the end.

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Written by jamalais

February 5, 2015 at 11:50 am

Podcast: Being So Difficult

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This week Fred and Jam discuss the concept of game difficulty, what makes it balanced or unbalanced, and then jump down a deep hole of what games are notable for being very difficult or easy and why this does or doesn’t work.  Also please note that Gaming History 101 will be at the Midwest Gaming Classic for a panel and meetup on April 11 & 12 in Milwaukee, WI.  Visit midwestgamingclassic.com to get your passes today.


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Written by Fred Rojas

February 4, 2015 at 11:41 am

Posted in podcast

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Woah Dave! Review

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wd_logoI first experienced Woah Dave! At EGX 2014. It was being demoed on the 3DS at the time and it was one of the few games that didn’t have a crazy long que. I enjoyed what I played but like a lot of the smaller indie games at the show I just forgot about it. Fast forward to today and we are given the game for free through Playstation plus. It’s surprising that this has released on the Playstaion Network before the Nintendo eshop. [Woah Dave! was released on the eshop in the US back in October 2014 – ed.]

Woah Dave! takes its inspiration from the original arcade classics like Mario Bros and Joust. You play a small pixel man and your objective is to collect as many pennies as you can, which then act as your overall score. To find the pennies you have to defeat enemies that start out as little eggs but soon hatch into alien looking baddies. To kill these enemies you have to pick up eggs or skulls and throw them at the target. But you have to be quick as the skulls explode after a short time and the eggs hatch. If this happens while your holding it you will loose a life. If the enemy manages to reach the lava below it will evolve into a stronger enemy. Each time the enemies reach the bottom they change into a faster and more difficult enemy until they become a flying eye ball which will literally pursue your character unless you defeat it. There is a lot of risk reward with the game. You can play it safe and destroy the eggs as soon as they drop but you will receive a minimum score. But, if you wait for the enemies to get stronger, they will drop more coins. You have to collect the coins to bank them into your score, so unless you play carefully your coins could end up in the lava and be useless. There is a single powerup which resembles the power block from Mario Bros (except it says Woah on it) that occasionally falls from the heavens. Picking this up and flinging it will destroy everything on the screen in a satisfying shower of coins.

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Written by jamalais

February 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in PC/Mac, PS4, Reviews, Vita, Wii U

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