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Archive for July 2016

Cross Talk: What You Should Know About Pokemon Go

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Cross Talk is a blog that Fred writes that appears at the same time on both Gaming History 101 and The B-Team Podcast.

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Unless you’ve been under a rock, it’s hard to ignore the presence of a game called Pokemon Go that released about a week ago to most mobile devices (July 6, 2016 in Australia and the United States).  Those of you in Europe and Asia, don’t fret, it’ll be out in your neck of the woods hopefully by next week unless you’ve figured out the way to bypass iOS or Android region locks.  If you’ve ever played a Pokemon game, then you basically know what to expect.  The game uses your GPS and your phone camera to embed Pokemon in the real world, AR (augmented reality) style, and then have you go chase after them and capture them in your poke balls.  You can level them up, keep collecting, and of course battle them.  I cannot stress enough how ridiculously addicting and fun this is.  Much like we have seen with other crazes, this transcends “gamers” and moves into the universal world of all mobile users as potential (and eager) customers.  Pokemon Go manages to merge the popular concepts of Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, and even Tinder into one universal, easily used for free, app that has gotten it wide attention from games press and mainstream press.  It also resulted in a surge in Nintendo (and other) stocks adding a reported $7.5 billion in net value yesterday.  So it’s an essentially free social app – there are microtransactions but they can be easily avoided – that makes companies a ton of money and is a blast to play?  Too good to be true, right?  Yep, it totally is.

Now I’m going to go on record right now and say the point of this piece is to inform, nothing more.  If you’re going to let a lowly retro blogger decide whether or not to put an app on your phone, you’re going to have trouble with your security.  I’m merely pointing out what has been brought up as a point of concern and inform my readers of the potential ups and downs of this game.  It is up to you whether or not you want in, but at least you’ll be prepared for the decision.  If it sounds like I’m making a big deal out of downloading a simple app, you should probably read on.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 12, 2016 at 2:45 pm

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The Technomancer Review

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The Technomancer reminds me of one of those relationships before I got married.  It’s dynamic and I enjoyed it, but ultimately I got to this point where I knew our time would have to end.  Much like those relationships, it probably lasted a bit longer than it should have, but that doesn’t mean that it was a waste of time.  Far from it.  Regardless of your opinion of nitpicks like whether or not the faces compete with modern powerhouse franchises or exactly what genre it should be labeled as, The Technomancer is offering a throwback to the complete package of RPG we saw often last generation.  That wouldn’t have made it stand out were it not for the fact that a title like this is somewhat rare these days.  Sure, everything is going open world, but releases of RPGs that heavily integrate decision and story are somewhat scarce and especially if you’re looking for sci-fi or cyberpunk.  So despite its flaws and not necessarily being able to keep up with its more established peers, The Technomancer is a worthwhile experience.

technomancer_1I’m guessing not many played developer Spiders’ first title Mars: War Logs, which you may be surprised to know is now available on PC and even Xbox One thanks to 360 backward compatibility (also on PS3).  It really is the early version of what would eventually become this title and established the lore of human colonization on Mars and the core of what the technomancers are.  That title was short, the combat was harshly integrated (especially for gamepads), and while I liked what it was doing I couldn’t get too invested.  Having played Mars: War Logs did allow me to appreciate how far Spiders has come in its sophomore effort on the concept, but it’s in no way necessary as a buffer for this title.  Newcomers and veterans alike will be introduced to Zachariah, a graduating technomancer that is coming to terms with his newfound powers and prepared to utilize them in an effort to keep the peace and eventually find a way back to Earth.  He’s not unique, many technomancers work for Abundance, a mega-corp that provides security on Mars and all technomancers are to guard the order’s secrets in an attempt to discover a way back home to Earth.  Beyond that you are free to hit the ground running in an open-world chock full of icons that represent main and side quests.  Along the way you will inevitably face combat, both in and out of hub locations, where your action fighting skills will be tested from start to finish.  I’ll return to the combat in a minute, but it’s important to note that the separation between non-combat zones and combat zones is blurred here, which I don’t often see in the modern world of RPGs that includes MMOs.  It may not be much of a change, but it struck me as somewhat unique.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Playstation 2 Top 10

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40 games enter – 20 from each cohost – and only a fourth emerge in the coveted Top 10.  We have various debate mechanics, odd conversations, and personal bias to get this unique take on a traditional topic.  Don’t agree with us?  Of course not.  Please send us your own top 10 for the community episode in 2 weeks.


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