Five Games That Remove Gamer Block

I’m sure that many of you have heard of writers’ block, the term that helps sum up the “wall” you hit when no matter what you just can’t put pen to paper. Gamers have a similar case and whether you call it gaming fatigue or block it is there. It is common when it hits you just as you finished up a long title that took hours of your time to complete. The block hitting you with the odd feeling of “what now?” leaving you unmoving. With that in mind, I am going to give you five games that are nice and simple in the way they get you moving again into gaming. It may be that it is simple and just lets you pass an hour and get excited about gaming again, or maybe it will spark a moment that leads you running to finish another title you had your eyes on. Either way, this is what we have in store.

Number One – Minecraft

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The game has always been the equivalent of dumping a bin of legos on the ground and mindlessly building for hours. Well in case you haven’t checked the shelves in a while Legos are expensive as hell now, but good old Minecraft is still sitting around twenty bucks at all times.

A game that you can build Hogwarts or a dirt shack, make a weapon out of diamonds or dig a hole. No matter what your fancy Minecraft can help you kill some hours and get you going on the gaming world again. Try playing with someone and soon you will both have built something together. The beauty of it coming from it is less serious than a title like Ark or Seven Days to Die and yet complex enough to always have you moving in some direction. The updates on it have added so much over the years and I suggest you giving it a look if you can’t seem to find anything else to do at the time.

Number Two – The Legend Of Zelda Breath of the Wild

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It is a game that you can travel to practically every mountain to see and climb it. A game that you can finish quickly if you only want to do the main quest sure, but really shines when you get to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the world that Nintendo created.

Zelda has always been a series that shines on one player going through a quest and saving the princess. Of course the sequel they spoiled slightly at E3 may shake this up a bit, but Breath of the Wild plays unlike any of the other titles before it. It can be turned on the tv and you and a friend can just enjoy the rich environments and what Hyrule has to offer. Or if you are heading out just take it with you! The great part of this title is that there is so much less pressure to continue the main quest in it. You can take your time and get where you want to when you want to. No annoying person constantly reminding you that there is so much other stuff to do. Leaving you with an experience you can enjoy at your pace and help kickstart you back into enjoying games again.

Number Three – Poke’mon Go

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Where I live it is Summer once again and already I see people walking around and hanging out at the local Poke’stops this game has to offer. Some of you may have already played this game religiously or maybe you never took the leap and downloaded the title onto your phone. The game is still alive and kicking and constantly getting more updated content and new Poke’mon added to the title.

The nice part here is there is less commitment to this game than many of the other console or PC titles may put you in. Sometimes when the block hits you hard it is a struggle to even get through a tutorial in a title. This one gets you outside and playing something in minutes. Plus I hear there is this thing called exercise that is kind of attached to it, supposedly that is good for you too?

Number Four – Any Elder Scroll or Fallout Title

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Now you may be thinking, “Wait a minute those are huge games?” They can be sure, but there is also this common misconception with these titles that you have to play the same character all the way through. To be honest, I have lost track of the times I have gone back to a Bethesda game, forgotten who my character was, and then started up a new one on the fly.

Play through as a melee only character in Fallout. Or use a Pugilist in Skyrim, punching a dragon to death is as satisfying as it sounds. Rush to become a werewolf or use only energy weapons. You can make the story in these games, and then end it any time you want to.

I know when I don’t want to watch TV, but don’t know what game I want to play I have booted up one of these. Picked a direction to walk after the tutorial, and then just went that way until I hit the edge and chose to use no fast travel. Play one of these gorgeous open world games like you haven’t ever before and soon you will find a story you have to tell to your friends.

Number Five – Mario Party

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I don’t care if you have to dig out and dust off the old N64, Gamecube, Wii, Wiiu or play on your new Switch. Man, this title has some longevity to it. These games are meant to get you playing with friends, so get with a friend and play. If you have not yet experienced a Mario Party game in your days then bring that up to someone and I bet they help you find a way to get you playing.

The board game like feel is sweet, the minigames are quick and fun, and you don’t have to take it seriously at all. Not to dissuade you from doing just that if that is how your playgroup is, but to each their own. Of course just as quickly as I popped Mario Party down it could have been Mario Kart or Tennis or Bros. The list is long and the games are made for you to play them and have fun. Remember that not every day do you need to boot up the Witcher 3 or Red Dead 2 and put in the hours of gaming require to conquer those.

So when the going gets tough and you just burn out on titles that seem to be taking to much out of you, look here at this simple little list. None of these will force you to play nine matches to get the coolest item, or hot drop to get that final kill. Just boot them up, relax, and play some titles for the sake of gaming.

Feature Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

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Five PS1 RPG Games That Need A Remake

The heyday of the classic turn-based RPG is well behind us. Many good titles still come out and remind us of the joy those turn-based classics once gave us, but AAA likes to keep things flashy now and even Final Fantasy has evolved. Maybe for you, it was on the SNES or the PS2, but for me, I am focusing today on some of the great PS1 titles that I believe need to have their very own remake. I am not simply talking about another graphical update like we see often but something more akin to what was done on the Resident Evil 2 release we had earlier this year. Look into Spooky Hi-Def Zombie Galore if you want to see more about that title.

So what five titles am I wanting to see done in glorious 4k Ultra HD to take my breath away once again? The same way they did years ago with my 13-inch tube tv, well look ahead and see.

 Number One – The Legend of Dragoon

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A game that changed everything I knew about RPG titles in general. When so much of my attention began to wane from the same repetitive motion over and over, I was brought into full immersion with this when it released. Picked up shortly after a Christmas this title lasted me for a few months and to master it all the way, it took even longer. The combat system of this game is something that you didn’t see at the time and I would love to see ported into today. It had an engaging story that taught you about loss and sacrifice and some of the graphics that still make me smile now with how well they did then. One of the titles that I was distraught to never see a sequel, I would be overjoyed to see this pop up on a remake list now or anytime I am still alive.

Number Two – Chrono Cross

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If you managed to play through the SNES title Chrono Trigger much of this game felt familiar to you. It was a sequel to the Trigger game that confused many by simply not having a two after the title. It put you back into time paradox stories and made you chose what party members you wanted to fight beside you with forty-five different ones to choose from. My personal favorite Glenn always took me far, a bonus since he had a special move with the main character Serge. The move sets in this would look great updated and the locations you went through would be stunning as all the dragons were summoned through the game. To be honest the best part about the updated title would be the music. An arrangement that still to this day gives me chills and sets me up for a day of adventure when I hear it.

Number Three – Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

Art by aojiroiemura

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This one may be cheating a little bit since the title has already been moved up from Sega Saturn and released in a few different variations. The best part about this title to me was that it was one of the few that I didn’t mind watching someone else play. At the time I was really into the anime Trigun and my friend playing through the game progressed fast and let me enjoy every cutscene I saw. It may be nice to just get the cutscenes updated and move the game into an HD 2.5D style. Lunar is a title that reminds me of all the good stories told on the PS1 and may even bring back a surge of great movie title updates like Escaflowne. A man can dream.

Number 4 – Xenogears

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When a game spawns an entire franchise it is a surprise that the first title doesn’t get a full rework. Getting into the whole Xenosaga franchise, later you may even have seen Xenoblade, but somewhere you have seen this. It was a case of a game that was meant to be a sequel that later became it’s own entity entirely and anything with mechs would look cool updated. Imagine the fresh crisp graphics in RE2 that we got with the stellar stories told in this title. It would be a fast seller and branch people into so much more. Early on some of the religious content got the game some chaff, but years and years have passed and what better time to bring Xeno to the forefront than now?

Number Five – Final Fantasy IX

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I get that many would say Final Fantasy VII should be the title on this list. Let us be honest here and remember that is “supposedly” happening soon. The show specials that have been shown for that game look great and is what brought me over to nine. Love or hate it type of game you will see both fans going after this title at times. The characters were unique, the summons felt special, and the darker tones the characters had to face brought Final Fantasy ahead and apart from the other RPG titles closing in at that time. Finishing Borderlands again made me feel we could even tweak a bit with the graphics since the game always had a cartoon type of style, but tried to maintain realism with heroes like Steiner. Seeing my big boy summon Alexander in full HD would rock and I can’t wait for the day that happens.

Give me some feedback on what you thought of these five. I am positive there are so many more that would be great to see. Titles that had such a compelling story you didn’t mind the graphics or fits the old games sometimes had. Titles that made you scream if that memory card became corrupted. Thank god for the cloud saves now.

No matter what, give this a like and a share and I will see you tomorrow with the next title.

-Shane

Feature Photo by Cláudio Luiz Castro on Unsplash

A Big Thank You

As of my last post, I have officially done twenty of these blogs. I know for many that may not seem like a large number, but it is a great start to something big. Instead of doing my normal review or post about games like I do I wanted to take a single day to talk about the future of this site and where I want things to go. As always any input from you is greatly appreciated and taken to heart. With that, every single like and share you give goes such a long way too so thank you.

Now for the longest time, I had tried to get a blog started to be efficient in my day to day writing. Recently I began this one and have gotten into the swing of things and enjoy what I am doing and talking about what my passion is. The group of you guys and girls that have been following and liking the pages makes me want to rush home after work every day and get another one of these up and sent for you all to read.

Now reaching people across the country with some of my latest posts and across the world even with a few! I’ve really begun to get a rush from the act of writing again and can’t wait to see how big this will thrive.

I’ve noticed that two types of posts get a lot more traction than any of my others do. Those are the top five reviews and motivational posts. Reviews of games are read too but seem to get less traction. There is nothing wrong with that as people will always read what they want to read and I am starting to see what some of those things are.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplashaaron-burden-64849-unsplash.jpg

I have laid out a long list of what I want to see each and every month from this website and blog. Videos and Podcasts are something that will not happen for some time yet but will prevail through. A few times people have asked me to go live on Facebook or Twitch and that setup won’t take me long. Any help or suggestions here are again appreciated.

Since writing has again taken deep root in my heart I want to also start to bring some of my book ideas to life again. Things ranging from fantasy to old war fiction, I have a ton of great things I want to tell. I plan on releasing these slowly through the year and will look into means that may have Patreon or Amazon for ebooks along the way. As always these things do take time and I enjoy the work I do for a living and am there forty to sixty hours a week without fail. So I will follow my daily goals on typing up words towards these stories and all of you here will be the first to know.

A quick segue. I hope you all understand what reading this really does mean to me. This morning I was able to practically hop out of bed and get rolling with everything. It lets me know that I can do something that I’ve wanted for ages and get some feedback on it. As I’ve written before in The Culture I believe that gamers are some of the best people out there. We don’t bash others who enjoy our same hobby and can form lifelong friendships without ever even meeting face to face. Some people met the love of their lives over games and others have gained true character strength by getting through a challenge in a title they never thought they would.

So really all I ask as this short Tuesday update hits is what would you like?

I have a top five ready to go for Wednesday again and more motivation for you soon. If you like these give me a shout. Send me a message anytime and I will get back to you all. If you see me on Xbox or one of the many gaming platforms feel free to drop in and chat. Tell me what games make you happy and help add more to my list of games to play.

Until the post, tomorrow, remember play games and be happy.

Shane

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Five Must Play Game Boy Advance Games

There has been a ton of systems that have passed by over the years. Large consoles now showing us the sheer power behind them, giving us games in full 4k and bringing us stories more akin to feature length movies. One little system that I carried around well past its normal shelf life is the classic Game Boy Advanced. Some of the titles on the system bringing challenges like no others or showing true in-depth gameplay. Along with these titles remember there are so many more to go out and give a shot, but here is five of my must plays.

These titles have no particular order, but here we go.

Number One – Golden Sun

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An amazing little RPG title that is a must for anyone who is a fan of the old classic turn-based battle system. The four characters led by Isaac are on a journey spanning the continent that lets you find “Djinn” to enhance your abilities. They are based around the basic elements and also are used for exploration around the game map. When I first played through it reminded me of Sword of Mana and I got hooked into the second title as well, that picks up right where the first leaves off. Although I haven’t made it all the way into the DS title, many times will you see my Game Boy Advance with this title still in it.

Number Two – Advanced Wars

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Another strategy type game and not the last on the list. Many titles began to port over on the GBA, from the early Final Fantasy to the Lunar series we saw plenty, so fresh titles really nailed it when they brought hours of playability. This title lets you be a commander in an army and you take turns each day moving and organizing your troops. Each having different ranges and prices, plus a sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors element to what works best against what. Each commander had a special ability that you can use after a few days to really boost your gameplay. This was one of the few titles that I found myself playing with others as you passed the GBA back and forth between each day to see if you could outsmart your friend. I believe the Advanced Wars Dual Strike DS that came out later was the best in the series, but this title is one I’ve beaten time and time again.

Number Three – Fire Emblem The Sacred Stones

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Out of all five on this list, I don’t think a single title ate away more time than this one here. Not the first Fire Emblem title to come out on the GBA, but easily the best. It gave you more branching options for each character and had two campaigns you could play through to see different sides to the story. The real beauty that this game added compared to the first was the end game content. There was a tower that you could play through with increasing difficulty to unlock the older bosses of the game as playable characters. 

If you have never played an Emblems title the permadeath of each character can be brutal at first. Losing one of your favorite units meaning restarting the whole level or going the rest of the game without never using them again. This game taught me a lot about patience and many times I would look over to see it was four A.M. and I had school in a few hours because I never wanted to put this down. If you are a strategy game fan give this a play on hard mode and you will be hooked.

Number Four – Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga

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It wasn’t long after Super Mario Sunshine on the GameCube that this title came out. Promising gameplay a lot like the earlier Super Mario RPG I was curious to see how it would hold up. After all, I had been playing bigger titles on the Cube at this time like Sunshine, Metroid Prime, and Tales of Symphonia so how would a GBA title compete?

Well if you haven’t been able to tell from the onslaught of newer versions and sequels the game was fun. It was a turn-based RPG at times but had fun exploration and a great cast of characters that taught the brothers new moves and abilities. There were cute Easter eggs hidden throughout about other Nintendo titles and even in the turn-based moves you could interact. It had a way of making you even more excited when you hit the critical hit or dodged just in time, the game was a smooth hit and I would love to visit some of the later iterations sometime soon.

Number Five – Metroid Fusion

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Just as easily could this have been a Castlevania game like Aria of Sorrow, but I had to stick with my girl Samus. The Metroidvania genre of games always brings you back for the fun quick gameplay you find in each section of the map and the mental notes you take to return to a spot when you find a new item. Not too long ago I played through Ori and the Blind Forest and it reminded me how much I loved titles like these. I was soon walking around with fusion in my SP again and relearning all the different ways you could go through the map. This title not only has held value but remains solid on gameplay even now. It is one of the most downloaded ROMs only behind the myriad of Poke’mon titles. I can’t say too much without doing a whole review here, but if you haven’t tried it out, go play it tonight! You won’t regret it.

There are so many more titles in the system family that I could have focused on and there will be more times for me to do just that. When you have almost twenty-five years of gaming under the belt you wrack up a catalog of games you’ve beaten and love. Sure the GBA is a bit older, but I will jump around on these articles. I may do Switch titles next week or even Xbox, the fact is I play games and I like them.

So tell me what titles you remember playing through and what kept you excited over all the years. As always I love to hear from you all and the support goes a long way. Update on my personal health, I’m doing a lot better. I finally managed to get through another full day of work and not immediately fall asleep after. Dental pain is something new and painful for me, but they have improved my general health immensely and got that smile looking great, so everything should be back onto the track for the blog here.

I’ll see you all tomorrow, so go play some games and be happy!

Five Trailers That Sold The Game

Sometimes all it takes is a good video to hype you up. The music fits perfectly and the action scenes mesh to crescendo at the right moment. You finish the short two or three-minute trailer and you say to yourself, “I need this game.” The very day you pre-order that title or rush out to pick it up, the trailer selling you on the whole thing.

Now not every trailer does this, many falling short or selling you a game that really isn’t what the gameplay is. The last reason is the only reason why you won’t see the Dead Island trailer on this list, although great it just didn’t put up for what the game actually was. Cinematically it was brilliant and sad, but the game was more of a zombie Borderlands than an emotional rollercoaster like the family trailer led you to believe. Loved the game, but man did that trailer hurt.

These next five were titles that pumped me up and got me to put money down the same day. All have their own merits and pros and cons, but tell me what you think below.

 

Number One – Gears of War (Mad World)

The game was announced and no one really knew what to expect at the time. We were early into the 360 franchise and were nervous to see what could be made on this newer and stronger system. This game promised strong co-op and a gritty multiplayer, including guns with chainsaws. An action shooter with a slower and darker trailer leaving you without hope made me think it may be a game to check out. Thirteen thousand kills on multiplayer later and I would say I got my money’s worth.

Number Two – Cyberpunk 2077

Now, this trailer was a kick in the teeth! First time I saw this was on a screen at the game store and my jaw dropped. My opinion isn’t unbiased, Cyberpunk has always been my favorite dystopia and this had a very Ghost in the Shell feel from the trailer. When I saw who was working on the title I practically screamed with joy. CD Projekt Red is no lightweight when it comes to games and at the end of the trailer it even quotes, “Coming: When it’s ready.” The new trailers just continued the hype for this soon to be game, but my excitement grows for it each day.

Number Three – Assassin’s Creed 3

By the time you had completed the whole Ezio Trilogy and the first title with Altair, you were hoping they would be able to move the series on into a good direction. The in-game story was building up to a cataclysm and you didn’t really know where they would jump to next. Chills went down my spine when I first saw Connor walking up the field and I knew this was going to be great. With Assassin’s feeling like another Call of Duty franchise with the yearly titles we were all excited to see things shake up. A few years followed where it went down and recently with Odyssey we have seen the rise to greatness again. However, the American Revolution will always feel cooler with the idea of Connor being in it.

Number Four – Borderlands 2 (2808 trailer) 

Joy puke your face off. A line you don’t normally see and yet a line that Borderlands puts into your face with large pink letters. A game that a lot of people were nervous about and were on the fence for pre-ordering because the first title was fun but really didn’t have any story to go off of. This trailer promised everything you wanted, it was hectic, well timed and had a dubstep dancing Claptrap. When this dropped me and three others went and pre-ordered the deluxe edition the same day. Borderlands 3 has brought the hype back again, but something about the sheer surprise of how much they stepped it up from one to two excited everyone back in 2012. Also, Kreig had a pretty great trailer too, so check that out!

Number Five – The Last of Us 2 

Goosebumps. The kind that you get all across your arms and up your back. That goofy kind of feeling that you get when someone on AGT sings so well, you think, “Holy crap is that real?” The first Last of Us is my all time favorite game, that I can’t deny. A game that brought real genuine emotions from me and I was always hoping for a sequel. This trailer left me with so many questions. When is this? Being the largest one, trying to figure out what had taken place to this point? The trailer dropped back in 2017 which is almost surreal at this point, but with E3 fast approaching my one wish is we get a release date. In fact, I am not a person to do special edition systems, but if they make one for this title I’m jumping onto that immediately. No one in gaming tells a story like Naughty Dog, what Projekt Red does for in-depth gameplay, Naughty Dog does to your heartstrings.

So this Wednesday I tried this little article and if you like this top five mechanic leave me a comment and let me know. I can try this every week and really hunker down to give you all some good ones. This blogging thing is a new way for me to really get into something and learn a little bit more about myself along the way. So tell me what you think and I will see you tomorrow for a Table Top Thursday game.

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Unsplash – Feature Photo