The First Ever Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Walkthrough Via Twitter Moments! 💙 😬

Continue Reading

The Man Of Honour Preface

I’m back! Sorry for the short hiatus, but I had some “man of honour” business to take care of! My best friend, Marie-Eve, got married at the end of July and I was her maid (man) of honour. This was my first time being a best ma–I mean, man of honour, but five years ago (when I got married) I chose her to be my best man, so it was inevitable.

Needless to say, I had to take a break from gaming and blogging because she had asked me to design a few printed items for the wedding, and I also had to get started writing my speech–which went through several edits and a tiny rewrite the night before the wedding! I was super-nervous, but I did just fine (well that’s what my wife, and everyone else, tells me) and we all had a tremendous time. It was a beautiful wedding and I am happy that I got to be a special part of it–but enough about bouquets and bridesmaids and on to Uncharted 2!

Uncharted Was So Worth The Wait!

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is an excellent game! Far superior to the first installment (Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune). Over the years I have tried my hardest to avoid spoilers for all of the Uncharted games because it’s taken me so long to play them, and I kept hearing such great things about these Sony PlayStation exclusives.

Avoiding spoilers was quite the challenge, especially with a ten year old franchise that is still being talked about today. With the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End last year, and the upcoming launch of Uncharted: Lost Legacy (later this month), I’m surprised that I’ve managed to keep this story from being spoiled for myself this far.

Articles for Uncharted are still popping up by all of the giant dot coms, and discussions are still being had by many content creators because Uncharted is very special and Naughty Dog (the developer) has an excellent pedigree when it comes to making games.

If you’d like to learn more about Naughty Dog, I dug up this long-form IGN article about their history.

The Story Of Nathan Drake: Prince Of Thieves

So I finished the first Uncharted earlier this year–I took a break from it last year (to play some other game, no doubt) and came back to it. Do you remember my horrible Uncharted let’s play from last year? If not, you can watch it here.

I was playing like ass, and then my wife came home and I had to cut the let’s play short. I posted the video anyway because, A: not playing well can make for an entertaining let’s play, and B: I knew that I would get another chance to play better in the subsequent games because there are three more installments in the franchise…well, four now!

Nathan Drake returns in Uncharted 2, this time with a few new faces–a new partner, Harry Flynn; and a new love interest, Chloe Fraser–to find another hidden treasure and (just as expected) gets himself into a new, life-or-death, gun-toting, and treasure-hunting adventure, against all odds; but this time on a semi-global scale.

The first Uncharted took place on an island, but this time around Drake finds himself running rampant from the snowy tops of the Himalayan mountains, to the sunny stoned streets of Nepal. I love how Drake’s world expands in the sequel, similar to how any action-adventure story of this kind would. Properties like Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider certainly come to mind.

A wise ex-video game journalist once said, “There would be no Uncharted without Tomb Raider, and there would be no Tomb Raider without Uncharted.” The first mention of Tomb Raider in his quote is referring to the Tomb Raider games of yesteryear. (From the 1990’s). The second mention of Tomb Raider is the critically acclaimed reboot that launched in 2013. Uncharted is a game that was inspired by greatness, but also sets the benchmark.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has the same great storytelling, voice acting and background music that I’ve come to expect from Naughty Dog, with even better graphics and bigger set pieces. Everything about it screams big budget action-adventure movie…but that doesn’t mean I want a Hollywood Uncharted movie! Even if Tom Holland, the latest and greatest actor to play our friendly neighbourhood you-know-who, is cast to play the young and dashing Nathan Drake. I don’t think this movie should happen–video game movies never, ever, pan out, and should remain as video games only–and I hope the screenplay gets swallowed by a hangry gorilla, but I digress.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was great, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was even better, and I’ve just begun the next part of Drake’s story in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception; and before too long I will get to the masterclass PS4 Uncharted experience that is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End–not to mention the newest spin-off, Uncharted: Lost Legacy!

Reviews for Uncharted: Lost Legacy are now live (at the time of writing this). Here’s IGN’s review.

Pictures And Hashtags Can Be Worth 1000 Words

So I deviated from the usual let’s play video that I typically do and tried something a little different here. I actually did record a let’s play, but for some reason my live commentary didn’t get recorded–probably because I forgot to turn on the mic–and I didn’t have it in me to do it over; so this is all I have for Uncharted 2.

(As you may, or may not know, I am highly active on Twitter–It’s my favourite social media platform, despite it’s stagnating user growth compared to the likes of Snapchat and Instagram.)

I thought that it would be a good idea to take screenshots of my Uncharted 2 journey and post them on Twitter. The catch was that I could only use a one word caption to describe what was going on in the screenshot, followed by the Uncharted 2 hashtag. This very much appealed to me because (as any Twitter user knows by now) tweets have to be constructed with 40 characters or less in order to be posted. So instead of me typically trying to communicate my message with this (sometimes excruciating) 40 character rule, the pressure was off because I knew that my one word tweets would never go over the limit.

The only problem I did run into was that my one word caption rule was a little too aggressive. I quickly found out that I needed to be able to have two, three, and sometimes four, words to properly describe what was happening or convey the mood. So I changed my own rule, and with the help of Twitter Moments–Twitter’s answer to Facebook’s (and Instagram’s, and Snapchat’s) Stories feature–this is what I ended up with.

Side note: I did not capture any screenshots from the very beginning of the game. The idea only came to me around chapter four of the story, so my Twitter Moments collection begins from that point. Also, if you have not yet played Uncharted 2, and you’re worried about spoilers, then do not look at this collection.

If you’re a PlayStation enthusiast then I realize that you’ve probably already played the Uncharted games, but not everyone has. I was one of those people; and having games, movies, TV shows, and comics, spoiled is one of my biggest pet peeves; so I must do my part by emphasizing that this collection that you’re about to peruse through is spoilery. So please proceed with caution!

Final Warning For Spoilers

 

I’ve Dedicated My Twitch Channel To The Most Amazing Game On PlayStation 4: Alienation (By Housemarque)! 🎮 😬

⚠️ Don’t forget to watch the feature video        ✏️ For comments click on the headline and scroll to the bottom

Sorry Europe, But I Get Alienation Bragging Rights!

It is only fair. I was here first. I have been an Alienation fan since the game launched last year in April. (I pre-ordered that shit, ya dig!) I have also been a Housemarque fan since the launch of RESOGUN on the PS4! Not to mention the unfathomable amount of hours that I’ve put into Super Stardust HD on PS3! Oh, and did I mention that this super-talented team, that is Housemarque, now follows me on Twitter?! (Insomniac Games follows me too!) You know that you’re doing something right when a super-talented developer follows you on social media, especially if that super-talented developer is Housemarque, creator of Alienation; so my bragging rights are legit son!

For those of you who don’t already know, Alienation is a beautiful and brilliant, fast-paced, white-knuckle, top-down, twin-stick shooter, with RPG-like elements, for the PS4; and this month it’s free for PlayStation Plus subscribers in Europe. The rest of us (in North America) get Abzû instead, another noteworthy game, but more on that in a later post/let’s play.

Alienation has such incredible gameplay and is satisfying on so many different levels. It has leaderboards and high scores; fast and furious, arcade-like action; a variety of aliens to kill and loot to take; replayable missions with RPG-like progression; it’s all there. It even has a story to follow…not a deep story, but it’s there. For me though, the story takes a back seat. It’s all about killing the Earth-squatting aliens and being rewarded with higher level weapons, alien cores for upgrades, and exoskeleton suits with just the right abilities. If Diablo 3 and Destiny knocked boots and had a baby, then Alienation would be their illegitimate love child!

The Chain of Events Surrounding Alienation

You can call it a huge coincidence if you want to, but I found this latest PS Plus offering to be sweet, but at the same time, very bizarre…and it made me ask the question, “Why now Housemarque?” For, I shit you not, two to three weeks before it was even announced that Alienation was going to be one of the free games for the month of May, I decided to dedicate my Twitch channel to this incredible game! Bizarre, am I right, or am I right? I mean, there’s no doubt in my mind that the powers that be (at PlayStation) and the many developers, and/or publishers that they’re in cahoots with, decide all of these PS Plus offerings well in advance. And it’s not like I’m privy to this information, not by any stretch of the imagination. So how did these two uncanny events even come to pass?

I mean, I finally decide on a focus for my Twitch channel–it’s been two years since I last did a live stream on Twitch–and a few weeks later PlayStation has the audacity to reveal that they’re giving the game, that I chose to feature, away for free. Now, normally I wouldn’t be making such a big deal out of something like this–PlayStation Plus is a great way for developers (and publishers) to create more awareness about their games (not that Housemarque really needs this marketing boost)–but I have to plead selfishness here.

You see, I love the gameplay so much and I wanted to be the one to get gamers interested in this game again. As great as Alienation was, no one was really playing it anymore…well, no one was streaming it, I should say. It had waned, again, not because it’s a bad game; but because most games end up going to the back of the line, especially one year after launch, because a new year means more new games. The conversation changes and everyone wants to be engaged with the next new Triple-A, or indie, game.

So this was my attempt at bringing back an awesome game from yester-year, but the universe had different plans. Little did I know that the wheels were already in motion to get everyone (in Europe, that is) talking about Alienation again. PlayStation and Housemarque, blast you!

So, I Guess Everyone Will Be Shooting Aliens Now

I know…I’m such a selfish prick. I should be looking at the bright side because, realistically, I have next to no influence when it comes to gaming. There was no way in hell that my dinky little live streams were going to breathe new life into Alienation and engage gamers all over the world. It was a nice dream though. So I should thank PlayStation for doing that job for me. Besides, all I truly wanted was for people to jump back into this game again, or play it for the first time, and marvel at it’s brilliance.

So I got my wish, even though I didn’t have a hand in this so-called marketing. I still (very much) plan on doing my part by vapourizing alien scum on Twitch regularly, but that’s not all. Not only will I be twin-stick shooting my way through Alienation; I’ll be twin-stick shooting my way through RESOGUN and Dead Nation as well! Two other marvelous games from the Finnish Developer. I figure, why stream only one arcadey masterclass when I can stream them all?

Shout Out To RESOGUN And Dead Nation!

There. I just one-up’d all of Europe (well, two-up’d actually). You might be streaming Alienation now that it’s free, but my dedicated Twitch channel will also feature me shooting tons of voxel-based enemies (from RESOGUN), and blood-splattering zombies (from Dead Nation)! That’s right! The Gaming Worker has taken it upon himself to host the net’s first, Housemarque only, Twitch TV channel. This is something that Housemarque themselves haven’t even done on Twitch. Yes, they stream their own games, but they also stream a variety of games by different developers as well.

Hey, it’s their channel and they can do whatever they want with it. I’m just here to announce that I’m playing Alienation on Twitch, and that I came to this decision long before the free PS Plus games were announced, and even after that announcement, I’m still playing Alienation on Twitch; but not only am I playing Alienation on Twitch, I’m playing other Housemarque classics (on Twitch) as well (LOL).

I think that I’m the first Housemarque fan to do this, certainly the first in Canada, and I’m truly excited about that. These might not be the best games to stream from a non-stop-commentary, and Twitch-chat point of view; but the gameplay is fun, and addictive as hell, and I can’t wait to sink more time into all of them.

I Knew It! Nex Machina Was Just Around The Corner!

Housemarque has a history of giving their games away for free, but their timing for these giveaways usually makes the most business sense. RESOGUN was free when the PS4 launched in 2013. (I nabbed that freebie when I got my PS4 in 2014.) Dead Nation was free for PS Plus subscribers in 2014. (Some how I missed that one and I’m still beating myself up.) So both games were free at launch, which seems to be the sweet spot for gifting a game and creating that initial awareness. Just look at the insurmountable success of Rocket League.

10.5 million units sold with registered players reaching almost 29 million. That’s a lot of everything from a game that was free via PS Plus in 2015. Every indie developer wants to emulate this and rightfully so. Housemarque was no different when it came to gifting their games at launch, except in 2016.

Alienation wasn’t free when it launched last year, so why give it away now? And why just for European PS Plus-ers? This amazing, and yet, mind-boggling gift had me perplexed. Maybe Housemarque had analytics telling them that gamers in their very own continent weren’t playing the game, so they needed to do something to spike the activity. Gifting Alienation away would lead to a subscriber base of 26.4 million, which would create a shit storm of word-of- mouth marketing and ultimately lead to more sales. So that would be–you know–nice!

And maybe the cost of development was too high to gamble gifting Alienation away last year, but now Housemarque sees that they could have handled the launch in the same manner as their previous launches.

Or maybe, just maybe, the gut feeling that I had about their new, highly anticipated game, Nex Machina–which up until recently had no release date–was weeks away from being released! I couldn’t shake the feeling that the sneaky developer was up to something along these lines. For the longest time Nex Machina, aka The Jarvis Project (code named after legendary game developer Eugene Jarvis, who Housemarque combined forces with to create the game) had the release date of December 31 2017 etched beside it on PSN, but I new that had to be a placeholder.

My final thought was that putting Alienation on PS Plus, and giving it away for free, is helping them pave the way for the release of Nex Machina. This was their weird, ninja-samurai-black-belt-marketing type of way of getting us ready for their next amazing game (which will also be available on PC, I might add).

Well, you know what? I think that I hit the nail on the head, because just a few weeks ago they announced that Nex Machina will be released on June 20th! It was the best day ever for Housemarque fans, I’m sure. And so, with that, I’m also pleased to announce that, on top of streaming Alienation, RESOGUN, and Dead Nation, on Twitch; I will also be adding Nex Machina to the playlist once it drops! (I think this is my most exciting post ever, by the way!)

This Is The Mid-Season Finale

“Phew!” I’m so glad that I’ve reached the end of this post! You have no idea how long it took me to bang this one out, not to mention the insane editing and processing time that I had to go through. But it was totally worth it.

Back In January I teased a side project that I was working on, but I wasn’t ready to reveal what it was. Well, it was a Twitch channel that I was working on, but I basically scrapped the idea that I had for it and replaced it with this one. This new direction has me much more excited and I can’t wait to see where it goes. I don’t expect to be a huge Twitch sensation, or anything, but I know that I’ll have fun doing it.

I don’t have a set Twitch schedule yet, but I’ll most likely be streaming during the later hours of the evening, like at 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm EST. I would like to say that I’ll be streaming every Monday to Friday, but even I know that I won’t be able to commit to that. So if you want to know exactly when I’ll be live then follow me on Twitter for those updates, or just check my Twitch channel periodically.

Lastly, and it pains me to say this, but we’ve finally come to my mid-season finale. I’m going to be taking a short, but necessary break over the next few months because that crazy little thing that I call life is starting to ramp up. I have a couple major life events coming up so I need to go on hiatus. But fear not, because I’ll be back before you know it, and don’t forget that I’ll still be around most week nights via Twitch! I just won’t be able to write and make let’s plays videos until the end of the summer.

I still have tons of more content to create. Seriously, I’ve barely scratched the surface here. It really is a case of there’s too many games and just not enough time. Hashtag first world problems.

Play some games, but don’t forget to go outside and enjoy the summer!

Peace and blessings 😊

The God Of Thunder’s Cinematic Debut Might Actually Be The Best Thor Movie! 🎬 😮

Continue Reading

Hold Up! I Don’t Remember The First Thor Being This Good!

Sometimes all it takes is a little distance, some time (like 2190 days), and watching something again, under a different lens, to make you appreciate it. I watched Thor for the first time, in what has to have been six years, and I was utterly, and pleasantly surprised!

Now, before I start singing the praise of the one and only Thor, guardian of the Nine Realms, and the one true wielder of Mjölnir (sort of), I want you to stop what you’re doing and watch the brand new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, if you have not done so already! It’s set to release on November 3rd–you can check it out by clicking on the image.

Awesome…am I right, or am I right?

Thor (Number One)

Here’s why I felt so compelled to write this. It’s because up until now, I thought that the first Thor movie was absolute garbage! Ok, garbage might be too strong of a word, but I definitely thought that it wasn’t as good as the rest of the Marvel cinematic adventures. It just didn’t have that super-cool wit, and bravado from Iron Man; the explosive, blast-from-the-past appeal from Captain America; the sheer awesomeness that was The Avengers–to be fair, no Marvel movie does–it was just…subpar.

So who was to blame for this lack of my movie enjoyment? Kenneth Branagh (the director)? Chris Hemsworth (the…Thor)? I didn’t care long enough to answer the question, but after watching Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as The Mighty Thor in The Avengers (2012), and the second Thor movie, Thor: The Dark World (2013), my faith was restored…for these two films anyway. Thor number one still left a sour taste in my mouth.

Now let’s fast forward three more years to present day. My buddy Elton, aka Eltron (as in Age of Eltron); my wife’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, which (I think) makes him my…uncle…(just kidding); wants to watch all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies–which is just the greatest idea that he’s ever had–so naturally, I was game!

The first MCU movie (Iron Man) came out in 2008. It’s now 2017. Guess how many movies there are now? Sixteen! Now, I’m not including the soft reboot of The Incredible Hulk (with Edward Norton), because…well, it just doesn’t count. But if you do count the releases scheduled for this year, then you’re looking at sixteen movies. May 5th was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, July 7th is Spider-Man: Homecoming (Go Spidey), and then, all the way in November is Thor: Ragnarok. We certainly have our work cut out for us!

So I started to make the playlist and 86’d the not-so-important movies because, one: that’s one “helluva” popcorn-eating, superhero binge watching session to get through, and two: some of the sequels aren’t pertinent to the over-all story of the MCU. So I needed to weed out the expendable movies, or trim the fat (as they say)–and that’s what I did.

We started with Iron Man, which is still (to this day) a wicked movie; then Captain America: The First Avenger (not as good as Iron Man, but still decent), and then Thor–I must have been intoxicated when I saw it all those years ago because it was pretty damn good! Much better than I remember. Eltron and I had our significant others with us, and they enjoyed Thor as well. I was shocked, and a little embarrassed, because I told them (beforehand) that this Thor was nothing special; but as it turns out, I was totally wrong.

The sequel, Thor: The Dark World, was always the better film in my mind. It’s like Marvel Studios took all of the lessons that they learned from the previous films (not that they had much to learn, mind you), especially Avengers, and used those lessons to create a much better Thor movie. The Dark World still sits on the great precipice of Marvel movies–not everyone would agree with this–but now I definitely have to change my stance on the matter of the first Thor.

Why The First Thor Is Just So Splendid

Here is just a few key reasons as to why I enjoyed Thor this time around. This might be spoilery, but it’s been six years so “deal with it.”

Odin, The King of Asgard, Played by Sir Anthony Hopkins

Forget HBO’s Westworld–BTW I actually don’t see why everyone talks about that show. It’s just ok–Marvel got Sir Anthony Hopkins himself to play Thor’s father, King Odin! Say what you will about Marvel, but anyone that has the power (or money) to convince such a revered and noteworthy actor to make a comic book movie deserves praise.

Tom Hiddleston’s Portrayal of Loki

As far as villains go, Loki is easily the best the MCU has to offer. Tom Hiddleston does a bang up job of playing Thor’s evil step-brother (especially in The Avengers) and I hope we get to see much more of him as this Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to a close.

The Comical Relief of Darcy, Played by Kat Dennings

It’s Kat Dennings…what more is there to say? If you know her work from 2 Broke Girls then you know what she’s capable of. She helps provide the humour as Jane Foster’s (played by Natalie Portman) assistant, and does a good job doing it. Trust me, once you hear her pronounce Thor’s hammer’s name as “Mew-Mew,” you’ll know what I mean!

The Theatrical Debut of Lady Sif, Played by Jaimie Alexander

Lady Sif is a force to be reckoned with, and (in my opinion) she should be the one true love of The Mighty Thor. (She very well may be; the story isn’t finished yet.) Nothing against Jane Foster, but Lady Sif is a feared warrior, and a much better match for the Asgardian Avenger. She even knows it, as she tried to rekindle their romance in The Dark World, but Thor did not succumb to her advances. Better luck next time Sif; until that time I look forward to your possible return in Thor: Ragnarok!

More adventures of Lady Sif can also be seen in early seasons of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD–the best show on TV, I might add!

The Townspeople Trying To Take Thor’s Hammer

The MCU is filled with many humourous moments of different people trying to lift Mjölnir, Thor’s hammer, and it never gets old. Unbeknownst to him, The Hulk tries (in The Avengers), and fails epically. All of the Avengers, in Age of Ultron, jokingly try to lift the hammer at Tony Stark’s party–and one of them came close! It’s all just shits and giggles watching this again and again, but the rules are in place. Only the one deemed worthy, by Mjölnir, can lift and wield the mighty hammer of Thor.

But chronologically it was the the townspeople of New Mexico, in the first Thor, that took turns and tried to take the mysterious hammer that came crashing down to planet Earth. I totally forgot about this hilarious scene–it was amusing watching it again!

Heimdall, Played by Idris Elba

I can’t talk about Thor and not mention my boy Idris! The English actor; slash, musician; slash, DJ; slash, all-seeing and all-hearing Asgardian, is one of the most interesting characters in the movie. He’s the guardian of the Bifrost Bridge (you’ll have to watch the movie to learn about what that is), and he can see and hear everything that happens in the Nine Realms. He stands guard and he watches…that’s all he does, and his bright and shiny gold armour is something to behold.

Agent Phil Coulson, Played by Clark Gregg

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Marvel’s Agent’s of SHIELD is the best show on TV! SHIELD plays a huge role in the MCU; they’re the whole reason the Avengers exist in the first place. At the forefront of it all was Director Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson), and almost always, right behind him, was his right hand man Phil Coulson. In the beginning, Phil had little to no screen time on the big screen, but in Thor (and especially in The Avengers) he got to make much more of a splash in the universe–and he had his Captain America collector cards to show for it!

Unfortunately Phil’s big splash ended in The Avengers, but the good thing was that his untimely demise was what brought the Avengers together in the end. In life, and in death, Phil was the glue that held everything together…even in the (much later revealed) Marvel television spin-off that aired in 2013: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD!

MCU fans rejoiced everywhere because, to everyone’s surprise, Agent Phil Coulson had miraculously returned (to life). There was no explanation, whatsoever, he was just back. It was, without a doubt, the one burning question that got people to tune into the show. Why was Phil back, and how?

Well, I won’t get into it, but we eventually got our answer, and it was a good answer; but I digress. Phil has a much bigger presence in Thor so do yourself a favour and check it out.

And last, but not least…

Thor, The Prince of Asgard, Played by Chris Hemsworth

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t start with Thor in the first place. Truth be told, I wasn’t going to add him to this list. The idea was to focus on the incredible supporting actors alone. I mean, Chris Hemsworth is great, which makes Thor great by default. So it truly goes without saying, but I suppose I should throw him in for good measure. After all, it is his movie.

So, I’ll close with this: No other actor, in my mind, can play The Mighty Thor as well as Chris Hemsworth. That’s it…go watch Thor if you haven’t seen it. If you have, but you didn’t think much of it (like I did), then go watch it again because you just might be surprised by how good it really is (six years later)!

This Is Me Playing Darksiders, Once More With Feeling! (Fa-La-La-La-Lah, La-Lah, Lah, Lah!) @#$% You Tiamat! 💀😡😩😬

⚠️ Don’t forget to watch the feature video        ✏️ For comments click on the headline and scroll to the bottom

I Want To Kick Tiamat Right In The @#$%ing Taco!

I’m sorry…I had to say it. Here’s a funny story before we dive deeper into this Darksiders let’s play.

A few years back (I’d like to say 2013-ish) I had two co-workers who went by the names of Jennifer and Nicole. I think both girls got hired around the same time–they didn’t know each other before–and they became fast friends. Jenn was a slender girl, very trendy and stylish, with short, boy-cut, hair (sometimes her tips would be dyed a funky colour); and Nicki…well let’s just say her style was quite the opposite. But despite their appearances, both girls were able to form a bond because of their delightful personalities and shared sense of humour.

I had the pleasure of working with both girls; as CSRs (Customer Service Representatives) their jobs were to liaise with the client and write up the work instruction, which I would then use to initiate and/or revise package design artwork. Riveting stuff.

The girls had a saying–whenever they were dealing with a difficult client, of the same sex–and that saying was, “I want to kick her right in the taco!” If you haven’t guessed it, taco is the alternate word for vagina.

They repeated these words constantly, and I always was around to catch this hilarious saying because my desk was right next to Jenn’s. Now, I’m not sure if they made it up themselves, or if they got it from a movie, but hearing the both of them say this made me laugh out loud every time–and this is where the funny sub headline comes from!

Tiamat is a boss that’s taken me five years to defeat…well, not consecutively. I’ve been playing this game, irregularly, for this long. And finally, in 2017, for this let’s play video, after multiple attempts, just when I was about to throw in the bloody towel, I kicked her ass! After 50 long-ass minutes of painful button mashing, I finally delivered that devastating blow…and I didn’t record it! (I’ll come back to this.)

Hashtag, The Struggle Is Real!

I’m Going To Throw My Controller Into The @#$%ing HDTV!

Some fucking boss battles make you want to throw the damn controller right into the TV set, and Darksiders (in my experience) is definitely one of those games. This is quite embarrassing for me to admit because Darksiders is not a hard game, not by any stretch of the imagination. The gameplay is very similar to God of War, and I’ve beaten two of those games. So what’s my darn problem with this game? It’s not like I’m playing Nioh, or Bloodborne, or Dark Souls; games that are truly punishing, and difficult to get through, and master.

Well, I think that the problem was that I wasn’t as committed to gaming (back when I got Darksiders in 20xx). Not like I am now. Back then I just didn’t care to put up with the difficult boss battles in any game, let alone this one. If a game, and/or boss battle, was too challenging then it just isn’t worth my time. Those were my thoughts back then…I still feel this way today actually. I won’t fuck with games like Nioh or Dark Souls. I’ve tried. They’re too bloody hard for a gamer like me. My dexterity is quite limited you see, but in spite of this limitation, I wasn’t about to let Darksiders get the best of me. I’m better than this old-ass, fucking, PS3 game…right? It was damn well time to find out.

And So It Began

After years of procrastinating it was time to find out if I could finally advance in this game. (I am the world’s best video game procrastinator; the filthiest of casuals.) So I finally reached into my black-brown Billy bookcase from IKEA, sifted through and pulled out the not-so-see-through, white, plastic, PS3 Blu-Ray case with the Darksiders logo and cover art on it, popped it open, took out the game disc, and slide it into my third generation PlayStation console.

Is anyone else out there still booting up their last gen console…anyone?

Tiamat vs. Berry, Billed As The Fight Of The Century

This bout was comparable to the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight from two years back! I feel like I could have sold tickets for this event. It was the fight of the decade…seriously. I was feeling every emotion imaginable. I was anxious, but a little excited; happy, but a little scared, all at the same time because I just wasn’t sure how this was going to end. Tiamat is no push-over, and if I was going to walk away with her bloody heart in my hand, I was going to have to truly work for it…and so I did.

I went toe to toe with Lady T, the ginormous bat-like creature from hell, for almost an hour before giving up on this game. I was literally at my wits end. You’ll hear my frustration closer to the end of the first let’s play. It’s pretty funny. At the time of playing, it felt like it didn’t matter how far I had come as a gamer–and I’ve come pretty damn far! Even with the handful of games that I have finished, since I started this blog, it was as if non of that mattered. I had met my match with Tiamat and nothing was going to change that.

So I hung my head in shame, edited the let’s play; because even with my defeat I still intended on posting the let’s play, and started prepping this article. But the little gamer boy inside of me told me to stop what I was doing and have a rematch. I tried ignoring this voice, but it convinced me to give it one more go. So I gave it one more go…and failed. Then I gave it a second go…I failed again. I don’t remember how many more tries it took, but finally, on that last-ditch effort, TKO (Technical Knock Out)! She was down.…and I tore off her wings…and I cut out her bleeding heart…and I forgot to record it!

I was so determined to beat this queen of the harpies, I forgot to hit the record button. Even as a fail-safe, the software that I use has a feature that allows me to rewind back one hour and re-record any footage that I wasn’t recording in the first place. This really comes in handy, but I actually forgot that it could even do that. I’ve actually never had to use the flashback recording feature in the past so it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. So there’s no video of me actually defeating Tiamat. Just the let’s play of my losing fight with her, and the let’s play (Part 2) of what comes after her.

That’s life my friends–and I’m the type of person who won’t go back to replay a part of a game once I’ve already played it–and I most certainly won’t redo a boss battle that’s caused me this much grief over the years either. So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Whoop, there it is!

⬇️ Please click on the image to watch Part 2 of my Darksiders Let’s Play

Darksiders Part Deux YouTube thumbnail image

Insert Games Journalist Type-of-Shit Here

Darksiders is a multi-platform, hack-and-slash, third-person, action-adventure game by (the now defunct developer) Vigil Games and published by THQ Nordic (formerly THQ). The game launched in North America on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on January 5th, 2010; and was released in Australia and Europe days after; making Japan last in line for the game, as their release date was a few months later, launching on March 18th.

PC gamers had to wait a little longer to play Darksiders, as the Windows version had a September release schedule. North America and Australia’s launch was September 23rd, 2010; with Europe launching on the 24th.

In Darksiders you play the roll of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. After being wrongfully accused of destroying the balance between the Kingdoms of Heaven and Hell, and bringing about the apocalypse; War makes it his sworn mission to seek out (and find) the true transgressors of the premature catastrophe, regain his powers, and most important of all, find the other horsemen.

It has sold over 1 million units worldwide.

Darksiders was followed up with a sequel, Darksiders II, which was released on August 14, 2012. It’s story ran parallel to the first game and had you play the role of Death, one of the other Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

In July of 2016 it was announced that a Darksiders remastered version would be coming to PS4, Xbox One, PC and Wii U, titled the Darksiders: Warmastered Edition. The updated features included:

  • Native 1080p rendering resolution
  • Doubled texture resolutions
  • Rendering improvements and rework
  • Better shadow rendering quality
  • Post processing effects
  • 60 FPS gameplay (Wii U will run at 30 FPS)

The Warmastered Edition was released on November 22nd, 2016 for PS4 and Xbox One, and on the 29th for Windows and Steam. The Wii U version is slated for May 23rd, 2017.

Darksiders III Update

As of May 2nd, 2017: THQ Nordic and Gunfire Games (a studio with ex-Vigil Games employees) has announced that Darksiders 3 is in development and is set to release sometime in 2018.

I’m not 100% sure who broke the story first, but it was Kotaku’s headline that caught my eye the morning of this news. The writer went on to say that a new listing for Darksiders 3 has been spotted on Amazon, with a quite a few details about the upcoming game; and is accompanied by several screenshots of, what looks to be like a mix of final and concept artwork.

A release date of December 31st, 2018 is listed, but is perceived to be a placeholder as the date has not yet been confirmed.

Later in the day IGN released their article, not only confirming the announcement, but also revealing that Darksiders 3 will be their IGN First game for the month of May. IGN First gives IGN readers, and fans, extensive coverage of their feature game and sometimes the studio behind it. Be sure to check back with IGN periodically over the course of this month to learn more about the game.

In Darksiders 3 you play the role of Fury, the third Horseman of the Apocalypse–and the very first female protagonist to be introduced to the series. As Fury you get to explore an open-world (another first for the franchise) with a focus on environmental puzzles. You can pre-order the game on Amazon (dot com, not dot ca).

Darksiders 3 will be coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC–and for those who are still giddy from the announcement, and wish to revisit the apocalypse, you can now purchase a bundle of both remastered Darksiders games (Darksiders: Warmastered Edition and Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition).

This bundle, titled Darksiders: Fury’s Collection – War and Death, is available for PS4 and Xbox One.

Hey Kutaro, Don’t Be A Menace To The Moon Bear King, While Playing With Scissors, Or You Might Lose Your Head! 😨🙃😮

⚠️ Don’t forget to watch the feature video        ✏️ For comments click on the headline and scroll to the bottom

Lion Heads, A Tiger, And A Moon Bear King…Oh My!

This is Puppeteer, a cute and zany PS3 exclusive (from three years ago) that wasn’t on my radar…until recently.

You’ll soon find that there are a plethora of games–from the early, and not-so early days–that I slept on because I was not as obsessed with the games industry like I am now. First-party exclusives, to second and third-party games; this was all a foreign language to me, up until a few short years ago.

Things are different now. I’ve picked up all of this lingo–not to mention jumping back down this never-ending rabbit hole of gaming gratification–and Puppeteer is now one, of the many, games that I need to cross off my bucket list.

Like the headline suggests, Puppeteer is super-fun to play and a game that I should not have overlooked…better late than never, right?

Enjoy the video!

Twenty-Seventeen: The Gaming Worker Rises (‘N’ Fixes To DualShock The World)! 🎮

Sean Berry PSVR Image
Continue Reading

Frohes Neues Jahr Gaming Workers!

That’s Happy New Year in German. I was born in Montreal, but grew up in Kitchener – my southern city in Ontario (Canada), with oodles of German heritage. It was once the Town of Berlin (1854), then changed to the City of Berlin (1912), because of the major German immigration initiated back in the early 1800’s. The name was later changed to Kitchener, after Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a British Army Field Marshall, in 1916 because of the German and British conflicts that arose during the First World War.

So, for this reason, from time to time, you may find snippets of German verbiage – and sometimes French, because, again, I was born in Montreal – because of my home town’s deep, Germanic, roots. But enough of the history lesson and on to the good stuff that gaming dreams are made of!

It’s a brand new year and I thought that I would share with you my plans for The Gaming Worker. I can’t believe that I’ve been doing this for two solid years already. Time certainly flies when your gaming, and working, and blogging! It seems just like yesterday when I decided that this was going to be my path, and let me tell you, this path hasn’t been easy. All of the technical difficulties of setting up equipment, all of the late nights and weekends recording (and editing), all of the late nights writing (and copy editing), and all of the other personal sacrifices (that I won’t get into) that I had to make to turn this idea of mine into a reality. Easy is definitely not the word I’d use to describe how I got from A, to B, and finally to C; but here I am, and there you are; waiting to hear what I have to tell you about my love affair with games. I sincerely thank you for coming along this journey with me. I hope and pray that this next year doesn’t disappoint (you and me both) – Now let’s get it started!

Greatness Awaits

This PlayStation ad campaign (Greatness Awaits) is much more than just over-the-top commercials for the, everyday, PlayStation enthusiast. It’s my mantra for 2017! This year is going to be special – I just know it! I have a shit-ton of new games – thanks to the abundance of PSN Flash Sales (in 2016), and the four week Holiday Sale that just took place in December – to bust wide open; all of my “inexpensively challenged” PlayStation subscriptions have been faithfully renewed (PlayStation Plus, and my newfound favourite, PlayStation Now); and I’m still buzzing from the excellent year end I just had! Even though I didn’t publish as many posts (like I did in the previous year), The Gaming Worker finished strong in 2016; thanks to my family, friends, and all of you, who supported my efforts in raising money for my local Sick Kids Hospital via my Extra Life 24 Hour Game-a-thon.

My good people of the internet, Greatness Awaits us in 2017 – just keep saying it, over and over! Let it sink in, whether you’re a gamer or not, this is your year (and mine too)! The evangelist in me is starting to come out – I am my father’s son. “Dagnabbit!” Now take heed for this is what I have in store for this year:

A Resurgence Of PlayStation 3

Remember that funny, old, console that launched a decade ago? The ridiculously priced one that had a lack of quality games, and developers hated programming for (in the beginning)? Yup – that’s the one! Well, I’m going to be putting more focus on my library of PS3 titles, as well as some other exclusives and classics via PlayStation Now.

This blog started because I wanted to finish (and showcase) my PS3 backlog, but the dangerously sweet seduction of it’s successor, the PS4, derailed my attention repeatedly, with its one-point-eight-something TFLOPS (teraflops) of pure processing power. It is the devil in the black dress!

I have been able to squeeze a few PS3 let’s plays in, but I have not even begun to showcase the last gen games that I deem truly special. So while other gaming websites and YouTubers – God bless ’em – put the focus on gaming’s future (namely PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR), I’m going to take you back in the other direction. “Now where did I put my DualShock3 controller”?

There’s Still Plenty More PS4

And rightfully so! If I’ve learned anything it’s that the games industry is still going to shit out games galore, year after year, after year! It doesn’t care if you can’t keep up, and it will bury you in a landslide of green (for Xbox) and blue (for PlayStation) plastic packaging if you’re not careful. I wish that I could play every game that comes out, but that’s just not the reality. So I have to pick and choose only a few new titles that speak to me every year, and let the rest fall to the wayside. A few of those titles are Horizon: Zero Dawn and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands.

I would love to dip into Mass Effect: Andromeda as well, but, let’s face it, I doubt I’ll be able to dedicate the time needed to explore such a game. I may have to leave that to the rest of my YouTubing brothers and sisters out there.

What’s The Deal With PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR?

Well, it breaks my heart to tell you this, but unfortunately I will not be adopting any of this “latest and greatest” gaming technology. I’m a believer in PlayStation VR – especially after demoing it just before it launched back in October – but, I have to be stringent with my money, and as cool as VR may be, I have no pressing need to play games in this new way.

As for PS4 Pro, I’m still debating it’s need for existence. I just don’t know if console gaming needs to adopt this mid-cycle way of doing things (like mobile phones). Plus I’ve only had my PS4 for two and a half years, so I’m not ready to trade in just yet. There’s no 4K TV in my house; and I’m happy with the way games look and run on my PS4. I don’t need, or want, a simulated PC experience.

It’s much smarter for me to wait out the entire life cycle of the PS4 and then upgrade to the PS5, but if the unthinkable happens and my PS4 breaks, then I guess I’ll be forced to get the Pro. Then I’ll be able to live stream in 1080p, at 60fps, instead of just 720p…hmm, maybe I should rethink this 😶

Livin’ La “Vita” Loca!

Yes friends, I know that I’m a little bit behind, but I finally got a PS Vita! I can’t believe it took me this long – I haven’t retired my PSP just yet; I’m still playing around with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters – but I can now try to infiltrate Vita Island (I’ll explain this in a later post)!

Now, I have no ideal way of creating truly native PS Vita let’s plays. The only way is if the game is a PS4/PS Vita cross-buy game (meaning that when you purchase either version you get the other one for free). So I can definitely play the PS4 version of the game, but then that categorizes it as a PS4 let’s play, not a PS Vita let’s play…this is where it gets tricky, when it comes to categorizing for the blog. So I still need to figure this part out, but as it stands right now, PS Vita is now a part of my PlayStation ecosystem.

Annual Extra Life 24 Hour Live Stream

This is a no-brainer. My family, friends and I had so much fun doing this in December and, more importantly, it’s for a great cause. So every November or December, on YouTube or Twitch (stay tuned for where and when), Team Gaming Worker will be participating in this charitable event to raise money for Sick Kids. What’s also ideal is this is a great way to showcase the games that don’t make it onto the blog because, well, that’s just how it goes sometimes. Games that I originally plan to showcase don’t always make it on here. Extra life is my contingency plan for this. I now get one full day to cram in all of the games that get put on the back burner.

More Content

I don’t know how – it’s going to be a challenge – but I want to dish out much more content. I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but if I could do this full-time, I would…but I can’t so my promise is that I’ll do my very best to keep the posts and let’s plays coming.

I even have another side project that I’m working on which, if all goes well, could equate to even more fun content to add to the rest. But I’m going to keep this close to the vest for now until I gain some traction with it…so stay tuned!

The GW Buddy List!

Last, but not least, you can now subscribe to The Gaming Worker by opting to join, what I’m calling, The GW Buddy List! As a subscribed member you will receive an email informing you of my latest and greatest post. I know, it’s not earth shattering – I’m not trying to light the world on fire here – but at least you’ll be reminded to check back to see what shamrocks and shenanigans I’m up to next.

That’s all folks. Until next time!

Year End (2016): How Overcooked Took My Formidable Family Completely By Surprise!

Game Of The Year Overcooked Image
Continue Reading

Ding! Order Up! Quick, Get This Out Before – Oh Shit! 🔥🔥

Who knew that a game about cooking could be so asinine, but so much fun at the same time? I’ve never seen anything like this before…and I’m not just talking about the game. I’m talking about how Overcooked, single handedly, won my crazy family over in just a short amount of time! I shit you not, this game reinvigorated and/or awakened the gamer within, almost, each member of my family like nobody’s business…and it’s truly one of the best things I’ve witnessed this year. Overcooked is too legit to quit!

At the time of writing I had no idea who the developer was for this game. It’s not like me to not know something like this, but to be honest, I wasn’t all that concerned with who he, she, or they, were. I mean, that’s how much fun I’ve been having with Overcooked. I’ve been too damn busy chopping onions, and mushrooms, and tomatoes, to care. (Not to mention having soup on the burners, dirty dishes pilling up in the sink, elevating platforms, moving counter tops, and God damn rats trying to steal my ingredients – “Serenity now!” – I’ve never been so in-the-weeds!)

The developer is Ghost Town Games, a two-man team based in the UK, and I’m glad I took the time to look them up, not just because of their awesome game, but because I want to share some quotes with you from their about page. Phil Duncan, the developer that writes first on the page, wrote a quote that truly, and humourously, captures the way I feel about video games. He writes, “ […] Games are this gorgeous wonderful thing which I’m so excited to be a part of. They make people laugh, smile, cry, they bring people together, they educate, they explore, they divide, they scare the poop out of you… actual, no-fooling poop! Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?”

Oli De-Vine (the second developer) writes, “[…] Games are THE medium for conveying experiences and we can experience so many more things than we do in our games right now. So let’s do that!”

These quotes are filled with zeal and inspiration. You can tell that Phil and Oli believe in what they’re saying because Overcooked is the incredible product that could only come from two master chefs like these.

Kinda Funny Participated In Extra Life, Well, So Will I

There’s two things that you should know, if you don’t already know by now. One: this blog will always be PlayStation focused. That’s just how it is – I’m a PlayStation gamer! Maybe one day I’ll jump down the Xbox rabbit hole, but right now time (and money) puts a stop to any chance of a (hashtag) Xbox life. Sorry Phil Spencer [the head of Xbox].

Two: I will always, and I mean always, reference the Kinda Funny kids in some way, shape, or form! Sorry, but this is the path my friends. I have been called to do this unofficial dirty work on behalf of Sony PlayStation and the “coolest dudes in video games!” FYI I dragged my wife to San Francisco, to their two-day live event back in May. We were geeking out hard at Kinda Funny Live 2, but I haven’t finished vetting and colour correcting the photos, so please check back for that post in the new year!

Kinda Funny Live 2 FPO Image

Up close and personal with the boys at Kinda Funny Live 2 – The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA

I live and breathe Kinda Funny, just ask my poor wife! I have four Kinda Funny T-shirts, a coffee mug, I just got their cool, logo embossed, key chain; plus I listen to, and watch their YouTube content every damn day! That’s no lie. I have literally watched every single episode (not including the one’s that have spoilers), for every single show that they produce since they launched two years ago. Now my job (God bless it) permits me to do this. I sit at my desk, in front of a computer, putting in my 40 hours per week, designing pretty packaging all day long. Chances are you’ve picked up some of the private label and retail packaging that I’ve worked on. Shout out to you if you’ve eaten thousands of Wonderful Pistachios in the Mid-East (wink wink)! All that pretty Arabic typography is because of yours truly. Don’t ask about all of the trouble I went through to get that @#$%ing font!

As I was saying, Kinda Funny is my life and it was those guys who gave me the idea to take up the charitable Extra Life cause. If you’re not dialled in, Extra Life is a non-profit organization, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since 2008 they have been advocating, and spearheading, 24 hour gaming marathons as a unique way to raise money for a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of your choice. Kinda Funny participated in Extra Life last year also, but for a reason that I can’t remember, I didn’t watch. This year, however, I did, and this is where I saw the two Kinda Funny frontmen, Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty, play Overcooked (live via Twitch) for the first time ever. That’s all it took. After that I was absolutely taken with the game. Little did I know that the fever would spread to my family so fast.

So on Saturday December 3rd, and Sunday December 4th, I held my very own Gaming Worker Extra Life 24 Hour Game-a-thon…and guess what? It was a huge success, in more ways than one! Not only did I surpass my modest goal of $300, my family got hooked on Overcooked (hey…I Busta-Rhymed)! They were all addicted to that shit like weird, and thirsty, pubescent boys, feverishly feening for their mother’s juicy 2% breast milk. 😮

Seriously, it was sad…and amazing to watch, all at the same time. Lol.

All jokes aside, it was truly something special to witness because there are only a couple gamers in the family – me being the most filthy casual of the bunch (except for the fact that I have a not-so-casual gaming blog). Overcooked truly resonated with both the gamers (who didn’t know about it), and the non-gamers, in the family and I think that Ghost Town Games should be very proud. This is a true testament to what games can do: be super engaging and bring an extremely close family even closer together.

A Recipe For Some Good Ol’ Family Mischief

Overcooked gets my Game Of The Year award, hands down, because it’s not every day when you see a game sweep through and take hold of your family like this. The shouting, and screaming; the laughing, and crying; the swearing, and high-fiving; all of it comes into play when you’re messing around in Overcooked. And I’ve worked in restaurants before. All of these hilarious, often times stressful, reactions are not uncommon. One miscalculation, one tiny misstep, is the surefire way of getting oneself in the weeds very fast.

Your family and friends will learn this quickly, as did mine. You may find yourself breaking out the white board to map out and strategize your plan of attack. That’s no exaggeration either. My brother-in-law, Brandon, and his friends did exactly that once they got hooked playing the game. This is no joke. Overcooked dominates your life; nothing else matters! Nothing!

The Overcooked outbreak infected Michelle and me first. We started the Extra Life live stream Saturday morning – It had to be the game to kick-off the 24 hour game-a-thon! We played for two, enjoyable, hours and forced ourselves to move on to the next game. Michelle had to prep and get food ready for our guests, and I wanted to ensure that the live stream showcased a variety of games. Later in the evening – with the majority of our family there – we booted up Overcooked again, just as our final two guests arrived. Michelle’s sister Evy (short for Evelyn) and her boyfriend Eltron – that’s my nickname for him (Elton is his real name) – had finally showed up and wanted to get some game time in before leaving for their next engagement. Without any question, Overcooked was their supreme choice.

Overcooked Promo Image

The only thing remotely better than playing Overcooked, is watching other people you know play Overcooked. It’s the funniest shit you’ll ever see! I could have watched Evy and Eltron play this game all night! From the frantically fun gameplay; to the ill-advised shouting, and self loathing; to, finally, the aha moment of figuring out what you need to do to get three stars, and move on to the next stage; the Overcooked virus was now buried deep within Evy and Eltron. So much so that the couple didn’t want to leave, even though they had another party to get to. This game made an impression and had Evy and Eltron thinking, and eventually talking, about strategies for the game on their way to their next function.

But wait – it gets better! Eltron came back the very next day – on a football Sunday, mind you – to play some…you guessed it. He had plans with a friend later on that day and figured that he could kill some time by playing more Overcooked. It was all well and good with me because he kept me company as I continued my 24 hour gaming live stream. Michelle and I started day two with a different game, played for an hour, but then she had to leave. So I was by myself until Eltron showed up. We Overcooked it up until Michelle came back, with Evy, and then we Overcooked it some more! We Overcooked this bloody game for six hours straight! This was truly history in the making because I have not gamed like this since I was a kid. Even when I gamed back then it was not this intense. My game-a-thon turned my family into hardcore gamers.

Brandon (my brother-in-law) ended up buying Overcooked after seeing the joy it brought to all of us. His cousins, Josh and Kenrick, bought the standard editions for themselves. That’s three more copies sold, all because I decided to play it on my live stream, after watching the Kinda Funny boys play it on theirs. Man, do I love video games!

Let it also be known that Michelle’s other sister Bina (short for Sabrina) and Eltron had a mini gaming session of their own, playing Overcooked weeks after my live stream. I believe that they stayed up until 3 or 4 am chopping, cooking, and washing dishes, jonesing for three stars. Seriously, this is a chain reaction of epic proportions! How does this even happen? Who’s responsible?

Now I’m happy to report that Evy and Eltron have finished the game. When the credits started to roll, they looked at each other, and Evy asked, “What do we do now?” Lol. It reminds me of when I finished my first memorable game. 😊

In Conclusion (This Is How We Do It)!

When I started this blog two years ago, I set out to do a couple of things. One: start finishing my daunting backlog of games, two: write about the journey as I finish them, and three: through this form of storytelling, try to evangelize and showcase the wonders of gaming. What games mean, and what they can do for us (as a medium) is a story that is worth telling. I want this blog to be that tipping point for someone (or someones) out there in the universe who don’t already know about this incredible pastime. Some people may have their own delusions, and preconceived notions about gaming, and they might not know what they’re missing. The Gaming Worker, and now my family, are here to set the haters straight.

Video games are magical, period. Even with my delusions of grandeur, I can say this with complete conviction because I witnessed a true miracle. A miracle that I wasn’t quite prepared for. You see, there was a forth and final objective that I wasn’t even aware of. An objective that needed more than just my blog. It needed the sheer power of a 24 hour gaming live stream to make it manifest into reality. This final objective was to bring my formidable family even closer by using the power of video games, well one video game: Overcooked! Who knew?

Sean Berry Christmas Family Image

From my family to yours: “Vivete. Discite. Ludite.”

Live. Learn. Play.

My Farewell To Vancouver’s United Front Games. (Thank You For Your Service!) 😔

UFG + Sleeping Dogs Image
Continue Reading

From Lear Canada, To Graphic Design, To Video Games

I remember my dad always getting laid off from his job back when I was a geeky teenager. He was a union man who worked for Lear Canada as a welder for 24 years. Lear Canada was a huge, historical, manufacturer right in the heart of Kitchener, Ontario, that produced seating components for the automotive industry. I have fond memories of driving to pick him up after his shift on numerous occasions.

My sister even spent a short time working there after high school…the money Lear paid was good back then and attracted a lot of teens – many of which who didn’t finish high school because, well, let’s face it, why would they need to when Lear Canada was offering such a good wage (that was the thinking back then of course) – but much to their dismay, my dad’s and every other blue collar worker there, multiple lay offs, year after year was the reality.

Lear Canada finally shut down at the end of January, 2016. Volatile industry number one.

As for myself, I’ve only been laid off once. I first became a production artist for Watt International back in 2007. Watt is a leading consumer brands and retail agency in Toronto. I started out as a freelancer, eventually became full-time, then let go later in 2009 due to the company not having enough work, and re-hired back as a freelancer because new work had surfaced and Watt was now understaffed to deliver.

This type of “recycling” of employees was very similar to what my dad went through with his job. When work gets slow, you get let go, but when it picks back up, you’re called back into action. The only difference is that with graphic design (or production) you can be a little more prepared for it because as a freelancer you know when you’re contract is going to end…most of the time. There are some cases when you don’t. Volatile industry number two.

Watt is where I learned that the graphic design industry also has it’s own ebbs and flows. Watt is still doing business, as far as I know – I no longer freelance for them and have since moved on to work for other companies – but I know of many graphic related companies that have suffered the same fate as my dad’s.

So what’s the common denominator here? What do these delightful tales from my past, about Lear Canada and Watt International, have to do with United Front Games? Well, they’re all companies that had some sort of impact on my (working and gaming) life. Their layoffs and/or shut downs have caused some temporary setbacks, but I feel that it is my sworn duty to showcase just one of these companies, in a way that a gaming worker like myself only knows how. By doing a series of let’s plays, courtesy of United Front Games: a developer that has regrettably gone to that great, big, checkpoint in the sky, but they won’t be forgotten.

Another Good Studio Bites The Dust

It comes as no surprise that another game developer has closed it’s doors for good. In an industry so unpredictable, many developers (and publishers) struggle to maintain operations. It’s a game of hit-or-miss that these very talented group of individuals have to play, and every once in a while developers end up missing the mark.

When you’re an independent developer your game has to be a smash hit. It’s that plain and simple. Your game has to sell millions of copies or you’re business is dead. I’m no expert, but I’m starting to realize that this has to be incredibly tough to do when there are so many types of games already floating around, and new ones being announced every single year. With all of the great Triple A games already out there, not to mention the indie ones, developers have to figure out where their games fit in and what makes them stand out.

But even if you have the perfect formula for the perfect game, there are no guarantees that it’s going to sell. If you launch your game within the same window as another big game, that will almost always kill your chance to penetrate the market. If your game gets delayed and/or takes too long to develop, that could kill the momentum. If an influential YouTuber, or credible game journalist, gives your game a bad review, that could certainly impact sales as well. There are just too many variables. But even if none of these plausible scenarios affect game sales, there’s still the fact that the market is super-saturated with games that consumers are already satisfied with.

For example, if a fraction of all gamers are exclusively playing Call of Duty, and another fraction of them are playing Destiny, and another fraction of them are playing Overwatch, and so on, who’s left to play anything else? There are only so many gamers to play these games. There’s too much supply and not enough demand because there’s just not enough people. Sorry, I’m going off on a tangent here. This is a brand new topic (about the state of game sales) that I should revisit…perhaps in the new year. I need to get back to the point.

United Front Games released a smash hit four years ago, so that wasn’t the issue. The issue was that they didn’t follow it up with a sequel. Now I won’t pretend to know why it took them so long to start working on, and announce, Sleeping Dogs 2. As the overseeing publisher (with all the money), Square Enix must have had their reasons. Maybe the sequel was in early development and Square decided to put it on hold. Whatever the reason it’s always saddening to hear about another developer shutting down, but it’s even more sad when I hear that the developers are Canadian.

In mid October it was reported that United Front Games was shutting down. (I’m very much dialled into gaming news, so when I see a headline about another studio closing, I read as much as I can on the matter. Especially if it’s a studio that I know and love.)

I’ve dedicated a few of my filthy casual, PS3 gaming moments to Sleeping Dogs back in the day (when it was free on PlayStation Plus). Awesome game…didn’t finish it though – quelle surprise – but I knew that I wanted to get back to it one day. Looks like that day has finally arrived, but before we get to that, here’s what was also truly surprising about this latest development for UFG.

The two pieces of information that took me completely by surprise, about the now defunct developer is that, one: they’re based in Vancouver, and two: they’re the studio that actually worked on the Marvel Battlegrounds play set for Disney Infinity 3.0. How did I not know? Avalanche Software (who shut down back in May) was the lead developer – they created all of the toys and video game assets – but United Front Games was the studio that Disney Interactive (also defunct) chose to work on Battlegrounds.

I had no idea that this game that I loved so much was outsourced to UFG, nor did I realize that they were Canadian. I feel like the post I did back in August is incomplete now that I’ve stumbled upon this new information. So I’m writing this post to provide clarity and pay homage to a great Canadian studio that is no longer with us. There are a few other notable studios that closed this year, but United Front Games is the one that resonates with me the most. Ok, time for some let’s plays!

1️⃣ Marvel Battlegrounds (Disney Infinity 3.0)

This game needs no introduction. I love Marvel – you know this – and this awesome, toys-to-life, brawler is the closest game I’ll ever have to Super Mario Smash…I like to call it Marvel Smash (or MASH). I now have all of the mini figures – “Thank you Amazon!” –  so when my family and friends come over, it’s a no-holds-barred blood sport!

⬇️ Please click on the image to watch the Marvel Battlegrounds Let’s Play

SHIELD Lunar Base Concept Art | Marvel Battlegrounds | Enhanced by The Gaming Worker

2️⃣ Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

This is, undoubtably, the game, the smash hit, that United Front Games is best known for. Sleeping Dogs should have gotten a sequel – maybe then things would have worked out differently – but instead they tried to give us Triad Wars: the ambitious, online, open-world, Sleeping Dog spin-off for PC. Now I’m not going to lie, Triad Wars looked pretty dope, but clearly it just didn’t gain the traction it needed to keep it’s development going. Triad Wars was cancelled on January 20, 2016 – “Talk about reading the tea leaves!” Here’s hoping Square Enix can find a worthy developer to continue the actual Sleeping Dogs story.

⬇️ Please click on the image to watch the Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition Let’s Play

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition Altered Image by The Gaming Worker

3️⃣ Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (Xbox One)

Without question, Tomb Raider is one of my favourite games on PlayStation! Now it appears that UFG were the devs responsible for porting this game to Xbox One – “Blasphemers!” – but due to the nature of their tragic demise, I’ll allow it. Tomb Raider is a special game, and I love the way the controls feel when you pull back, aim and shoot, with your bow and arrow! I did my first Tomb Raider let’s play two years ago – here’s the next installment (finally)!

⬇️ Please click on the image to watch the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Let’s Play

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Altered Image by The Gaming Worker

And last, but not least…

4️⃣ ModNation Racers

Don’t let the cute and cuddly, Powerpuff-like, characters fool you – ModNation Racers is a masterclass create, share, and play, PS3 game! Even though I didn’t spend a fair amount of time racing (back in the day) – I did mess around, quite a bit, with the creation tools – this game definitely deserves an honourable mention. I created a pretty basic racetrack six years ago, and if I had stuck around a little while longer, I would have pushed myself to be more creative. Still, there was fun to be had even though it was short-lived. I now know that I’m not much for these creation-type games, but this one by United Front Games made an impression. The online community for this game is still active, believe it or not. It’s small, but it’s there. Another reason (perhaps) not to sleep on this game, but you’d better act fast before this community vanishes into thin air.

⬇️ Please click on the image to watch the ModNation Racers Let’s Play

ModNation Racers Enhanced Image by The Gaming Worker

To The Talented Developers Of United Front Games

It’s very sad to see (yet) another studio succumb to the (sometimes) harsh and unjust realities of the games industry. May each of you bounce back swiftly, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Close
Become A GW Buddy (New Posts Sent To Your Email)

Twitter Feed