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

Game Of The Year Overcooked Image
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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
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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.

The Division Has A Dark And Devastating World For Me To Get Lost In (Fo Sho)! ☣

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

The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World

Yes, there are far better worlds to immerse myself in – I’m literally sitting on a pile of old games, like Far Cry 4, that probably have better shooting and much more colourful worlds to escape to – but Tom Clancy has me by the balls when it comes to The Division. Everything about this dark story fascinates me, plus it’s satisfying to run around this version of New York City. Almost the entire population has been wiped out (by the Dollar Flu, aka the Green Poison), gangs and other enemy factions are on the rise; it’s complete chaos. Ubisoft has created such a beautiful mess with this world and I love diving in, like a lone gunman with a huge chip on my shoulder, trying to turn the tide.

Now if I haven’t said it before – and I don’t think that I have – Ubisoft (arguably) makes some of the best open-world games in the video game business. Now that’s just my opinion; you can take it with a grain of salt. I haven’t played that many open-world games – I’ve played small slices of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and EA’s Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (two more note-worthy games that I desperately need to finish) – but I have to give Ubisoft mad props for creating all of their beautiful, fully-realized, and captivating worlds because their worlds are the ones that I always want to go back to. Especially with The Division. There’s a spookiness and a stickiness that comes with it. (Stickiness meaning that the game has a hook that I like, the game is so good that I can’t put it down because it’s sticky.)

Guess What? I Like Oo-be-soft

No, I haven’t played The Witcher 3, or Skyrim, and I don’t intend to. I can see why The Division might fail in comparison when it comes to vast open worlds, but who the hell has 100 hours to dedicate to just one game? I certainly do not, so when it comes to exploratory gaming, Ubisoft gets my hard earned dollars every time…well almost every time. I say almost only because I can’t play every open-world game they make, no matter how great it is. So I pick and choose the games that speak to me, but if I did have the time (make no mistake) I would play every fucking game with the Ubisoft logo on it! That’s how much I like Ubisoft.

Take Cover Because There Are Some Caveats

Like most games, The Division definitely has it’s issues. As much as I am in love with the world, I would be remiss to not mention the few things that do ruin the experience for me. I know that Ubisoft finally released a hefty patch (1.4) to fix many of The Division’s major problems, but they missed a couple of things.

One: forcing me to do side missions in order to keep the story going. I find this type of grinding very annoying. Now I’m not new to grindy, RPG-type, shooters – Destiny has lots of grinding – but never has Destiny put me in a position like this, where I need to do side missions in order to level up, so that I can continue with the main story. The Division (on the other hand) does.

In Destiny, you reach the level requirements for the next story mission by the time you finish the mission that you’re currently doing. At least that’s how I remember it. I don’t remember having to do side missions in Destiny, also known as patrolling, to boost my level up before tackling the next part of the story. But in The Division I’m currently at level 12 and the next story mission is level 14. So now I have to grind, by completing side missions, to get to level 14 before I can continue with the main story. It’s really killing my momentum because I don’t like being forced to do these side missions. They’re supposed to be optional. Do them, don’t do them, or continue with the story; that’s the beauty of it. It’s up to you to decide, but The Division has taken that choice away from me. The only choice I have, at this point in time, is which side missions to tackle to boost my level.

The Zone Of Darkness 💀

Two: the Dark Zone fucking sucks! (If you go it alone)! The Dark Zone is the PvP (Player vs. Player, aka the competitive multiplayer) portion of the game, which has a very interesting hook. This section of New York was where you got all of the best loot (before the patch). Most of the best weapons and gear was found here so there was lots of incentive to explore this area. Now (post patch) you can acquire better loot out in the world – while you do story and side missions – but you can still try your luck in the Dark Zone, at your own risk.

Risk one: the enemy AI is hella strong, making them a lot tougher to take down (again, if you’re alone). They can over- whelm and flank you super quick, and when you die you lose all of your precious loot.

Risk two: the online community that frequent the Dark Zone will almost always jack you for your loot. Especially if you’re a lone gunman like myself. No one has my back in there so it’s open season and I’m the sitting duck.

There is a matchmaking system that I can use to find other players to help me out with my Dark Zone excursions – and in any other in-game scenario matchmaking would be a good way to go – but here, not so much. The other thing about this bloody Dark Zone is that your would-be allies can also turn against you, at any time, and also steal your loot. It’s a real crapshoot and way too risky unless you’re fucking John McClane from Die Hard (which I am most certainly not). You have to be a really good runner and gunner if you brave it alone, or you have to go in with people that you actually know and can trust.

So that’s my two cents on The Division right now. It has an infectious world (no pun intended) that keeps me engaged, but as a lone player, the grindiness of it all, and mastering the Dark Zone, is enough to make me question how much further down the rabbit hole I want to go. But in all fairness, it could just be a matter of finding a few good people to tackle these obstacles with…like my Destiny compadre Rick. (He made a guest appearance on my last two let’s plays). He has The Division too, but he’s so far up Destiny’s ass right now I don’t know if he’ll ever make time to jump into this game. Or my friend Angie who’s taking her sweet ass time on getting a PlayStation. Come on people! New York is on the brink of extinction and I have to save it!

🗽☣️🚑

The Snow Is Glistening In Destiny’s Final Expansion: Rise Of Iron ☃️

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

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Mountainous snowy vistas, waves of the Fallen, and a gondola? It’s all that (and a bag of chips) in Destiny: Rise Of Iron. Rick, aka Hydrolec, helps me tackle the first mission while Michelle and my mom sit back and watch…again.

Click here to watch my let’s play for Destiny’s previous expansion, The Taken King.

Wifey And Mommy Dearest Watch Me Play Vanilla Destiny (What The?!) 😕

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

Look Mom, It’s The End Of The World

I’m back at it again with Destiny, but this time the experience was a little different. Now I’ve done strike missions before – where the game teams you up with other players online via it’s matchmaking algorithm (if you don’t already have your own three-man fire team assembled) – but this time my friend Rick, aka Hydrolec, joined me and my worthy cause: taking out the minions of The Darkness…and Michelle and my mom were spectators.

My dad has watched me (as an adult) play video games before, but not my mom. I’m not really sure what was going through her mind as I was lighting my LED TV screen on fire (figuratively) with my Shingen-E Auto Rifle. Together, Rick and I were dropping enemies left, right, and center; with both of my special ladies cheering by my side. Ok, so they weren’t exactly cheering as much as they were socializing amongst themselves, but it’s not their fault entirely. You see, as much as they were enjoying the visuals of Destiny TV, they weren’t getting the full narrative because I had my super comfortable Plantronics headset on.

Unfortunately (for them) this is the way it had to be. I needed to be in cahoots with my buddy Rick – via (online) chat – and if I record any let’s play with my external speakers on, the recording will be plagued with a stir of echoes behind every single sound. So with no sound (travelling into their Destiny-virgin ears) they could only see the unadulterated evil, and not hear it. What’s a geek to do?

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

So this let’s play has a slightly different type of commentary when compared to previous ones that I’ve done. You’ve been warned. You’re going to hear my wife and my mom talk about numerous topics while I vapourize my enemies. This scintillating conversation goes in every direction, so if you want to hear about my wife and mom talk about their day, what they had for breakfast, IKEA deliveries, and what my dad is up to back in the sunny isle of Grenada; while Rick and I get our Destiny groove on then you’ve come to the right place.

Make no mistake, The Gaming Worker is the blog that you come to for these “premium” let’s play experiences. Why edit out the kitchen sounds of dishes clinking in the background when you don’t have to, right? This is my hot mess of a gaming website and if you don’t like it then “poo on you.” I’ve said it before: I struggle to find time to game. This year especially it’s proven to be a monumental challenge. So when, by some miracle, I do find the time to game I have to take it. My mom was in town and staying with us at the time, and when my parents are here my TV time is very limited. Also our family/dining room is the most heavily used room in our house which means there’s no quiet time for gaming. The more people in the house means the more talking and background noise.

So rather than wait, for what sometimes feels like an eternity, for the house to be absolutely quiet to game, I instead embrace it and play. This way my precious gaming time doesn’t suffer any more than it has to (when my parents stay with me) and I continue to stay happy.

A Tale Of Two Destinies

When I first started this blog (back in 2015) it was my intention to play Destiny a whole lot more than I have been. This was the game that I was most excited for when it was first announced before the PS4 launched. I was going to explore every inch of this game, but – you know, life.

Rick on the other hand, my partner in crime, is a Destiny veteran and has the XP (experience points) to prove it. He’s logged in countless hours and has claimed his throne as a level 40 guardian, which is why I have dubbed him as my personal Destiny guru. Because when you’ve been away from a game like Destiny for as long as I have (nine months) it’s better to have an experienced player to help you get reacquainted with everything. Rick was dropping serious knowledge as we tackled a few missions together, but unfortunately none of his audio was recorded. To my surprise I found out, afterwards, that audio from the chat doesn’t get recorded unless I have a chat link cable. D’oh!

I’ve been doing this for almost two years and I’m still learning these annoying audio lessons. Remember my first, not-so-perfect, Destiny video post? Oh well. I’ll be better equipped next time.

Enjoy! More Destiny to come 😁

So My Ratchet & Clank “Walkthrough” Continues (Finally), But What About My @#$%ing Game Backlog? 🤔

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

No I’m Not Talking About The Ratchet & Clank Reboot

Ratchet & Clank (2016); the game, based on the movie, based on a game; unfortunately will not be seen today. For those of you who don’t know, I’m referring to the Ratchet & Clank game that was released back in April for PS4. It was marketed as a re-imaging of the original Ratchet & Clank game and garnered generally favourable reviews. As a fan of the series it immediately grabbed my attention, and I added it to my must-play list of games (in my mental rolodex), but I just don’t see myself playing it any time soon. Reason being I’m still having too much fun playing Into The Nexus via PlayStation Now, but more importantly I still have yet to finish it.

So here we go again…the bane of my existence: finishing video games. As time goes by – and it’s just going by faster and faster the older I get – my gaming backlog keeps becoming more and more daunting. Even if I leave Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus, and the 2016 reboot out of it – not to mention all of the other must-play PS4 titles – I’m still looking at (at least) 13 PS3 games that I have yet to finish. Ay caramba!

Blasphemy (It Looks Like I forgot About My PS3)

Now when I talk about my backlog I really need to point out that it’s made up from two categories. I’ve touched on this in the past, but I really want to make it clear (even to myself). I have my original PS3 backlog. Yes, as in the PlayStation 3. Believe it or not, the foundation of this blog is built upon my PS3. The point of all of this was to not only showcase PS4 games, but to showcase my last gen console games as well. It was (is) supposed to act as a journal for me to document and finish my old games. Well it looks like I lost my way because I’ve only published four posts about my PS3 games. The majority have been about PS4 which brings me to the next backlog category: my forever-expanding PS4 backlog.

The Power Of The PS4 Consumes Me

Gaming on my PS4 is just so damn satisfying. Clearly I favour it over playing PS3, wherein lies the problem. My PS3 sits right beside my PS4 so it’s within my sights, and yet I don’t ever fell compelled to turn it on. This brings me back to the original thought I had before buying my PS4: Don’t buy it until you finish all of your PS3 games first. But I didn’t listen to my instincts. I bought my PS4 one year after launch (2014) – and even though it was easier to balance my PS3/PS4 game time back then – it’s proving to be a lot more difficult nowadays.

Every year more games are released – whether they’re new IPs (Intellectual Properties) or sequels to previous games – these new PS4 games are trumping my old PS3 ones. It’s a vicious cycle – and it’s not like I play every new game that comes out either. How could I? I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to. I don’t have the time – nobody does! Like most adult gamers, I pick and choose the new games that I want to play and let the others fall to the wayside. I have to do this because there’s just too many to play. I do this every year with the hopes of, some day, getting back to the games that I’ve missed. But it’s really a fool’s errand because that magical day never really comes. Before I know it I’m smack dab in the middle of a new year, with an even newer line-up of games that now trump the ones that I’ve missed. Like I said, it’s a vicious cycle.

Is This My Final Answer?

So what’s the fix? How do I complete my task of getting to the closing credits of all of my 13, or so, PS3 games? Well, the only way out of this hot mess (that I can see) is to, begrudgingly, ignore all of the PS4 titles for (let’s say) one year and just focus on my PS3 backlog. That would definitely be the most efficient way of getting those PS3 games out of the way…or (at this point) I could just forget my PS3 backlog altogether and just focus on the PS4. Or I can play PS3 and PS4 games in tandem – which was my original intention – but I clearly dropped that ball. There’s no real easy answer here because no matter what I do I still miss out on games.

The first option has me ignoring PS4 games for one year, which would be very hard to do when you’re as dialled into the gaming industry as much as I am. I’m always watching and listening to podcasts, and gaming news, because that’s just what I enjoy. I have to be in the know about upcoming games. So when I see, and hear, about upcoming games I get very excited which makes the impulse to buy them very hard to ignore.

The second option has me letting go of my entire PS3 backlog, which might sound ideal, but has me missing out on finishing all of that last gen greatness. I have some incredible games on PS3 that I would love to not only showcase, but also get to the end of, like The Last Of Us for example. I still have no idea how this game ends, and it’s arguably the best game on PS3. How can I deny myself of playing that, not to mention all the other great oldies that I have?

So I might just have to crank up the discipline meter and become way more aggressive with my PS3 gaming, while I continue gaming on my PS4. Like Jay-Z’s and R. Kelly’s album back in 2002: it’s the best of both worlds, but enough about old school hip hop and the ridiculous gaming goals that I’ve put on myself. Go watch my latest Ratchet & Clank let’s play above, or (if you like) you can start by watching the first part of this “walkthrough” by clicking here, and then coming back to this video post to continue the story.

Quote Walkthrough Endquote

By now you’ve probably noticed the term walkthrough scattered about this video post. If you’ve been following my progress on this blog for more than a few posts then you’re pretty familiar with how I write, and know that I haven’t used this term, ever, in my previous posts. This is the first time and there’s a very good reason for that. I don’t do them. Not in the way that the majority of YouTubers do them at least. Allow me to explain.

A walkthrough is video game footage that a gamer publishes on YouTube. The idea is that the gamer uploads the entire game’s story, but by breaking it up into parts, from start to finish. Depending on the length of the game, a walkthrough could range range anywhere from 20-40 parts – sometimes more, sometimes less. They almost always have live commentary and the most popular YouTubers can have millions of subscribers who repeatedly watch their content.

YouTubers like The Rad Brad, and Tetra Ninja, have definitely had some influence on me, even though what I do with The Gaming Worker is quite different, I owe guys like them a great deal. I originally wanted to create walkthroughs just like they do, but it didn’t take me long to realize that creating walkthrough content is, arguably, a full-time job. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that – I’ve said time and time again that I’d love to do this, in a full-time capacity – but I already have a (paying) full-time job that takes up the majority of my time. All of the recording and editing that goes into doing an entire walkthrough, and the amount of time that it takes, is more than I can contribute.

The Rad Brad (and these other guys) clearly have that time. I don’t (unfortunately). I mean, you have to be able to play a game from start to finish rather quickly, record it all in as many parts as it takes, uploading it as you go for your audience. As you know by now (if you’re a regular that is), I don’t finish my games that fast. My life is not walkthrough-friendly so I’ve decided to go the let’s play route.

Let’s plays can be more off-the-cuff and more random. It doesn’t matter if I publish two let’s plays (from the same game) or 20, because there’s no pressure to finish the game. It’s brilliant and it fits in with my drawn out, takes-a-year-to-always-finish, play-style.

So the use of the term walkthrough in this post is just for shits and giggles. It’s an inside joke that only I know – but now you know too. Even though I now have a Part 1 and (finally) a Part 2 for this particular game – you might see this as the humble beginnings of a much larger walkthrough – but I assure you it is not. So please don’t be deceived by my use of the term. This is really just a let’s play, but I hope you enjoy it all the same.

If you are looking for a Ratchet & Clank walkthrough (or any other game for that matter), YouTube has plenty of those, all done by incredible YouTubers. I encourage you to go, consume their content, and subscribe to their channel if you like what you see. But don’t forget your boy!

😉

Marvel Battlegrounds Is Where The Disney Infinity Magic Really Begins 😁

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

I Love Marvel, Remember?!

Last year I wrote about my unwavering obsession with Marvel, as well as my appreciation for the Disney Infinity mini figures. I went on to say that I only wanted these, well-designed, pieces of plastic to add to my toy collection, and for showcasing. Their actual purpose: syncing them to another piece of flat plastic (the asymmetrical, hexagonal, Disney Infinity base), which connects via USB to my PS4 – so that I can play as that particular character in-game – was lost on me. As much as I love Marvel (and Disney) I had no intention of playing Disney Infinity. I had watched a few of the play set adventures on YouTube and I honestly wasn’t too impressed with what I saw.

Visually everything was great, but the gameplay just seemed lackluster. The environments were unpopulated, the stages and set pieces were bare, and the game mechanics were almost too simple. It looked like an entry level game for a novice – and if I was going to invest in this super hero game (version 2.0), then it would have to up the ante. So just having these tiny toys (for my toy shelf) was going to be good enough for me.

Michelle bought me a Marvel play set, and a bunch of figures, for my birthday last year to jump-start my collection. They remained in their packaging (up until last month) because the toy shelf that I speak of doesn’t actually exist yet.

It’s a plan that we have for our office on the top floor, but we’re still looking for the right pieces to furnish that space. So with our office space being a work in progress, it didn’t make sense rushing to EB Games to buy more Infinity. After all, these things weren’t cheap – especially if you wanted to collect them all – and I already received a small army of them for my birthday.

The Disney Infinity toys-to-life platform was very popular with gamers and toy collectors; new versions and play sets were being announced, which was proof enough that this thing was here to stay. There was no need to buy more in a hurry. I had time…well, I thought I had time.

Disney Infinity Shattered

As it turned out, back in May, Disney announced that they would be discontinuing their Infinity video game line, and shutting down their internal studio: Avalanche Software. The news took me completely by surprise. I believe my words were “What the f@#k?! How could this be? I thought that everything was fine. There must be – what the f@#k?!” But the toys-to-life genre had it’s winners: Amiibo, Skylanders and Lego Dimensions are still competing to be the number one, toy and video game platform of choice. Disney Infinity, on the other hand, is taking their bronze medal and going home…indefinitely.

It was a sad day…one that I didn’t see coming, but you know what? Someone had to lose. That’s just the reality of it, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. What’s even more saddening is knowing what Infinity had looming over the horizon: a new line of 12-inch figures, the launch of Disney Infinity 4.0, and more according to the incredible article that senior reporter, Patrick Klepek, wrote on Kotaku.

It appeared that Disney Infinity was planning to be a force to be reckoned with in the toys-to-life space, but the universe had a different design. I knew immediately what I had to do, because when a disaster like this strikes you have to act fast!

Preparing For My Very Own Civil War

My knee-jerk reaction was “Shit, now I have to buy all of the figures and play set before retailers run out of stock!” And that’s what I’ve done – well, I didn’t buy all of them. I’m only aiming to collect all of the Marvel figures so that I can play copious amounts of Marvel Smash…I mean Marvel Battlegrounds (more on that in a bit).

Now that time is of the essence, I can’t just sit idly by because I probably have one year (maybe two at the most) before I won’t be able to find any of these figures, let alone the one’s that I want. After a year (or two) my only option might be buying the nearly-extinct figures from online retailers, like Amazon, or resellers on eBay. By that time it won’t be worth it. Not with the huge mark-ups that will be added (due to rarity and demand), and the ridiculous shipping rates. So the time is now.

As if gaming isn’t expensive enough…now I have this bloody toys-to-life nonsense putting a dent in my wallet. I am a true victim of circumstance, but if there’s one thing that I’m pretty good at, it’s getting the games I want at a discount! I do this by a couple of ways: one, resisting temptation and not buying the game on launch day (like everyone else), and just waiting six to eight months; and two, redeeming my credit card points for Best Buy gift cards and using that to by my games. Simple and effective – both requires time and patience!

So I chose the latter: using my newly acquired gift cards, and ending up paying a total of $26.42 for the Disney Infinity 3.0 starter pack and the Marvel Battlegrounds play set. Without the gifts cards, those two items would have cost me $101.68, so I can honestly say that I made a good decision.

Almost immediately after that, the EB Games, close to my workplace, had a bunch of Infinity figures on sale! The stars were certainly aligning so I snatched up a bunch of those bad-boys for $9.99 each; they normally cost $16.99. Again, I made a good decision.

Now We Fight!

Um, yeah…

Playing Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Via Broadband Connection

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

Why So Serious?

One of the great things about doing a blog like this one is that I don’t have to take it too seriously. What I mean when I say this is that I can post a let’s play video (like this one), where I play like shit, and still be ok with it. I don’t work for any of the big dot coms, nor do I work for (or collaborate) with any popular Twitch and/or YouTube streamers, so I can afford to post a less-than-perfect let’s play once in a while. It doesn’t mean that I don’t take pride in what I do…I take the utmost pride in this – I wish this was my job – but I thought that I would experiment by showing my not-so-good gaming performance.

All gamers have their moment when they don’t shine. It becomes more frustrating when you’re recording because the pressure is on to create the perfect video, but you never know what can happen once that red record light is on. What if you have a terrible gaming session? For some reason it’s like you’re playing the game for the very first time and you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. You’re aiming your gun like you’re Stevie Wonder playing paint ball, missing everything; making every mistake in the book, even though you’re 90 percent of the way to completion (and have been playing the game like a boss).

Or what if your wife comes home earlier than expected, which throws your game off even more because now you’re more distracted, on top of playing like a howler monkey? Again, anything can happen. Anything can go wrong (when you’re recording). That’s why God invented editing software: so that one can extract all of those unplanned moments and embarrassing deaths. But why should I be so serious? Why should I be so professional? I’m not a world renown YouTube personality. (Not yet). I’m the gamer that nobody knows: the underdog and this is my blog! The Gaming Worker is where you’re going to get the great let’s plays as well as the bloopers. Think of it like a special feature that you sometimes get on a DVD or Blu-ray. Content is king and I am here to serve you.

If you haven’t caught on by now, everything that I just mentioned (about shitty aiming and the old ball and chain coming home) happens to me in the video. So when I say that this video is less than perfect I only say that because of my poor performance and unexpected dialog with my wife at the end. Everything else in the video checks out fine. The video and audio is good, the internet connection (for streaming) was superb, and most importantly I still had the fun!

Forget Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

Now I wouldn’t want to deter you from purchasing what is a very fine, remastered collection for the PS4 – I played the demo – but there is another way to enjoy the Uncharted series on PlayStation, if you have not done so already. PlayStation Now is the game streaming service that allows you to play a collection of Sony’s first, second, and third party games. Obviously this collection includes Naughty Dog’s Uncharted trilogy – three games that I have slept on for years for no other reason than not being a big gamer. I didn’t even own a PlayStation when Uncharted 1 and 2 came out. I suppose it’s PlayStation taboo: to now have a PlayStation blog (unofficially of course) and talking about the days gone when I didn’t own the console that featured two of the greatest games of last generation. But I intend to right these wrongs with the help of Sony’s, not-so-popular, answer to backwards compatibility: PlayStation Now.

PS Now Mang!

I did a PlayStation Now let’s play just over a year ago when I took the streaming service out for a little test drive. There was a seven day trial period (which is still being offered today) so I decided to play Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus, another Sony exclusive. In that post I wrote about how great the streaming experience was, but the pricing was just too steep. For your information the prices have not changed: it’s still $19.99 per month or $44.99 per three months. The latter is the better deal (obviously), but it’s still a whopping $180 per year. That’s nonsensical if you ask me when every other streaming service, like Netflix and Spotify, hovers in and around $10 per month ($120 per year). But what made me leap over the fence, and sign up for PlayStation Now, was the limited-time only deal that surfaced back in December. PlayStation was offering a 12 month subscription for $99.99, which works out to be less than nine dollars per month. It was exactly what I wanted to pay to stream video games so I jumped right on that shit. My only hope is that Sony decides to renew my subscription at the same price, but I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there.

It’s 2007 And – Hey, There’s That Uncharted TV Ad Again

I have the worst memory in the world. The worst. My wife will tell me things that I need to remember like: upcoming plans with family and/or friends, important appointments, when to take my vitamins, you name it; but I almost always forget. This is the affliction that I was cursed with. Perpetual absentmindedness. But for some strange reason, deep within the confines of my cerebral cortex, is the hazy memory of the Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune TV spot that aired in 2007. Like I said, I didn’t even own a PlayStation at the time: I was an Xbox guy.

Yes, it’s true. Microsoft won my vote back in those days, but (if you ask me) I wasn’t even a true Xbox fan because I only played third party titles. I didn’t play any Xbox exclusives. So why did I even own an Xbox? But I digress. We can save that story for another post. My original point is that I remember the first TV ad for Uncharted from nine years ago because I never saw a game that looked, or played like that before. I never got into the early Tomb Raider games – just the reboot – but even if I did; this was clearly something different. I was introduced to a modern day, Indiana Jones type-of-dude – who I now know as Nathan Drake –  and he was on a wild and crazy adventure to find treasure. Danger lurked around every corner as he travelled to remote, exotic locations searching for his fortune. My eyes were glued every time this one-to-two minute ad was shown. I wanted – no, I needed to play this game. But I didn’t. Not back in those days. Stars had to align and a few more events had to take place in my life to get me to this point.

The Journey To A Thief’s End

So finally here I am…streaming Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune on Sony’s current console and loving every minute of it (except when I play like shit the odd time). I wish I didn’t wait so long to play all of the Uncharted games – seeing as how the forth and final chapter to the series (A Thief’s End) came out two and half months ago – but I guess it could not have happened any other way. My master plan is to play all of the Uncharted games via PlayStation Now before diving into the highly anticipated, and final game; which I’m dying to play. But I knew that I would be doing myself a disservice by immersing myself into the forth installment without having played the previous three. I’m not going to approach this series the same way I did the Batman colon Arkham series. No siree. I’m playing in order this time and I’m going to get Nate, Sully and Elena to El Dorado!

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