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

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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)! 🎮 😬

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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 😊

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!

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 😁

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