Tag Archives: Steam

Steam Challenge 2.0 – Get in Marty, we’re going back!

A few years ago I embarked on a mission which, in hindsight, was a bad idea. This year, I refuse to learn from my mistakes and try it again.

I am of course, referring to the Steam Challenge.

The idea is pretty self-explanatory, the execution can be a little more difficult. My Steam list consists of about 140 games, give or take a few betas and demos, and some of those games are multiplayer-only with no real story mode (Let’s Starve Together for example), or VR games (for which, I don’t currently own a headset.)

I’ve decided to approach the challenge with the same gusto I had when I approached the Steam challenge from last year which I failed to complete, but this time, I’ve got Math and ScienceTM on my side – and by that, I mean I have a spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet is a new addition as it’ll be my way of keeping track of what games I’ve started, how far into them I am, and what I’ve finished. I hope that being able to properly keep tabs on this information will keep me motivated to continue with the challenge without getting horrendously burnt out.

Burnout is something I need to be aware of too. While I have just under 150 games, I get tired of things easily and revert back to old comforts (I’m looking at you, 600+ hours in Borderlands 2) where I can get almost instantaneous satisfaction.

My biggest issue with my Steam list is working out how long to spend on those games that don’t really have a definitive end. Some games have a great list of achievements I can use to use as goals to set as “finish points”, because other games could probably use 10-15 hours to be completed or even longer. But I’m also one of those people who likes to spend some time with a game (see Borderlands 2 play time above) and if I really get into something, I might just accidentally lose half a day in a single game alone.

But to take a lot of the indecisiveness out of the challenge, I’ll be using the rules I found on the Geek Bomb forums. They read as such:

1.You must beat every single player game from start to finish on any difficulty.
1a. With large RPG/Sand box games like Skyrim, you must complete the main story line and the main story line in all DLC expansions you own (ie. Dawngaurd).
1b. In games where there is no ending or main story line (ex. Terraia and Sim City). You must play at least 10 hours.
1c. If a game is far too difficult for you to complete (Super Meat Boy) you must complete 15 hours before rule 1 is satisfied.

2.You must play at least 7 hours of PvP multiplayer or complete every single co-op mission (ie. Left 4 Dead).
2a. If a game has both you can either play one or the other (ie. Team Fortress 2).

3. You can either start from ascending or descending order; you are allowed to skip games if they follow a few exceptions.

3a. You can skip a game if playing a game have become impossible in situations like the following:
.Banned from multiplayer (if the game has single player, you must play single player component)
.An online game (like a MMO) is no longer supported.
.Your machine is not powerful enough to run the game.
.Your OS or chipset is not supported.
.Unresolvable issues that make installation or running the game impossible.
3b. If you already have satisfied rules 1 and 2 on any game then playing that game is optional.
3c. You may skip a game if there are essentially duplicates in your library (ex. You have both Half-Life and Half-Life: Source), but you must play one or the other. This includes Beta clients (ex. Team Fortress 2 Beta)
3d. If it is in your library, you have to play Amnesia to the end you fucking baby. Nut up man, it’s just pixels.

In order to keep this entertaining, I’ll be streaming and recording as much as possible – especially in games like Amnesia and F.E.A.R where I know watching me scream like a huge baby will be rewarding to everyone involved. I’m also trying to get my friends involved to keep me motivated.

I’ll be started the challenge on Saturday 1st, April. I’m not sure what game just yet, but be sure to check my Twitch channel to watch it all kick off and to see me succeed! (Or fail miserable – YMMV)

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Kickstarters and Crowdfunders: How it’s changing video game development.

With crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter giving developers direct access to fans and Steam’s “Early Access” …thing (what is it, anyway?) allowing people to test their games on the fly, it’s a pretty sure fact that gaming has gone through some dramatic changes. Except, I’m not entirely convinced it’s for the better.

Let’s talk about Yogscast; some great evidence about what I’m talking about.

For those who don’t know, Yogscast is a YouTube channel who gained thousands (if not, millions) of fans by doing Minecraft videos, backed on the success of their podcast. They had the idea of creating a new videogame; inspired by Minecraft’s design. By all accounts, this should have been a pretty simple Kickstarter and everyone walked away into the sunset.

But it wasn’t, and they didn’t.

The Kickstarter itself was successful. Yogscast and developer Winterkewl Games raised double than the original goal of $250,000, but money isn’t everything when it comes to developing a game.

Winterkewl Games was new to the development world and it started to show almost immediately. Rumours of people making ridiculous amounts of money for little work circulated like wildfire, their December 2012 release date was broken with the alpha release of Yogscast game being released in March 2013.

Winterkewl addressed their lack of experience and nearly impossible goals in the official Yogscast forums, citing that the project was too big and their team (only consisting of 6 people) was too small. By 2014, the company filed for bankruptcy.

Backers (some of which donated $10,000 for high-tier rewards) were denied refunds after the project failed but promised free games in compensation. Yogscast incorrectly stated they were under no obligation to return the money to the backers, which directly conflicts with Kickstarters Terms and Conditions.

Is a creator legally obligated to fulfil the promises of their project?
Yes. Kickstarter’s Terms of Use require creators to fulfil all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfil. (This is what creators see before they launch.) This information can serve as a basis for legal recourse if a creator doesn’t fulfil their promises. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfil.

Everything went to Hell in a flaming hand basket.

Finger pointing was rampant and no one really knows what happened. I doubt even those involved in this mess actually understand how it all went so horribly wrong.

The story of Yogscast and Winterkewl is a prime example of why I’m weary of video games being backed through crowd-funding. Ambitious projects can be easily spun to impress fans and no one ever considers the risks. Once all the money that was so generously given is gone, there’s very little people can do about getting it back. People are left in the lurch with very little legal recourse.

The same goes for Early Access on Steam. The idea is that you pay a smaller fee for the game now (while it’s still being developed) and get access to the game through its various stages of completion until it’s finally ready for release. It’s a pretty alright idea, as long as it’s executed properly.

People who buy into Early Access games are promised frequent updates in exchange for their continued support of the game. These games are being purchased by people with massive parts missing. Some games, like Don’t Starve for example, were still worth their price when they were in Early Access. I was impressed with how it was reviewing and purchased it. But this isn’t always the case. You can go through the pages and pages of Early Access games and see how people who have purchased these unfinished games and see the scathing reviews they’re getting. Games aren’t being updated and are still unplayable.

I’ve got genuine concerns for this trend of games boasting finished game price tags, but are only sending out half a game. Most developers stay true to their promise of completing a game, and it gives gamers a better understanding of how games are actually developed, however there are a lot of developers in the Early Access section who has little experience in development and publishing, setting themselves unattainable goals and inevitably tricking their customers into buying a game which will never be finished.

Maybe I’m too cynical about these practices and I’m entirely wrong, but the evidence seems to point in my favour. It’s interesting to see how gamers investing their money into games has changed the industry and I can only hope that it continues in a positive fashion.

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State of Decay: Sink Your Teeth In

sodState of Decay is one of those games I’d heard great things about but already felt burnt out on. The zombie genre is a favourite with developers and the market is flooded with hoards (puns!) of them. But when my lovely friend gifted me the base game and the DLC, I decided to have a go at it.

At the time of writing, I’d played almost 10 hours straight without realising it. Thank GOD for days off, right?

State of Decay is a third-person zombie shooter with elements of stealth, resource management and base building thrown in. These gameplay elements help add extra depth to the immersion for the player. You need to make sure that all your characters are at full health, that there’s ammo available and you have an escape plan to get out of any sticky situations. My problem with a lot of zombie/survival games is that it’s run and gun; there’s no strategy. But State of Decay almost encourages you to have a strategy.

As you gather up more survivors to play as, they have mood swings and rely on other members of your group to help them through. The characters have enough personality to give you someone to pick as a favourite, but are plain enough so that you can put yourself in their shoes. Although, the way I’m playing, it’s a bit like an episode of Game of Thrones; I get attached to one particular character and then BAM! Eaten by a zombie. It’s a little tragic.

Gameplay and mission can lull from time to time, making things feel a little boring and repetitive. There’s a lot of potential for a variety of missions, but it’s mostly: go here, clear out this, come back.  I’ve currently found myself going around trying to find resources, waiting for missions to spawn because I’ve completed all the available missions. The missions I have completed have a good learning curve. You can do them on your own comfortably, or take along a fellow survivor to watch your back. Although, the AI can be a little… backwards when it comes to watching out for zombies; either super helpful or a major hindrance. The more you use a particular character, the better their stats get and the more helpful they can be.

My major problem with the game are a few rather annoying bugs I’ve come across when it comes to starting or closing the game. I found the game would crash when the music was muted, and I’m not sure what’s causing my game to bug out and crash when I’m trying to close the game from the main menu. The developer forums are helpful for finding work-around solutions for these bugs, but patching them hasn’t worked as of yet. From some Googling, my problems seem to be fairly common, so I’m hoping the developers are working to patch these out.

The music and graphics aren’t astounding, but it’s not a major drawback. In a world where everyone focuses on lifelike graphics and Oscar-worthy music, it’s kind of refreshing to have something that’s “not up to scratch”. The animation is a little buggy when zombies look like they’re outside, but are actually just clipping through a wall. I’ve wasted many a bullet hitting a wall where I thought I was aiming perfectly at a zombie’s face.

For a fairly generic zombie survival game, I’m sinking a disgusting amount of time into it. It’s got its claws right in and doesn’t really want to let go. The Lifeline and Breakdown DLC have great reviews online and the friend who gifted these to me raved about them when he bought them originally on Xbox Live. If you’re looking for a time sink, some good old fashion violence and nothing too complicated, State of Decay is perfect.

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Two Games Down, 98 More To Go…

In the month since I started the Steam Challenge, I’ve felt quite overwhelmed. Realising how much time and effort this will require, the size of my list, what I can finish and what I can’t; it’s all a lot to think about!

Some of the pressure has been relieved, thankfully, when this week I finished two games. I know it’s only two games, but it’s a start and sometimes that’s all you need.

This week I finished Mass Effect 2 (no plans to finish Mass Effect 3 since it isn’t in my Steam list, but I’ll probably import my character and actually finish Mass Effect 3… eventually) and a texty-point-and-clicky RPG called Monsters Love You.

My Mum asked me about this challenge recently. I explained to her the basic rules and regulations I’ve imposed on myself and what I’ll be doing. Her second question was “How many games do you need to play?”

“Well, I’ve got 100 games in my list and I’ve figured that I can play at least half of them before I have to start looking at games that I can’t actually finish.”

While my Mum doesn’t necessarily understand my work, her interest in it (or feigning of) is nice, too. Hopefully with the coming months and more games being completed, she’ll be my own personal cheer-squad.

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Steam Challenge: Humble Bundles, Steam Games and the Internet Plots Against Me.

I actually think the Internet is working against me this year. When I decided to start the Steam Challenge, the first thing people said was “What about Humble Bundles!?” Ah, Humble Bundles…

If you’re not a gamer and don’t know what a Humble Bundle is, they’re a group of games that you purchase for whatever price you think they’re worth. The money you spend goes to charity. It’s a pretty cool idea. Some people just pay over the recommended price to get the extra goodies, but I’ve seen donations for games upwards of thousands of dollars.

So while I’ve been doing the Steam Challenge, I’ve pretty much ignored the Humble Bundle stuff on social media and such so that I won’t be tempted to buy anything. And then this happened:

 bundle

A text message from Tyr (the boyfriend) telling me about the new bundle and its games.  Apparently, the boyfriend has joined the evil forces of the Internet in trying to tempt me with new games. I went to look at what games the Codemasters Bundle included because apparently I’m a giant idiot who likes to tempt myself. Thankfully, the only games that really appealed were games I already had (thankfully!)

Humble Bundle: 0. Rade: 1.

In other news…

I’ve started Mass Effect 2, Peggle Deluxe, Plants vs. Zombies and Half-Life 2. I think that with two story-heavy games, Peggle and PvZ break up the long hours of game play. The list of games I’m playing is available here if you’ve got suggestions on what I should play!

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Rade Reviews: Depression Quest

Video games have a wonderful way to make people go on great adventures and have new experiences. Often, people use video games to escape something going on in their life. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I use video games as a way to vent my feelings in a safe way that doesn’t cause anyone any harm.

Statistics from Headspace (an organisation in Australia) say that 1 in 5 adolescence will suffer some form of diagnosable depression in their life and that depression also accompanies other mental illnesses like anxiety disorders or substance use disorders.

Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey and Isaac Schakler’s game “Depression Quest” has just been greenlit for sale on Steam and  if you know someone who has depression, but doesn’t understand their way of thinking, or how to interact with them, I highly recommend this game.

From the very beginning, this text “adventure” game warns you that the experience you’re about to have is in no-way light hearted or fun. It’s meant to help people better understand the things that people with depression go through: social stigma, isolation.

The background is grey snow, like you’d see on televisions. While it doesn’t move, it gives off the bleakness that people with mental illness often see in going about their day-to-day lives. Background music plays to add depth; piano notes, I would assume. Mostly in the lower end of the scale which you’d think well suit a rainy day.

When you hit the “begin” button, you’re told information about the character you’re playing. You have a significant other named Alex and a job that you find somewhat boring, but it pays the rent. You and your parents both think you could be doing more with your life, but trying to figure out what that means is difficult.

Depression Quest then starts discussing some feelings that your character is feeling; Guilt, anger and exhaustion from the lack of sleep.

During the day to day events of your character (who doesn’t have a specific sex or name, as it is meant to be you in these shoes), you’re given choices to select from once you’ve read the text. Sometimes the “normal” options will be crossed out and you’ll be forced to choose something that you don’t feel like you would do.

At the end of the page, you’re given a summary of your mental and social situation. Depending on what interactions you choose, your quest will go a different way.

No matter what I say about this short, heart-felt game, I’m torn. On the one hand, I love the simplicity of it. It’s straight to the point and really, that’s what it needs to be. But, it breaks my heart. These “fictional” choices that I’m making are choices that I’ve made in real life myself. Avoiding socialisation with people because I either feel awkward around them or in my own skin, lying to myself about doing work due to a lack of motivation or lack of faith in myself.

In the end, this game will attract two kinds of people: People who already have depression or people who are curious about depression. It’s a heart-breaking and enlightening tale that could help open the eyes of people who think that depression is just something people can shake off and will perhaps, make them take it seriously.

 

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Steam Challenge: Oh Sweet Jesus, What Did I Sign Up For?

I often feel this pang of guilt when I look over my Steam list and see games that I’ve bought and never played. My number (101 games) isn’t much by any means (my friend Lasers has 247) but, I’m somewhat ashamed that I’ve probably only really finished maybe a quarter of the games on my list.

Then this appeared on my Facebook newsfeed.

1017631_593951077348304_1976587969_n

“Beat every game in my library? Can I do it?” I pondered to myself, forgetting that I’d only been awake for an hour and thus am probably too tired to actually realize what the fuck I’m taking on.

Looking over my games list, I do notice some games that I can’t really “finish”; MMOs, only multiplayer FPS games. So, with that in mind, I add only one caveat: games I start MUST have a definite ending. I see Skyrim being a massive problem for me. While I’ve finished the main storyline before, there are a butt-ton of side quests to do. What counts as beating a game? Do I have to 100% it? Get all the achievements? Jesus Christ, what did I just sign up for!?

I plan on logging some Let’s Plays while doing this so you can see my progress while also updating you on the blog and Facebook page. If I can get Twitch to work, I might even do some live streaming. Obviously, this is a massive task and it’s probably going to take me all year to do it so I’m wondering who thinks I can do it, who thinks I can’t and do you think we can get Waterhouse to take bets?

Now, what game to start with?

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Jumping on the EA Bashing Bandwagon.

SimCity launched the other day. It’s had a pretty disastrous first few days with server issues plaguing users and everyone is pretty pissed off about it.

Amazon has temporarily pulled SimCity from their catalog, EA have disabled some global features until they can get the server issues under control and give a pleasant experience for their users. All-in-all, they’re desperately trying to avoid a mass exit of their customers. The masses seem to have another idea. News outlets like Kotaku US and Kotaku AU are reporting everything and anything as fact and inspiring a lynch mob. People are even bombing Metacritic so that the Metascore of SimCity is negative and everyone is bashing EA without looking from the facts.

A source, who wished to stay anonymous, has revealed that EA had different plans for the relaunch of one of their biggest series. Attempted to provide resources like a server base similar to SW:TOR so that there would be enough servers to deal with the enormous load that they expected. However, the Maxis department (owned by EA) wanted to go another direction which is the way that SimCity is now set up. Since the game is being distributed by EA, Origin is how you download the SimCity client. Origin handles the authentication of servers then hands it over to the Maxis side of things. It’s pretty much the same way Steam handle their MMO’s.

While none of this has come to light (it probably won’t because the aforementioned news outlets won’t research anything past hits and revenue), it’s important for users to remember that this has happened before and no, I’m not talking about Diablo 3; I’m talking about Guild Wars 2. I remember that Boyfriend and I had issues connecting to servers, Amazon pulled their digital distribution of GW2 until ArenaNet got their issues sorted.

Don’t remember that? There wasn’t a lot of press about it but there were a lot of people who had issues like myself.

Unfortunately, what you learn from this is that bashing “evil” developers is the cool thing. EA bashing has been in fashion for years and even I’ve been guilty of bashing EA over their constant stream of The Sims 3 expansion packs every few months to get dollars from their users. (You thought I was infallible?)

It’s disappointing that the news outlets won’t present an unbiased front on the game because, when you can get on, it’s a spectacular game. It’s beautiful, challenging and a great amount of fun and all that gets drowned out by all the entitlement of gamers of our generation. I hope that one day we mature past this childish behaviour and can enjoy games without complaining about the first few teething days.

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The Dark Descent (Or, why I’d be the first person killed in a horror movie)

For my 21st birthday, my friend from The Netherlands gifted me a game on Steam. From my extensive wish list, he picked Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I’d only played Amnesia once with a friend for about 5 minutes and we were terrified! Amnesia has a long history of being able to make you poop your britches with very little effort.

Samara: The First 3D TV experience

I thanked my friend for his gift and wondered if he got kicks out of the fact he knows I’m a wuss.

In fact, when I was 14 or so, I watched the American remake of The Ring. My mother had forewarned me that it was probably too much for my brain to handle. Being the know-it-all teenager I was, I ignored her, brushing off her attempts to protect me. I’m 21 now and I’m *still* slightly worried that Samara is going to crawl out of the television and mummify me.

I’ve played 42 minutes of Amnesia and it’s fantastic. It’s so fantastic that I don’t want to play it out of sheer terror. The atmosphere is the real winner in the game. You’re told from the beginning that should play alone, have headphones so you can hear all the minute details and the shading on the screen needs to be just perfect. That’s just on the outside. Inside the game, books have fallen; winds have blown through the halls I’m travelling down and I’m yet to see another living soul. There is so much emphasis on the fact that you’re alone and unable to defend yourself that you find doing a 360 turn to survey the room is essential, even if nothing is there.

It’s a game I’m doing to have to finish in the middle of the day, with all the lights on, while clutching my teddy bear, I don’t see myself finishing it otherwise.

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The Walking Dead is in Dead Water

Here’s an interesting titbit: Telltale Games has announced that it won’t submit a console port of its game “The Walking Dead” to Australian classification boards. A staff member confirmed the decision was due to a lack of R-rating for games in Australia. However, the game is available on Steam; the PC Game distribution company.

Clearly available for purchase in Australia

As it’s been said time and time again, the people who oppose the R-rating say that the medium differs from others due to interactivity, taking control of the main character and making their decisions. I can understand that logic, but since it’s being released on PC and not on consoles, I suspect there’s something else going on here too. I could just be over thinking things too. Australia is in the final stages of getting our long deserved rating and The Walking Dead could be submitted after it’s been achieved.

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