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Review: Life is Strange.

Waking up in the middle of a storm as a bewildered teenage girl isn’t your typical intro to a video game. Life is Strange takes your ideas of a typical video and throws them on their head. Labeled as an episodic interactive drama graphic adventure, Life is Strange promises to take you on an interesting and unique trip over 5 episodes. From Square Enix and French developer Dontnod, Life is Strange takes a bold step out of the traditional gaming mold and making some bold game play choices.

Episode 1 entitled Chrysalis introduces Maxine Caulfield, a teen who in her younger years moved away from quiet Arcadia Bay Oregon. Read more

An open letter to game developers.

Dear Game Developers,

the complete lack of seeming to give a single flying duck whether your game works at launch is seriously making us gamers mad. While day 1 server slowness due to over taxed servers in multiplayer can be “somewhat” excused, these half broken games lately are a disgrace to the industry.

In the past all I had was an Xbox, my gripe, it’s consistently behaving as an unstable PC i.e. needing restarts frequently and being glitchy. Being in IT for a living I deal with technology issues all day, and the one thing that kept me from building a gaming PC is I didn’t want to deal with custom PC issues like upgrading drivers, incompatibility and failing parts. The allure of a console to me is the fact that you buy it and then it simply works. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case any more, glitchy games, controllers that need updates, and frequent reboots are the norm now.

While I appreciate the fact that you have the ability to correct your mistakes with hot-fixes thanks to modern technology. What disappoints me is not that you make those mistakes, it’s that you seem to make so very many. Consoles, in the past, have been a more stable platform due to them being a known quantity, developers don’t have to worry about being compatible with every video and sound card, or developing for different versions of an OS, a console is one very specific set of hardware and knowing that, glitches can be caught in QA, and while I’m sure many are, the glaring amount that are not is what troubles me. It points to a relaxation of standards and indeed a decline in quality across the board. With the recent launch issues of games like Halo & Destiny, DriveClub, Diablo III, and so many others as of late. Games are being pushed out to the public, whether through pressure from the studio to rush out a game or the necessity of hitting a deadline, they are arriving to us crippled.

Don’t get me wrong games today are incredible, massive experiences that pale in comparison to the 8-bit adventures of my childhood. I’m not forgetting the issues of consoles in the past, anyone that ever opened a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) had their own special way of getting their cartridges to even turn on. While there were plenty of issues then, we weren’t being promised as much, and glitches all too often were fun things that you found and showed off to your friends. Today with expectations, dpi, budgets, and game cost all going up, the modern game has a lot riding on a good release. Servers crashing is something that any Call of Duty fan can relate to, the first few days of release are always plagued with issues, and while we grumble, it’s something that we’ve grown accustomed to. Entire features of a game being unavailable though, sometimes for weeks has gotten to be par for the course, it’s almost as though a AAA title working on release day is becoming more newsworthy than one being broken.

While games today are more impressive, larger, brighter, and much more complex than the games of my childhood, what would at this point impress me more is simply a game that works. Is that too much to ask?

Thank you for listening,
Gamers Everywhere.

Podcast

Episode 1 – Da Zandalari don’t be comin!

Join me for episode 1 of The Game Case show. Plenty of News from the Blues this week, and some big changes for me in my own WoW time!

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