2011 has been filled with awesome game releases from games like Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed Revelations to games like Halo C.E. and Battlefield 3. But 2011 is also filled a lot of great indie titles like Voxatron and EDGE. Yet, the biggest indie title that was released this year is also still in development. Let me introduce you to Minecraft, an amazing indie phenomenon that has over 4 million players on premium and 16 million registered. The most amazing thing is the fact that the number of registered players and premium players have not stopped rising (1 premium account is bought every 5 seconds (ABOUT) and 10 players register every 5 seconds (ABOUT)). But the real question is what makes Minecraft so addicting and fun to play, that is what can be answered with a bit of mining.
One of Minecraft’s more nostalgic features are its graphics, which are quite retro (unless you install a texture pack). I can’t say that this makes Minecraft bad, compared to other games, but it definitely makes the appeal a bit more narrow, when dealing with people who believe graphics need to be as amazing as possible. I must say that this retro feel , to me, was something that made want to continue to play the game. Sure, I could use texture packs but I like to have things be the way Notch wanted it to be. One of the reasons the presentation isn’t amazing is because Minecraft is presented as a complete game, when in reality it is still highly unfinished. I’m sorry Mojang, you can’t just slap a complete sticker on a game that is no where close to that state.
Minecraft is all about building and using your creativity to make what you see fit. But be warned, this game isn’t just about placing and destroying blocks, it also includes a small variety of mobs from the passive pigs and cows to the heart jolting creepers and endermen. Most people would relate Minecraft to legos because it lets you build whatever you want, but I see it kind of like a computer build, you work on it every day trying to make it as good as possible and right when you think you have it down you find out that you messed up (I sure as hell know that feeling). In Minecraft you are given 3 game options ; survival, creative, and hardcore. Survival is…., creative is where you have god mode and you get to do what ever you want, and hardcore is exactly like survival, but here you have one life, so if you die the world gets deleted. The reason Minecraft is so addictive is because it feels rewarding. Unless you play creative, Minecraft makes you work to get items and that makes it feel like you actually did something that was worth the effort. Minecraft makes you think, work, and have fun all at the same time, which is why it is such an amazing game.
There is just too much to put in the first paragraph, so here is one detailing some gameplay mechanics. There is a basic start to the game, punch trees, which gives you wood, which you craft into wooden planks, which you then finally craft into sticks. Sound easy? NO. The reason for that is because Minecraft has no tutorial. But some very nice crafters were able to build a wiki to fit all the needs of a newbie. Now let’s take a look at the more advanced stuff. If you like math you should know what boolean is. If you don’t, boolean is basically yes and no or true and false. You might be wondering what this has to do with Minecraft and that is reasonable, because I felt the same way when I started (WAAAAAAAAY back in Alpha). Redstone is a sort of engineering feature in the game. It allows you to build complex contraptions, using boolean, and with a bit of time becomes the one thing that you can’t get away from (The best thing I can do is make a door open when you push a button that is 5 blocks away). Farming; I’m going to stop there and move on. Animal Breeding; again, I’m not going to explain. A recent addition to the game were villages and NPCs. These have no use at all, other than temporary shelter and supplies. The NPCs are mindless Squidwards (you know what I’m talking about) to most people, when in fact, they are actually Squiliams (the other, rich squid). There are even pets, who have no GUI or use, which makes them an entity that could useful, but because Notch didn’t finish the project… yeah let’s leave it at that.
C418 makes most of the music in minecraft and does an amazing job at it. All of the songs give a sense of discovery and nostalgia, which makes them perfect for the game. In my opinion, C418 is the only artist who could make Minecraft’s music without totally screwing everything up, even deadmau5 can’t compare. Great artists are what make video games so fun to play, they bring the emotion, while the game provides the fun. We also have to thank the sound engine Notch uses for the in game sound, becuase it just made endermen 100 times scarier.
We might never see a game that made such a refinement to the sandbox genre for years to come and because of that minecraft deserves a great score, not the best score just a great score. So here we are:
Presentation: 7/10 – It’s NOT COMPLETE! THEY ARE LYING-ish!
Gameplay: 9/10 – Great, but a bit lacking.
Music: 10/10 – Amazing stuff.
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I have been playing RPGs for years now and I can say that Oblivion was one of my favorite RPGs in 2008 (had to wait a bit to buy it). With Skyrim, I was astounded by all the amazing features they showed off (sadly, they didn’t let me play it at PAX, I’m too young).Skyrim might be one of the biggest contenders for game of the year, but if you really want to find out how well it fares against other games you are going to have to read past the break.
Skyrim is a beautiful game with wonderful art design and breathtaking views, I’m not kidding. BUT, the first cut scene was like 10 minutes long, I might be exaggerating a bit, and to me that was a big turn off. Yet, like any other gamer, I waited. That wait was well worth it, the game starts with a wonderful intro that shows the dragon that *BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP* all the other dragons. The one thing I love about the Elder Scrolls series is the art style. Skyrim is no exception to this. Skyrim has a wonderful looking world with very well-defined textures, but I’m one of those people who like to look at every single detail. Skyrim is definitely not perfect in its graphics. Some textures that should have a 3D look are in 2D to save CPU power for those who don’t have high-end PCs. I don’t have one either, mine is slightly above medium-end, but I was able to run it one ultra high graphics with ease. This definitely shows that Skyrim is no Crysis, but it does have something about it that makes it better.
When running around with a sword in one hand and a fire spell in the other you feel unstoppable. This feeling comes around every now and when it isn’t there, you actually might be in trouble. Skyrim has no end to gameplay, there are hundreds of quests, 85 spells to learn, tons of gear to collect, and a wonderful world to see. All this should take somewhere from 300-500 hours to finish. Skyrim is bloated with gameplay and that isn’t a bad thing (unless you play it for too long in one session) it’s actually one of the games strengths. I don’t think that it’s possible to explain all the gameplay in Skyrim, but I will say that gameplay has currently NO BUGS (I know, shocking!) Then again I’m only 20 hours in.
Bethesda set out to make a wonderful game and in turn they also made an amazing story. The story starts out with you as a prisoner, much like Oblivion, but this time you are not with the King. You find yourself in a town where you are set to be executed with the leader of the Stormcloaks, the gang that is led by the King’s assassin. As soon as you put your head on the chopping block, a humongous, black dragon appears. The dragon burns down the town and leaves you to run away. That was the first scene summarized to the point where you, the reader, have no idea what really happened. The story in the Elder Scrolls series is by far the most important piece, and Skyrim has a story that makes it worth being an Elder Scrolls game.
Skyrim is one of the most anticipated games of the year and I’m sure many people like me will be playing it for days without end. With a wonderful story, gorgeous graphics, and gameplay that is awesome, Skyrim sure has lived up to the hype. This isn’t a very long review, but it is one for a game that has to be played to truly experience the glory
Skyrim – 9.5/10
Gameplay – 9.5/10
Story – 10/10
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I love listening to music, I play the French Horn (I know, no one plays the French Horn), and I love messing with synthesizers. When I was bored I decided to go around YouTube watching people play with synthesizers. The two that really caught my eye were the monome and the Kaossilator Pro. The monome was quite amazing, but required a lot of time and had a big learning curve. The Kaossilator Pro, on the other hand, was simple to use intuitive and well designed, though not a well as the monome. It was also bit cheaper, that was the final factor that I looked at before buying it.
The Kaossilator comes in a lightweight casing that is very sturdy. The buttons are made of a rubber material that is sensitive enough to feel natural to most people. The Kaossilator is a very well constructed product and is hard to not to like.
The Kaossilator is a bit more on the professional side, so the normal 3.5mm jack doesn’t work here (the one that goes into the iPod or Zune or your smartphone), so I would highly suggest buying a 3.5 mm to 6.3mm( A.K.A 1/4) adapter or some headphones that come with adapters. I however was not aware of this and was forced to plug it into my main home stereo with a line input.
The programs on the Kaossilator Pro come in many types; leads, acoustics, bass’, chords, special, drums, patterns, and vocoders (vocal encoders). In all there are 200 programs that are all have these variables; gate arpeggio, tempo, scale (like Dorian), note range (octaves), and key (key of F or key of Cb) . there is a lot more to go over, so here is a video you can watch.
The best feature that makes this the best synthesizer for its price is its loop banks. The first Kaossilator had one loop bank, the Pro has 4 loops, which makes it like 4 of the original Kaossilators in one device. These banks allow you to record 1,2,4,8, or 16 beats. When after recording the set amount of beats, you can even overdub it an infinite amount of times. This makes it useful when you want to make multiple tracks stick to one bank.
$399 compared to the monome’s $500
The Kaossilator is a wonderful product and no one can say no to that, it simply is too good. I have been playing with since Sunday and have already had a ton of fun and only played with 20 programs. I still have a long way to go, but I have already found this product to be worth the $399 that I spent on it.
Overall – 9/10
Construction – 9.5/10
Price – 8/10
If you have not heard about Minecraft read this now! Minecraft is a sandbox game created by Markkus ”Notch” Persson, the founder of Mojang. This game is an isometric game that is meant for people to screw around on. This is my favorite game for PC this year and at the price of $20 Minecraft gives you an infinite sandbox game at a great price. You must know that many bugs are to be encountered, this is because the game is not even done, at this moment Minecraft is in Beta 1.3_01 so no promises that the game will be perfect.
You should know if you don’t research Minecraft at all you will be stuck with no idea how to do things.This is because Minecraft has not tutorial, but watching the video I linked at the bottom will fix all of that. Now the controls on the game are really easy to understand, it’s almost exactly like a shooter. WASD is to move, the mouse places and destroys blocks, and space is to jump. There is no objective, unless you count surviving an objective, to this game, but as you play it you will notice how addictive it is and how creative you have to get to make the things you want. If you have seen video’s on the game you will notice how big the world is, but that’s not the whole world. All worlds in Minecraft are infinite and are randomly generated when you first make the world. Now there is multiplayer in the game, but the multiplayer is laggy and can be hard to play on at times. This lowers how great the game by only a little ( like a speck of dust little). There is some math involved in the game, I know I hate math also. This math comes in the form of redstone circuits. Redstone ore can be found very deep down in the map and drops 4-5 redstone dust. This redstone dust works on boolean. This is not the type of math most people are used to using. Boolean works like a yes or no question. If the answer is yes the dust is glowing (on), if the opposite is true then the dust is dark (off). I’ll go into this a little better in a later post. The final thing I’ll go into for gameplay is the creativity part of the game. At this point creativity is what keeps most people in. If you’re creative you will be able to go insane and create almost anything. The opposite exists also, if you have no creativity you will probably stop playing after a few weeks of addiction. This can be countered with some mods that add new game types.
Visually Minecraft looks like an 8-bit with 3D graphics. This doesn’t totally kill the feeling of the game, but brings back the memories of the days when there only was 8-bit games. This style of graphics are nice, but after that the more important feature is the UI. The UI is simple, but effective for a game like this. The inventory screen has a simple hotbar area, a big storage area, an equipment section, and a small crafting box. When you are not in your inventory section you will see your hotbar, health, and armor if you have any equipped. The creatures in this game include pigs, cows, chicken, sheep, squid, and zombie pig-man*. Those are the passive monsters, the more aggressive monsters are the zombie (I mean who doesn’t love zombies?), skeletons, zombie pig-man*, ghasts, spiders, and spider jockeys (a spider/skeleton mix). This all makes up part of the visuals in the game. There are more things to see and with infinite worlds that never have a twin world, Minecraft will have a lot to offer when it comes to amazing visuals that are generated for the world specifically. One of the more memorable parts to Minecraft is the music. The music is composed by c418 and has a nice, mellow feeling when you hear it. The music will not always be there, it will just start at any random time. The other sounds are usually annoying. Especially those stupid cows! That really does annoy me, but at least you can take that down, but keep the music.
*Only aggressive if attacked and they attack in huge groups
Minecraft is a game that does require lots of creativity, but pulls you in with the most fun and addiction you will ever see in a game like this. I would highly recommend this game to anyone. It will pull you in and when you leave it you will usually come back to play it in the end. In the end this game is an amazing piece of work for one person by themselves. I can’t deny I love this game and I hope you guys do to.
Presentation – 10
Not much here, but what is here is quite good
Graphics – 10
Nice 8-bit style gaming graphics that show how great these visuals are. Plus it’s in 3D!
Gameplay – 10
Easy to learn. Fun to play. Not much else here.
Sound – 10
Great music. Try searching up calm 1, calm 3, and piano 1 by C418.
Lasting Appeal – 9.5
Can go on forever with how much stuff there is to build. Less creative people will have a hard time staying with the game.
To buy or test out (testing is limited to classic mode, not beta 1.3_01) – minecraft.net
The forum – minecraftforum.net
A helpful guide – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bh4EexJO4I
This is x’s adventures in minecraft. I think there are about 198 videos to watch, so you better get started (no videos from him are in the beta version, only alpha)
IGF Pirate Kart is a collection of over 100 games that were in the Independent Games Festival (IGF). This collection of games was too overwhelming and the max amount of games that I could get to play was 67. These are small, but fun games. Some are sprite based, some are text-based, and some are even web-based. I know there are a ton of games and I can’t go over them all, so here is a good enough overview of this collection of games.
Pirate Kart, as I stated before, has a large amount of games and a varied range of genre. Many of the games are well made, not polished (they’re independent devs, so I would not really take this to any conclusion), yet there are enough well made games to keep you playing. One of the best parts of the collection is that there is a “Play a Random Game” button. This will take you to one of any of the many games in the collection. Though not all the games are as many people might want, I found this trove of games to be a very satisfying.
FREE. Just don’t download it from the guy, use bittorrent. He already has made a big amount of debt, because of the idiots that used his bandwith.
Yeah, I know this was a short review, but I had a lot of trouble finding what to review. I’m going to be quick and tell you guys the score.
Thanks to all of you that have taken the time to look at our work. For your awesomeness we present 3 reviews this weekend. The first of which will be our very first Xbox game. The game is called Dead Pixel. Pyrotek will be reviewing it and I will have no say in how he writes his review. Liltle Pook will be putting out a review of some game. I don’t know what game. I will be reviewing the IGF Pirate Kart. A big pile of indie games that are varying in quality. So this weekend will be hectic.
Edge. An indie title that came out in August of this year. The game is a very quirky game thanks to the great pieces of music, its art style, and the gameplay.
The biggest thing that makes the game unique is its gameplay. The player controls a cube that can go in 4 directions from 1 spot. Pretty simple ,right? Now add in the fact that the view is isometric and that the cube is very good at obeying physics. What do you have now, a very fun, but challenging game. I had many instances where I pressed a button to make the cube go one way, but because I pressed the button once too many times the cube kept going that way and died. The game also has a few fun things that it does with its locked camera. Using the mini map is a great way to find the games collectables (prisms). But because Edge has a locked camera, you can’t always see these prisms, so by using the mini map to guide you there are various ways to find and get prisms. All of the levels are fun and exciting in their own way.
Edge has a small, but enjoyable selection of music that is sounds like it is a perfect match for Edge. There is a very retro feel to the music even though there are no bleeps or bloops. The levels even feel like they have matching music. The darker levels have a bit more of a dark tune to them, while light levels have a more cheerful tune (this one is totally my opinion, I doubt anyone else feels this way).
Edge is an awesome game with a great follow through on its concept. The levels are very polished and the music is outstanding. Even though there are only 48 levels, the game will bring you back to play levels again and again. There is also one piece of DLC already out for the game, giving a few more level to play with and the game is on the iPhone app store.
Wow, in just five days the internet has already brought us 14 views. To most people that is tiny, but to us it is awesome. I also checked that my going between the dashboard and the blog wasn’t giving us views. I didn’t cause so I would like to thank all of you that took a bit of your time to click on our site.
So our first review will be posted this weekend. The game we are reviewing is EDGE. It is an indie, puzzle title that focuses on a block that the player can move, using the arrow keys, in an isometric view. So far it is a lot of fun and I can’t wait to put up the full review.
If you want to buy the game go to steam and find it.
Thanks for taking a look,
Hi, I’m Sfiodsh,
I’m the person who wrote the About page. I’m also the planner of our blog. I’m a big gamer like most of our other writers. I play for about 9 to 11 hours a day. Each day I will either play on my computer or my Xbox. I’m not a console fag or a pc fag, I just love to play video games.
Thank you for taking the time to look at our blog. We hope to put out content every weekend, so if you like what you see follow us.
EDIT: God Damn it Liltle Pook. Ok so I have been playing since I got my Gameboy Advance when I was 4 years old. That day changed my life forever, it took me from a boring kid to a gamer that started to love video games. I then went to play all sorts of video, tabletop, and card games. It has been an awesome ride and now I want to share my perspective with the world!