Mega Bloks (Construx): Masters of the Universe Skeletor: Micro Review

     It's been quite a while since I've found some cool toys since Wave 2 of the Mega Bloks (now Mega Construx) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mini figures, and today I came across an awesome new one- a tiny Masters of the Universe Skeletor.

     When I first came across the initial bunch of TMNT Mega Bloks figures I was immediately taken with how well done they were, wave 2 pushed that impressiveness even further.  Then the toys were set back a little with the TMNT: Out of the Shadows film tie-ins, then they knocked it out of the park with the black and white Mirage Comics figures- they were downright spectacular!

     Once again, Mega Construx has done a fantastic job in making an absurdly tiny and somehow still manage to have a ton of articulation.  This is a tremendous new mini figure that is great for collectors and fans.  It's well painted, well sculpted, and articulated- these things are just plain amazing little figures.  I only hope they will produce more than only He-Man and Skeletor, currently the only 2 available for the Masters of the Universe line.  I'd really like to see Tri-Klops, Stinkor, Man-at-Arms, or any of the vast array of characters from the comics or show.
     I'll definitely pick up more as they come, but right now, this Skeletor is a perfect introduction to the set, and I can only hope for more to come.

     I've also seen they've released 2 figures from Star Trek: The Next Generation and 2 from Aliens.  In reality, they could make a plethora of great figures for those series' as well- paving more paths for cool new figures now that the TMNT lines are becoming stale.  I'm not kidding, there's a wealth of characters to choose from but they go with ones nobody wants, or more simple repaints/variants of the core turtles for each new wave comprising a full 50% of each new wave.  Mix it up a little Mega Construx!  People will buy the awesome figures when they aren't making the same mistake the old Playmates line made, no one wants the football Leonardo, or an Army fatigues Donatello, we'd rather have a cool Metalhead or Chrome Dome than the infinite number of variants.


Jurassic World Evolution: Trailer & Thoughts

     I heard there was a new Jurassic Park game on the way and I got immediately excited, unfortunately that excitement was swiftly quashed when I found out it was just another world builder game.

     According to the developer's official press release:
     "Jurassic World Evolution evolves players’ relationship with the Jurassic World film franchise, placing them in control of operations on the legendary island of Isla Nublar and the surrounding islands of the Muertes Archipelago. 
     Players will build their own Jurassic World as they bioengineer new dinosaur breeds and construct attractions, containment and research facilities. Every choice leads to a different path and spectacular challenges arise when ‘life finds a way.’"
     I'm not going to lie, though the developer has over a decade of world/city building, management, and simulation games experience, I just feel they could've done better for the Jurassic Park legacy than this genre of game.  The old Sega Genesis game was a great platformer, the Sega CD version was a point-and-click mystery (as was the far superior, and much more recent Telltale version), and this honestly feels like an upscaled version of Ludia's mobile tie-in Jurassic World: The Game.  The mobile game was a good time-waster, overloaded with IAPs and the like with an interesting dinosaur evolving and battling sub-game- but it was also a mobile game, and not a full console game.  While I don't like this type of game, I'm sure it'll have a bunch of people hyped.

     All I'd like to see, and have wanted to see for decades, is a 3rd person action-adventure game like Uncharted 4 or Rise of the Tomb Raider that takes place in the Jurassic Park universe.  If they could get a company like Naughty Dog or Crystal Dynamics/Eidos Montreal to make it, the game would top the charts instantly.  The closest we got to it is the LEGO Jurassic World game, it wasn't the best, but it was still pretty damned fun despite the flaws (that plague all the LEGO games).

     Jurassic World Evolution will arrive on PC, PS4, and XBox One in Summer 2018, in time for the theatrical release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on June 22, 2018.

     SOURCE [ Frontier ]


Easy-Mode Players Are The Real Gamers (GUEST POST by @Nintendo_Legend)

“Everything ain’t hardcore, you know.” -- Jay-Z.

At the time I am writing this, the current water-cooler topics of discussion include Harry Potter now being 20 years old and the SNES Classic releasing in the fall. Pop culture is a merry-go-round, an exercise in tempting bystanders through a cyclical display of the same bright lights, colorful motifs, and enchanting musical ditties.

Among the spokes on the spinning wheel of gaming topics is the intractable morass of difficulty levels. When Nintendo included an invincible Tanooki suit in Super Mario 3D World as an option for players who die five times in a row on the same stage, some people found this to be quite an objectionable thing, positing that including this item “destroys everything that playing video games is all about,” because the whole point of video games is “challenging yourself, improving your skills, and finally applying those skills you’ve learned to defeat the stage. Failing is an essential part of any video game. You have to fail to get any sense of accomplishment when you finally do win.”

One could wonder if having fun could be a worthy purpose for gaming.

I recommend reading Nadia Oxford’s piece at USGamer on the topic. Also, this Jimquisition video on Zero Difficulty, concerning reaction to an Easy Mode in StarFox Zero. While we’re recommending items on the subject, here’s a Kotaku article by Jason Schreier on the idea that maybe all games should have a ‘very easy’ mode. Here is a meaty piece on Dark Souls and how its identity is closely tied to its difficulty, among other sentiments. Finally, here is a long Twitter thread on (among other things) how even the meaning of the term ‘hardcore’ has shifted over time as the demographics of the hobby have changed.

Honestly, I do not want to rehash the entire discussion. It should be fairly clear, to anyone with common sense, that it is unreasonable to object to a feature being included in a video game that does no harm yet enhances enjoyment for others. Concerning yourself with how others conduct themselves in their gameplay to the extent of whining about it online is asinine, especially when it has zero affect on your own experiences.

Yet, even in recent days, we see the same old behavior dug back up for a new target, the SNES Classic. “Why don’t you just get a Raspberry Pi?” they cry, ignoring the fact that countless thousands within the target audience of the novelty have no clue nor interest in how emulation works, while also ignoring… the simple fact that it is perfectly fine for others to enjoy something you have no interest in. Again, it is a troll viewpoint, not worth covering in too much detail.

Simply: It is silly, at the very least, to care what difficulty level other people play at, or to scoff at how casual they are. Any half-decent human being with four brain cells can recognize that ‘hardcore’ and ‘casual’ players have equal value, and that worrying how someone else plays a video game is a waste of energy. To be a member of the gaming community yet hate on features that would only serve to include more people is a slimeperson position to take. Yet, I want to go a step further.

I want to say: Easy-Mode Players are the real gamers.

Yes, Easy-Mode Players are the ones who should have the cred, be looked up to, and have their opinions sought after. Why did it take me several paragraphs to reach my premise? … I don’t have an answer for that, ha. Instead, let’s take a not-too-serious look at why Easy-Mode Players are the real gamers.

They Are Different

On a simple, literal level, Easy-Mode Players are different. They take the path less traveled, they march to the beat of a different drummer. They take the scenic route, and do not concern their pride on such matters as violence and speed and competition. They are mold-breakers, and their type is still not thought of as The Default by developers or fellow fans.

Which is fine, mostly. But there is value in recognizing the ideas that a different sort of mind can contribute, and how these voices can help constructively craft the scene. Let them be taken seriously, and be appreciated for their distinct perspective. At times, it may even seem refreshing.

They Appreciate The Craft

Consider motivation: Why would anyone bother playing a game at its hardest difficulty, anyway? Sure they may enjoy the heightened challenge, but why? Does it not always come back to a personal point of pride? Having to conquer the game, having to beat someone else, having to prove something.

Now, consider the Easy-Mode Player, the player who is taking their sweet time to truly soak in the journey, to dive full-bodied into the story and lore that has been crafted for them, to let themselves be immersed and invested in the setting and characterizations. Just as there are connoisseurs in other fields, is there not room for gamers who really take measure of the artform we are so fond of?

Would Easy-Mode Players not more readily support games as an artform, since they are removing their ego from the equation and more readily embracing the total venue of experiences that the hobby can offer?

I am not saying that speedrunning is somehow bad, or there cannot be a healthy place in this world for esports tournaments. However, consider the artistic merit of these pursuits applied to other subjects of study. What would we think of a reader who speed-read a book? Of a viewer who watched a film in fast-forward? What if a listener made music more difficult, trying to listen to a track while punching their own ears underwater?

Should we not treasure the keen insights of those who truly involve themselves with the games in a real way? Those who really do regard gaming as an interactive art form, and see more clearly their narrative capabilities?

All I’m saying is that I bet people who play Easy have a sight for the craft of games that many others lack, and this is probably pretty cool.

They’re Nicer People

Look, um, I admit, this is a gross generalization, and totally unscientific, but -- if you put the hardest-core FPS player next to someone who likes visual novels, I’m just saying, I would wager on the visual-novelist being the kinder person if I had to pick. Kinder human beings are, generally, human beings I would rather associate and communicate with.

Okay, I am beginning to drift away from any legitimate point I could have had. At the end of the day, all I am trying to say is -- let’s celebrate and champion the easy-mode players, because they add a distinctive wrinkle to the community that should be appreciated. Let’s support and affirm one another, rather than… get bent out of shape because now even a baby can play a Super Mario game (I mean seriously, why the hell do you care wh-- never mind, sorry, sorry).

I do want to include a word about accessibility. The idea of having more play options for more people includes the benefit of opening possibilities for those with cognitive differences or bodily challenges. If including these players means a form of play that could be seen as an Easy Mode, can you really feel good about taking issue with that? Or feel malice for letting these players play at all?

I know some people find children annoying, as another example, but what objection can you truly have to a setting that finally lets a child enjoy a game? Feel free to tackle the issues of appropriate choices on a title-by-title basis, but the overall idea remains: Gaming inclusion beats gaming exclusion, and it is not a difficult debate.

Communities work better when people act more like friends and less like enemies. This seems like a simple-enough idea to me, but we have a bit of work to do yet. So, let’s do the work. Let’s stop turning our noses at folks for playing walking simulators, stop trying to push people into playing in ways they don’t really want to play, and conduct ourselves upliftingly toward those who slide the difficulty scale all the way down.

Here’s to you, Easy-Mode Players. I think you’re the real gamers.

     Guest post written by Eric Bailey [ @Nintendo_Legend
          Admin of [ skirmishfrogs.com ] [ @SkirmishFrogs ]

     For Eric Bailey's last Guest Post click [ HERE ]

DC Unchained: DC Comics' Mobile Counterpoint to Marvel Future Fight

     It looks like Korean publisher 4:33 Creative Labs announced at a recent Comic Con that their development studio Thumb Ageis has been officially working on a DC Universe based mobile game, called DC Unchained, and it looks like worthy competition for Netmarble's massively popular Marvel Future Fight.

     Much like the Marvel Future Fight, players will choose a team of 3 characters- such as Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman- out of an initial 30 heroes and villains, for a variety of modes including story, PvP, and even real-time co-op.  There's been hints that there are still a couple modes yet to be revealed, and there's always the potential for the DC roster to expand greatly after the initial launch.

     Not much else is known at this point.  It looks a little choppy at points, but overall it could easily become the best DC Universe game available once it launches as titles like DC Legends or the mobile versions of Injustice, the 3rd person RPG fun just hasn't been matched nearly as well as Future Fight nailed Marvel's characters.

     I'm seriously looking forward to this and will be updating here as more information and news comes in.

     DC Unchained is expected to hit Western shores in 4Q 2017.

     For related posts [ Future Fight ]

     SOURCE [ EDaily ] via [ 2P ]