Name - Callum
Located - Bishop's Stortford, UK
For a living I - Currently work as a QA Tester in London at a well known developer but I keep trying to push into Game Design which is what I ultimately want to do with my career.
Non-gaming Hobby(ies) - Reading far too many comic books and playing board games (the cool kind). I also write about the geeky things I like over on my website (https://thenerdistheword.co.uk/) and tinker away on my own games in my free time.
Gaming Historical facts - My life was changed when I was taken to a family friend's house and they had bought a NES for their kid. (Ironically their last name was Sega!) The first video game I have memories of playing is Super Mario Bros. 3 and it just blowing me away. From there me and my brother begged our parents for our own NES and I've been a console gamer ever since.
Firm believer that - Gameplay is king, closely followed by story/characters with graphics only being there to facilitate entertainment.
Champion of - Enjoying what you love and not letting others detract you from your fandom!
PSN - cal-uk_kun
Stream - thenerdtheword
XBL - Cal El 52
Twitch - thenerdthword
Twitter - @thenerdtheword
Best posts made by thenerdtheword
RE: Ally Introductions
Name - Callum
RE: What's Your Most Memorable Boss Fight Allies?
For me it has to be the first time I beat the final boss fight in MGS 4. (Video Link). It was around 3am when I reached it and I'd drank enough wine to be in a nice "emotional state" so as the intro to the fight slowly builds and the camera sweeps around Liquid and Old Snake I got really into it. I was a great call back to the ending of the first MGS game were my journey with the franchise began.
So I started the fight, a couple of tears forming in my eye. I got Liquid's health down and then things switched to MGS 3 health bars, music and character movement. I just lost it. The end of MGS 4 gameplay wise is a methodical step back through the series, full of the memories I had for those games. It was perfect!
Then my flatmate walked into the lounge wondering what all the noise I was making about. He found me crying at two old men (one of which was topless!) slowly punching each other to death and grabbing each other in homoerotic grapples. I tried explaining the gravitas of the situation to him but he wasn't buying it...
The Ladder Boss in MGS 3 is also another highlight!
RE: Moving out for the first time…and scared of the idea of No More Gaming
After finally getting a Stable job outside of my families business, I am finally going to be moving out at the end of this month! Already sign all of the papers and going to start packing next week. However, maybe it’s just the nervousness of moving out that’s getting to me…but I’m having stressful thoughts of not having any time to game once I move out. I mean of course I could make time after work to game…but now I feel like it’s a waste of time…? Like I should be doing more grown up things with my time now….O God Help Me Allies!!! IM LOSING MY MIND OVER HERE!!!
I can relate to this so much!
If you are stopping yourself from gaming due to having to do "grown up stuff" or not having the time just ask yourself what exactly that means. What would you be doing if you were not gaming?
I was the same way a couple of years ago and then I realised that I was just sitting there watching repeats of The Big Bang Theory (please don't throw rocks at me!) to relax while gaming was stressing me out for no real reason beyond perceiving it as me throwing my free time away. Watching TV is the ultimate time waster because it is so passive, with video games at least you are interacting with them 90% of the time.
So I shifted my thinking to be: This is a hobby I love so I am going to make time for it.
The following is all the stuff I have picked up on in the past few years as my work/life commitments have increased. Hopefully you'll find some of it helpful :)
The main thing is prioritisation. If you have a long list of things that need doing, tackle that list first then game. The sooner you get that To Do List tackled the more time you'll have for yourself.
Then there is scheduling. Pick an evening or two during the week and say these are my gaming nights. Treat them like a social commitment, put them in your calendar and tell people you're busy if they ask if you are free. But make it flexible, if for example you've got a wedding to go to but its Raid Night in Destiny, the raid can wait a week or move to another night ;)
Take advantage of downtime. Have a long commute on a train? Whip out a Vita or 3DS and play whatever you want. Find yourself with 20mins of free time at home? Play a round of Overwatch. Also find some good mobile games, like really good mobile games, so you have something to play while you are out and about.
Finally, be aware that there will be periods of time when gaming has to take a back seat just like any hobby. Me and my wife have recently had our first child so that has impacted my gaming time a lot as we settle into the groove of parenthood. But I'm still finding time to grab the odd hour here and there along with organsing it with my wife so that I can usually get a good chunk of controller time in at the weekend.
Some other tips:
- Take advantage of sleep/suspend modes. They will change your life! My PS4 has been suspended on the same level in Doom for over a week but it is ready and waiting for me to jump back in when I get the time to.
- If you have a significant other and are worried about them getting annoyed by you playing games. Play some co-op games with them. If they aren't really a gaming enthusiast I'd recommend trying games with a fixed camera that use a single analogue stick to control movement/positioning; the lego games, Diablo III on console and a lot of indie games are perfect for this.
- The sooner you can get out of the I NEED TO BUY THIS ON DAY ONE! mindset for new games the better. If it is taking you 2+ months to playthrough something like Doom or Uncharted 4 do not buy another game of that ilk until you are done with the current one. (You'll also save some cash too!)
- You can still play massive open world games and RPGs both Western and J in variety. Just be ready to drop them for months at a time. Also make lots of notes in a notebook or on your phone. Because while a lot of big games have quest logs and such if you leave them for a couple of months you''ll always comeback to them confused as hell. End each session by answering these questions: What is happening in the story? Where am I? Where am I going? What is my goal for the next play session?
Don't stress about it, actually make time for playing games!
Catching ‘em All #1 - Who, What, Where & Why?
I’ve been thinking of doing something like this for a while but Brandon Play’s Pokémon has given me the push I needed to give it a go. To start documenting my Pokémon journey and the ludicrous mission I’ve given myself, actually catching ‘em all as the tag line goes.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, when I say catching ‘em all I don’t mean just having a complete PokéDex. I mean having one copy of each and every Pokémon there is to get stored in my PC within a single Pokémon game or in Pokémon Bank. Every Pokémon, even Legendaries and Mythics, all obtained legitimately and each with a “cool” nickname.
So what made me want to do this?
Well, when Pokémon Sun & Moon were announced alongside the Virtual Console releases of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow I turned to my wife and said, “Another Gen of Pokémon! There is going to be over 800 different Pokémon by the end of the year! How the hell are you meant to catch them all?!”
And that was it.
The seed had been planted.
A month or so later I was playing Pokémon Yellow on my 3DS and realised that with a bit of work I could catch all the Pokémon within that game (minus the ones obtained via Player Trades) without too much effort. I then remembered about these versions of the original games linking into Sun & Moon via Pokémon Bank and how I already had a load of Pokémon sitting within my copy of Pokémon X. So “Actually, I've got a bunch of Pokémon already!” quickly turned into “Well I’m already part way there so I might as well actually obtain every single Pokémon.”
Thus the mission was given and the rules set in stone. I was indeed going to catch ‘em all!
Seeing as I will be playing pretty much one or two games from each Generation of Pokémon titles I am also going to use this journey as an excuse to don my Game Designer’s Cap. To really look at what it is about this franchise that keeps me coming back. Iteration after iteration (with a slight one Gen break, more info on this another time!), game after game, weird Pokémon design after weird Pokémon design. There is something in the DNA of these games that has kept me coming back to them for pretty much all of my life. I want to figure out what that something is. Also all of this means I get to write about one of my favourite series of games, at length on a semi-regular basis.
It's going to be awesome!
But dear reader what can you do apart from reading my ramblings about Pokémon? For starters please, please, please give me feedback if you can! If you have a question about any of the Rules I've set for myself or suggestions for more let me know. I'm also always happy to talk Pokémon so ask away!
Also FYI I’m planning on a fairly fast pace of posts to begin with seeing as I am already part way through this undertaking. Once I catch up to where I am currently expect things to slow down a bit. I am only one man and I lead a busy life!
So let us get started with the full breakdown of the Rules I will be using during my mission.
Over the many years I’ve been playing Pokémon I’ve developed some…habits when it comes to playing each title I get my hands on. These rules are in part derived from those habits. There are also some new mandates I’ve given myself to make things a bit more interesting and rewarding.
The Ten Commandments
- You are limited to owning one game out of every pair of Pokémon titles.
- You must catch as many Pokémon as you can within the games you own before resorting to Trading.
- All Pokémon Trades with other players must be conducted in person.
- EXP Share is the devil and can only be used after the the End Game state has been reached.
- All Pokémon must be given a Cool Nickname.
- The Pokémon you have are the ones you love.
- Fully explore each Pokémon title you play including its sub-systems, mechanics and mini-games.
- Online wikis and guide books are allowed to be used for the gathering of information on how to obtain Pokémon and their learnable moves.
- Only play one Pokémon title at a time until the End Game state has been reached.
- Have fun!
Exceptions and Clarifications
- Rule 1
- Clarification 1a: Tie-In games are permitted, especially if they grant you Pokémon in the mainline games.
- Rule 3
- Clarification 3a: Pokémon Trades must be of equal or greater value for both parties involved. No trading an army of Pidgeys for the rarest of Pokémon.
- Exception 3a: I am hoping I never have to break this rule but I am expecting to be flexible with it. We will see! But do not be alarmed if this rule disappears or changes over time.
- Exception 3b: Wonder Trading is allowed but Pokémon of rare or better value must be offered up to the Wonder Trade gods. Nobody likes people who flood Wonder Trade with Weedles.
- Rule 5
- Clarification 5a: If traded from another player that player has to have Nicknamed the Pokémon.
- Clarification 5b: If a Pokémon does not have a Nickname and it cannot be changed in-game a new Pokémon has to be bred from the original to obtain a Nicknamable version of it.
- Clarification 5c: Cool is a relative term especially when it comes to naming Pokémon. Just have fun with it.
- Exception 5a: The only Pokémon that are allowed to retain their default names are Pokémon obtained through official distributions that cannot be bred to obtain new versions of.
- Rule 6
- Clarification 6a: This means no intentional EV Levelling, Nature Stat Block looking up and Egg Group Breeding.
- Exception 6a: Mini-Games such as Super Training in Pokémon X & Y are allowed to be used per the terms of Rule 7.
- Rule 9
- Clarification 9a: You should have only one active story playthrough happening at a given time but the End Game (Post Credits) and filling out the PokéDex sections for each title can be tackled at any time and concurrent with other End Games if wanted.
- Exception 9a: If you are in the middle of a story playthrough of a Pokémon title when Pokémon Sun & Moon are released it may be halted or played simultaneously with the copy of Sun or Moon you own.
That’s it for now, so far I’ve finished Pokémon X and Yellow. With my current focus being playing through Pokémon SoulSilver. All of which I will go into the details of another time.
For now though thanks for reading and wish me luck!
Next Time: My History With Pokémon.
Gaming New Years Resolutions
It is that time of year when people look back and reflect on the games they've played and throw around words like GOTY. A long standing tradition that brings together and divides the gaming community in equal measure year after year.
It is also the time of year were people look at their lives and panic that they are a horrible mess of a person. So they decide to start going to the gym, eating healthy and quit that vice that's been holding them back for so long. I make the same panic induced pledges year after year but with a distinct focus on games, gaming and my game based carrier.
I'll post my Gaming New Years Resolutions below but I'm interested to know what everyone else's are and the reasons why.
So in 2017 what are you going to do to better get your game on?
Here are mine:
- Stop buying everything at full price on the day of release - That pile of shame keeps growing! Only buy Day One for games you know you will finish within a month of release it is the smart thing to do!
- Play more indie games - You love them yet you never make the time to seek them out anymore, play some cool and unique games while also supporting their creators!
- Make and release you own game (or two) - You've gotta build up that portfolio outside of work related game design. Now is the time!
- Build out your retro collection - How else is your daughter going to know what a good game is if all she can play is the current crop of games?!!!!!
RE: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (NS)
This is a project that has gone from being a weird game that I'd probably pass on to something I am really looking forward to playing. This is because despite the weirdness of the cross over and the implications of that, the team working on the game is proud of the work they are doing and it really shows.
Seeing Davide Soliani being given recognition in the press conference and then fighting back the tears because he is proud of his work speaks volumes.
I'd also recommend reading this piece from GamesIndustry about how the game was greenlit for those wanting a bit more background.
RE: Constructive Feedback: Equality, Diversity and Sexualization in Games
A lot of the issues with inclusivity do stem from game dev being a very white male dominated industry. Things are changing slowly and a lot more developers are sensitive to needing to reach a broader audience. But change as ever is slow and there is an element of back and forth to it.
As others have said your decision for not buying a game is totally up to you but equally I believe that you are allowed to and should be encouraged to explain the reasons why you are stepping away from a game for inclusivity reasons. Don't demand censorship just give constructive feedback. You'd be surprised how often people take reasoned arguments on board over ALL CAPS death threats :P
Crucially at the moment though whenever some big blowup happens over something in a game offending an individual or group it is far to quickly blown out of proportion by the two warring camps of "BAN THIS SICK FILTH!" and "SHUT UP YOU HIPPIES! I JUST WANNA PLAY GAMES!" Sadly there is no room for the middle ground of saying, "Yeah this thing is a bit problematic, why not try better next time?" Quickly things reach a level were devs feel stuck in the middle and any response, no matter how measured is met with anger.
At the end of the day better representation means more people potentially playing games which means more games being made to cater to more people's tastes. Seeing yourself reflected in a game's protagonist is a powerful thing and it is just that straight-white-males like myself have had a monopoly on that for pretty much the whole of gaming. The sand is slowly shifting and I welcome it. If I can even get an ounce of understanding of what life is like for other people in the world than I am all for it. Games have a great power to deliver that in spades and enrich lives because it.
I just don't get the push back on that. It seems highly counter productive to the growth of the medium.
Pokemon Sun & Moon (3DS)
I figured I'd start a separate thread for non-battle/trade related Pokemon shenanigans seeing as the release of Sun/Moon is imminent.
For instance I finally chose my starter, through the help of my daughter!
I was set on Litten for a while but I was put off by its final form so I decided to take a different approach!
RE: What did you just Buy/Receive?
@-Jak- said in What did you just Buy/Recieved:
@thenerdtheword Just one. Too broke to buy more than 1.
If I was more talented in selling stuff, and had a little more funds to gamble with. I could have simply pre-ordered multiple Switches. And sold them all as pre-orders on eBay, like some other sellers may have done. But I'm taking my business easy, and not trying to get ahead of myself. As I desire to make sure I am aligned with all local and national laws when it comes to Internet sales. And I just got my business registered with my local county, via the county clerk's office earlier. So I'm taking the steps to have a very professional and trustworthy business brand.
I get wanting to make it a legitimate practise but the whole buying a thing to then sell it on at a mark up, especially for games and hardware just doesn't sit well with me.
Still I wish you good luck!
RE: For those with kids, how have/will you introduce games to your kids?
This has been something that I've thought about many times since my daughter was born back in March last year. I'm excited to eventually share my love for gaming with her but I'm worried that insisting on playing games from my childhood will end up having the opposite effect.
So my plan is to play lots of current family and kid focused games with her and periodically ask her if she wants to play any of the games I used to play when I was her age. That way we will hopefully get the best of both. Playing stuff she will enjoy together while also getting some game history and understanding of me through the retro games I'll drip feed her.
RE: Nintendo Switch Pre-order Woes!
Well I found a french website that still has pre-orders available, at a very advantageous price actually: 350 euros for the console with Zelda and a free framed Zelda poster. I just need to throw in an extra 10 euros to guarantee express delivery, so my friend can bring it when he visits a week after launch.
And to make sure he doesn't pay some sort of import tax on arrival, I'm getting an official Switch transport pouch so he can unbox the whole thing beforehand and carry it as if it was his own.
Even with all that, it's still much cheaper than buying it in Singapore, and I was planning to buy a transport pouch anyway.
He gets to keep the framed poster for his services, and he gets to play Zelda on his 12-hour flight and impress all the girls at the airport like that dude in the advert.
Love & Respect triumph once again.
But you might have to ultimately thank Maxsoft when you give your best man's speech at your friend and airport girl's wedding in a few years :D
"If it wasn't for them and their ridiculous pricing we wouldn't be gathered here today!"
RE: What is the best way to reach out to an Ally directly?
@zen single them out in a forum thread and demand answers? :P
But if you really want to take it further: From my understanding Damiani manages a lot of the Twitch stuff (someone please correct me if I'm wrong here!) so maybe him and Twitter is probably the most direct place to contact an Ally.
RE: Selective Creation: Make a New Millennium List!
Zone of Enders 2
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Dragon Age Origins
Final Fantasy IX
The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker
Assassins Creed II
Resident Evil 4
Final Fantasy X
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Longest Journey
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Jet Set Radio
Dreamcast 4 life
RE: Last game you finished
I finally finished (well on my terms at least) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild earlier this month!
It's been a while since I've done one but here's my concise analysis.
- Platform – Nintendo Switch
- Genre – Open World RPG
- Playtime – 70+ Hours
- “Beaten?” – Enough for me (Main quest and lots of side quests completed)
- Date Beaten – 10th October 2017
- Platinum Trophy Unlock – N/A
The really good stuff
- Takes the Zelda formula and reinvents it for modern open world gaming and also manages to reinvent open world gaming in the process.
- Has a truly open world, apart from at the very extremes of the world map everything you can see can be accessed in some way.
- Great ways to travel around the world that all work together. Being able to climb on almost all surfaces is very freeing.
- Weapon breaking means you are constantly cycling your inventory having to change your tactics accordingly.
- The world design is spot on there is so many great things to see and do. The game is full of surprises. Lots of strong visual landmarks guide the player through the environment and lead them off the critical path.
- The story is what the player makes of it. The main thread is presented in a simple manner but the player’s personal journey adds to and enhances it.
- The different environment types have their unique challenges to overcome and memorable characters. Each area of the map has its own feel and all of them lived in vibe.
- This is a game that manages to keep throwing surprises at you. You’ll have a an idea to try reaching somewhere on the map or try combining a weird combination of systems and the game rewards you accordingly.
- Enemy variety becomes an issue around the halfway mark. There are a lot of enemies but most are just recoloured tougher versions of monsters you’ve already encountered, many, many, times.
- Felt like there could have been more giant monsters especially ones tied to areas like the sand whale/shark things in the desert. Tying these into some sort of hunting system across the game would incentivise seeking them out a bit more too.
- There is a weird inverse difficulty curve to the game. At first it is an almost Dark Souls/Bloodborne cycle of learning through death but by the end game when you have fully equipped yourself most encounters are a cakewalk.
- Tutorials and tips feel like they always come too late or after the player has figured out a system during the course of play. Many are also missable, learning to cook properly was a google job for me because I hadn’t come across the right book in the right shack to learn how to do it in game.
- The dungeons are tightly designed puzzles but they felt empty and lacking in character especially when compared to ones in previous Zelda games.
- While the shrines are a welcome distraction that make up for the more streamlined dungeons the do get a tad repetitive after a while. Especially the combat trial ones….
What is the core of the game?
- Redefining the Zelda experience for a new era.
- Have a strong set of systems that are interconnected and work with/against each other based on the players actions and responses.
- Leave the player to set their own goals within the framework of the game and encourage them to deviate from the path and really explore the game world.
What did the game mean to me?
- This was a beautiful game to have the pleasure of enjoying. It does so much right that it totally outweighs any shortcomings the game has for me. It is hard to put into words how invested I got in this game’s world, story and characters.
- Sometimes throwing away an established formula and building a new one from the core tenants of a franchise can really pay off.
- Also if something looks slightly out of place there is probably a Korok hiding under it.
5 out of 5
RE: "Help! (I Need Somebody) Help!...)" - Nintendo Switch
I recommend Breath of the Wild it is a truly great game and really sell the concept of the Switch being a traditional home console that you can play on the go.