Nov 21, 2013

PlayStation 4 First Impressions????

Alex and I sit down and check out the PS4, giving our first impressions...let's just say: we're not yet impressed. As you'll clearly see, we spent waaaaay too much time trying to install the PS4's Ver. 1.50 software and ended up just acting like idiots the whole time. This is the documentary of the aforementioned idiocy. Expect a REAL first impressions video soon.

Nov 18, 2013

Unboxing the PlayStation 4

Holy shit! The PS4 is out and I did an unboxing video? What kind of sorcery is this!?

Review: The Stanley Parable, Play It Again, Stan | GamerTell

Like Dear Esther, The Stanley Parable falls into a certain subset of games that began life as a Half-Life 2 mod and later went on to become full-fledged games powered by the now aging Source Engine. While the original mod had garnered a sort of cult-following, it never really made waves in the popular eye. Developed by Galactic Cafe, The Stanley Parable—and its HD counterpart (which is what I’m actually reviewing)—aims to make players think way outside of the box while providing critical commentary as to the nature of video games as a medium. After only a few minutes of play, players will discover The Stanley Parable’s dirty little secret: it’s more of a psychological study than it is a game.

Apr 12, 2013

Friday Night Beer N' Game | ToeJam and Moosehead

Holy Crap! I actually posted something for once; and it's a video! Go on check it out; it won't bite. ;)

Feb 13, 2013

Noah's Weekly Journal 3


So here I am, smack dab in the middle of the spring semester and lo and behold, I'm tired as fuck! Don't know how tired fuck is supposed to be, but you get the idea. For once though the majority of my workload is of my own making rather than being school related. It may not look it from the few number of posts this website receives on a weekly basis, but I really do put a lot of effort into what I do here. The biggest hurtle so far has been trying to find enough time to actually sit down and play the games I review/critique. With homework, travel time, meal times, and bathroom breaks scattered around in such a disorganized manner, I'm lucky if I can get a couple consecutive hours of game time/writing time a day. And since I'm balancing all of this with trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, you can start to see just why I'm so tired. Ironically this lack of sleep makes me less productive during the day, so it's sort of a catch-22 situation.

Feb 5, 2013

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of The White Witch Critique


     To say I was excited for Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch would be an understatement. I've been a huge fan of Studio Ghibli and, in particular, Hayao Miyazaki's work since I was a child watching such classics as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service quite regularly. Hell, I was once so enthralled with Princess Mononoke that I told a kid at school my girlfriend's name was San and she lived in the forest...that's actually a true story...don't judge me! Anyway, it wasn't until I got out of high school that I discovered the game developer Level-5, the first game of theirs I played being Professor Layton and the Curious Village: which I adore. So, you can probably ascertain my level of enthusiasm the first time I saw a trailer for this mash-up of superb game developer and legendary animation studio.

Feb 1, 2013

Noah's Weekly Journal Entry 2

     Yeah yeah, I'm aware that it's been like three weeks since my last journal entry but there's a good reason for that: the spring semester started and I had to put 60 hours into a game to review (see picture below).

     So what do I think of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch? Well, you'll just have to wait until I finish my review :). Like I said before the spring semester has just started and already I've been swamped with work and have had little time to play/review/blog about anything. Thankfully though, my schedule is now finalized and I think I have a good plan for how to go about balancing school with game reviewing. Plus as far as I know there aren't anymore 50+ hour games coming up in the months ahead, so reviews should be out the same week as the game is released, hopefully on the following Friday.

PlayStation 4 Teased?

     A mysterious video has popped up on PlayStation's official YouTube channel labeled #PlayStation2013, and a teaser page has also appeared on the official PlayStation website. Of course the biggest question is: Is this a teaser for the PlayStation 4? There's certainly a lot of speculation and a lot of eager internet denizens chomping at the bit for more information. Unfortunately it seems we'll have to wait another 19 days before we know for sure what this video is alluding to. For now though you can head over to the page in question and sign up to be among the first to know.

Jan 19, 2013

DMC: Devil May Cry Review

     The Devil May Cry series has always been one that I've had an odd relationship with. I've played/own each game, have beaten 1 & 2, and have fantasized about being Dante once or twice (admit it, you know you have too), and while I've always liked the games and had great fun with them, I wouldn't really call myself a fan. To me the entire series is a collection of well executed action games that provide a great amount of surface-level entertainment, but very little depth beyond that. And yes, before anybody jumps down my throat, I'm aware that the whole point of Devil May Cry is to be a cheesy action hack n' slash, and that the complexity is found in mastering the combat system, not in its aesthetics or narrative. The point I'm trying to make is that the series is about fun and testing your skills: everything else, narrative include, is secondary. Hardcore DMC fans may disagree with me, but I bring this point up because I get the feeling that these same individuals will be criticizing DMC: Devil May Cry for the exact same reasons they defend the previous four games; I can't say for certain, just a hunch.

Jan 15, 2013

Top Ten Games of 2012

     Happy New Year! Okay, I know it's been 2013 for two weeks now and ideally I should have had this list out sooner, but screw it, I had other stuff to do (like get this website up and running). Anyway, 2012 has come and gone, and with it memories of the various games that graced us with their presence throughout the year. 2012 was an interesting year for video games, it...well...okay, I'm just going to come out and say it: 2012 was a terrible year for video games. There, it's out there and now we can get over it. Don't get me wrong there were a few truly great games released this year: games that really expanded our medium into territory once thought impossible. Overall though, there was a lot of crap and a lot of problematic and, frankly, broken games being released that unfortunately highlighted many of the things wrong with the video game industry. This list isn't about those games though. This list is about the truly exceptional, wonderful, and beautiful gems that reminded you of why video games are special.

     Thankfully, most of these games have already received a lot of praise (and awards) from people far more important to our medium than I, but still it never hurts to throw your own thoughts into a discussion, and that's what this post aims to do. Please note that I have only included games that I have actually played, and furthermore have played a great deal of. I'm sure I missed a few games this year that would probably be great candidates for this list (Far Cry 3 and Slender come to mind). Also, this turned out to be a fairly long post so a bathroom break, some coffee (or beer) and a snack is recommended. I've blabbed on long enough, so without further ado here's My Top Ten Games of 2012.

Fez Banner
      From the moment Fez was first announced it seemed it was destined to be the latest indie darlin'. Fez is a wonderful mash-up of old school platforming/pixel graphics, complete originality and dedication from its developer; Fez manages to be both fresh and familiar. In the game you play as Gomez, a cute little pixelized something-or-other who lives in a two dimensional world where learning to platform is akin to learning to walk. One day Gomez witnesses something miraculous: a golden, three dimensional object called the Hexahedron. Gomez then finds (or is given) a magical fez hat that allows him to rotate his world and traverse sides of it he never knew existed. Once Gomez has this power he begins to rotate the world around him, changing perspectives in an instant. 

Jan 12, 2013

"The Free Bundle" Makes My Indie Heart Explode

     It's pretty obvious that I like indie games. There's just something about the idea of a small group of people, or even a single person, pouring their heart and soul into a project that makes it all the more special. Indie games have been getting more and more time in the sun as each year passes and the meaning of the term "Indie Game" has changed quite drastically as of late; but that's beside the point.

     Indie developers have always had the problem of getting the word out about their game, which is a shame because many of these games are true gems that bring a lot to our medium. However, it's becoming increasingly easy for indie devs to get some much needed exposure and give their labor of love a chance to make a splash in the world. Services like Steam and Xbox Live Arcade each have sections devoted to indie games and low budget works. Add to this the rising popularity of The Humble Indie Bundle's pay-what-you-want model (as well as numerous imitators), and it's easy to see why indie gaming has skyrocketed in popularity. Now a new website has appeared that aims to make it even easier (and cheaper) than ever to not only get new indie games, but also discover ones you didn't even know existed.

Jan 9, 2013

Noah's Weekly Journal Entry 1

     Since I'm just starting out in the vast world of video game journalism, I thought it might be nice set aside some time each week to reflect on the things I have accomplished in the past few days, as well as briefly discuss my plans for the near future. I'll probably also touch on little things that go on in my day to day life or my overall current thought process. I can also see this as a way for my readers (when I actually have some) to get to know me better. Mostly though I'm doing this for myself as a way to track my progress as a game critic/reviewer and also to organize my thoughts about what I've done and what I'll do next. Anyway...

Picture unrelated. I've just been watching a lot of "Adventure Time" and thought this was cute.

     The way I look at it is that this week is the first week of Bucket Hat Aficionado. I've held the domain name for almost 2.5 years now, and have been working on the current website on and off for the past 3 months. As of this point in time I'd say the website is 90% complete. The major things are in place that were necessary to take care of before I started writing. Little things like object locations and stylistic choices still need some work, but overall the site is looking good!

Jan 8, 2013

Pokémon X and Y Versions Announced

     Wow, I didn't see this coming. Well, I did, but not quite so soon after the release of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. The big thing here, aside from a sixth generation of Pokémon, is this will be the first time the main series of games has moved to the third dimension. When I first read this I instantly had flashbacks of how slow the combat was in the Pokémon Stadium games, and how awful Pokémon Colosseum was. Thankfully my fears were quickly doused when I watched the announcement trailer. Yep, Pokémon X and Y look absolutely gorgeous. I'm still on the fence about the combat, but from what I can tell it has managed to maintain the quickness of the other main games. The announcement trailer is below:


The Difference Between Critique and Review in Relation to Video Games

     This is something that has been on my mind as of late: It seems like few people actually understand the difference between "Critique" and "Review" and end up believing the two are synonymous and interchangeable. While it's certainly true that critique and review are similar, their differences and purposes are actually pretty significant; this is especially true in the world of video games. There are plenty of people out there who do game reviews and are called critics, when the truth of the matter is that very few of them are doing any sort of critical analysis that is at the heart of what being a critic is. This isn't to say that these individuals are doing something wrong; most of the time they are very competent at reviewing a game. However, few people actually break a game down and analyze it piece by piece and consider why the developers made the design choices they did.

Reviews let you know what is present


    The purpose of a review is to let you know what you are getting before you make a purchase. In the world of video games you can usually expect the the reviewer to talk about any or all of the following:
  • Synopsis of the plot (if any)
  • Graphics/Aesthetics
  • Music
  • Development History
  • Glitches/issues
  • Multiplayer (if any)
  • Length of game
  • Their opinion of quality
  • Similarities/differences to another game