Sunday, May 1, 2016

Odds and Ends - On PS4, VGM Podcasts and Board Games

I actually had a different post planned, but after travelling and a week of being more or less sick, I decided to take it chill and do a bit more of a mellow one. A bit of odds and ends about what going on around here.

PS4 in da house
I finally got around to buying a Playstation 4! It really took me forever, mainly because I was trying to justify spending that much money on a console when A: it doesn't have that many games I want to play and B: I already have too many games backlogged as it is anyway. What finally won me over were three things.
On my trip I took the opportunity to visit a dear old friend of mine and our tradition is to sit down and game as much as we can. We used to do this all night long, but nowadays there is usually just time for an evening of fun. He let me try some games on his ps4, namely The Last of Us (he knows I can't do horror games and thinks it's hilarious to see me try) and Journey. I liked them both but liked the Last of Us more than I thought and Journey less than thought. I didn't get overly far in tLoU but it was less creepy than I thought it would be, although I could definitely see how the game could put you in some really stressful situations. Journey was as beautiful and artsy as I expected, and perfect for the couple of stages I tried. I only got a feeling the gameplay might wear on me after a while, but I don't know if the game throws in some curveballs later on. Gettings hands-on with the ps4, eventhough his decided to be a bit nasty with us on that particular evening, encouraged me to get my own one as I knew a bit more about how it worked and looked.
Secondly, FFVII remake is coming out for the ps4. Although only exclusive for a time, I used it as a an excuse that I needed it.
Thirdly, once I've gotten the idea that I need something into my head, I can't really get rid of it - it's how I ended up with my very first console anyway and only good has come from that. I am sure a lot of people recognize it.

Also known as "Generic White Guy Adventures" in some countries.

So now I own one and I only have the Uncharted collection for it, a series of games I have been eyeing for a while now and am looking forward to trying. Coincidentally I saw that the 4th in the series is coming out in less than two weeks. I doubt I'll get through the first three in that time though, as a game of this size usually takes me months to play though... Next we'll probably get Bloodborne, as the bf who is a huge Dark Souls fan has been lusting after it for a while.

As we have limited space under our TV, me and the bf had a discussion as to which other console had to make room (ie go into the cupboard) for the ps4. I opted for the NES, because eventhough it is beautiful I never play it. The bf refused (and fair enough, he does actually play it occasionally), so now the Gamecube and the ps4 share space instead and the NES remains untouched.

Pixelmusic everywhere
Since I've got almost 7km to work, which I usually bike (yes, even in -16C (almost 0F) this winter!), I've started to listening to a lot of podcasts, mainly VGM podcasts of which there are more of than I first thought. So far I am listening to four different ones, most of them keep a pretty similar style and I like them all;

Rhythm & Pixels - These one hour episodes with hosts Rob & Pernell, released every week, cover pretty much any kind of game. At the end they throw in some remixed versions based on the theme of the episode which is unique among the podcasts I listen to, which is a nice touch. If I could change one thing about this podcast I would make it longer, it often feels like they're just getting started and then it ends! But then again, it is released every week.

Pixeltunes Radio - Two hour episode released bi-weekly with hosts Ed & Mike. Theme wise very similar to Rhythm & Pixels and Pixelated Audio (below), so more of the same (and very good).

Pixelated Audio - This show is a bit inbetween the other two, sometimes one hour sometimes two hours in length and I frankly don't know how often it is released (but I think also bi-weekly). The only slight difference to the first two is that hosts Bryan & James talk a bit more about the technical part of VGM, as in hardware, sound channels and so on. This doesn't mean someone with no knowledge at all (like me) should feel deterred - rather I feel it adds a lot of fun to the episodes.

Battle Bards - This one is a bit different from the first three. Also bi-weekly, one hour episodes, this show focuses on MMORPG music (apparently there are enough of those to do an entire podcast with just that!) and has three hosts called Syp, Steff and Syl. Also good!

If you know any more VGM podcasts please throw them my way, I'd love to hear about them!

And the Board Games
I'm not sure if I mentioned it before somewhere, but I've been trying to incorporate more board games into my life. I've always been a fan of board games (except Monopoly which will drive me mad) and used to play them a lot as a kid, both traditional ones and tabletop RPG ones. As I got older, and more importantly moved far away from my childhood friends, my problem quickly became not having anyone to play with. Now my new friends, whom I love dearly, unfortunately seem to have very little interest in both video games and board games. I've warned them I am going to try to groom them into liking it sooner or later, but for now I've decided to take matter into my own hands and get a selection of 2-player board games because fortunately at least my boyfriend wants to play with me. So far we've got Boss Monster, Mage Knight, Carcassonne and Zombies!!! (and Munchkin and Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards, which albeit playable aren't that much fun with just two players). Boss Monster and Carcassonne are good fun and we haven't gotten around to trying Mage Knight yet, simply because it seems like a pretty big undertaking and requires some more planning than the others.

Then of course we have some Magic the Gathering and Pokémon TCG lying around but the bf wants to play Yu-Gi-Oh... (hell no).

Yet again, if you know of any other fun 2-player board games, please give me a shout!

Also available as a slightly less fun Steam Game.

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