Google’s Project Stream

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

While every gamer has their favorite console, PC games and services that help to stream the games to computers have always been a contender in the “console wars” as well.

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Google is joining the streaming field with a little thing called Project Stream. It aims to be able to successfully run any game on any laptop or PC. It’s in beta mode at the moment and only runs Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but if it works like it promises, it could be yet another platform to play games.

Has anyone tried out Google’s Project Stream? I’ll admit that I haven’t. The writer of the article that I saw about it found it favorable, though. It’ll definitely be an interesting option when it comes to playing video games. We have Steam to help keep our PC games all together, but just going onto our browser to play a game may be the simpler way to go.

How would this change the home console scene? If we could just stream games from our laptop browsers, would home consoles become obsolete? Not only that, but more and more games are coming to mobile. In fact, Microsoft is starting a project as well that will bring AAA games to mobile, helping to broaden where and when players play their games.

It’s a wonder how browser streams will effect the home consoles.

Have you tried Google’s Project Stream? What do you think of browser streams for video games?

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First Impressions: Hogwarts Mystery

Double Jump Kris MiiI always adored the Harry Potter series growing up — they were a stable of my childhood. Even now, I enjoy rereading a book or two of the series every so often. When Pottermore came out, I was excited to take the quizzes detailing my Hogwarts house and wand, as well as my patronus and Ilvermorny House when they became a thing as well. With the app game Hogwarts Mystery finally released a couple of days ago, I got the chance to start it up and try it out.

 

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I don’t play too many app games. I’m one of those few people who don’t have a tablet so, if I wanted to play app or mobile games, I’m stuck using my phone. Don’t get me wrong, my phone is nice and I don’t have too many mobile games that I’m interested in playing, but it can still be a little annoying on the smaller screen. I have Fire Emblem Heroes and, now, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery on my device.

The idea of becoming a Hogwarts student was always a fun fantasy for me as a lover of the books and the world that J.K. Rowling had cooked up. I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical about how Hogwarts Mystery would be able to pull it off, but I’m enjoying it so far.

You start the game with a little introduction that is narrated by the great Maggie Smith herself, reprising the role of Professor McGonagall. After a brief moment of customizing your character (seriously, there’s not much customization unlocked) your character is meeting a new friend in Diagon Alley, where you obtain your books and wand in a tutorial of the few controls before heading to Hogwarts and choosing your house.

The simple controls include tapping and swiping a finger across the screen. That’s really it. The tasks are generally using energy by tapping on objects, such as books to “read through” or your broom to “summon.” When learning spells or brewing potions, you may have to swipe your finger in a small shape, usually a spiral or arch of some sort, in order to perfect the spell or potion.

The story itself is okay so far. I’m not too deep into it, but apparently your character’s brother had gotten expelled and disappeared at some point before you were accepted into Hogwarts. Therefore, you already have a besmirched reputation, thanks to whatever your brother had done. Your personality is based on three attributes — courage, empathy, and knowledge — that will supposedly affect your relationships with other characters in the game. These attributes may give you different response choices with speaking with characters and, depending on which choices you choose, may or may not help better your family name in the school.

I presume, going deeper into the game, that the Hogwarts Mystery is all about what happened with your brother. I’m already interested in the writing, and I’m impressed with the graphics of the game even on my phone screen, so we shall see how everything works out.

Being a mobile game, it’s “free to play,” but there are of course in-app purchases, where you can use real money to buy game currency, gems for longer story missions, and pieces of energy to keep the game moving. The currency and gems also unlock more clothing items to customize your characters. The customization is something I’m disappointed in — you gain levels as you go about the story, and certain clothing options are “unlocked” at certain levels, but many you still need to spend currency or gems on to actually wear them.

Other than that, I’m amused at the game so far, able to play it in a few minute intervals before losing all my energy and needing to wait for that to replenish. As long as the story is intriguing, I’ll probably keep the game around for a while.

Did you download Hogwarts Mystery? How are you enjoying the game?

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First Look: Fire Emblem Heroes

Double Jump Kris MiiAnother Monday, another week… What kinds of games are you playing this week to help get through the days?

Perhaps a new mobile game…?

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This past Thursday, Nintendo released a new mobile game, Fire Emblem Heroes. Much like Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes proves to be a popular hit. While I played Pokemon Go for a few months before forgetting about it and ultimately uninstalling the game from my phone, and then not having the correct OS for Super Mario Run, I was a little skeptical for Heroes.

Fire Emblem is one of my absolute favorite franchises, and I prefer them on the handheld consoles. Home consoles are fine as well, but there’s a certain charm in having the Fire Emblem franchise being portable, allowing you to best an enemy army on the go. Having a mobile game just makes it easier to bring the franchise with you.

While I’m not far along at all in the Fire Emblem Heroes story, I am pleased by game. The graphics are smooth and the little chibi characters on the battle screens are adorable. The artwork in general is pleasing to the eye, and the music is enjoyable.

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My little team so far!

Besides the combat system, my favorite aspect of the Fire Emblem games are the characters. The majority of them in the franchise have rich background stories and you can usually develop them further with the use of supports and pairings in most of the games. It’s fun and exciting to see which characters I end up summoning to join my team, or to see who will be my team’s opponents. Although I haven’t succumbed to actually paying for summoning orbs yet, earning them in the game for more heroes is a good incentive for me to keep going.

Overall, I’m enjoying this little mobile game. I haven’t been playing it long enough to see a negative impact on my data plan just yet, but I also haven’t had any server issues or glitches. The game runs pretty smoothly, and it’s nice to have a slice of Fire Emblem in my pocket to play during my few free minutes throughout the day.

Have you downloaded Fire Emblem Heroes? What do you think of it so far?

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An Abundance of Fire Emblem

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone! There are so many good games that have been announced for this year, both brand new and from beloved franchises alike. Recently a few new Fire Emblem games have been announced and, as a big fan of the franchise, I’m wicked excited!

The Fire Emblem franchise has been around since 1990 in Japan and 2003 in North America. With its tactical strategy, amazing character designs, decent storylines, and perma-death angle, it’s tons of fun to play. With the new year, there have been news of more Fire Emblem games to look forward to.

The first is Fire Emblem Heroes, following in the footsteps of Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run for mobile systems. It seems to run similar to the full games, where one has a team of characters to vanquish the enemy on the map, among other winning conditions. There’s a Choose Your Legends event happening where one can vote for special heroes to be put in the game in a special outfit. It brings back a sense of nostalgia scrolling through the characters of past games!

Considering the game will be free (with the typical in-app purchases, of course), I’ll most likely check it out. However, Nintendo’s mobile games haven’t been such a hit with me. Super Mario Run isn’t available to me (not yet, anyway) due to having an Android, and I’ve uninstalled Pokemon Go because I haven’t opened up that app in a good month or so. We’ll see how Heroes is soon, though, as it’s slated for release February 2nd.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a reimagining of Fire Emblem Gaiden, which was only released in Japan. Echoes is new for the 3DS, and it boasts to have a free-flowing, character progression and dungeons reminiscent of Gaiden. It’ll be a bit of a switch up from the formulas we’ve seen in recent Fire Emblem games. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to another Fire Emblem and will pick this game up after it’s released on May 19th.

Then there’s Fire Emblem Warriors slated for the Switch and the 3DS in the fall. There’s not too many details about it out right now, but I’m presuming it’ll be similar in game play as Hyrule Warriors. I had a great time with Hyrule Warriors, so I’m looking forward to the Fire Emblem version of the game.

Of course, there’s also rumors of another Fire Emblem for the Switch coming out in 2018… It’s a good time to be a Fire Emblem fan!

Are you looking forward to all the Fire Emblem goodies? If you’re voting in the Choose Your Legends event, what heroes do you have on your battle ballot?

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Friday Favorites: Mobile Games

Double Jump Kris MiiAnother week down, one more full week to go in October!

Mobile gaming has definitely spiked recently, with all sorts of genres being played right at the tips of your fingers. From Angry Birds to Pokemon GO, there’s tons of downloadable games that you can spend your money on (even if the base game itself is free). Although some don’t consider mobile games to truly be “video games,” they’re making strides, especially with the plans to bring Super Mario onto the iPhones! Here are a few of my favorite mobile games from over the years.

3. High School Story by Pixelberry

I know, a game about high school? I’m a bit old for that, aren’t I? While I don’t play the game anymore, hear me out on it. I had downloaded this game years ago when my younger cousins started playing it, mainly because I wasn’t sure what they were getting into. Neither of the two were in high school yet, and their father wasn’t very cell phone or Internet savvy to figure out what they were doing, so I played the game with them to be sure it was appropriate.

Honestly, it’s a very tasteful, fun game. Although it categorizes characters into “cliques,” like jocks, artists, and nerds, it promotes inclusion and nonjudgmental friendship, something that could be promoted more in schools today. A few of the story lines even focus on more serious subjects such as anorexia (but it’s also completely optional in case it’s triggering), and I found them to be well-written and sensitive. The characters are all well-rounded and, even if the event waiting times can be long, it was a pretty enjoyable game.

2. Archie Saves Riverdale

Anyone else read Archie comics? Besides Batman and X-Men, I grew up on Archie comics and still read them from time-to-time. They’re clean, tasteful, and usually hilarious with the antics that the characters get into. They had a mobile game called Archie Saves Riverdale that, unfortunately, isn’t available any longer, but it was fun to someone like me who grew up with the characters. The main goal was, more or less, to do tasks that “cleaned up” Riverdale while also being able to raise relationships between the characters. The dialogue sounded as if they came straight out of the comics, and playing the game was just like being at home.

1. Pokemon GO

Although I’m not addicted to the game, Pokemon GO is still on my list. The augmented reality game helped keep my excitement for the Pokemon franchise, and it was a refreshing new take on the game, even if there were tons of bugs in the program. Being able to search for Pokemon in real world locations is pretty fun, and I’m excited to see where the new updates will take the game.

 

What are some of your favorite mobile games?

We Caved

Double Jump Kris MiiRachel and I downloaded Pokemon GO a couple of days ago. And, while it’s fun, it’s not exactly what I had in mind…

 

So, just last week, I wrote about how Rachel and I didn’t download Pokemon GO yet. Well, we caved like the rest of the world.

And it’s… alright?

Granted, we’ve only been playing the game for a couple of days and we haven’t really had the time (or motivation due to how hot it is outside) to go and venture forth past our sleepy little neighborhood for Pokemon.

It was exciting as we started up the game and were greeted by the dapper-looking Professor Willow. We caught our starters with no problems, and surprised the dog with an impromptu walk around the block.

After that, the excitement dwindled quickly.

We’ve each caught a few Pokemon, Rachel more so than me because my phone is in a love-hate relationship with the servers. Half of the time the game didn’t even want to load on my phone. My screen would be frozen while Rachel ran around catching Pokemon.

The game itself seems like a fantastic idea and will probably be better not only once the servers become strong enough to handle all of the traffic, but also once Rachel and I take longer walks past just our own street and toward the few Pokestops and Gyms we have around here.

With that said, if you’re an avid Pokemon GO fan, please be careful. Tales of accidents and even robberies are cropping up in the news due to this game and its players not watching where they are going. Have fun, be safe, and feel free to share any of your own stories regarding the game! We’d love to hear them!

Why I Have Not Downloaded Pokemon GO

Double Jump Kris MiiPokemon GO is a mobile Pokemon game where you get off your butt and run around the neighborhood/city/country in order to find and capture Pokemon in the “real world.” It’s become somewhat of a phenomenon overnight, but I still hesitate to try it…

 

Rachel and I are definitely Pokemon fanatics. I personally have been playing the games since they came out for the GameBoy Color way back in late nineties. We were definitely among the excited crowd when Pokemon GO was announced!

Yet, neither one of us have downloaded the game since it came out a couple of days ago.

Granted, I’ve been hearing tons of feel-good stories regarding the game, most notably due to the fact that many credit it with getting them to go outside and not only exercise but also greet and talk to others, meeting fellow Pokemon lovers who, without the game, would have been merely strangers. Our brother-in-law has showed off his game, and it doesn’t look bad at all. It definitely sounds like a great social game, if nothing else.

However, there are a plethora of reasons as to why we haven’t downloaded the game yet. The first issue is the fact that it utterly drains your phone’s battery. I don’t have the option of carrying around an extra cell battery with me (which was seriously one of the suggestions I found when hunting down tips and tricks with the game).

Another reason is that I hear the servers are glitchy. Of course, that may be due to everyone and their mother downloading and playing the game. Still, for a game that eats the battery power with fickle servers makes me hesitate to download it.

The addiction to the game that so many others have found is another reason. I know, despite any other issues, that I’ll end up being glued to my phone, searching around for any new Pokemon to add to my collection. I don’t want to risk being late to work because I spent my lunch break chucking pokeballs at a Clefairy hiding in my yard.

Rachel and I will download the game at some point to give it a shot — we’re too nerdy enough not to. Have any of you downloaded and played the game? Do you think we’re silly for waiting a bit longer? I’d love to read any comments and opinions about Pokemon GO!