Entertainment, Video

Split/Second: One of the Best Underrated Racing Games

While searching through Gamestop a few years ago, I discovered Split/Second. I knew nothing about the game, but the sales associate said it’s worth the buy. I popped the game into my PS3 and instantly fell in love.

As a driver in Split/Second, you’re part of a reality TV stunt show. Your goal is to destroy your competitors by activating powerplays. These powerplays would destroy buildings, roads, and cause other massive explosions. Just try not to wreck yourself. Yes, I’ve done it several times. Split/Second is one game that made me curse way more than I should have while playing a video game. It was a combination of joyful frustration and laughs.

Split/Second was released in May 2010 but flew under the radar until years after its release. I don’t remember when I purchased it, but I estimate around 2013. The intense racing game eventually gained a cult following and petitions for a sequel to be made. Unfortunately, the developing company, Black Rock Studio, went out of business soon after Split/Second’s release. The game ended on a cliffhanger that fans may never get answers to.

I created this video years ago when I first started using Premiere Pro. The first half features my gameplay. Just watching it makes me want to play and beat the game for the third time. It will always be a favorite and no racing game has come close.

 

 

 

Standard
Entertainment

Mortal Kombat 11 Gives No F**ks

Mortal Kombat 11 (MK11) is unapologetically bloody and fans love it.

The days of blood censorship is long gone, but Mortal Kombat 11 has taken it to a level that flips off previous bashers of the violent franchise. With additional characters comes brutal fatalities (also known as finishers) that push the limits of its mature audience rating.

Mortal Kombat was first introduced in 1992 and sparked controversy for its extreme violence and gore using realistic digital graphics. As a result of parental and federal government pressure, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) conceived the game rating system and required ratings to be displayed on game packages. The franchise continued to release successful games and two movie adaptions before the end of the 90s.

mortal_kombat_1992.jpg

Photo Credit: Games Revisited

In recent years, the Mortal Kombat franchise has only gotten bloodier regardless of parents and the government still proclaiming video games induce violent behaviors. MK11, released in 2019, upped the ante in gore. With additional characters being introduced comes new over-the-top fatalities.

**If you aren’t keen on violence, please do not watch this video.**

The most recent release features The Joker. The Batman villain is known for his brutality, so it was only fitting for developers to incorporate The Joker’s disturbed humor into the MK11 universe.

With Mortal Kombat 12 set for release in 2023, the arcade action fighting franchise will only get bloodier from here. We can only imagine what kind of barbarous fighting combinations and fatalities developers will introduce.

 

Standard
Entertainment, portfolio

Metacritic Names The Last of Us Game of the Decade and Here’s Why

Naughty Dog’s writers and developers received multiple accolades for The Last of Us. Now, they can add Game of the Decade to their list thanks to Metacritic voters. The Last of Us beat out runner-up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and third place winner The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The PlayStation exclusive, originally released in 2013, wasn’t even on store shelves before winning Most Anticipated Game at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards. The post-apocalyptic game became one of the best-selling PS3 games and was ported to the PS4 as The Last of Us Remastered in 2014.

Although the game has been praised for its stealth mechanics and overall gameplay, what makes The Last of Us stand out is its five-time award-winning storytelling. It distanced itself from the saturated zombie genre by including cinematic cues and traditional videogame aesthetics.

Neil Druckmann and his team developed a story that immersed players into a world that made them feel empathy through control. Instead of playing a standard third-person shooter, players became Joel and Ellie. The naturalness of conversations and the subtle A.I. changes made the game more intense, relatable, and life-like. As a result, players were invested in these characters and their journey. 

The empathy gained during 12+ hours of gameplay made the ending more memorable for players. Numerous articles and subreddits were created to discuss Joel’s final decision. Depending on the player, the game may have revealed a moral or philosophical position they weren’t aware of.

SPOILERS

“I love it because in a game that’s basically all about saving the world, in the end, the protagonist is selfish and decides not to. Seriously how rare is that?” – AndrewTheGoat22, Reddit Member

“So Joel accepts his fate and forces Ellie into the hell on earth with him. What a selfish prick. ‘You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.’ Damn you Naughty Dog.” – LargeSticker, Reddit Member

“That last bit was always my sticking point in siding with Joel. People say Ellie would have chosen to die… maybe so, but she didn’t get to make that choice! If Joel is bad for robbing her of that choice then Marlene is equally guilty of the same thing.” – ZapRowsdower, Reddit Member

“I feel like it was the dirtiest decision Jole [sic] had to make… choosing between a girl he views as his daughter and saving the world? He already lost a daughter, but then making that decision? I feel like he made the wrong choice saving her, but it makes me relate to him more because that’s what I would have chosen.” – HemaL2, Reddit Member

With The Last of Us Part II taking place five years after the first game’s events, players will discover how Ellie and Joel’s relationship has changed. Ellie will be the protagonist, so it’ll be interesting to see her character development and how she has grown in her harsh environment. 

Will Druckmann and his team subvert from conventional storytelling? Will they strike gold again?

The Last of Us Remastered is available on PS4.

The Last of Us Part II will be released on May 29, 2020 on PS4.

Standard
Entertainment

Twitch: My Favorite Streamers and Why

Twitch has been a source of gaming entertainment for a few years. Whether I’m indecisive about a game and need to see gameplay or curious about a game I know I’ll never purchase, Twitch as met my needs.

I’ve always been the type to locate and support small streamers. I enjoy giving them some love for being authentic. Even if I’m the only viewer, it’s rewarding for them to know someone is watching and engaged. Over the years, I’ve discovered entertaining streamers who not only know how to play video games but engage with their community in a way big streamers don’t. Here are a couple of my faves. 

kangKangGaming

Soulo13, a Twitch streamer, played Dead by Daylight and I became fascinated with the game. Once he signed off, I switched over to YouTube to see more. I discovered KangGaming in his infancy and Dead by Daylight helped catapult his channel. For personal reasons, he switched to Twitch.

KangGaming plays a variety of games but dedicates most of his time to arcade or indie games with a splash of FPS, usually The Division 2. He’s a Nintendo partner, so if you’re looking for Nintendo releases, specifically Super Mario Bro., you should check him out. He plays with members of his community more than 50% of the time. His community is very welcoming as long as you aren’t a troll. KangGaming doesn’t swear and considers his channel to be family-friendly. He currently splits his time between Twitch and DLive.

katie.jpg

Katie’s avatar is the one on the left.

Katie

I discovered Katie via watching KangGaming play SOS: The Ultimate Escape. They teamed up during a couple of rounds and I fell in love with her witty gameplay. I continued to watch her streams primarily for SOS but stayed for her roleplay in Grand Theft Auto: 5. Her roleplay as a low-key drug lord named Khloe Leaves was amazing! Everyone she interacted with during that storyline was brilliant. Their roleplay was more interesting than TV shows. I never knew how in-depth GTA: 5 roleplay was until Katie showed viewers Google Docs explaining in-game interest rates, inflation, prices, police laws, etc.

Katie is also great at FPS games, but she doesn’t give herself enough credit. What draws you in is her love for her community and fellow gamers. She loves cats and hates drama. Several women gamers use their looks to get views, but Katie rarely shows herself on camera because she lets her gaming speak for itself. Katie streams almost every day. If she’s filled with energy, she’ll stream for 12+ hours.

pacoTHEINCREDIBLEPACO

I became mildly obsessed with Super Mario Maker. I was intrigued by the creativity of the creators. Did a quick search for active Super Mario Maker live-streams on Twitch and discovered TheIncrediblePaco. His community is hilarious and he sometimes messes up due to interacting with the chat. He pokes fun of himself, sometimes admits he’s terrible, swears quite often, and is naturally loud. I advise you to turn down your volume while watching him. If he comes across a level he’s struggling with, he won’t give up. He’ll spend two hours trying to defeat that level.

His channel is dedicated to Super Mario Maker and Kamakaze runs. He plays the viewer’s levels and saves some of the best clips for his YouTube channel. He always takes advice on how to complete a level from chat, so if you have tips, share them. He’ll acknowledge you and might give you a Twitch sub.

Cj9CbWQWsAQuxyyONE_shot_GURL

ONE_shot_GURL is known for being a YouTube gamer with over 500K followers. She has always had a Twitch channel but became active on the account this year. She plays a variety of games including arcade, indie, and FPS. Her current game of choice is Fortnite.

Her account is VERY family-friendly and light-hearted. ONE_shot_GURL’s community is extremely welcoming. Sometimes her father and siblings will get involved with her streams. They aren’t the best at gaming, but it’s the family interaction that makes those streams adorable. She doesn’t have to play a game to maintain viewers. During the Fortnite blackhole, she chatted with her community for 3+ hours. She never played a game during that stream but maintained 1k+ viewers.

op.jpg OPscT

OPscT is an interesting Twitcher. He’ll stream for a couple of months then goes on hiatus. When he does stream, his viewer count can reach over 20k BUT he interacts with his community. I first discovered his YouTube clips of H1Z1. He is an amazing FPS player! If you want to watch someone with pure skill win almost every match, he’s your guy.

His community isn’t toxic, but he has more trolls than the above streamers. He tends to stream for long periods including a 27-hour stream. He plays in a few FPS tournaments but doesn’t have an extreme ego.

catzilklaCatzilla

When Catzilla is focused, she IS focused! I came upon her channel via ONE_shot_GURL while she played Apex Legends. Catzilla does short streams due to being in college and having a job. She often plays squads in Apex Legends with fellow streamers or her sister FooYa. Her community is very welcoming.

I would love to see her team up for a couple of rounds of Apex Legends with Katie. With both of their skills, the games would be intense and thoroughly entertaining.

One final note for all of the streamers listed, if you engage with their community as a genuine fan, you’re likely to get a Twitch sub from one of their top tier members. That’s how nice their communities are. Do not take advantage of this.

You can find some amazing streamers on Twitch. Instead of choosing those with thousands of viewers, scroll down a bit and find a gem with a couple hundred viewers or less. If their playstyle and personality are to your liking, drop a hello in their chat, and give a follow. They’ll appreciate it.

 

 

Standard
Entertainment

SOS: The Rise and Fall of a Unique MOBA

How did SOS, by Outpost Games, go from being a unique MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) to alienating their core fanbase? The developers switched the game to a battle royale.

SOS launched in late 2017 as a social survival game. Players were part of a reality TV show where 16 contestants were dropped on La Cuna Island and had to use their wits and fight Hupia (island monsters) to obtain relics. These relics were the key to obtaining one of three seats on a chopper to escape the island. What made this game unique was its open-mic system. Players could verbally strategize with each other by forming alliances, running solo, or backstabbing everyone they met. The choice was theirs. This resulted in each game being intense because you never knew what would happen.

At the time of release, Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) were two of the most popular games. Fans of SOS rejoiced for something different.

sos2.jpg

Since the premise of the game was a reality show, players who live-streamed their game had an audience count displayed with their character. Overtime, Outpost Games set up a system for viewers to interact with their favorite streamer by applauding, sending hearts, hate emojis, laughs, and loot.

It was interesting watching gamers interact with other players as themselves or in roleplay. Many steamers got to know each other online and offline thanks to the game. SOS hosted an event to bring their best players together. Everyone was genuinely excited to see the person behind the character who was their teammate or backstabber.

The developers added more features including a defibrillator to revive your friends, additional melee weapons, a night mode, additional guns, bulletproof vests and made the Hupia look more menacing. Everything seemed to have been going well until one rumor became a reality.

The Switch to Battle Royale

After Outpost Games’ last content release update, the game shifted from being strategic to kill on-site. During March 2018, SOS had approximately 2.5K players online. That number decreased to 400+ in one month. Players seemed to be disappointed the original game style was replaced and abandoned the game.

After several rumors, Outpost Games launched SOS: Battle Royale despite the protest of their fans.

Allegedly, Outpost Games was dealing with some legal issues, losing money, and releasing a battle royale was a last-ditch effort to garnish profit. Regardless of their reasons, the SOS: Battle Royale was released with low active players and in a market saturated with battle royales. The developers reached out to popular streamers to play the refreshed game, but streamers quickly realized SOS had lost the charm which made it unique.

Outpost Games kept SOS: Classic as secondary, but heavily pushed for gamers to buy the new battle royale. Eventually, Outpost Games announced, in June 2018, SOS: Classic would be removed and SOS: Battle Royale will become free-to-play. Players who paid for both versions of the game were disappointed and were only offered cosmetics for their characters. All of Outpost Games’ efforts were to no avail.

With declining players and amounting frustrations, Outpost Games released a statement announcing servers will be shut down for both games on November 12, 2018.

Dear Contestants,

We come to you today with unfortunate news. After much deliberation, we have decided to shut down SOS. This will affect both SOS and SOS: Classic. This was an extremely difficult decision to make, but one that, sadly, is necessary.

From the very beginning, we set out to create an experience with SOS that would resonate both with players and audiences. Unfortunately, through multiple iterations of SOS, we were unable to fully realize this goal and engage players and viewers in the way we had hoped. For that, we are sorry…

Thank you for being a part of the SOS community and coming on this adventure with us.

Sincerely,

The Outpost Games Team

What Could Have Been is Now Nothing

Outpost Games somehow lost their way. Instead of releasing new maps or new mechanics, they chose to fall into the same box as everyone else with a battle royale. Maybe if the game started with a battle royale mode, it would have survived. Changing the game within a couple of months may have been the equivalent turning League of Legends into Fortnite. You can’t drastically switch things up because the product becomes something different than what the audience paid for.

The official website for the game has converted into is a free online slots website known as SOSGames (School of Slots Games). The fact that a fun invigorating game is now gone and replaced with free online slot machines is disappointing.

223

SOS‘ social media accounts are inactive and Outpost Games have removed their website and social accounts.

SOS: Classic will always be remembered for building online friendships and players providing intense, yet intriguing, gameplay. This style of gaming deserves a comeback, but with better management. The audience is still there. They just need a quality game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard