What Made Tomb Raider So Appealling?

I wrote some time ago about Tomb Raider and how it’s 3D modeling made an impact to the whole industry. Now, we have seen Tomb Raider trilogy remake and I think it’s time to get back to this game once again. I actually got the remake collection and gave it some hours. The question here clearly seems to be that how and why was Tomb Raider so popular.

First of all I have to say that this game was a product of its era. 3d worlds were just beginning their story. The controls are clunky and not so good if we compare them to some more recent video games. There are many situations that you have to face when playing Tomb Raider today that just make the game seem a very old one.

The biggest problem seems to be how you control the main character Lara Croft. Jumping is hard and the camera is at times in a very bad angle. These 3D environments aren’t so impressive as they appeared to be back in 1990s. Tomb Raider was released in 1996. I have a copy for PC and PS1. The original game, that I happen to have in the form of the original CD, I think, can be updated so that the graphics will look even sharper.

What about the main character? Lara appears to be a female. This was still an exception back in 1996. Lara Croft was definitely one of the first female main characters. Of course these games are directed to these nerdy guys that are also into 3d and C++ programming. This was, back then, something for the real nerds.

You can feel the excitement as you play the original game. You get to interact with some very edgy and exciting environment. This can, of course, bring you many memories and make you feel the nostalgia. You start to think how could you yourself create a 3D game like this. And this game also gave programmers many ideas not to say anything about a mod that was available that made Lara seem to be totally naked in the game.

I really like Tomb Raider. Would I spend tens of hours playing it once again. Well, maybe not. Time has progressed heavily. Biggest flaw is the controlling of Lara. It just makes playing the game a pain. If you pick a good 3D game from an era of maybe even five years after 1996, say 2001, you can get something much more enjoyable. Why would you pick this one when there are many better games available.

How about the PS1 version that we have on this featured image right here? Well, it is the same game that was released for PC but with worse graphics. It is nice to handle Lara with Dual Shock controller. You can also pick a retro PC, one that has 486 processor, and play the game.

In conclusion, I don’t recommend going back to the world of Lara Croft. The game was something different. Take a note on the use of the word “was”. I know how inpiring this game was. Its impact was enormous. It broke the ice for something bigger and better. So, I suggest you get something some years newer for a new game that you would like to play.

NBA 2K24 Is a Disappointment

I bought NBA 2K24 as it was in discount. I paid 22 euros for the Switch edition. I already knew that the Switch version has some limitations. So, the graphics could be better. There were also some other issues. I know that it also takes some time to develop your player so that it is comfortable to play with the character you have just created.

NBA 2K24 is the latest in the series of good quality basketball games. There is lots of expectations. I think this game is very much a disappointment. The main reason I am actually saying this is that it just doesn’t feel like a fun and enjoyable game to play. It pretty much offers the same as earlier games in this series. I really think that the developers of this game should have made a better game.

I really don’t know if the game offers something more in a long run. I mean that I spend a bit over five hours playing this. What I experienced was not satisfying. My player is awkward. He doesn’t know how to score. He takes some rebounds but that’s all he does well. How many hours of this miserable playing do I have to go through to really at some point enjoy this game?

So, my player is weird. His shot release is awful. He feels a bit clunky. The movement is slow. I don’t even want to talk about trying to make the freethrows not to mention three-point-shots. I know that you can enjoy and keep playing this game, or a quite similar one from the past, for several hundreds of hours. But…this isn’t a game that I am willing to play for such a long time.

So, I think I am going to quit playing this game. I think I paid too much for this one. I don’t know if there is going to be some sort of an update or not. I am very glad that I didn’t pay any more of this kind of junk.

I also got another game from discount with this same delivery. This game is Assassins Creed Mirage for Xbox Series X. I paid 25 euros for this game. I hope I find it more enjoyable than NBA 2K24. Assassins Creed Mirage has received better reviews than NBA 2K24. Somehow my hopes aren’t that high.

I have also some games that I haven’t had time to get into. I just have to find some more time for these. The games are Dead Space (Remake), Hogwarts Legacy and Sonic Frontiers. I also haven’t touched Alan Wake II yet. I am waiting also for the new System Shock. These games that I have mentioned here in this paragraph are all Xbox Series X games.

So, some games can be sort of a disappointment and this sadly is the case for NBA 2K24. Some of these big releases seem to fail at times. That is of course natural. I can imagine how much money is envolved. This surely is a disappointment financially also. We are looking forward for more gaming experiences. I hope we get to see some more good quality games this year and also int he near future. Stay tuned…

Black Future 88

Black Future 88 is a 2D shoot-em-up game for Nintendo Switch. I picked it up as I bought eight more games to my game collection of Switch games. I bought these games as they were on sale. I paid about 22 or 23 euros per game. These games were on sale so I decided to get a bunch of them. Black Future 88 was the first game that I started to play from these games that I recently bought.

This shoot-em-up has nice looking graphics, animation and visual effects, although the graphics are two-dimensional, and also some nice background music. The content is styled to be sci-fi or cyberpunk. The game offers some nice action. Basically you try to avoid getting hit by enemies ammunition and try to kill them before they get you. As you go on shooting everything that moves you collect items from dead enemies. When you die you start the run over and also your weapons get reset.

You can handle two weapons at a time. So, there are some elements of strategy also. As you die and your run ends you get points which unlock new items to be available in the game. You can also unlock new characters this way.

While this is a fun 2D shoot-em-up the game does get a bit repetitive. Also the story is nonexistent. You get the items completely randomly. The game seems to be looping through as you try to collect more points and level-ups run by run. This is a small game and not your typical triple A game. The price of the game was somewhat low and I also got some discount. So I didn’t pay a whole lot for this one. I actually paid only fourteen euros for this one. I think that is a fair price as I have already spent many hours playing this one.

I am not even near to complete the game. I could find information that Black Future 88 takes about five and a half hours to complete. I think that is very accurate information. As the art in this game is very comfortable the game lacks a deeper insight that would make you more than just superficially addicted to playing it. It’s repetitiveness reminds me of an old MS-DOS game. You could compare it to a shooting game like Space Commanders that is a Space Invaders clone. The only interesting way to try to complete that game is to try to beat the high score which also gets deleted when you actually quit the game. This comparison can tell you how it actually feels to play Black Future 88.

I could recommend this peace of gaming if you like small indie games. If you like to go deep and explore and feel the game and want an interesting story this might not be a game for you. The cheap price feels comfortable. This game is a small one and doesn’t even try compete with games like Breath of the Wild or something like that. So, it is an enjoyable game that has its flaws. I think there are some reasons that make me like this game.

NBA 2K23 – What Determines If Your Three-Point-Shot Goes In or Not?

In this blog post I am going to break it down with the three-point-shot. What does determine if it goes in or not? First of all I have to say that I am not a programmer of this game. I don’t have a direct access to the source code of this game. My conclusions are relied on purely observing the software while I have been playing NBA 2K23. I have to mention that I do know a lot about programming as you might already know. I also have some knowledge of playing real basketball which helps me to draw these points.

Release of the shot

You get to set a release for the shot while you start to shoot the three-pointer. Now every release seems to be different. I can see that this mechanism that detects your shots release is very precise. It counts every millisecond. It is hard to make the release a perfect one for every shot. Sometimes also a perfect release has to be achieved in a random period of time. So, the best release can be and sometimes is different and it can also be somewhat random, also.

Your players shooting skill

Your player has the ability to shoot a three-pointer. This makes your player a better shooter. So, there are more shots going in. Your player has a very unique ability to shoot. You are getting customed to setting a good timing and rythm for your shot. Although you can maximize your skill of shooting but every shot never goes in. You have to miss one way or another.

Your defender

You can get yourself some space before you start to shoot. This makes it easier for the shot to be a successful one. I have some idea that some defending players have a skill that makes their opponent to miss more likely while they are defending a player.

Who is making the assist

I am playing currently NBA 2K23 with Philadelphia 76ers. I have noticed that when James Harden passes me the ball the success is more likely. There might be some kind of a variable that adjusts the propability more closer when Harden is making the assist.

Every shot won’t go in. Every shot also is unique. If we would gather a table of some sort of the different variables we could see how these values affect the propability of the shot being a successful one. This information is, of course, very valuable for the developers of this game. I can deeply understand why they aren’t sharing this information just for everyone. Also, this information is only my own conclusions that I have made playing the game. It also does have something to do with that I am somewhat a technically capable person in a way.

This conclusion was very short. It might help you to realize how the game actually works. It is also an answer to some of my thoughts about why am I not succeeding more better in shooting the three-pointer in NBA 2K23. So, without further reverse-engineering we can continue to play some more NBA 2K23. And maybe study a bit more about programming and game development.

Alone in the Dark Series

I have played lots of games during my whole lifetime. I just thought that it might be interesting for readers of this blog if I would write about Alone In The Dark game series. They might not be the best of the best in survival horror at the moment but their influence to this genre is huge. There is also a new Alone in the Dark game getting released in 2024.

The first game in this series was published in 1992. If you were playing it back when it was released I think there is a chance that you played it on a PC. Some of the first three games of Alone in the Dark were also released for PlayStation during 1990s. There are a total of seven games in the series.

What makes the influence huge was how the camera angels were adjusted. It made the game a scary one. Also the game utilises 3D graphics in a way that was never ever seen back in 1992. The most popular game that took influences of Alone in the Dark was Resident Evil and it was released in 1996 at least for PC and PS1. I obtained a book about RE some time ago and I am hoping to get to read it soon. I just have to finish the book that I am currently reading so I can begin with the book. It is called “Itchy, Tasty” and it is written by Alex Aniel.

Games in the series that were released during the 90s were of good quality in the standards of the games of that era. I think it might be a waste of your time to get back to them seriously. Well, maybe if you want to experience something old. There might be a retro feel in them.

So, is there a game in this series that would be a nice game to play even today? If we take a look on two games that were released in 2001 and 2008 we can figure an opinion for this question. Let’s face it. These two games are poor games. They don’t live up to standards and they defnitely don’t match my expectations. Out of these two the one released for PS2, Alone in the Dark – The New Nightmare, is better but it isn’t in any way a great game. It has also received a score of 66 out of 100 in Metacritic.

While these two games weren’t so good there are of course excpectations gathered towards this new Alone in the Dark game that is set to be published this year (2024). The genre of survival horror might bem rising its head again since there are rumours about new Silent Hill and also Resident Evil games getting released soon. There was already a short Silent Hill game released recently. It was only for PS5 and its name was Silent Hill – The Short Message. The game was released for free and it takes maybe three hours to complete. So, it is a short game for the fans.

One of my favorite game shops is saying that the new Alone in the Dark will be released in 19th of April. It will be released for PS5, PC and Xbox Series S/X. You can buy the PC release for example from Steam. The game has received open and cheerful welcomes and many fans are expecting this game to be good. For now we must wait for some more information. There are some trailers and early previews of the game avaialble online. You can also order it in advance if you wish to play it as soon as is possible.

 

A Whole Lot of Call of Duty

I got this idea for this blog post as I was playing Call of Duty 3 on PS2. I started to think about how many games there are actually in this series. Why is it that there are so many games in the series and what are the main reasons for its success? Why haven’t we seen other games or other types of games? What is the secret here?

The first game of Call of Duty was released back in 2003. The latest game in the series was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III that was released last year (2023). And of course I have to mention that this is a remake and the original Modern Warfare III was released already in 2011. We have seen a new game almost every year since the series started its journey.

I have enjoyed especially the first Call of Duty, Call of Duty – Modern Warfare III (the 2011 release on PS3) and the first Black Ops. There are several good quality games in the series. I don’t have a full collection of Call of Duty games but I do have many of them as you can see from this blog posts featured image.

What kind of games these are one might ask. This can be a mystery to someone that has never played a Call of Duty game. They are shooting games and in more detail first person shooting games or FPS games for short. The first three games took place in the second world war. Many Call of Duty games also describe some more modern scenes. You are typically fighting against terrorists.

While being first person shooters the Call of Duty games have this certain edge in them. They differ a whole lot of games like Crysis, Doom / Doom Eternal and maybe even some other FPS games. Definitely there is a some sort of strategy or style of play that can be clearly seen. Of course I have to also mention a tight competitor of Call of Duty. It is the Medal of Honor series of FPS games.

We can count how many games are there in this gaming series. There seems to be precisely twenty games that have been released from 2003 to 2023. The latest CoD game I have had a good time playing was Call of Duty – Vanguard that was released in 2021. I played it on my Xbox Series S. I currently do own the Xbox Series X but I played Vanguard already back when I only had the digital version of Xbox Series or Series S.

You can play the earlier Call of Duty games with a PC and with a mouse and a keyboard but I think that at least I personally enjoy very much playing them with a good quality game controller meaning a game pad. I found some information online that said that PS3 would be the first platform that a game in this series was released. I am not sure if that is correct information since I clearly remember playing Finest Hour, the first CoD game, on my original Xbox already back in 2006.

We haven’t got a clear answer to the questions I made in the beginning of this blog post. Why is the series so successful? Why are there about twenty games released and do they keep making more games of this kind? Of course the series has been successful. So why break the mode? There have been many developers for these games. Infinity Ward has made many of these games along with Sledgehammer Games. Also a developer named Treyarch has been very involved. I think that since there have been many developers there has been this clear possibility to keep making games through all these years.

I can definitely recommend some of this series’s games but I advise to have some carefulness as every title is not a pure diamond here. The games remind of each other. I recommend to start from the beginning and progress to some more recent games. I can definitely recommend also Black Ops games and I did enjoy some titles of Modern Warfare. If you are completely new to this series I recommend either playing Call of Duty Finest Hour (the first game) or the newest CoD – MWIII remake.

Utilising PCSX2 for PS2 Emulation on a PC

I have lately played some PS2 games with an emulator called PCSX2 on my desktop computer. I did try to play some Xbox 360 games on this Windows PC but it seems that my computer isn’t powerful enough to run this game consoles games. The emulator I tried was Xenia.

I do have a powerful enough GPU and also I have enough RAM memory on my PC. It seems that the processor lacks some power. So, I am not able to run Xbox 360 emulation using Xenia emulator. This lead me to once again try also PCSX2 and check if my computer can run some PS2 emulation instead.

I own now already two PS2 gaming consoles that don’t work. The first one I received as a gift and the second one I bought for 110 euros about a year ago. Playing PS2 games on an emulator seems to be a good option for buiyng a PS2 console. The price of a PS2 unit isn’t high but if you keep buiyng one every year it can get expensive.

PS2 was originally released back in 2000. It was the first console to include DVD player functionality which made it very popular. It was produced all the way to the beginning of 2013 and was then discontinued. It sold 155 units worldwide which makes it the best selling video game console of all time. There were over 4000 game titles released for PS2.

Installing PCSX2 is pretty straight forward. During installation you have to specify where on your computer you have your BIOS file or files. So you need to have a BIOS from your PS2 system that you actually own to play PS2 games totally legit. You can install PCSX2 for Windows, Linux or macOS.

I use my Xbox Series controller that I have especially bought to play some PC games. It is manfactured by PDP and it is a wired controller so you have to plug in a cable. You don’t have to have a long cable after all. If you prefer a PlayStation style of a button layout you can also use a PS4 controller which is also called DualShock 4. I have no experience about the latest PS controller or DualSense.

The games seem to run smoothly on this emulator. The games I have played include Call of Duty 3, Rayman Revolution and Gran Turismo 4 just to name a few. With over 4000 games PS2 manages to bring something for every gamer. I suggest searching for more good games to play from internet as there are many lists about recommended games for this system.

It seems that todays PCs are powerful enough to run an emulator like PCSX2. While we might not be yet ready to have some more newer gaming consoles emulated on our computers the future of emulation seems to be going to a strong direction. I hope we get to see also emulators for systems like PS4 and Xbox One in the near future. I also hope that we can get those emulators to run on our PCs.

Beginning to Play Signalis

Last time I wrote to this blog I was playing Super Mario Wonder. I actually completed that and decided to dig into my pile of Nintendo Switch games that I just haven’t had time to play. At least that was the case. Since I now had some time I decided to start playing Signalis.

Signalis is described as a horror game. I would also call it an adventure game. It has been a long time since I played a game that would remind me of this game. I think Signalis is like something pure that has been missing from my latest gaming experiences. There are actual puzzles and problems for you to solve. Saving is not allowed at every moment. There are these certain parts and places in this game that you are allowed to save your game.

Signalis has been developed by rose-engine and published by Humble Games. It was released in 2022 for Windows, PS4, Switch and Xbox One. I have to admit that I have already been used to these extra sharp 3D oriented graphics that look very realistic. The way that Signalis opens up with its graphics feels amazing. Graphics designers have really done their job. I find the look of this game to be satisfying even if a slight retro feel seems to be present all the time. You can actually tune up the settings so that your screen looks a lot more like it was presented from an old television.

I just checked how many hours approximately it takes to beat Signalis. The web page (HowLongToBeat) informs me that it takes nine hours to finish it. So if I put same amount of effort as I put into playing Super Mario Bros Wonder I should be close to completing this game, say, maybe next week or something like that. It can take several days since I have work to do also. But it is nice to know that this game doesn’t take so long to beat as I find myself sometimes stuck on some games that take a bit longer to finish. Just to inform you I can tell that it takes about 50 hours to beat Red Dead Redemption 2.

I have only gone through the first level. Right now I just woke up and started exploring the first level. It isn’t possible to save your game right in the beginning of the game and that seems logical to me. In the first level there are some areas or rooms to explore. You have to collect some items and solve some puzzles. The problems seem to have a logical way for them to be solved. So you won’t find any humorous puzzles like those from retro type of adventure games like Monkey Island or Leisure Suit Larry. At least I haven’t stumbled on any since I just started to play Signalis.

The game reminds me a lot of Resident Evil. The camera angles are more reasonable although. The horror and anxiety are created mainly through graphics. I don’t even recall hearing any background music while playing. If there is some music it is very soft and in the form of some genre like ambient or something very close to that.

Switch is a nice console to have. The library of games that are available is already huge and it keeps growing all the time. It is also a nice console to collect games for. It was first released in 2017 followed by the release of Switch Lite in 2019. I currently have some tens of games for Switch. As there have been rumors about a new Nintendo console to be released soon we are still waiting for more information about this. A big question is if the new console would have any kind of a backwards compatibility.

It was nice spend some time today starting to play Signalis and as I also finished Super Mario Bros Wonder I think I had a nice day all in all. Today it was very Nintendo Switch related. I am hoping to get to spend some more time with my Switch. I’ll write a new post some day soon. It was nice to see you here and you will get to read something from this blog very soon!

Super Mario Bros Wonder

Today I have spent maybe three to four hours into continuing to play Super Mario Bros Wonder for Nintendo Switch. This game deserves its spot as one of the best games available for this console. I proceeded to world number four. This game has eight worlds in it.

I just love the game play. Nintendo has put together a definite classic once again. There are many elements from earlier games but there is also something new for those of us that have witnessed the whole legacy of Super Mario Bros. I can picture gamer’s of all ages playing this video game.

It is said that Super Mario Bros Wonder takes ten hours to complete. That being that you manage to pass through slightly demanding puzzles that this game offers. There is a lot to explore. Mario or which one of the characters you happen to play the game with has many new abilities. You can add a special tag that can give you a skill like floating in the air or jumping a bit higher.

These certain elements are present here that are always relating my thoughts to this game series. We have seen earlier games like New Super Mario that have tried to bring back that feel of a nice platform game. This game reminds me a lot of the first game that was released in 1985. I also see many similarities to Super Mario Bros 3.

A big plus also in commercial sense is that kids and adults can all play this game. As you can see that the game is recommended for ages three above. Getting into the game isn’t difficult. I only got a bit stuck in these certain puzzles and made it to the end of the world 4. I had slight problems with tasks in the game that concerned invisibility. It was hard to jump to a certain spot while the character wasn’t almost at all visible. I think I will try to get through this point some day but it isn’t just today.

I don’t think you can complete the game in one sitting. Otherwise the game is very playable and progresses very fluently. The levels information that is provided to the player before entering the stage includes a rating of difficulty starting from 1 star and ending to I think 4 stars or maybe 5 stars. At least that was the way as I played these levels.

You can explore the whole surroundings quite freely. To progress you have to collect these some sort of rewards. You don’t always have to have everything completed to advance. So you can also skip some parts that might seem difficult. There are lots of item to collect. Coins are of course present as are cash points that enable you to buy many other items including extra lives. One hundred coins collected gives you of course one extra life as is usual in Mario games.

I definitely think this is the best Nintendo Switch game that I own currently. It is targeted to all ages but I wouldn’t call it childish in any way. More so it reminds of a deep technical fantasy type of product. Something that engineers and computer enthusiast have brought to all video game fans. And I have to mention one thing. I never got into Tears of the Kingdom so I cannot compare these two games directly. And how would you compare them? That’s like comparing an apple to a pear.

I am going to write one more paragraph to finish this post. I love Super Mario Bros Wonder. It being directed to whole family just makes it a better game and a better product. Congratulations Nintendo! You managed to bring Super Mario to us gamer’s once again with this game: Super Mario Bros Wonder.

This Is a Very Bad Game

I rarely write to this blog about bad games. You know. No one wants to spend time playing a game that you really don’t enjoy. So, I am writing you about NHL 20 for Xbox One. I have  Xbox Series X so I played this game on it. Let me break my thoughts down right here.

How did I came to buying this game in the first place? I found it from flea market for a cheap price. It was only 5 euros. I know what is told about sports games. They are usually the same game that was released last year only with updates to the teams and rosters. This is exactly what this game is like. I am not a deep fan of hockey games. I know NHL 94, 97 and I have played NHL 2008 on PS2 some years ago. I also have NHL 21 for PS4. I partly got it because it included a new remake of NHL 94.

I don’t know a lot about hockey. At least not as much as I know about basketball. I do watch world championships every year but that’s basically it. I have never played hockey seriously. I do live in a country (Finland) that is very good in ice hockey. We have some good players like Mikko Rantanen and Patrik Laine and Laine is also on the cover of this game as you can tell.

I played this game a lot since I hoped that I would really learn to play it and finally spend some good time with it. This didn’t actually never get into that point. I ended up disappointed. I played this game for a bit over 20 hours. I wish I had read some reviews before I started playing. I think this game is a total waste of time. First things I did when I started playing was setting the difficulty level. I started playing with the second easiest difficulty level. I noticed that then this game was too easy. So I upped the level once. This was too hard of a difficulty setting for me. I also changed the button to “NHL 94 style” settings so I wouldn’t have to try to learn this new technique of controlling your shot for example. I had played some NHL 2008, as I mentioned, so the default controlling style wasn’t completely new to me.

This just wasn’t worth my time and effort. As you might have figured out I also spent many days and even weeks playing this game. I don’t know if the newest NHL game is any better. I guess you will have to find out somehow. But this NHL game, NHL 20, is not really a good piece of a game. I could have played something that would have given me some inspiration. I also haven’t wrote anything in some weeks to this blog.

I am skipping the rest of this game. 20 hours for this is long enough. I read form How Long To Beat that it takes about 44 hours to complete this game. That’s unfortunately too long of a time for me, at least. I did play a bit with Mikko Rantanen’s team Colorado Avalanche. I decided to stop playing when I got some more balance to my electronic wallet and this was also the time that discounts started in Xbox Store. I got myself some other games for also a very cheap price.

So, I got games like Dirt Rally 2.0 and Alan Wake II. These both have received very good reviews and I have also good experiences about Dirt Rally games. Immediately, when I started to play Dirt Rally 2.0 again I just felt so good playing it. The game was just way better than what NHL 20 did offer for me. This was the last point to my decision of not going to spend any more time on NHL 20.

NHL 20 isn’t a complete trash but I think you have many older and better NHL games available at the moment. Just give NHL 94 or NHL 97 a try. They are, of course a bit of retro games but you will definitely spend your time better this way. NBA2K series’s games are also very good and they have been that way for years. I don’t have really any experience about latest FIFA games or NFL games. Maybe that’s it for this time. Have a nice new year and may the year 2024 be something for you my dear reader!

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