C- Gaymer Podcast Episode 4: Pokemon Gold/Silver Version

On Today’s Podcast, we are going to take a step away from politics and talk about a gaming classic, Pokemon Gold/Silver Version. (and also Crystal Version of you count that, but I don’t for some reason.)

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BattleSpace

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from Steam

 

I am not usually a big fan of online MMORPG’s. Quite usually they are unbalanced, they require too much of your attention too often, the people who pay to play have an unfair advantage, there are potty-mouthed tweens, and usually a small group of losers with no real friends IRL band together and make the game unplayable for other players. You can usually spot these games a mile away because they are rife with inactive accounts. In my opinion though, BattleSpace is an MMO so far apart from these that it’s sad to know it’s a game at risk of disappearing.

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Home System from gamerevolution.com

It is rather simple. You play as an Admiral of your own space forces. Your main goals are to collect resources, strengthening your home system by colonizing the planets and developing the planetary cities, building up your fleet, and conquering the Galaxy!!

There are 3 ways to gather the basic resources you need to play the game. The first is to develop your Planetary Resource Centers that mine energy, gas, and metal from your planet as well as the all-important Market Centers that gather the funds you need to expand. In fact, the only way to gain funds in the game is from your Market Centers so pay special attention to them but don’t make them your sole focus. You also need to invade Enemy Systems that are swarming with NPC  Fleets, these lifeless systems contain plenty of resources and each system you conquer furthers your path to victory. Finally, you can send your commanders who aren’t assigned to the front lines on Expeditions. Not only does this occasionally produce small amounts of resources, it can also produce parts and experience for the commander you send as well as yourself.

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Planetary City from idcgames.com

Now that you have the resources you need you should develop your cities. They have the necessary facilities needed to grow and fight your enemies. Your Capital City will be home to your Research Labs, your Center of Government, Recruitment Offices, Fleet HQ, and other necessary facilities. Use your Research Lab to study and obtain the instructions for different and higher level Facilities and Ships. Some facilities may only exist in your Capital City but you can build Hangers, Settlement Centers, Storage Facilities, Defense Bases, and Shipyards to build your fleet ships on any of the planets in your Home System. And some Facilities can only be built on your Colonized Planets. Each Home System has 9 Planets.

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Commander Screen from 2pcdn.com

Now you are ready to build your fleet, but first, you need to assign Commanders to the front line. This is really fun, BattleSpace commanders come from 5 exciting races. There are the elven looking Ezra, the beastlike Seria Grad, the fish or reptile-like Gredia, the cold and unfeeling Androids, and of course the warmly familiar Humans. Commanders each sport different deck slots that determine how many ships or squadrons can be assigned to them. They also come in 7 different levels of Rarity. They are Common (C), Uncommon (UC), Rare (R), Rare + (R+), Super Rare (SR), Super Rare + (SR+), and the almost unattainable Ultra Rare (UR) Commanders. The rarer the commander, the stronger it is.

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Fleet Battle from riotpixels.net

Now that everything is ready and your fleets are being led by powerful commanders you can engage in battle!! The Battle System works like Rock Paper Scissors with stats added. Small Fighters beat Large Battle Ships, Medium Frigates beat Small Fighters, and Large Battleships beat Medium Frigates. But of course, it’s not so simple as that. Depending on the stats of your ships you can totally defy those rules and still crush the enemy. Ships of a Higher Technology Tier have higher stats.

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Ship Enhancement from idcgames.com

You can also enhance your ships stats at the Weapons Laboratory using Parts obtained during battle, from Daily Quests, and during Expeditions. You can use them to enhance many aspects of the ship. Enhance your engines to reduce the time it takes to sortie with enemy targets, or your shields to raise your defenses. Enhancing the weapons raises your torpedo attack or plasma attack depending on which weapon you choose to enhance. Keep in mind though, you aren’t enhancing individual ships but rather that entire class of ship you have selected.

As you see the planets surrounding your Home System turn blue when you occupy them you will probably feel really proud. But keep in mind, ships aren’t just for war. Deploying your ships, you can colonize not only the planets within your Home System but also Asteroid Bases held by your allies or which you yourself have conquered. You can also reinforce your allies Home Systems when they are under attack. Joining up with Unions in-game helps you and your new-found comrades become powerful a lot faster.

There is a lot more to discover and explore in this game and to me, it is a lot of fun. I don’t at all exaggerate when I say the game map is GIGANTIC!! The one screenshot of the galaxy map I posted here is only a tiny fraction of the in-game galaxy as a whole. That might be why, as I said at the start of this post, this is an endangered game. Maybe it’s the timer based gameplay where you have to watch the clock tick down whenever you construct a facility or deploy a fleet or research something, maybe it’s the vast galaxy map that requires a few days wait if you decide to attack a player on the other side of the Galaxy but haven’t colonized any Asteroids near their Home System. Whatever the reason, this game has faced hard times and could disappear any day now.

When I started playing in 2013 it was on the American Servers. Sadly those were shut down nearly a year after I started playing partially cause Atlas was acquired by another company or something, partially because there were very few players. More recently I have started playing the EU Servers. Those are still up but you will soon realize there are a lot of Japanese players. This is because Japan shut down their BattleSpace Server last year. The last server is the EU Server I am playing on now and that could go away any day now really.

I never thought I would ever do this but I am asking you, my readers, in fact begging you to try this game out and give it a serious chance. Maybe you’ll learn to love it just as much as I do. You can play BattleSpace by clicking this link here. I hope you enjoy it.

Hopefully Happy Gaming. 🙂

Final Fantasy: Why the Vibrant Gaming Industry We Know Could Not Exist Without It

No gaming title is better known or more widely acclaimed than the SquareEnix title Final Fantasy. Since the first game was released in December of 1987 it has shaken the gaming world and set the stage for many games we know and love today. In fact, if it were not for Final Fantasy the gaming Industry would not be as vibrant as it is today. Final Fantasy is truly the game of miracles but not many people are aware of its history or just how important it is. To understand this you have to go back all the way to the late 1980’s and a young game developer named Hironobu Sakaguchi since his story is by all rights the story of the game.

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In 1983 a young Sakaguchi dropped out of Yokohama National University and began to work for Square, a newly formed subsidiary of Denyusha Electric Company. Square was founded when the son of Denyusha’s owner Masafumi Miyamoto graduated from Waseda University and desired to enter the video game industry. Masafumi believed that the then standard model of having only 1 programmer work on a game was inefficient and that better, more profitable games could be developed with a team of programmers and professional story writers all working on the same project. In this climate, Sakaguchi worked on some of Square’s first games for the PC. By 1985 Square had moved on from PC games to console games with an adaption of Thexeder for Nintendo.

By 1986 Square split from its parent company Denyusha to become the independent Square Co., LTD and with this change, Sakaguchi became a Full-Time employee of Square as head of Planning and Development. Sadly the company quickly fell on hard times after a release of many unsuccessful games for Nintendo, prompting Square to move their headquarters to the Ueno District of Tokyo. Facing Bankruptcy things looked grim for Square till Sakaguchi came up with a project that would save the entire company. It was an idea that had been overlooked but was now their final hope.

For a long time Sakaguchi had desired to work on a console RPG, however, there were many things stopping him. First off was that his employer Square refused to give him permission to go ahead with the project assuming that an RPG would not sell very well based on trends. Additionally, only 3 of his colleagues were willing to volunteer to work with him as he was considered to be a “Hard Boss”. However facing bankruptcy Square had nothing to lose and finally gave the project the green light. Sakaguchi then began to work on an RPG named Fighting Fantasy inspired by the games “Ultima” and “Wizardry” not realizing all the while that he would create a masterpiece that would outshine both of these.

As we all know the name would later change to Final Fantasy. This name change was prompted by issues involving trademark conflicts with an RPG Gamebook series that had the exact same name. The new name, however, was inspired by Sakaguchi’s personal conflict as well as the plight of the company. It was very obvious that if this game hadn’t sold it would be the first and “Final Fantasy” that Square would ever have developed. It was the same situation for Sakaguchi. This would have been his last game as he had decided to give up game development and return to University if the game hadn’t been successful.

A lot of work was put into the project by the development team as they knew it was the last hope for the company. For the games coding they enlisted the Iranian-American Programmer Nasir Gebelli, Character Design was conceived by Yoshitaka AmanoKenji Terada was in charge of writing the scenario based off of a story written by Sakaguchi and he received some help from Koichi Ishii, the score for the game was composed by the now world acclaimed Nobuo Uematsu, and Akitoshi Kawazu was in charge of the design of the battle system and battle sequences. With Hironobu Sakaguchi at the lead, this team of 7 worked to defy time and the odds against them. Motivated by the companies lack of faith in their project and the general animosity directed at them by their coworkers they soon made great strides in developing the game. Eventually, a “B-Team” Of programmers joined them on the project helping them to finish it. At every corner, the team tried to make distinctive innovations that had never been tried before like elemental weakness or resistance in enemies or the ability to choose the class of your character. As they worked the companies situation became direr but their final gamble would prove to be their saving grace.

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Finally, it came, the day that would change history. On December 18, 1987, 400,000 copies of Final Fantasy were released in the Japanese Market for the Nintendo. It was a hit. In addition to the initial release of 400,000 in Japan, the 1990 North America release sold an additional 700,000 copies despite heavy censorship by Nintendo’s North American Localization Team. In Japan, it already had 2 sequels. The sales from Final Fantasy alone saved Square Co. And the career of Hironobu Sakaguchi as well was saved. Working under Square he would later develop many more industry changing hits.

It is this game that saved Square but it was Square that helped define the Gaming Industry worldwide. This is no exaggeration. Before its merger with Enix in 2003 it released many well-known and well-acclaimed games and series besides Final Fantasy such as Parasite Eve and Kingdom Hearts. Games such as these changed or defined the industry and stood out from many others available. Other lesser known games were developed that changed attitudes and ideas and would later become series of their own. Xenogears would become the prelude to the Xenosaga game series. Final Fantasy IV introduced a new type of time/turn based battle system and Secrets of Mana Introduced the Ring Menu system. There were also new themes that were touched upon such as Time Travel in their 1998 hit Chrono Trigger and Genetic Horrors in Parasite Eve.

While Final Fantasy saved the company it also became their driving force. After many sequels, the company came to feel that they could not be defined simply by the Final Fantasy Franchise and thus they innovated and encouraged innovation. And certainly, they are not defined by Final Fantasy even though it was their biggest title in light of the other popular and even “classic” titles that the company released. But maybe I am incorrect in saying Final Fantasy did not have a huge influence on their success since their effort to keep from being out shadowed by its popularity is what makes its games so good and since their experience in 1987 taught them the benefit of taking outlandish risks.

Indeed Square and all of the subsequent risks it has taken have helped give new life to an industry and nurtured an environment of artistic expression and high-quality gaming. So many of their releases keep adding a new flavor to gaming every time and setting new trends. After a merger with Enix in 2003 SquareEnix carried on that legacy of art and risk.

Sadly Hironobu Sakaguchi did not come along with this merger having resigned a year before. Then in 2004, Nobuo Uematsu left Square Enix as well. It in a way was the end of an era. The legend continues however even in their absence, not just the legend of the definitive rise of Square and the continuing success of SquareEnix but also the legend of Final Fantasy. This year we saw the release of 3 Final Fantasy games and a new CG Movie. Along with the Numbered game Final Fantasy XV and the related CG Feature Film “Kingsglaive”, there were also 2 mobile games released. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius lets you play with old characters in a new setting and Final Fantasy Mobius brings back an excellent writer from Final Fantasy X. Today is the 29th Anniversary of this miracle game and on this day next year, the franchise will mark its 30th anniversary since that first release.

30 Years is a staggering thought. As of next year actually, video games will be 70 years old (The first video game was the Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device first patented January 25th, 1947). In that 70 years titles have come and gone and the notable bulk of those titles were created in the last 35 years. Final Fantasy however not only saved a company that defined an industry and seen so many different advances and styles come and go, it is still an ongoing title nearly 30 years later and has seen an adaption on most gaming systems developed at this time. What will become of it in the next 30 years?

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Very Legendary and Happy Gaming to you all.

Greening the Planet 2

I’m kinda writing this post at the last minute but I have been working on this game for 2 weeks. Greening the Planet 2 lets you play as 3 aliens who travel the universe filling barren planets with leafy green life. 🙂

Each level starts on a slightly different but totally barren planet. Armed with a laser and a flask that collects material to make lifeforms you need to gather enough material each level to bring the planet from a barren surface to a happy green globe. 🙂

 

You gather material 3 ways, by collecting falling meteors, emptying the auto collector, or using your laser to destroy comets. You then empty the flask and as you do the plants and clouds grow and appear around you.

There are many different kinds of lasers to use but my favorite so far is the thick beam laser. Some are tiny shots and some track targets though. And if you level up your turrets you can fire off more shots at the same time.

At the end of each level, a flower grows and your aliens leave for another planet after a job well done.

It is a pretty fun game honestly. The only downside is to activate bonuses like a higher concentration of comets or meteors you have to watch ads.

It is a fun way to kill time though and you can find Greening the Planet 2 on the Android App Store.

Happy Gaming. 🙂

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Battle Assault

I’m not a huge fan of RPG Brawlers but I have to admit there are a few out there I enjoy. And since I am a fan of Giant Mecha I do have to say this is one of the good ones if you have strong thumbs and a hatred of Z.A.F.T. Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Battle Assault is an excellent title for Gundam fans whose wet dreams consist of kicking ass in one of these iconic machines. Following the story of the Anime series, you get to fight as one of 12 playable characters and relive the storyline of the show. It’s a pretty wild ride

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Now as I stated before this is pretty much the typical brawler style game just with Giant Mecha involved. You fight your mecha through 12 stages reliving a story line. And like most brawlers, there is a 2 player mode and special attacks.

There are a few subtle differences though. First off there are two control modes, Manual and Automatic. In manual mode, a player has to do an extended sequence of button presses to activate a special move. Automatic as the name applies simplifies this by executing a special move with a shorter method. Also in battle jump time is extended by using the thruster gauge. You can also choose to adjust points between a larger HP reserve, stronger Phase Shift Armor, or more Thrust Time.

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As I said earlier the game follows the story of the Gundam Seed Anime. As you Brawl through the 12 stages you relive the anime series through the perspective of each mobile suit pilot. Some story lines are completed in two parts like Kira’s story line (this is split between Strike Gundam and Freedom Gundam). This makes it an enjoyable experience playing as or against your favorite characters.

And at the end of each storyline or when you quit a storyline you get a special password. This unlocks more playable characters or special modes. There are a lot of other fun features to discover and some hidden and most likely pointless Mini-Games to discover.

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Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Battle Assault can be purchased for the Gameboy Advanced if you boys and girls still own one. And if you don’t you can always emulate it but it’s better on the GBA.

Happy Gaming!! 🙂

Chrono Trigger

I’m so happy to do my first SNES piece on an immortal classic like this. I mean how many games can boast the kind of appeal that requires Square Enix to port it to 5 other systems excluding the original. That’s the magic of Chrono Trigger. In 1995 Square really hit the mark again with another game that could endure the decades. And the acclaim keeps coming back again and again.
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Now this game is like a cocktail of an eclectic nerd. How do you make it? Well, you take one part Final Fantasy, one part Doctor Who, and sprinkle it all over with the art styles of Secrets Of Mana. So what you get is Battles and time travels, specifically between 1000 AD, 600 AD, 2300 AD, 65,000,000 BC and 12,000 BC. Love the contrast of scenery? You bet your sweet ass you do. I mean who doesn’t like Time Travel to correct your mistakes and save your planet from a parasitic creature that will cause an apocalypse 999 years after your time? (oops, spoiler. XD)

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But that’s exactly what you do to prevent your future from Turning out like the one depicted above. But we are getting ahead of ourselves here. The game starts in 1000 AD with 3 friends in the fictional Kingdom of Guardia. Chrono and his friend Marle watch as their friend Lucca and her father test a new teleportation machine at the Millennial Fair in Guardia. (and not the kind with a bunch of whiney crybabies asking for a safe space or shit like that.)

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Marle who happens to be the Kingdom’s Princess Nadia Volunteers to be teleported but her pendant interferes with the device and instead of teleporting her to another place it transports her 400 years into the past. Chrono and Lucca recreate the portal and follow her to save her. After bringing her back from their misadventure in 600 AD though the new Chancellor orders that Chrono is to be arrested for Kidnapping and sentences him to death. After a hasty prison break though Chrono and his two friends slip through another time portal to the year 2300 AD. There they meet survivors of an Advanced Civilization that was wiped out in the year 1999 by a monster and resolve to stop the future destruction of their world.

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Now they must travel through time changing key events, righting wrongs, searching for 3 sages, and just trying to make the world a better place. Do they have what it takes to stop the monster?

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So first off I love how this game is a Timey Wimey kind of story as David Tennant would put it. There are few games about time travel and even fewer good games about time travel. This is one of the good ones. The different views of the world in different time periods are interesting to me. Also, the references to the Grandfather Paradox and other time travel tropes are fun for the expert Sci-Fi fan. Admittedly there are some environmentalist undertones but who cares, fix the past to fix the future is something we all want to do.

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The battle system in this game is an adaption of the Active Time Battle System from Final Fantasy IV. It is known as Active Time Battle 2.0, each character takes action in battle when the action bar next to the character’s name fills up. The speed at which it is replenished is determined by the Speed Stat of that character. Also instead of Random Encounter Battles you instead walk up to an enemy in the field and a battle instantly begins with that enemy without switching screens. As with most JRPGs though your party is always a limited number of characters, in this case, a team of 3. But it all still makes for interesting battles. 🙂

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And of course, you have the mandatory ugly ass bosses. Seriously, I need to replay this again and bash that rapist bat face in. 😀

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And of course the anti-climatic yet arrogant culprit behind the world’s woes. 😀

All in all, it really is the masterpiece I make it out to be and many other gamers agree. Now the original port was for the SNES so you can always choose to emulate it but if you wanna be super nice to Square Enix and all of the developers you can but one of the other ports. there are remakes for PlaystationNintendo DS, i-mode (dunno what that is), iOS, and Android. Download it, play it, love it.

Happy Gaming!!! 🙂

Pokemon Shuffle

Sometimes going through the Google Play store you find little gems you never expect to come across. Some are better than you expect them to be. That is how I came across Pokémon Shuffle while just looking for something to kill some time. I didn’t expect to get so hooked on a simple puzzle game. But good things come when you least expect them.

It is pretty simple really, you match 3 or more Pokémon horizontally or vertically. Each Pokémon does damage to the HP of the Pokémon you are battling. You have to reduce the other Pokemon’s HP in a certain number of turns. After you beat it you get to catch the Pokémon. The success or failure of your catch attempt depends on a percentage determined by how many turns there are left.

There are also expert stages which give you unlimited moves, however, you have to reduce the other Pokémon’s HP in a certain time limit. Catching an expert level Pokémon works on a similar formula to the regular catch though the determining factor, in this case, is time remaining.

There is also limited time special stages where you can catch legendary Pokémon that aren’t in the main stages. They are extremely tough and follow exotic rules many times but the rewards you reap from these stages are awesome.

The premise of the game is just like the Pokémon games for Gameboy and Nintendo DS. You travel across the land battling Pokémon and catching them. To battle another Pokémon you have to use heart points which are only replenished after a certain amount of time. There are a lot of Pokémon to battle against and areas to travel through. My Favorite board is the Nighttime Festival.

You fight boss battles at the end of every area. These bosses are all Mega Pokémon and really hard if your Pokémon hasn’t leveled up on early puzzles. I’m having that problem now with Stage 240. But there are items you can use to enhance your Pokémon.

Sadly the items have no names but their effects are good. You can enhance things like max levels and Pokémon skills. It’s moderately useful.

Each Pokémon has unique skills by the way. They each have different attack stats and those stats go up with each level. Your party is one of between 3 and 4 Pokémon depending on the stage. You get 2 to 3 regular Pokémon and one Pokémon that can change into a Mega Pokémon. There are only a few of these but once you have that Pokémon’s Mega Stone you can make it Mega Evolve into its second form.

Mega Pokémon in your team have special effects that are triggered when you make a match. Keep that in mind when you are making your team to make sure it fits around the type weakness of the other Pokémon or around your chosen Mega Pokémon.

All in all its a pretty fun game. There are other Nuances but you just have to play and figure them out. It’s a great game if you want to kill some time. You can find Pokémon Shuffle on the Google Play Store. It’s absolutely free. 🙂

Happy Gaming!!! 🙂