Month: October 2013

Why Hemlock Grove leaves me confused

So, Netflix. Who hasn’t heard of it? About a month ago, it finally came to the Netherlands, and being the movie and TV show lover that I am, I fetched me a free month and started browsing the collection. I decided to start with a Netflix original show, and I was about to dive into the popular Orange Is The New Black. However, before I could start that show featuring Donna and her nude chest, I stumbled across another Netflix production. One based on a book. One that had a badass show poster: Hemlock Grove.


NaNo Prep: a rough structure

NaNoWriMo is less than a week away, and I’m knee-deep in my preparations for it. So far, I feel like I have the rough structure for Digital Dragonslayers down. Essentially, the book will be made up of three parts:

  1. A history of MMORPG’s
  2. Defining a Digital Dragonslayer
  3. The lives of the Dragonslayers

Each part will comprise several chapters, and I make it my goal to not focus make the historical parts too boring. Readers should get an entertaining overview of the genre, not feel like they have to take a re-sit of their most hated high school class.

Anyway, I’m still looking for MMORPG aficionados who would like to tell their story. Murphy over from already offered his support, and I will surely come back on that offer. If you feel like you have something to contribute to my project, hit me up!

The Hearthstone Conspiracy

Ladies and gentlemen, this post is a warning.

A warning of a plot against us, fellow gamers. It is a plan so sinister, the conspirators had to cover it underneath an innocent, fun trading card game. A conspiracy that is out to get us, my loyal readers.

The name of it? Hearthstone.

Honestly, did you believe that Blizzard would simply publish a harmless, free-to-play strategy game out of love for the franchise and the people who grew up with it? Do you think they would simply allow you to play a game, reminiscing about the times of Reign of Chaos and The Burning Crusade?

Clearly, you were not prepared for their true plan. Once you have drowned yourself in the TCG madness of Hearthstone, surrounded by sounds that seem so familiar, something will awake in you. The digital sorcerers from Irvine, California have hidden an invocation in the code, calling out to the buried nostalgia and latent need to be in Azeroth. Before you know it, you will renew your subscription and find yourself once more in Ironforge, asking yourself how you got there.

Make no mistake, brothers and sisters. Some have already fallen, while others are still resisting the spell woven into Hearthstone’s virtual fabric. I came here, on this soapbox of mine, to stand with you against this temptation. Be strong, my brethren, and do not give into temptation! What you hope to find in WoW will not be there. The world has changed, and is no longer the place you remember. All you will find are broken memories and nostalgic thoughts, haunting you in every corner of a world you once called home. Keep to the card-game variety of Azeroth, and you will be fine!

Be strong, my friends, and listen to your voice of reason just like I do. I stand here, unwavering, not renewing my subscription. Never mind the download of the client in the background, for that is just a trick to– oh who the hell am I kidding?!

See you in Azeroth. GG, Blizz.


The value of games

“Over 9000 dollars” by 8bitpikachu

Every time I slam down fifty bucks for a new game, there’s always one person in my circle of friends who says: “Huh, that’s pretty much dough for a bunch of pixels. Sure you couldn’t have invested that in something else?” Of course, I always reply that he should shut his japper and let me just play my new game, but the question got me thinking: how do you put a price tag on digital entertainment?

Personally, after buying a game, I always divide the price I paid by the number of hours I invested in it. If the average price per hour is lower than the price per hour of seeing a movie at my local cinema, I know that I got a bargain. Why compare it to the price of seeing a movie? I don’t know, it just feels like the right measurement to me. So, when I paid forty-five bucks for Mass Effect 2 back when it was released, and it turns out I’ve invested about sixty hours in the game, having paid less than a dollar per hour sounds like a real deal.

Of course, this is just my way of explaining to my conscious that I made the right choice. How do you measure the value of your gaming investments? Let me hear your calculations!

A card-game bout of madness.

Are you out of your damn mind, Blizzard? It’s been barely a week since the release of the new Pokémon, and I’m far from done with it. Yeah, I’ve beaten the E4 twice and started breeding some badass ‘mons, but I still got a lot to do! I still have to get me some legendaries, I have to beat the Battle Maison, have to get the most beautiful Pokémon in existence to maximum level and so on! And what do you do, you idiots? What do you do, thinking you can just stomp in here like you own my gaming time? What. Do. You. Do?!

You give me a damn Hearthstone beta key.

I hate you. Yes I–no wait, I love you. No, I can’t allow myself to love you! You stole enough time from me already. We can’t be together any–but wait, you look so good. Maybe I just…

See, see what you’ve done to me? You’ve turned me into some shizophrenic maniac who is re-evaluating his feelings for you. It’s like that hot but crazy ex-girlfriend who suddenly pops up at your favorite pub and starts hitting on you. You got me so mad I compare you to hot females. You’re a company, damnit. A company!

I’m strong, you know. I can just handle this as the grown man I am. I am the master of my fate. I’ll just leave you there, you beta invite. No one forces me to dive back into the Warcraft fandom. That’s in the past, that is no longer–

Hold on. What do you say? There’s a card that actually says “Handle it”? A peon shouts “Job’s done” at the end of your turn? The entire game is one in-jokes filled tribute to the franchise?

Damn you, Blizzard. Damn you. Well, dear readers, if you haven’t heard from me in, say, a week, call my parents and tell them my killer resides in Irvine, California.

Chin out.

P.S.: No worries, I’m sane and having a great time with Hearthstone. A serious impression’s coming up! 


The perfect MMORPG

“Genius” by MaroBot

The following story is entirely satirical. Chindividual is no semi-divine being, capable of creating a video game, let alone programming an Excel sheet. 

Dear Guild of United Game Developers,

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to develop the perfect MMORPG. Not are you just giving me a gazillion dollars of funds, but you have also decided to leave the entire design, production and testing process in my gifted hands. Though I should not be surprised about how much trust you have towards a gaming demi-god like me, I do want to voice my honest gratitude for providing me with this chance.

You might have given me dictatorial control of this project, but I would like to keep you informed about my plans. I might not allow any of your untalented employees in my office (which I want to be referred to as the “Immaculate Dome of Enlightenment” from now on), I do want to provide you with a peek into my brilliant thinking procedure. Not that you mere mortals are able to comprehend it, but I take pleasure in seeing you try.

First of all, the savior of MMORPG’s would have fast-paced, positional combat. The fools behind Guild Wars 2 have created a good source of inspiration, and I will make sure to integrate a similar system into my creation. The idea that skills are weapon-bound is fascinating, allowing some interesting tactical options. Though GW2 has its flaws, the combat system is almost perfect. Of course, once I have molded it, it will be perfect.

Once the combat has been fleshed out, I will provide players with ample chances to explore a vast cosmos with their own vessel. Though the obvious reference here would be EVE Online, I draw my inspiration from Star Trek Online. Space travel is more abstract there, but the crew management gives life to your ship and your adventures. Why sail alone from planet to planet, when you can spend your time micro-managing henchmen?

It’s good though that I have mentioned EVE (then again, what is not good when done by me?). My perfect gem will offer a deep, complicated player economy, focused around scarcity of resources and remote trading posts. In my virtual world, you will have to peruse the markets far and wide for that +3 vorpal blade of ogre-slaying. Quality will not be found in dungeons, but in the hands of a skillfull tradesman.

Finally, the soundtrack will be written by Jeremy Soule and Nobou Uematsu. If those two fail to cooperate, I will send out my winged monkeys to snatch them in their sleep. My research has shown that humans grow more cooperative when…motivated in the right way.

I would say that this is enough information for now. Once I have created a succesful game (don’t even bother with a beta, I succeed on the first try), I will write you from my throne paid from the bizarre profit I’ve made. Of course, you will reap some rewards too. Do you prefer a red or black Lamborghini?


Chindividual, He Who Saves The Genre.

Pokémon X and Y – childhood that never leaves

“Bulbasaur” by nicholaskole

For the first time since my childhood, I’ve become a Pokémon Champion. Though I’ve dabbled in many other Pokémon games, Pokémon Y is the first title of the franchise since Blue where I have smacked the Elite Four and the Champion. When I succeeded just a few hours ago, I had the urge to leap out of my seat, run towards my mom and shout “Look, ma, I’m the Champion! I did it!”

Except that I don’t live with my parents anymore. But I leapt out of my seat anyway.

This childish rush, born from the victory over a bunch of pixels, was just one of many nostalgic moments on my journey through Kalos. In fact, Pokémon X and Y feel like both the next step in the evolution of the franchise and an ode to its roots. Being able to pick a Kanto starter already tingles my childhood memories, but when I notice that Santalune Forest has the exact same layout as Viridian Forest (and the exact low appearance rate of Pikachu), I have to look in the mirror to make sure I have a bearded face which is not covered in chocolate. Now, when I first saw my Bulbasaur in 3D…words can’t describe my feelings.

A myriad reviews on the Internet have pointed out the flaws and strong sides of the game, but I am here to remind you of how Game Freak has succeeded in bringing everything you love about Pokémon to the third dimension. Sure, the story sucks, the characters are cut-outs and you technically play the same game you played ten years ago, but who cares? It’s Pokémon, a formula that has worked since you were beaten up in elementary school for your foil Charizard trading card!

I might have moved out and left my mom behind, but Pokémon X and Y reminded me that I’ll take some parts of my childhood with me wherever I go.

Go catch ’em all,


P.S.: Yeah, this is the last post about Pokémon. For now.


Pokémon X and Y: first impressions

pokemon y yveltal

When I received the text message from my LGS that a copy of Pokémon Y was waiting for me, finishing my work got really hard. Knowing that I was just two-and-a-half hours separated from my future career as Pokémon Master didn’t make waiting any easier, so when the clock struck five, I jumped on my bike, peddled like a madman and picked up my copy. About an hour later, I was knee-deep in the Kalos Region, kicking all kinds of asses with my Froakie and other living weapons known as Pokémon.

So, what’s my opinion so far? Visually, I’m still stunned by how great the game looks. Walking through caves with the camera over the shoulder of your character makes the experience more intense, and racing through the streets of Lumiose City looks far more impressive know that the beautiful buildings really tower over you. Also, seeing your Pokémon as actual three-dimensional entities in battle, with facial expressions and what have you, is a real treat. The moment I had to fight my first Pidgey, I pointed at the screen and shouted: “It looks just like the one in the anime, including that arrogant face!” My inner kid was satisfied, especially once that cocky pidgeon was in my Pokéball.

The gameplay is what you expect from a Pokémon game, but with a few major and minor additions. The big new features include Super Training, allowing you to train your Pokémon’s EV’s through mini-games. Next to that, you can cuddle with your critters in Pokémon-Amie, hand out O-Powers to people all over the world or dress up your character in new clothes. These big new features are all nice, but to me, the small adjustments really make the difference.

pokemon x y lumiose city

Two of those little tweaks are the changes to the Exp. Share item and earning Exp. when capturing a Pokémon. In the past, your Pokémon would not get experience from a battle in which you caught the opposing Pokémon. Now, your Pokémon still get experience, even when you put that cute little thing into a tiny, confined space. Also, Exp. Share is now an item that can simply be turned on. When activated, all Pokémon who did not participate in battle get half of the experience the fighting Pokémon received. It’s a small change, but it eliminates some of the grind from previous games, making the training of your fire-breathing, bubble-blowing minions easier.

So far, I think Pokémon X and Y take the familiar formula of the previous generations and put them into a revolutionary visual presentation. The new features and changes to old ones improve the game, making it more accessible and fun. At least, that’s what I can say being six hours into the game, on my way to earn my second badge (what, I’m a Slowpoke, okay). Seeing how I like to spit my opinion at random people from the Internet, you’ll hear from me again once I’ve seen more of Kalos.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Gym leader who needs a whoopin’.