Theme Hospital: Retro

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Theme Hospital was developed by Bullfrog Productions and published by Electronic Arts in 1997. The aim of the game is for the player to design and manage a hospital. Like most of Bullfrog’s games, Theme Hospital is permeated by an eccentric sense of humour. The game is the thematic successor to Theme Park, which was also produced by Bullfrog.

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The player has no direct control over the patients that wander the hospital, although gameplay largely centres on influencing their actions in one way or another. The player does, however, have the ability to pick up any staff member in the building and move them to a different area and to expel any patients from the hospital. The player may also force the patient into taking a chance of possible cure at the risk of killing the patient and rearrange the queue of each of the rooms in the hospital.

Each level consists of an empty hospital to plan and design, with set goals in the fields of financial attainment, patients cured, percent of patients cured, and hospital value. Holding negative funds or allowing sufficient patients to die will bring about losing requirements. When the goals have been met the player has the option to move on to a new, more elaborate hospital with tougher winning conditions and more diseases present. The final level in the game, ‘Battenburg‘ consists of an enormous, yet somewhat awkward, hospital with all the diseases and rooms in the game present, all disasters frequent and very high winning requirements.

Game Dev Tycoon – #Ep3: Whackier Racers

Episode 3 in the lets play Game Dev Tycoon Series!

We come back with high hopes for our new racing game and we are all keeping our fingers crossed it’ll be that big money spinner

Game Dev Tycoon – #Ep2: Downgrade to Prince

Its Gamer Time!
After the slightly bad start LionStar games looks to pastures new for bigger and better things in Episode 2

This series is on Game Dev Tycoon from the guys over at http://www.greenheartgames.com/

Sexism, objectification and harassment of the Cosplay girl

Let me take you back to the late eighties / early nineties, computing and the ability to play video games without the need for an arcade machine was breaking into our homes. The 80’s gave us a taste for video games with the release of Tetris and that little yellow bugger Pac-man, both of which reman some of the most addictive games ever created even by todays standards. 1991 saw Sonic the Hedgehog in full swing with his first outing and Mario had been jumping all over the shop for some years already. It was a simpler time but with the inevitable advances in technology our video game characters soon became more and more life like along with the backing of bigger budgets and much bigger ideas. The games industry has grown fast, picking up momentum with each passing year and all of a sudden we are in 2013. Video games are no longer just for geeks, bashing the same button over and over again after school trying to deny the fact they have a load of homework to do. I wouldn’t say that video games are a staple of our everyday life, like movies are, just yet but they are certainly not too far off. So with each year that passes and the thousands of new games that get released ‘Cosplay‘ has become a big part of this for girls and guys. At E3 or Eurogamer and pretty much every other video game expo out there, the problem of objectifying and harassment of cosplayers, mostly girls, is becoming larger and more commonplace.

So what is Cosplay? It’s basically shortened version of the words costume play. Guys and girls wear costumes to represent a fantasy character from things such as anime, comic books, films and video games. More so with the female caricature which tend to be developed and designed by males, and that’s not to say designed just for males, a cosplayer will dress up and become the character. Trying to imitate the look, hairstyle, clothes and personality of each character is the ultimate goal.

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There is also a side of the cosplay culture based around sex appeal, with cosplayers specifically choosing characters that are known for their attractiveness and revealing costumes. A lot of these caricatures have been styled by a man who wants a certain look for his character, body shape, eyes, hair, lips etc. a designed vision of his perfect fantasy. I wouldn’t ever say that all men design characters to look slutty or like whores, that is simply not true. I will say a lot of characters are designed with a sexy appearance… why? well there is no real reason why, its just how males have decided to design some of their characters. This is where it gets tricky, when you take a fantasy character and put them into a real life situation sometimes problems arise.

Recently the topic of harassment has become more frequent with the issue of grabbing Cosplay girls, or them being objectified, at certain expo events. I in no way condone these actions, it is their choice to dress in cosplay and if thats what they wish to do then more power to them, BUT I see a problem with it just being accepted in society. Just because they have stepped into the guise of a character that was designed to have sex appeal doesn’t mean they want to be harassed. Lets be honest these characters are going to appeal to guys and it works, that is the bottom line. You can Google most female game characters and I would say right now 75% of the cosplayers you will find are half naked with a very prominent chest. When you take fantastical ideas of women, bring them into the real world for everyone to see, these types of problems will continue to arise. Until there are more women developing games with a different vision in mind things may be slow to change. Women need to get into the scene and start their own game development with characters they want to see being imitated. For some men out there seeing one of their favourite characters in real life will be too much for them to handle. They will act or say something inappropriate, this is unacceptable but that doesn’t mean it will stop. I think there has been some amazing cosplay outfits made, but there will also be people that will ruin it and do something stupid.

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I think this shows us that gamers as a group are still maturing. The way we look at cosplayers, even avatars and being able to see some of the more ‘risky’ efforts in real life shows that maturity for SOME still hasn’t quite hit home yet. I would like to add that I feel no one has the right to tell another person how to dress or appear in public. I personally feel that any girl or guy that is willing to put themselves out there and do that kind of thing is good and more power to them!

A new Link

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

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The Nintendo 3DS

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I have now owned a 3DS for about 3 months now and have had the chance to formulate an opinion on it, I didn’t buy one earlier as there is always the suspicion with Nintendo that there will be an updated version of the hardware at some point and there was barely any games available initially. The first point proved true as Nintendo released an XL version of the machine which is physically larger and has larger screens, this is the version I got. And in terms of the software, there have now been a number of titles released and there is a significant number on the horizon too. I have one or two minor grumbles about the machine, the first being that for me the 3D is an irritation, but that’s really a meaningless complaint as it’s entirely optional and it operates via a slider meaning that you can find a setting that works best for you and I suspect my issues with the 3D are predominantly down to the way I sit when I’m playing.

My other complaint is the selection of titles on the Virtual Console, the majority of games available so far are Game Gear and Gameboy games, there seems to be a segregation where 3DS gets handheld titles and the Wii U gets home console games, again though this is a minor complaint, mostly born from the fact that an English language translation of Earthbound has been announced for the Wii U’s virtual console. I will say that the cost of digital versions of the game are about the same as you would pay in a high street shop and only marginally more than most online retailers, which is actually something of a first when you consider that this has always been a problem with digital releases. Memory wise my machine came with a 4gb SD card which the system uses to save any downloaded games and DLC, this is fine as a starting point as DLC and DSiware games don’t take up too much space however a digital version of a full game can take near to 2gb up, with that said the cost of an SD card is pretty negligible so shouldn’t represent a problem in the grand scheme of things.

imageThe system also has a feature called Spotpass which from what I have experienced allows you to share your Mii with people who you are close to if you have the feature activated and the system in standby mode. This also seems to allow certain functionality within games too though I haven’t witnessed this much, and another one feature where walking while carrying the machine in standby mode will generate play coins which can be used in certain games for different things. In Animal Crossing, for instance, you can purchase fortune cookies which produce fortunes that can be exchanged for rare items.

Battery wise I seem to get around 4 to 5 hours out of the machine, which isn’t the worst I’ve ever experienced especially, but the machine doesn’t come with a power adaptor bundled with it for some strange reason. This means that you have to purchase, or if you have a DS lite or any models afterwards you can use the same power adaptor. With all that said it’s the games that really make a machine so with that in mind I’m going to write a bit about the games I’m looking forward to and the ones I currently own.

Games I’m looking forward to:

Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – While it’s not the HD remake of Majora’s Mask that I desperately want, it is the sequel to Link to the Past which is my second favourite Zelda game. I’ve only seen one screenshot so far but I will be looking out for this one to see if it can offer the same kind of epicness as it’s predecessor.

Yoshi’s Island – For some reason I’ve always preferred the Yoshi platforming games to the equivalent Mario ones as I find them to be more fun and better looking, so I’m looking forward to this one to see if will be as good as the ones before it.

Fantasy Life – This has been billed as a cross between Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing which are both series that I adore, and it’s made by Level 5 who make the Professor Layton, Inazuma and Ni No Kuni games so it should look absolutely stunning and have some interesting gameplay features.

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team – Assuming it’s like the previous entries in the series then it will be a combination of RPG and platformer and will be great fun to play. I’ve really enjoyed other entries in the series so this one is definitely on my radar.

Hometown Story – From the creator of Harvest Moon and set in the same game universe, this is definitely one that I’m curious about as I don’t really know much about it at all. I will be keeping an eye on it though to see if it’s a game that will generate the same level of interest as the Harvest Moon games always have for me.

Mario Party – This one will be interesting to see if there is a good and varied selection of mini games, and if so then hopefully friends who also own a 3DS will in turn purchase so that multiplayer can be enjoyed.

Pokemon X and Y – When the new Pokemon was announced that was the point where I decided to get a 3DS, I’me really looking forward to it and seeing what tweaks they’ve made to the system and also seeing what new Pokemon there are.

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Games I’ve played:

Animal Crossing: New Leaf The Animal Crossing series has always been pretty chilled out and just allowed you to fish, upgrade your house and collect furniture at your own pace and while this one also allows you to do that it also changes things up a little by making you mayor of the town. This allows you to customise the town to suit you, be it building things requested to you by residents or changing the opening times of shops. It works really well and is one of those games thats good for a quick go here and there or a prolonged fishing or bug catching session, and the multiplayer works quite well too.

Fire Emblem: Awakening A phenomenal tactical RPG, this requires a lot of thought and strategy in order to progress and while it can be a little difficult at times it also feels really rewarding when you make it past a particularly tricky battle. It also has different difficulties depending on the challenge you want with the easier mode meaning that units stay dead on the harder mode or are resurrected upon successful completion of a battle on the easier mode. There is also a wealth of depth to the game by allowing units to build up support with each other and in some instances certain units can have kids together which offers up even more tactical options.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 – This is a really fun game that should actually be a bit more frustrating than it is as there’s a lot of backtracking in the locations that each level is set in, however it makes it work by offering up collectibles and different ghosts as well as clever use of upgrades that makes sure that the backtracking feels worthwhile.

Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns – As a Harvest Moon fan I had gotten a bit bored with previous entries as there was never a lot different, this one makes one very key change in that you have to pick a town to live in and in doing so this directly impacts your farm as one town specialises on livestock and the other in crops. You can move as the game goes on though so you can get the full experience but overall it’s a fun little game that requires planning to get the most from each in game day.

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy – An odd hydrid of RPG and rhythm action game that uses songs from each of the first thirteen core entries in the Final Fantasy series, gameplay is relatively straight forward though pretty tough on harder difficulties, but as a fan of the series for the most part it’s fun and provides an awesome amount of nostalgia as well as having a huge amount of unlockable content and the levelling up system is fun too. There is also a large amount of songs to download, each costing 90p, my only complaint would be that from a personal standpoint some amazing songs aren’t in the game.

Virtue’s Last Reward – I bought this after reading good things and from playing it the game feels like an interactive novel of sorts, the puzzles feel a bit like a point and click adventure in that they don’t always feel very obvious but then that encourages you to think, there is definitely an intrigue to the game that makes it more engaging to play.

Crush 3D – A combination of platform game and puzzle game, the concept of the game is collect all the items in a level and each the exit but this is only possible by moving the camera into one of 5 positions and engaging the crush feature which turns the angle chosen into a 2 dimensional viewpoint. It’s a surprisingly clever game and really makes you think creatively to progress through each level.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – This plays pretty much the same as previous entries in the series which isn’t a bad thing at all, the puzzles are interesting and the mini games are fun and provide a nice contrast. The main difference for me is that the plot feels a bit more personal as it links to the eponymous Professor’s past and this makes for a very interesting game.

Cooking Mama 4 – This game is more or less the same as previous entries, the main difference as far as I can see is that there are a number of unlockable items and mini games as a result of achieving certain goals during the main game. I’ve always found it fun and a game that is good when you just want to have a quick 5 or 10 minute go on something.

Shinobi – I picked this up for a fiver and as such went in with pretty low expectations and while it’s not the best game I’ve played, and it’s certainly nowhere near as good as Shinobi 3 on the Mega Drive it’s a decent game though a bit unforgiving at times.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D – I picked this up for free as part of a promotion where I bought 3 games (Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem and Luigi’s Mansion) and while the game mechanics need some getting used to, it’s a fun and properly old school platformer and it looks good too, there’s a lot of detail on the screen.

Tetris – This is pretty much the same as every Tetris game ever produced, which isn’t a bad thing as traditional Tetris is a classic, there’s other modes to play too though they’re not a patch on the original mode but as with all versions the difficulty increases as you progress while playing.

Pokemon Dream Radar – This is essentially a mini game that allows you to catch certain pokemon and items and then download them to a copy of Pokemon Black or White 2, the main draw is that it allows the user to catch the three legendaries Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus and import them into your save game but once these have been caught you gain the ability to put one of the DS Pokemon games into your 3DS and use the game to catch that games respective legendary.

Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move – A puzzle game where you have four different modes, each with numerous levels, where you have to fill in the missing pieces for a maze in order to guide the minis on that level to the exit while collecting the three tokens present. It starts of easy enough but does make you think as often the solution requires a degree of trial and error to find.

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Shaun vs Zombies

A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

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Singstar Wars Mashup

SingStar Wars Edition, with brand-new force control feature, only compatible with PLAYSTATION 4 means you won’t need to worry about picking up your PS4 controller as you sing along. Simply speak into your Wireless SingStar Wars Microphones and announce which track you want to sing next – and it will appear on your screen! Plus you can even shop and search through your SingStore Carousel using your voice! Being a SingStar’s never been so much fun…

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Unleash some attitude with the Cantina Band, then grab your best padawan for a pop duet with the Cantina Band, rock out with the Cantina Band or perform a sexy solo without the Cantina Band.

Game Dev Tycoon – #Ep1: Garage King

Its Gamer Time! Guys, Guys, It’s 1980 and your in your garage, what do you do?
HECK YEAH WE MAKE GAMES! This series will be on Game Dev Tycoon from the guys over at http://www.greenheartgames.com

The 8th Wonder of the World

In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady.

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