Hidden classics on the Playstation 2

Hidden classics on the Playstation 2

With over 155 million units sold the Playstation 2 is easily the best selling console of all time. Launching with a DVD player, a major selling point at the time, it quickly grew to deserve its place in the tomes of videogame legend. Giving life to so many beloved titles (from Jak and Daxter to Tekken), most don’t realise just how vast the PS2’s library really is. Home to over 1800 games it’s understandable that some would slip through the cracks. That’s why I’ve decided to run down some of the best, most interesting or most obscure hidden classics on the Playstation 2.

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Kengo: Master of Bushido

Starting as I mean to go on with Kengo, a game I’ve never actually heard another person mention. Though it may not be very well known, every person I’ve ever played it with has been blown away by this intricate, complex sword fighting game. The games multiplayer mode alone is, I’d argue, enough to warrant buying. With a number of possible fighters to choose from, you and one opponent are immediately dropped into an unfamiliar setting with nothing but the blade in your hands. I’ve found going in blind really improves the whole experience. As you and a friend learn the ropes of this fighter you’ll find (as I have many times) that hours will fade away without realising. A complex and challenging single player campaign will keep your passion for this game alive while alone. Kengo: Master of Bushido truly is a must have for any Playstation fan.

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Ben 10: Protector of Earth

Maybe it’s not as obscure; so much as most people aren’t likely to play it with it being based on a cartoon. Once you get passed that however you find a beat em up that’s incredibly fun, with a surprising amount of depth. Ben 10 represents the perfect kind of show to get a game, with its vast number of supporting characters and variety of alien forms; it easily develops into a varied experience from start to finish. If you’re looking for a fun game, that’s really easy to pick up and play, Ben 10: Protector of Earth is the perfect game for you.

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Kuri Kuri Mix

Known as the adventures of cookie and cream in the USA, Kuri Kuri mix is one of the most interesting multiplayer games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. An action-adventure puzzle game, this represents the pinnacle of teamwork. Pick up a copy and you’ll quickly find you and a friend are completely absorbed by this games colourful world, catchy music and vibrant themes.

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Trapt

When I originally found this game I wasn’t sure quite exactly what I’d stumbled across. A strange blend of horror, puzzle, strategy and action with a completely bizarre story about a possessed princess and all Japanese dialogue, Trapt truly is a sight to be seen. If that all sounds a bit too confusing to you, believe me it did to me as well, but as you get into it you’ll find yourself enthralled by this dark, fun, challenging game. More than anything else, I’d recommend Trapt just for the experience of witnessing it, a game so strange you’ll leave it a changed person.

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Fighting Fury

Fighting Fury was published by Midas interactive, a low budget European publisher. Any of you who’ve had any experience of Midas are probably now shaking your heads in disgust. I will admit this doesn’t fit into the category of “hidden gem” quite like the others. This game is undeniably terrible in nearly every aspect, from controls, to visuals, to completely baffling auditory choices it is genuinely one of the worst games I’ve ever played. A lot like most of Midas’ games library however, Fighting Fury has a certain charm to it. There’s just something about a game this bad that’s weirdly appealing, and I’d definitely recommend it to anybody looking for the absolute pinnacle of a “so bad it’s good” game.

By Alberto Statti

Latest Games – Games of Thrones: Episode 2

Games of Thrones: Episode 2

Alberto Statti

The Lost Lords opens with Asher Forrester, the second-eldest son of the house and currently exiled to Yunkai. This is a perfect place to start. In the first episode they focused entirely on the Forrester family. The Lost Lords takes it further.

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The Lost Lords introduces others that are connected to the Forrester family. Two young women from other northern houses come to comfort the grieving family. Of the two women Beskha is the most vivid addition to the story. She is boisterous and engages in dirty talking. She jokes about the loose women and bounties with Asher. She is a strong addition to the story.

Some of the best moments of episode two take place at the beginning. They profoundly affect the overall plot, but cannot be told because it will give away too much of the story. Many of the same literary tricks of the books and films can be found here and are more pronounced in episode two then in episode one.

There are other scenes that will remind you of the books and films as well. Unlike the other Game of Throne stories that basically set the scene telling you important facts, such as the Fire and Ice episode that shared who is dead, who is alive and who is unaccounted for. The Lost Lords ties all of the previous episodes together in a nice bow, although the bow is not neatly tied. Would you have expected anything different? It was well worth the wait according.

As with all previous episodes the action scenes do not disappoint. You artfully must dodge swords, stab opponents and duck to avoid being hit with flying furniture. Be aware that the battle scenes are much bloodier and more violent than in previous episodes. With that in mind, it should be noted that in the episodes you could die much quicker than in the past. But do not let that deter you, the game automatically saves every few moves and put you right back in the action with little progress lost. The Lost Lords is more forgiving of mistakes and minimizes your hardships. This makes the chance of success and advancement much more attainable and fun.

There are also sequences where you have what they call have Gared training for a spot on the Night’s Watch. During this training you carry barrels across a yard, perform basic sword moves against other trainees and shoot straw dummies with arrows. This is a string of moments that brings you to an area of black cloaks and other characters. It may not be as exciting as the action scenes, but consider it a kind of breaking in the action that once again will not disappoint as the game progresses.

In The Lost Lords you are presented with the possibility of choosing your own path during your journey. Each path you choose impacts future events during your journey and the journey of the family members involved. Throughout your journey there are many paths you can choose. The politics of The Games of Thrones can be very stressful, which can evoke feelings of urgency throughout the game. Surprisingly, The Lost Lords is very entertaining, which leaves the frustration to be just an afterthought. The game is full of intrigue and surprises.

Before you take on the adventure of The Lost Lords remind yourself of the skills needed to conquer all from the previous episodes. Also remember that throughout your journey in the Lost Lords every decision you make affects members of the family involved, much like real life. Throughout the game you must stay alert and on your toes, always wondering who you can trust and realizing that every move you make affects the next one.

Written by Alberto Statti

A Definite Crowd Pleaser

Ivy, a multiplayer game, is a definite crowd pleaser and will become the new party game hit.

Ivy is a competitive game for up to eight players. It is played using hockey and basketball rules with a twist. Players have the ultimate creative experience by drawing their own characters, building their teams and composing their own fight songs. This is probably why the game is so addictive and fun. You are not only playing a game, you are given the opportunity to express yourself creatively.

Ivy is an offbeat sports game. Two teams of players quickly race around an arena trying to score goals off their opponent. This is how it is similar to hockey and baseball rules, but that is where the similarities end. The game matches are quick, which allows others to join in at any time. This enhances the game’s popularity, making sure no one sits on the sidelines, giving everyone the opportunity to join in on the fun.

The game has uncomplicated controls, making it easy to learn and master. Use a right trigger control, which shoots the ball or by holding it giving your opponent a shove to knock the ball out of their hands. Being able to perform both actions with one trigger is a plus in this frantic game. The more you practice and play, the more goals you will be able to make.

Ivy has many different platforms. The many platforms allow you to jump through platforms, walk through platforms and some are solid barriers. Having these different options allows you to maneuver the ball in many different ways while it is in play. The further away you are to the goal the more points you will receive. The object of the game is to make as many goals as possible.

Due to the amazing graphics and pixels of Ivy you can have teams of mimes, mermaids and breakfast foods giving this game a whimsical feel. You also have the ability to create your own characters. Once again, being able to create your own characters reinforces the customization and uniqueness of this game according.

The uniqueness does not end there. It continues by giving you the option of tapping into social media. Every match is given its own four-character hashtag, and by tweeting with the hashtag to the game account (@IDARBwire)anyone can send messages and they will appear scrolling ticker at the bottom of the game screen.

If that’s not crazy enough, friends can start throwing certain words that can affect the game by mysteriously filling the arena with water, done by hash tagging the word flood, or they could turn the ball into a bomb done by hash tagging the word, bomb. They can even temporarily block both teams’ goals by hash tagging the word block. This only adds to the fast-paced action of this offbeat game. You never know what could happen one second to the next, when so many people are involved at the same time.

It should be obvious by now that having these unique options makes Ivy a real sport and community event. By having these options you are also able to create tournaments for the ultimate competition.

Ivy is a game that is competitive, easy to learn and very addictive. It is also taps into social media, which makes it unique and quirky in its own way. It allows all to participate, even those who are not playing in the traditional sense. All of this along with the ability to be creative and make your own characters, teams and fight songs. What more can you ask for.

Is the Gaming Industry Paying Attention

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You may be surprised to learn that 52% of women are gamers. With all the action packed, blood spewing video games out today the main audience has to be male, right? Wrong.

I was shocked when reading these facts:

Based on interviews with 4,000 UK residents, the researchers found that women now account for 52 percent of the gaming audience, which is up from 49 percent three years ago. The study, which was commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau, also revealed there are now more people over 44 years old playing games than children or teenagers. The gamer audience reportedly stands at 33.5 million Britons, which is 69 percent of the population.

This surge of women becoming gamers and staying gamers can be explained by the popularity of the smartphone. The smartphone has made gains more readily available to everyone. This could be due to the smartphones ease-of-use.

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One scenario that comes to mind is when women are waiting for their children to be done at appointments. While sitting in the waiting room playing a game on their smartphone to pass the time is very desirable. That is one example, but women will play whenever possible, very intently as well.

During the interview women shared that puzzle games were their go to games. The study also showed that women are also interested in disc type games by a large margin. So that discredits the stereotype that women only enjoy smartphone games. It’s a wonder if the future of game design will change in the future now that studies are showing that a quarter of all gamers are now over 45-years-old.

Another interesting thing to consider is, if women make up the majority of the gaming audience why is the number of women working in the game industry so low? Wouldn’t the people who play the game the most have the most to offer when it comes to game development and other aspects of the industry? Only 12 percent of game designers in Britain are women and 3 percent of all programmers are women. Also, the number of women speaking at gaming conferences and events is minute. These shocking numbers are not because women are not interested in working in the industry it’s just how the present industry is constructed. It’s interesting to ponder how the game industry would change if more jobs were available to women.

It will be interesting to see future studies to see if this popular trend continues. If it does, I wonder if there will be industry changes in the future.

Computer games – a Waste of Time or Not, by Alberto Statti

Computer games have been a subject of many debates in the past few years. Are they too violent or too addictive, or take too much time to complete. The main question people and parents ask, are computer games dangerous for those who play them as their main hobby?

Many words have been said about violence in games but way less is spoken about all the violence that we see on television or in books. Why would games be different? When you watch a movie you can cry, feel scared or laugh, but you somehow know that it isn’t real. It just doesn’t give such strong sensations. Gaming, on the other hand, can sometimes be so real that it becomes easy to forget that you are outside the screen. Some people give into this feeling with such devotion that they stop paying attention to their real lives and the real people around them. Such obsession can be as dangerous as any other addiction. We dream to be successful, strong, and smart, to win all the time. Sadly in reality these goals are achieved only after a lot of effort and hard work and sometimes it is difficult to feel accomplished and in harmony with yourself if you are not moving fast enough to reach your ideals. Many people tend to feel lost and insecure when thinking about what they have not achieved yet. In contrast, when you create your profile in any given game you can become everything you ever wanted to be.

Why leave the place where you are confident and powerful only to return to the normal world?

There are a few physical aspects of gaming that are a boon in real-life:

  • Playing games helps to sharpen your senses such as reaction times
  • Gaming helps with coordination
  • It creates a different view of the world that can translate outside the computer

If you have good balance of your life and you don’t spend too much time playing computer games, the skills that you develop while playing can help you make better decisions and even be a better leader of other people.

Studies show that computer games can contribute for a better learning process. It seems that students tend to feel more motivated about a given school subject if it is presented in the form of a game. This provides a huge area for the development of different teaching approaches.

As reality can sometimes be hard, there is nothing wrong with pushing the escape button for a while. It clears the mind, refreshes the brain and makes us happier with our own selves. As long as we remember that nothing can replace the priceless moments of our real lives, games can only do good.

By Alberto Statti