How The Gaming Industry Has Changed Over The Years

I’ve been gaming since I was little and I hadn’t realized how “easy” I had it with gaming and being a nerd, compared to earlier years, until recently.

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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition Review

We waited five years for Skyrim to release after Oblivion, then we waited five more years to see an updated version that would touch on what Skyrim could be. Unfortunately, we only got a remastered version instead of a whole new game (Elder Scrolls VI: whatever *cough cough*). I guess we will settle for what we can get our grimy, greasy, gross nerd fingers on.

Skyrim released the year I met my husband. We stood in line together to purchase it and then we each went home, put our headsets on, and started the game in unison. It was magical. It was brilliant. And it has been my go-to game since that day.

Skyrim wasn’t as beautiful or engaging as Oblivion was. The music didn’t captivate me like it did in Oblivion and the main quest was sub-par, but it was still magical.

My first playthrough consisted of me going to Whiterun and then I trudged to Solitude because that direction looked prettier.

I spent far too much time wandering and wondering what the heck I was supposed to be doing and where I could find someone to purchase all my horded stash loot.

I didn’t role-play my character (meaning I did¬†everything)¬†¬†in that first playthrough so I got distracted¬†a lot.¬†I was saddened by the lack of awesomeness with the Thieves Guild missions and the lack of absolute I-am-a-horrible-person feeling in the Dark Brotherhood, and yet I still loved it.

That’s why, when they announced the Special Edition, I was all too eager to get my hands on it. Luckily, for me, my husband had purchased Skyrim on our laptop (homework during the day, gaming at night) which meant that we would get the version for free.

Just before its arrival my husband showed me a newly released trailer for Skyrim: Special Edition. It showed how the original version looked on the PS3 and Xbox 360 compared to what it would like on the PS4, Xbox One and PC. I noticed that it was focusing on the scenery differences rather than graphic changes in the NPCs or animals. At that point I was a little worried that the Special Edition wasn’t going to be¬†that¬†big of a difference. Regardless, I was eager to play.

October 28 took far too long but finally it arrived.

I came home that Friday from a ridiculously difficult work week to play my new game. I didn’t know what to expect but for some reason I thought that it was going to be¬†noticeably different.¬†Because I had my mind up that it was going to be a significant change, I was let down more.

Alas, let the official review begin.

What’s Different

Little Details – More plants, ants on logs, more details in the fauna and flora.

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I’m not even kidding… And yes, I am a Stormcloak

Rain Occlusion- First of all there is actual rain in the SE instead of the sort of misty stuff we had in the OG. With this addition the rain falls around the player unless they are standing underneath something that obstructs the rain, thus making it more realistic.

Improved Stability- improved drastically with Unofficial Patch mod, higher framerate, 64-bit engine, higher access to RAM. The clip below shows how stable the game has become in the SE version. This stability allows the player to experience a more fluid type of gameplay and it allows for more to happen on screen without the framerate falling.

Water is more realistic- the water has been improved by making it look more realistic and believable. The rivers and lakes flow in a certain direction and if there is something obstructing the flow, the water will go around it.

Lighting- makes the game look better with “natural” lighting. The lighting has been improved to look more natural, creating softer light tones. It is most noticeable during dawn and dusk. There is also the addition of God-rays, light that streams between trees causing rays of light.

Clouds over the mountains- instead of being able to see an entire mountain from any direction, the SE edition as added clouds that flow around the mountains, obscuring the view. This is more natural and realistic.

Shelby (the husband) here!

First, I’d like to begin by talking about mods. Modding, which was previously impossible on consoles, without breaking warranties and ToS, has made it into Skyrim. To further make the sale, modding on PC has become even easier since Bethesda rolled mods into the game as a menu option. The only other game I’ve played that has mods as easy to install and manage is BeamNG.Drive (which is an awesome game by the way).

Modding is simple and easy to carry out. Sure, achievements are disabled, but who cares in a five year old game?

The only downside here is that mods are nowhere near as developed as modding through Nexus, as mods have essentially been completely reset. In time that may change, but there’s a great deal of uncertainty there. Also, PS4 mods are limited to mods that only use in game assets, so expect far less variety.

Put simply, if modding is a major concern for you when deciding what platform to pick, the formula is: PC > Xbox One > PS4

Other than mods, there are a couple other little touches that made it in. Skyrim benefits from minor improvements including better spell effects, like prettier effects from having spells prepared in your hands and spells lighting up their trajectories over terrain.

More vibrant colors- if compared next to each other you can see the difference in colors between the two game versions. They brought out a lot more reds and oranges in the SE making the game look less gloomy than the first version. This also makes the game look more like a painting than a video game that released in 2011.

Disappointments

The reason I was disappointed upon launch is that I couldn’t see a significant difference between the original game (henceforth referred to as OG) and the SE (it means Special Edition). I recently started a new character in the OG, so it hadn’t been too long ago since I saw the beginning sequence. I thought that the people would have smoother textures and their mouths would move more fluidly with what they were saying. Honestly, I was expecting something like Halo: The Master Chief Collection (though without multiplayer and the ridiculous bugs).

I was expecting a difference similar to this:

Textures- added to game, not totally noticeable until two screenshots are next to each other. I jumped into the game expecting a huge difference but didn’t notice much. Until I saw a video comparing the OG and SE side by side, the game looked no different to me. I saw the ants on the log, the lighting differences, and a few added textures but nothing that made me say, “WHOA!”

People- not a lot of change with people, creatures, or way people/creatures behave. This is probably the biggest one for me. I was hoping to see a vast difference in the way people and creatures behave and look. They look choppy and not smooth in the OG and the SE. There are few details that they changed like making the people look a little smoother or adding color but I think that is mostly the lighting difference. I know it can be difficult to make huge changes to characters in a game this big but they could’ve done more.

Shelby again…

Something that should be stated is that if you’re going to be playing Skyrim Special Edition, you should download the Unofficial Patch mod ASAP. Skyrim still has many¬†known bugs that have¬†still not been officially fixed for some reason. Miscellaneous quests that can bug out, followers disappearing, etc. Granted, these can be fixed, but in a game that has been out for five years and now been remastered, you’d figure that quality assurance might’ve been somewhere on the list of priorities.

But it’s Bethesda, so yeah… Free pass.

Why should you play it? 

First, because it is Skyrim and now you can play it on the PS4 and Xbox One. Second, because the light changes and water differences actually make the game more beautiful, somehow. Third, because, although there aren’t¬†gigantic differences, it is still a spectacularly beautifully sculpted game. It will stand as one of the best RPGs until they release Elder Scrolls VI: Best Game Ever…

Overall 

There are some disappoints that fall in line with purchasing the SE but I got it for free. BONUS. I am unsure if I would spend sixty dollars to buy it for the console considering the minimal changes to the game. What I was looking for in a remaster did not happen, however what they did do is amazing, it just isn’t enough for me to purchase the game for my Xbox One. Some people may feel differently considering you currently cannot play the game on a console unless you resort to the 360 or PS3 (which is a joke). If you’re going to spend the money to get the SE then I would encourage you to buy it on PC so that you can have the maximum mods available to you.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it..

*The additions in block quotes were written by my husband. Check out his blog at Falcon Reviews.*

 

 

3 Frustrating Things About No Man’s Sky-Shared

Through countless hours of research, large amounts of 2am caffeine pill dosages, and unfathomable sacrifice, MONG scientist Tyler Fischer has come up with the definitive, scientific, inarguable list of the three most frustrating things about No Man’s Sky.

via The 3 most frustrating things about No Man‚Äôs Sky ‚ÄĒ Middle Of Nowhere Gaming

When We Have Insecurities

What happens when you feel insecure, self-conscious, or a bit more introverted than normal?

You panic.

Your hands get sweaty.

And you don’t go through with whatever you were doing because… reasons.

Our extrovert friends have no idea what this feels like or why we don’t wanna go hang out because we would rather build a fort out of blankets and hide from society all weekend. Just please leave me alone.

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No means no, am I right?

With these feelings of insecurities comes the potential risk we take in missing out on a great event or having a lot of fun. But we try not to worry about that too much. When we feel like our social fueltank is high enough, we promise to engage in a fun activity… We just need to be home by 9:00, okay?

I remember entering my first few months of adulthood and having to go shop at Wal-Mart… Alone.

Even to this day when I walk into that giant store I feel insecure and unsure of myself. I walk as quickly as I possibly can, I avoid eye contact unless it is a seemingly nice old lady, and I get out as soon as I can… Or I go to the book section and calm down. But even then someone sees me over there and thinks they should also browse the books and stand too close. Get away from me!

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I have never been the one to reach out my hand to a stranger and introduce myself. Nope, I will wait for you to introduce yourself and extend your hand first.

This doesn’t mean that having insecurities, being introverted or self-conscious means that I am an antisocial person. Not at all. I can be very social and engaging. With a comfortable group of friends, family or my husband, I can be somewhat outgoing and fun. Yeah it lasts for about two hours before I start to feel like I should go home and build that blanket fort, but at least I went outside.

But as I was saying before, none of this means I am anti-social. I will happily help you get an item from the top shelf and then make a joke out of it, but not for very long. I am too good at the whole shuffle-away-from-conversation-so-I-can-make-a-break escape scenario. Too often I find myself doing this and the other person just doesn’t understand. Let me flee!!!

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I don’t like germs. I don’t like big crowds. I don’t like small talk. I don’t like shaking hands. I don’t like talking about myself.

If the conversation spans for more than five minutes at Wal-Mart and you keep edging closer to me, don’t feel offended when I make a lame excuse to leave your ass behind in the cereal aisle. You just don’t get it.

My mom, bless her, has always had a habit of talking to complete strangers¬† in Wal-Mart when I was little and then acted like I was crazy when I would be like, “MOM YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” Which she was probably right. Probably. I can remember being absolutely horrified that she would strike up a random conversation with someone she didn’t know. We would always ask her afterward, “Mom, did you know that person?” She would reply with an innocent, “No,” and question it no further. I love that woman. She is so brave.

Insecurities, introvertedness, and self-consciousness are not signs of being antisocial. They are signs of a person who would rather run away from a conversation than engage. Again, leave me alone. IF you see me in Wal-Mart, smile, wave, say hello, and move on. I am not there to say Good Day to my fellow shoppers but to shop. Gasp.

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And before you go around saying that introverts are psychopaths or weird, remind yourself that everyone is unique and capable of being a little different than you. We have bigger numbers than you realize. So the next time you extroverts think it is okay to flag an introvert down in Wal-Mart, don’t. Wave, say hello, and go about your merry way. We will like you far more for doing that than stopping to talk about your children who have the flu.

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HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD

IT. IS. FINALLY. HERE. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child released on July 31, 2016, but you already knew that.

I received my copy yesterday afternoon when I went home from lunch. I got my copy pre-ordered from Barnes and Noble because it is Barnes and Noble. Some books you can’t order from Amazon or Wal-Mart, it just feels dirty.

I am sad to say that I have not started it beside reading the first two pages and having a big stupid grin on my face. Just those two pages tells me how amazing the entire book is going to be. At a little over 300 pages I am looking at an impactful story to bring me back into the world of Hogwarts and magic.

I plan on producing a post with a review on it once I finish. I just have to finish the book I am currently reading and then get on that. Remember I work over 40 hours a week so it isn’t always reading, playing video games, and writing (I have almost 10,000 words on my novel btw! Super excited about that. Just 90k more).

So stay tuned for that review! Thanks so much for keeping up with my random nerd thoughts! Toodles!

THE FAT NERD INSIDE OF ME

I was going to bore you with a topic on politics and how much I hate the planet we live on (let’s go to another planet already, k?), but then I read a post about playing video games with your children and thought about my husband (and everyone says, “AWE!”).

Except we don’t have kids, so that isn’t the kind of post you get today. Sorry, pal.

I know I have mentioned my childhood a teeny tiny bit but I haven’t gone into the fullness of my nerdom.

I am the youngest of six children (you can read about that on my about page) with three older brothers and two older sisters. My sisters are not nerds or geeks or anything of the sort. Well, my oldest sister is a bit of a book nerd but she has four children soooo (and she is a wicked artist). But they’re not the type of nerd I am talking about today.

I am a video game nerd.

I will admit that I do not play as often or for as long as I did when I was in my teens but I have my moments.

When I was in High School I played the shit out of Halo 3… I was good too. Better than the middle-aged dudes who came home after work every day, drank beer, and played Halo. I really played only after I finished my homework and on the weekends (before I got a job).

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My teens were not when my nerdom began though. No, no, no my brothers convinced my parents (somehow) to let them get a Super Nintendo. I have no idea how old I was but I remember playing it. The tiny controller was just fine because it fit in my tiny child hands, though sometimes I couldn’t get to the buttons fast enough.

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My husband wrote about finding his long lost love of Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader the other day after thinking he was going to have to buy it for almost $100 on Amazon.

I remember playing games like Super Mario World (Yoshi will forever be one of my fav characters in a game), Paper Boy, Star Wars games (Return of the Jedi was pretty epic), and Mortal Kombat. Wow talk about a blast from the past. One of my brothers was super obsessed with Mortal Kombat. Remember the cheat code books you could buy? Well if he couldn’t find those he would spend hours finding out the codes on his own and filled notebooks with cheats. Of course, I never used them because he wouldn’t let us touch those notebooks. What a meany.

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Alas, I digress.

So the Super Nintendo was like WHOA, I mean you could play little animated dudes with a controller and ten inch TV (not kidding). It was a different kind of world.

Then a few years or so later we got the Nintendo 64. Say, what??? I was looking at the games I used to play on that console and was getting all kinds of excited as I took a walk down memory lane. There were some seriously epic games on the 64.

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My absolute fave games from that console were Goldeneye, Diddy Kong Racing (I need this in my life), Perfect Dark (the new version on the 360 was a disappointment), and Mario Kart 64. Now I am not trying to say that since the 64 that games haven’t had the same effect as OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT ABOUT THAT, it is just that I am older now and it has been¬†far longer since the Super Nintendo and 64 were around in my life.

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There have been plenty of games since then that have caught my attention and that I will forever go back to. Halo: Combat Evolved, Mass Effect, Oblivion, Skyrim, Witcher, KOTOR, and Republic Commando. Those rank pretty high on the list.

Much like my reading my nerdiness for video games is a love for fiction and science fiction. I love space games far too much and I love fantasy. The fantasy has to be done right though. It has to be an RPG. I have strayed away from multiplayer games. My social bar has become slim to nothing, especially after working nine hours a day around people and having someone in my ear talking the entire time… Seriously, I get too worn out by customers. True story.

So playing an RPG is like playing my favorite book on the screen with a controller in my hand. The only thing better is watching a movie but they have to be really good if they’re going to match up to the book. I wonder how well I could create book characters in Dungeons and Dragons… Food for thought.

So if you were wondering why I called this post The Fat Nerd Inside of Me, well I feel like you guys only get to see the book nerd side of me and not what is really lying dormant underneath all of this black and white text.

I am planning on writing about my favorite bands, music, and the songs that really tap into my creativity. Beside booze, music gets me writing faster than anything else.

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane! Thank you for reading!

Hobey-Ho!