Overviews


Rituro Active
Football Manager 2014
Blue and White – EP15

By Rituro & Jorge Figueiredo - April 17th, 2014

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Back in March, Rituro returned from his quest to explore the world of soccer and handed me an SD card with encrypted video files on it. Well, these have finally been decoded, and I have to profess that they are quite interesting. The videos are all about Sports Interactive’s Football Manager 2014, and we in the Thumbs Control Center have chosen Episode 15 as a great launch point for those of you who wish to follow along in Rituro’s mad adventures. These videos tell the story of Rituro’s journey in the world of the game, and detail a fair number of the features of this title. Episode 15 deals with a recent patch (14.3) which was a great improvement.

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Click this pic to watch the episode.

It’s not the most dynamic of viewing (I’m referring to the lack of actual soccer footage). However, it is highly informative for those of you who really enjoy management-style games.


Introduction
The Walking Dead

By Mehran Malek - December 10th, 2012

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Before getting into this write-up on Telltale Games’ latest episodic video game series, The Walking Dead, I’d like to share a brief history lesson on how we got here today. You see, this game -and my career as a part-time video game reviewer- might not have ever existed if it weren’t for a fellow by the name of Guybrush Threepwood. The year was 1989, and at the age of 10, I had just moved back from living overseas with my family. To help me cope with my new surroundings* and having to leave my Apple IIC** behind, my parents purchased a PC***. Life was good – but it was about to get better, because 1990 was the year in which Lucasfilm released The Secret of Monkey Island. I can quite confidently say that the first time I played Monkey Island was the first time my young adult mind was blown. It took the Sierra**** game-play mechanics that I had been fumbling with for the past year, removed frustrating key command entry, eliminated the possibility of dying and added a heavy dose of humour to what was already a very entertaining genre.

Ever since then, I have patiently waited for -and hastily consumed- most games that have come from Lucasfilm*****, Tim Schafer or Ron Gilbert (two of the creative minds behind the original Monkey Island). Fast forward to today and both Schafer and Gilbert continue to lead successful careers in the video game industry, although both have long departed from their full-time roles at LucasArts. If you get the sense that we are diverging here, you wouldn’t be wrong. Let’s speed up this this “brief” history lesson: The LucasArts team continued to make more games, greater success was had, a sequel was canceled, Telltale was formed by the canceled team and somewhere along the way Telltale pioneered****** the episodic content system in the video game industry.

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JAMMIN’
With the KORG DS-10 Plus

By Shaun Hatton - June 11th, 2010

KORG DS-10 Plus

Former Editor-in-Chief Shaun Hatton shares his thoughts on a game that’s been occupying much of his time…[ed]

I received a review copy of XSEED’s Korg DS-10 Plus application near its release and have been tooling around with it since. Due to both the depth of the title and the fact that I was transitioning over to my new job at The Electric Playground, I haven’t been able to share my thoughts on it. Now that I’ve spent a lot of time with it, and am completely happy with how great a program it is, I feel I can at least give a testimonial regarding how I use it and why I like it.

For those not familiar with the Korg DS-10 Plus, it’s the successor to the Korg DS-10 title, which was essentially an emulation of Korg’s classic synth, the MS-10. As synthesizers go, it’s an impressive if not ambitious feat to take such a tactile instrument and digitize it. The touchscreen serves as the primary interface option, with the buttons duplicating functions such as starting and stopping the song loop or navigating through the synth’s various interface screens.

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Overview
Academy of Champions

By Jorge Figueiredo - November 16th, 2009

Academy of Champions

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Carsten Myhill from Ubisoft Vancouver to take a look at that studio’s very first title, a fantasy soccer game called Academy of Champions. I was intrigued to see how this game would play, especially considering that while the game is good for all ages, it seems to be targeted at the ‘tween’ demographic. In an industry that often strives for realism (read: FIFA series), how would a cartoon-y soccer (Carsten: “Football!”) game turn out? Surprisingly well, actually.

In the game you portray a young soccer player (your choice of male or female) attending soccer legend Pélé’s Brightfield Academy, a soccer university of sorts (many comparisons were made to Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series). Here you will take your character on a journey that will lead him or her to become a great soccer player. Through a series of training, conversations, and actual soccer matches, you will provide your character with loads of experience and special tokens that allow you to unlock goodies in the store. The 16-hour single-player campaign (20 or so hours if you want to unlock everything) seems to be a good mix of hands-on and observation.

This game does not claim to be an accurate sports simulator. But I believe that it’s good because of this fact. While not as intense as other sports games, Academy of Champions has a decent physics engine. It’s caricatured and feels like an arcade title, for certain, but the engine replicates the feeling of a great soccer match. The training exercises are mini-games and are cleverly disguised soccer drills that allow you to hone your skills while ultimately bringing a smile to your face (some of the mini-games actually allow you to use the balance board, too). The actual matches are also real enough, but concentrate on the essence of the game, and remove the trappings of penalties, throw-ins, and corner kicks which, while authentic, ultimately slow down play.

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OVERVIEW + GIVEAWAY
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

By Shaun Hatton - October 28th, 2009

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

I’ve been playing Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising for the past few days and, despite spending hours of my life in its world, I’m still only on the second mission. To say the game is difficult would be an understatement. The game is simply kicking my ass, repeatedly. Truth be told, I kind of like it.

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising takes place on the island of Skira, which has been a disputed territory since the end of the second World War. The game opens with a stylized, fictionalized montage of the region (the island’s topography is based on the real-life island of Kiska). The montage certainly comes across as credible, and even goes so far as to mention the recent world-wide economic problems before revealing some interesting future history from the next three years.

As tensions between Russia and China flare, a small team of US Marine Corps is put in charge of recapturing the island from the aggressive Chinese military. Doing this is obviously a lot easier said than done, given the fact that I’m somewhat stuck.

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OVERVIEW
Dead Space

By Shaun Hatton - November 11th, 2008

Dead Space

This weekend I picked up Dead Space from my friendly neighbourhood indie game shop, We Got Games. Though I’ve spent a good amount of time towards Fallout 3, I pried myself away from it to get a little closer with the science fiction/horror story set (where else?) in space.

I had been following the development press for Dead Space and when I found out that the team behind it culled their influences from hundreds of horror movies, it only made me more interested in the game. When firing up the game for the first time, you can really tell it wears its influences proudly. Most notable of the influences is the movie Alien, but secondary to this, there’s a definite Sunshine vibe going on – though that movie was more about psychological changes brought on by dead space than monsters (though yes, there is that out-of-place monster).

Dead Space is truly terrifying at times. Its visuals are impressive. But what really stands out for me is the high production value of the game’s sound, particularly the effects of the aliens and the muted sounds while walking through vacuum-shut corridors.

I don’t forsee myself finishing this game anytime soon, as it’s one I only want to play late at night for maximum effect. But I will probably end up writing a lot more about it some time in the future as it reminds me a lot of one of my favourite games ever, Resident Evil 4. For now, suffice to say if you like RE4, you will very likely love Dead Space.


RECENT PLAYS
TMNT for Game Boy Advance

By Shaun Hatton - October 28th, 2008

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I’ve been carrying around my Game Boy Micro lately, thanks to many of my fellow 4 Color Rebellion staff members getting back into the system. I picked mine up for about $50 from Zellers when they were clearing them out a few years back. The Micro was originally retailing in Canada for over the $100 mark, which I feel was a huge marketing mistake on Nintendo’s behalf and likely is what doomed it to sell so poorly compared to the SP (another factor being the relative old age of the Game Boy Advance).

This week I started playing TMNT for the GBA. Yes, it’s a movie tie-in title – but it’s really good! I love beat-’em-up titles and this game is a huge homage to them. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a multiplayer option. But considering I take a train in to work by myself, and only play the Micro while in transit, I’m okay with that.