Tag Archives: PS3

Gaming Your Emotions: Life is Strange and the Graphic Adventure Genre

I have always been far more intrigued by emotional appeal and the effects of good storytelling than by explosions, violence, or action. Perhaps that is why I was never a big gamer growing up. Now, before you eviscerate me in the comments, I am FULLY aware that games are much more than the three things I listed above, but what I am saying is this: in entertainment, I was looking for emotional appeal, and I got that mostly from movies.

All of that changed this past August, however, when I played a game called Life is Strange.

Life is Strange is an episodic Graphic Adventure game by a small production company called Dontnod Entertainment. The game revolves around a high school senior named Maxine (Max) Caulfield, who suddenly discovers she has the ability to ‘rewind’ time and alter the events of the past. The vast majority of the game is spent making decisions for Max which will ultimately affect events that occur later in the game (a staple of the Graphic Adventure genre).

I won’t go into the details of the story from there (you should play it for yourself!), but suffice it to say, I was hooked. I played the entire 14-hour story, all five episodes, in about three days. I never game that way. I was a recluse, sealed away in my dark basement with cans of 7Up piled around me, wearing PJs and headphones and only leaving to eat and (occasionally) socialize. But my time as a hermit got me thinking: why did this particular game affect me so much? And did it have the same effect on others?

I had to investigate.


After finishing the game and wiping literal tears from my eyes (seriously, it’s great, play it), I took to Google to see if other people shared my experience. The results, it turned out, were astonishing. Of course, not everyone shared my experience, but it seemed like quite a few people, more than one might think, were deeply and truly affected by this game.

But, as amazing as Life is Strange is, why is it not the explosive hit that so many lesser other titles are? Shouldn’t everyone want to play this incredible, life-altering game?

The issue lies in the type of game that Life is Strange is. Graphic Adventure games lack much of what the general public wants from video games: they are lengthy, they lack action, they are dialogue and cut-scene driven, and they tend to tug at the heart strings more than the adrenal glands. They are, in many ways, video games’ answer to weird, arthouse cinema (which, incidentally, happens to be my favorite kind of cinema…). But is that a model that can still be profitable?

For the developers, yes. For the gaming industry as a whole? Of course not.

According to an article published on mcv.com, Life is Strange sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide. This is a fantastic achievement for a little-known indie game from an even lesser known developer. But that achievement can seem minimal when compared to the successes of genre-giant Telltale Games, whose Graphic Adventure adaptations of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us have enjoyed massive critical acclaim and financial gains.

the walking dead promo art

But there is always another perspective. Yes, Telltale achieved a huge victory with The Walking Dead, their most successful game, selling around 8.5 million copies and bringing in more than $40 million. However, the newest Call of Duty game sold 21 million copies and brought in $840 million. So while The Walking Dead was a huge victory for Telltale, it barely ranked in the greater gaming industry. That is not necessarily a bad thing, however. As long as these games keep making money for their developers, we will keep seeing them.

What it does mean, though, is that these games aren’t going to be the huge hits we want them to be quite yet. Graphic Adventures are amazing, and people should play them, but they haven’t quite reached ‘water-cooler conversation’ status. We have a tendency to believe that, when something is really good, people should just naturally flock to that thing (we can call that the Netflix phenomena). But that’s not how pop-culture works. You need staying power, you need big money behind you, and you need a solid reputation. Telltales’ reputation is solid, yes, but it’s being shaken more and more as Telltale wades into the mainstream.

Like I said, none of this even remotely spells doom for Telltale or any other Graphic Adventure developer, but perhaps we should reign in our expectations just a tad.

So enjoy your trips to Arcadia Bay, fight your way through the hordes of Walkers, and brace yourself (winter is coming). After all, maybe we shouldn’t be so anxious for these games to explode into popularity. Graphic Adventure games are, after all, about you. Your experience, your adventures, and your emotions.

What you decide to do with that experience after the game is over, is entirely up to you.

Carrsan T. Morrissey

It’s the Only Game in Town: MLB Monopoly on PlayStation

PlayStation’s exclusive release of MLB: The Show 16 continues to stir the pot and pens of disgruntled Xbox gamers, pushing many so far as to jump online and start signing petitions at the online petitioning site, Change.org. Xboxers by the hundreds have posted, begged and pleaded their case for a baseball game to rival MLB: The Show, on the XBOX USERVOICE, the device’s feedback site. The disappointment for some can be felt from coast to coast.

mlb the show 16“Some of us have been begging for a true MLB game for years and fallen on deaf ears,” a Twitter user wrote to Xbox Head Phil Spencer in March. The executive dismissed the idea that Microsoft hasn’t heard these suggestions and claimed that a third-party game would be something Microsoft would support.

Here’s the big beef: For those without access to a PS3 or 4 they can’t play MLB: The Show 16, developed by Sony San Diego and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America. Sony has a monopoly.

But who wouldn’t want a virtual version of America’s favorite pastime? Classic stadiums, the addition of new legends hype the nostalgia prone gamer. I understand why non-PS3 and 4 owners are miffed.

Sony’s PlayStation MLB: The Show is the most popular baseball video game to ever hit the shelves. The launch date for this whopper 11th edition of the MLB: The Show franchise was on March 29, 2016. No statistics were released for Xbox’s RBI third party game, but MLB 16: The Show hit a homerun in sales compared to 2015 sales. Check out the sales numbers thanks to VGchartz.com.

mlb the show sales

Sony has hit a dinger in branding, advertising, licensing, trademarking and partnering with MLB to promote a game that is so great it nearly sells itself. Sony advertises MLB: The Show across all platforms, from T.V. commercials to online advertisements. MLB: The Show is packaged and promoted in various bundles (GameStop Bundle) or individually, enhancing total unit sales.

mlb crybabyStop being crybabies all you without a PS3 or 4! It’s not like Sony misled you. Sony has been quiet and happy with their MLB: The Show series. It’s the Xbox creators who haven’t stepped up. Sony has been more than upfront by noting, Only on PlayStation on all packaging. Xbox has come to the realization that MLB: The Show is only going to be provided on PlayStation gaming devices.

Xbox has made it clear that their answer to PlayStation’s MLB: The Show is RBI. Xbox has gone on to notice that baseball games are “not hits”. Xbox has partnered with HB Studios to create their version of America’s favorite pastime sport, and I mean past time…the graphics look like the Stretch Armstrong action figures! Check out the difference in the trailers between Xbox’s RBI and PlayStation’s MLB 16:

XBox third-party game: RBI vs. PlayStation MLB 16: The Show

Anyone who develops a product should be able to sell it to whomever they want, whenever they want and for whatever price they want. A strong product design, pitched at a loyal demographic group, will always keep gamers and customers coming back for more.

Now, back to my Monopoly reference. A quick definition check of the word monopoly gives us the following: the exclusive possession or control of something; a company or group that has such control; the market condition that exists when there is only one seller. BINGO, Sony PlayStation and MLB: The Show—thanks for continuing to hit home runs!

So my fellow players and gamers, get off the bench and splurge for a PS3 or PS4 so you too can get in on the action with MLB: The Show 16. Keep in mind, baseball is one of the few clock-less sports. And that’s how I like my gaming.

“To win, nothing else matters, and nothing else will do.” – Sanford “Sandy” Koufax, 1935, American baseball left-handed pitcher.

Don’t have a PS3 or 4, why so? Feel that you’ve been let down by Xbox? If so, why?

Marshal Lamb

Fall Games – Uncharted 3, Battlefield 3 & Modern Warfare 3

For the fans of the Uncharted series on the PS3, Uncharted 3 Drake’s Deception was released November 1, 2011. The Uncharted trilogy is coming off of one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2009 with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys playing a video game with a great story mode that is almost cinematic for anyone else watching.

Then we have the first person shooters, or FPS, as we like to call them. Two groundbreaking FPS are coming out exactly two weeks apart from each other. The two games I am talking about are Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. Do not let the names fool you both of these games have more than three predecessors. After the Battlefield name had huge success on the PC, Electronic Arts began making games for consoles and this third one is expected to put up a fight against Modern Warfare 3. Both of these franchises have an extremely compelling story mode and make you never want to put the controller down, ever.

For the Call of Duty franchise, Modern Warfare 3 is the 8th game to hit console as well as PC. It will be interesting to see how many copies this game will sell after the groundbreaking performance that its predecessor Call of Duty Black Ops sold which was more than 7 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release. I will not lie, I am in love with the Call of Duty franchise and I will continue to purchase their video games. The CoD fan base is so large that I can put in almost any of the older CoD games and still find a lobby to play in online. I have always given my edge to the Call of Duty franchise because not only can you spend hours online playing with your friends but they also have extremely fun Cooperative extras such as Nazi Zombie and Special Ops.

After playing through the Battlefield 3 campaign and spending a little bit of time on Battlefield 2 it has started to grow on me, though not as much as Call of Duty has. I would still recommend this game to anyone who enjoys a great first person shooter.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my two-part review of some of these big games coming out this year!

Steve Marksteiner

Fall Games – Forza 4, Gears 3, Assassins & Batman

The gaming community is going to have their hands full this month and they will be the last to complain about it. There have been many games, especially sequels, coming out for some major title video games. Read my two-part series on the new video games for the fall season!

I’ll start with the recently released games such as Gears of War 3 and Forza Motorsport 4.  Gears of War (GoW) was released on September 20 and is the final game to the current trilogy. Selling over 1 million pre-orders, GoW was one of the most anticipated games for the Xbox 360 console in 2011, but trust me there are many more! Hopefully the Gears of War franchise is not over because it has an extremely large fan base that has built up over the last three games.

For you racing fans and Xbox 360 Kinect enthusiasts, Forza Motorsport 4 is the right game for you. Forza 4 is also exclusive to the Xbox 360 console, and this game is Kinect-ready, meaning you can steer and shift gears without the use of the ever-popular physical steering wheel (though you can purchase one if you prefer it). Forza via Kinect lets you to check your blind spots with the simple turn of your head as if you were driving a real car!

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is set to release in mid November of 2011 for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Revelations is the fourth game of the franchise, which has also gained a vast amount of fans. With the addition of multiplayer mode in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, AC Revelations is including new game types and more customizable character features.

Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to the 2009 game Batman: Arkham Asylum, was released October 18. Arkham City was one of the only games of 2011 to receive a 10 out of 10 stars from the ever-popular Game Informer Magazine. I would suggest this game for to anyone who likes to roam the streets and beat the crap out of bad guys. This latest version keeps you guessing with tons of side missions. New features are more enhanced gliding through the air, grappling onto buildings without ever touching the ground, and a bunch of new gadgets for Batman’s utility belt.

This concludes part-one of my review, check back in a couple days to see the second part!

Steve Marksteiner

Gears of War 3: Beta and Beyond

When the Beta for Gears of War 3 came out back in the spring it was without a doubt the greatest moment for gamers at the time.

After spending literally countless hours zombified in front of my TV waiting for the next day to start so I could hop back on and take out more gear heads like myself, I woke up one day to realize that the Beta was gone and just like that I had to go back to being social. (Read beta review here) Luckily there was E3 to hold me over until the drop date.

At E3 we got a first look at a few of the new gaming modes like Beast and also a look into the 4-player campaign. While it was still exciting to get a first look at everything they were a little short with the details, which made sense seeing as how the game was not due to drop for a few more months. While they did have playable demos out, it was much like the Beta so what could be tested was extremely limited.

Then came the actual game itself. While the online play is what I know everyone was looking forward to, I personally was in it for the campaign. The Gears saga has become one of my favorite stories all the way from the very beginning. The story in this one was Epic (pun intended), but sadly nowhere near as long as I expected it to be. Three friends and I beat the campaign in the first three nights and that included taking breaks to do online play.

The story was great and the cinematic scenes were flawless, but I feel that if they waited this long to release the game the campaign could have been longer. However, in Epic’s defense it was four experienced gamers who chose not to sleep against their crowning achievement, it didn’t stand a chance.

While the online play is great, what I really appreciate is the lag fix, no longer are the days where a person magically skips from one side of the map to the other… well it still happens occasionally, but nowhere near as much. In all this, the game has met my expectations and surpassed, this is definitely one that will get continuous play on my Xbox, and anyone with just a PS3 should be jealous.