We have moved to a new domain in order to bring better content. Please check out http://www.PanzerGaming.com/ for all your gaming news and reviews!
We have moved to a new domain in order to bring better content. Please check out http://www.PanzerGaming.com/ for all your gaming news and reviews!
So, I’ll be turning 23 soon and there’s been a lot going through my mind.
I first started thinking about the future a couple of days ago and I’ve realised that I’m slowly, but surely, moving in the right direction. Life’s not going to be easy for the next year or so. But then, it shouldn’t be.
Now, as I try to balance the enjoyable, but time-demanding work of YouTubing, Blogging, Waitering (as in, IRL) and studying, I don’t often get the chance to step back and take in all that’s happening. Let alone, do nothing else but think for very long.
But here it is, 23… soon… And I know it’s not a milestone number or anything. It’s more of another year passing and “so what?”. But to me, it’s the age I am when I finally know what I’m doing and where I’m going. By no means am I anywhere close to being completely organised. It’s all still a mess, really. Financially, not good. Job doesn’t pay all that much. It’s enough, but barely. Schoolwork is a case of barely hanging on. Still haven’t settled into my video schedule. And, worst of all, this page is being neglected.
Sound horrible, doesn’t it.
But, on the bright side, it’s all the hallmarks of a transition. If you haven’t seen my about page. I’d suggest taking a look at it. That way, this post will definitely make more sense.
After leaving a fairly secure career to go back to school, I’m now effectively in transition. I may have already started school but that’s just one facet of this whole new lifestyle.
There’s been ups and downs, for sure. And a lot of changes had to be made. One thing’s for sure, though, I been able to finally embrace who I am. I’m a gamer. Completely and utterly unabashedly, so. Looking back now, I’m shocked that I used to have to suppress that side of me at all.
Having poor vision as a child, I needed spectacles early on. You can only imagine the bullying over something like that, growing up.
So, I turned to games. In a game, I could be anybody. I could save the world a million times over. I had to power to heal, or to kill. I had everything that my physical self could never dream of having at the time.
I can definitely agree if you feel that’s sort of tragic. But, it’s true. That’s how I really felt as I was growing up.
It wasn’t very healthy for me, for sure. I didn’t have a very happy schooling life either. Never really had a good grip with emotions, I think. I was always getting into fights. Most of which I wouldn’t win. And then, in another moment, being hopelessly smitten by the sight of a girl I barely knew and either doing nothing, or being ridiculously extreme.
As you can imagine, none of that ever worked.
After I left school back in 2007, I joined the army about a year later. It wasn’t the easiest of transitions. I had to simultaneously adjust to the culture of a different country and the regimented way of life.
Friends that I made as the years went by, either didn’t really share my interests or somehow left me feeling closed in one way or another. Sad as it may sound, but having to hold up a facade for the sake of friendship is something nobody should ever have to do.
I felt like my love of gaming was a cherished pet that I had to hide and neglect, lest others find him.
But now, I look onto the years ahead and smile. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders and now I can truly embrace who I am and who I want to be.
There’s people I want to thank and you can find them on my about page. These great people, whether they know it or not, have helped to lift that weight off.
So anyway, I now would like to properly announce my that my birthday is coming this Saturday, 9th November. And, I will be doing a Q&A VLOG with something of a “Draw my life” feel to it. It’s not exactly a “draw my life” but it’s similar.
And, I’d like to answer your questions! So, simply send me your questions, either in the comments below or on twitter! Tweet your questions with the tag: #PanzerSGQA and I will answer them!
Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!
There’s been activity on my YouTube Channel recently. Finally..
I’ve been playing a bit of Garry’s Mod and the associated hilarious addons. It’s fun. Really fun. So much fun that I decided to make a video series out of it. Currently, I’ve got the first episode up. You can check that out here. Episode 2 will be out 5.30pm on Tuesday (GMT +8). Episode 3 will follow a couple of days after that.
The plan is to have two episodes per week. I’ve decided to have one episode release mid-week, and another towards to the end of the week. Not sure if this is the right sort of schedule, but it’s one that I feel I can suitably maintain.
So, check it out guys and subscribe if you haven’t already. It’s seriously a fun game to watch even if you aren’t a gamer.
I’ve come to realise that since I haven’t got much in the way of gaming to talk about this week so I’ve decided that I’m actually going to do some actual blogging on here too. This is just something I’m going to do every once in a while when there’s no games to review or no big news to comment on.
Right, on with it.
So, this past week has been rather interesting. I’ve just started a new job, working at a Steakhouse near home. This is not the sort of thing that I’ve done before nor is it something that I would’ve ever thought of doing. But since I’m also studying right now, I do need a form of income to support myself and my various addictions (read: gaming budget and leave it at that). But yes, waiting on tables and clearing plates is what I do for money. It’s not glamorous but hey, it’s sort of fun. Even if it is a bit tiring.
There’s also been some developments online too. I’ve recently participated in my first online get-together with a bunch of YouTubers. We played Terraria and there were so many of us (I believe there were about 10 or so) that it was absolute chaos for the most part. Zeckpressstart did his best to moderate us but it was just so much chaos. (Check out his channel here. The video should be there of that game, eventually). It was definitely enjoyable, even if “somebody” destroyed the house FoxyFauna and I built 😦 But, definitely it was one of the most fun online gaming sessions I’ve had and hopefully, next I’ll actually have my recording software started up to capture some of it.
Yes, it was that much fun that I actually forgot to record any of it.
On that note, I’d like to give a special mention to all of these awesome people who were there. Links to their channels included!
Check out all of these guys, they’ve got some great content that’s definitely worth your time and attention.
What else is new? I’ve recently purchased Garry’s Mod. It’s an interesting thing. For just $9.99, you get a game that comprises many other games and content made by users for free. Of course, it started off as something of a sandbox physics simulator for people to create loads of random nonsense with all the tools included. But now, it’s also become an avenue for modders and budding developers to create whole new games from. Ever heard of Prop Hunt? or Trouble in Terrorist Town? Both of these have been making waves through the YouTube gaming community and they aren’t full retail titles. They’re free gamemodes made with Garry’s Mod. Simple as that. Amazes me that community content creators for some games can really show up some of the big developers, simply by going back to basics and creating something that is fun. That’s really all you can ask from for a game at the bare minimum. A game can have poor graphics. A game can have bugs. A game can be made from old tech. But, if a game is fun. Then that’s all you really need.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a well-made game. The thing I don’t like is the stance that many of the big developers in the industry have taken where they focus on things like technology and graphics so much that they sometimes forget about the core elements that make a game. Objectives, obstacles, challenges, and ultimately, fun.
Well, that’s all from me for now. Be sure to check out my channel on YouTube and if you have any questions, thoughts or feedback, let me know in the comments.
Where do I begin when I talk about Half-life?
Logically, one could begin at the beginning of the franchise.
I first played Half-life sometime back in the 2000s as a kid and I remember it being the first video game that ever really scared me. I can recall walking through the lab in my HEV suit after having pushed the trolley carrying the sample specimen into the scientific gizmo. After which, chaos ensued.
It was particularly frightening on its own. To be honest, what gave me the chills was walking through the ruined lab, expecting something to kill me. I was actually shaking in my seat!
Mind you, I was playing at a friend’s house since my computer at the time wasn’t powerful enough to run the game (imagine that!). He wasn’t much help. He was even younger than me and, having already played through most of the game, kept asking if I was scared. What a twat!
But, anyway, it was an interesting experience.
I remember the gameplay could be likened to a wide corridor. It was definitely linear in nature with many scripted events and triggers. But then, what game with even the slightest shred of a storyline wasn’t like that back then? Sure, there were places to explore, but it wasn’t like it was an expansive game world anyway.
There were tough, annoying and bullet sponge enemies but there were also novel ways (at the time) to eliminate them. Sniper nest? Fire a rocket and blast them out of there. Big alien? Jump into that tank and pull the trigger! Often, actually shooting the enemies somehow felt less rewarding. After all, why duck in and out of cover and fire your SMG when you can lay a trip mine and lure them in?
The AI at the time wouldn’t be able to match up with AI today, but it was nevertheless smart for its time. Enemies were reactive. They would dodge grenades, try to blow you out of cover, suppress and even flank or simply retreat when you pulled out a heavier weapon.
What struck me the most was that despite the lackluster gunplay for the most part and the linearity of the game as a whole, it was effective at telling a story. Many might also say that it was revolutionary for its time because of how the overall immersion of the game was improved by the game world.
That brings me to this.
Half-life 2. What this game brought to the table was a dystopian future story with the player following the original, voiceless protagonist, Gordon Freeman, as he travels through the alien-controlled world and then eventually destroying the something or rather that was controlling the aliens on Earth. Along with an old character with updated graphics (Barney Calhoun), a sidekick with no purpose other than eyecandy for the desperate (Alyx Vance) and a somewhat loveable pile of junk (Dog).
Oh, and not to mention this guy.
Most other characters, including the main antagonist are pretty forgettable. You remember those scientists in Half-life? Well, this is the title that tried to give one of them a name. I can’t remember his name now but he was the one with the glasses in the first game.
Don’t get me wrong, they looked fantastic enough. There were even a couple of scenes that worked really well to convey the whole dystopian future story aspect of the game.
Basically, not much else. The gunplay was sadly not much of an improvement. The gravity gun, while fun at first (I launched a toilet in the air first chance I got), soon became a wearisome means of solving just about every puzzle. The much lauded physics engine, while great, was so woefully used in Half-life 2 to simply solve puzzles that served no other purpose than to show off that damn engine.
Levels were just as forgettable, unfortunately. Don’t get me wrong, they looked fantastic enough. There were even a couple of scenes that worked really well to convey the whole dystopian future story aspect of the game. Particularly, that part early on when you are running through the apartments to escape from the city police. However, the actual design of the levels were far more restrictive than they appeared. No invisible walls, they simply used actual physical walls to block you from going anywhere else. Except when you were being chased. These run-for-your-life sequences happened only a few times in the game but they were the few times when you could forgive the game for a being a bit restrictive. After all, by the first chase sequence, you would be immersed enough into the game experience that you would actually want to run in the right direction. I’d say they did well enough to direct you toward the right path.
But that begs the question. What if I could go the wrong way?
Personally, I would have loved to have been able to make a wrong turn and be punished for it. Furthermore, I would also have loved to have been able to make a wrong turn and end up in a different area to continue the story.
It felt like the whole point of the game, then, was to simply do just that. Tell a story. In that respect, they did fairly well. So well, in fact, that I don’t see how they could continue the line any further.
I remember playing Half-life: Episode One because my Steam account tells me I played it. I don’t even remember what happened in it. Because, in my mind, the Half-life saga is over.
And with that, I want to talk about Half-life 3. As we may know by now, the actual name “Half-life 3” has been trademarked in Europe. This usually only happens once a project is actually in development. That’s what we know for now. What we don’t know is what Valve is actually doing about it.
For all we know, it could be nothing. And, that’s what I can only hope for in this franchise. I played this game for the storyline and nothing more. Simply because there was nothing else to really comment on, once the hype had died down.
Valve, in the past, has done exceptionally whenever they came up with something new. I’m not just talking about a new title. I mean, an entirely new concept.
Look at Left 4 Dead. This was a title that spawned a new niche genre of co-operative zombie survival games. It’s just one example of what Valve is capable of when they sit down and create completely new IPs.
The problem comes when they create sequels.
Left 4 Dead 2 added new maps, characters and zombie types. It also added some new weapons and features to what Left 4 Dead already had. But, was it entirely new? Certainly, not. It was such a small difference to the original that some fans even cried foul and complained that Left 4 Dead 2 wasn’t simply a DLC expansion. After all, that’s basically what it was. It wasn’t something that even needed to be a new game.
It’s the same thing that happened with Portal. Sure, Portal was great. But, it didn’t need a sequel. It also had an nice storyline, fun characters and challenging puzzles. But, it didn’t bring anything new to the table.
And, that’s the exact problem Valve has when it comes to making games, in my opinion.
What we need is a new concept. A new story, if you will. We need a game that will break boundaries in its genre. We need a game that gives us a thrill in a way that we’ve never had. We need a game that challenges the way we play our games. We need a game that is so new, yet so familiar to play.
What we don’t need, is a great franchise to be beaten to death.
This article is written as an opinion and is not to be taken as exact fact. If you have a differing opinion, feel free to leave a comment. Follow me on twitter: @PanzerSG. And check out my YouTube channel. Since this article was written, the trademark for “Half-life 3” has since been removed. Curiously, a new trademark for “Portal 3” has been filed. Whatever it is, just wait for Valve to make an official announcement.
I’ve recently been in discussion with a friend of mine to develop some collaborative content for YouTube. Don’t really want to reveal too much at this point but he’s a huge Mechwarrior fan too.
I will update you all, when the time is right 🙂
Also, 25th post ever!