Henry Skey

guildwars2f

At Snackbar Games, we spend a lot of time discussing core mechanics. Visuals, presentation, audio and gameplay are common topics we cover. However, more detailed analysis will yield our thoughts on the game’s longevity, emotional connection, progression, use of tech, multiplayer and a slew of other facets, providing an indication of a game’s quality relative to our experiences. Sounds pretty simple, right? READ MORE

I just finished the original Peter Pan novel, from 1911. It was based on the 1904 play and originally entitled Peter and Wendy. This is hardly the Peter Pan you know from Disney. The titular character is far cockier, bloodthirsty and psychotic than what you would expect from a “children’s book.” The safety of the Darling children isn’t his top priority; he’s obsessed with adventure, and brags about how fantastic he is throughout the story. READ MORE

lightningreturns

I’m an avid reader. When I was young, my father started reading to me before bedtime; Calvin & Hobbes was a mainstay, along with Swallows & Amazons, King Solomon’s Mines and other classic novels that would probably have been more appropriate for a seventh-grade English class than for an eight-year-old. I think that’s one of the main reasons I enjoy role-playing games so much: they contain far more text and story than other genres, and the speed at which I can scroll through it means I don’t have to endure long periods of inactivity.

However, some games cross the line. I’m all for reading, but lately I’ve been reminded that, sometimes, less is more. READ MORE

tacticsogre1

It took me 76 hours, but I finally beat Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together for the PSP. To say it was an arduous journey would be putting it lightly. I’ve had the game in my possession since it was launched in February 2011. My romantic notions of the game were quickly realized: this was no half-hearted attempt at a remake. This was a quality product. The effort shown in updating the visuals and introducing a system that allows you to remake game-changing decisions is welcome. It’s a meaty adventure, with hundreds of characters and unlimited possibilities to customize them. Sounds pretty good, right? But by the time the end credits rolled, I experienced a sense of relief instead of glory.

I can finally put this baby to rest after nearly three years of on-and-off sessions, but it won’t go down as one of my favorites, and I wouldn’t recommend it to any but the most hardcore fans of tactical RPGs. I could talk about how battles take an eternity to get through, or how managing your inventory is frustratingly monotonous, but my main complaint with my Tactics Ogre experience doesn’t have anything to do with the game itself. My biggest problem: I regret not using a walkthrough. READ MORE

GTAV_sero2

I’m not a hardware guy. If somebody asks me what my computer’s specs are, I’ll admit I have no clue. It runs Dota 2 perfectly, and that’s good enough for me. I couldn’t care less how much RAM the PS4 has versus the Xbox One, or how much anti-aliasing the Wii U can handle. I say this without trepidation, because I know the power of hardware is irrelevant if it doesn’t have the software to match it. READ MORE

rockband3

I’m a huge hockey fan. How typical: I’m a Canadian talking about hockey. The next thing you know, I’m going to start talking about beer and poutine! (Great combo, by the way.) I mention hockey because there’s currently a discussion going on about the National Hockey League’s decision to hold select games throughout the season in outdoor venues. A great idea is a great idea, but oversaturating the market can lead to early exits for all types of products, and games are no exception.

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FFXIV 2

Graham has told me I’m an overly positive person and I’m inclined to agree. I have 75 “friendly” commendations in Dota 2, a game that will test, bend and break friendships before turning you into a raving maniac with the patience of a honey badger and the tact of a cynical, angry drunk.  I can be unnecessarily optimistic to the point of frustration; am I putting on an act? Or am I so completely ignorant of my surroundings that I’m blissfully unaware and won’t acknowledge that the ship is sinking? I’d say a bit of both. READ MORE

me1

I’m a creature of habit. I tap the dashboard three times when I drive through a yellow light. I’ll eat the exact same meal for weeks in a row. I rarely alter my jogging routes. I’ll latch onto a podcast and listen to every single episode, or even continue watching a show long after my interest has waned.

These stubborn tactics and silly quirks carry over to video games. I don’t know if it’s perseverance that gets me through long games that I hate, but I do know that I’m almost incapable of adjusting my behavior, even when it makes complete sense to do so. It may prevent me from playing an outstanding title, or cause me to play a game I don’t even want to play. All I know is that if there is a game series, I’m going to start with the first one. READ MORE

2013SP_henry

I look back at previous years trying to determine if 2013 was a good year for games. It was, but I’m not convinced it will go down as one of the best. Still, the final year before two new consoles was filled with examples of what developers can do when they have time to get used to the hardware and put their best foot forward.

10. Grand Theft Auto V

It’s so rare that a game represents a specific part in the console life cycle. What better swan song could this generation have? I felt an excitement I hadn’t felt about an open-world game since Grand Theft Auto III, the PS2 classic that started it all. You could write a novel the size of the game’s script about all the things they do right, but my experience is best summed up when I was driving through the mountains at night. I get in a chopper and fly away. I see my car, parked. I see the road I drove up on. I glance ahead and see Los Angeles (er, Santos) at night. The lights of the city quietly await my murderous rage, or my relaxed exploring. I hadn’t decided yet. READ MORE

sero_zees2

It’s an exciting time to be a video game enthusiast. Feelings of welcomed anxiety accompany insatiable fascination with the coming of new consoles. You want to read everything you can, while jumping up and down like a four-year-old discovering trampolines. Along with these feelings comes a tsunami of analysis, debate, competition, reviews and industry predictions. The “old” consoles and games will receive price drops, the new consoles will fuel the fire of internet flame wars and, here at Snackbar, we’ll talk and talk and talk about the Xbox One and PS4 until our throats are sore. New, new, new.

All major changes have consequences. Nothing exists in a bubble; new consoles are great for some, but what does it mean for the sector of the gaming industry that won’t immediately benefit? Will brick-and-mortar stores slowly fade away, as Blockbuster did? Will we see the death of the mid-range developer? READ MORE