Gaming in the Classroom [Pixelkin]

Gaming concepts like achievements and intrinsic motivation can help inspire students in the classroom to improve their grades and attitudes toward learning.

Read the full article and interview on Pixelkin

dysentary

We’ve come a long way since the days of Mortal Kombat and Senate hearings on video games. In the last decade gaming has earned mainstream acceptance. Everyone games, whether it’s a teenager gunning down strangers online in Call of Duty, a child playing Minecraft with friends, or a grandparent playing Candy Crush on their phone.

For the most part gaming is still considered a purely leisure activity. That doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from video games and what makes them so successful. Gaming concepts like achievements and intrinsic motivation can help inspire students in the classroom to improve their grades and attitudes toward learning.

During PAX South 2016 I attended a panel by orchestra director and music teacher Ashley Brandin titled, “You Have Died of Dysentery: Meaningful Gaming in Education.”

Read the full article and interview on Pixelkin

XCOM 2 Review [Pixelkin]

I for one welcome our new alien overlords in this mini-review of fantastic sequel XCOM 2.

Read the full review on Pixelkin

xcom 2

Available on: PC, Mac, Linux
Reviewed on: PC

XCOM 2 is the sequel to the surprisingly awesome 2012 reboot XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The sequel retains the same nail-biting tactical combat while adding new aliens, new soldiers, new maps, and a rejiggered strategy layer that paints XCOM as the resistance to our new alien overlords.

XCOM 2’s premise makes an incredibly bold choice – we lost the war. As a series XCOM has become famous for being brutally difficult. Developer Firaxis ran with this and declared that we lost the war in the first game. Thirty years later Earth is under control of the supposedly peace-bringing aliens. But like the old TV show “V” the aliens have sinister plans.

Read the full review on Pixelkin

Final Fantasy Explorers Review [Pixelkin]

Fans of Crystal Chronicles and online RPGs may find some enjoyment, though the action can quickly grow repetitive if playing alone.

Read the full Review at Pixelkin

Final Fantasy Explorers Logo

Over a decade ago Final Fantasy fans were presented with an odd spinoff. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles used a much more action-oriented, real-time combat system. The big hook was allowing friends to venture together in a static world, not unlike your typical online role-playing game.

Final Fantasy Explorers offers the same quest-driven gameplay with a threadbare story and piles of loot to collect and craft. Online multiplayer lets you play together with up to three other explorers using a variety of classic Final Fantasy classes such as Black Mage, Knight, and Ranger. Fans of Crystal Chronicles and online RPGs may find some enjoyment, though the action can quickly grow repetitive if playing alone.

Read the full Review at Pixelkin

The Awesome Indie Games of PAX South [Pixelkin]

A list of 12 of the most exciting indie games I saw and played at PAX South 2016.

Read the full list at Pixelkin.org

indie games pax south

We’re at a point now where each month has a gaming, comic, or tabletop convention to be excited about. PAX South is now in its second year and has a much bigger focus on indie gaming. Few big publishers have much to show in January. Hopeful indie devs were there to fill the gap. Below is a list of some of the most notable games I saw at PAX South 2016.

 

Color Thief
Developer: Trouble Impact
Release: Early 2017
In a world of black and white, one chameleon discovers a hidden temple full of color. Our hero can absorb color from any object in the world and apply it anywhere else. Painting water creates a solid surface, while matching colors on a door opens it. Puzzles are forgiving and the non-violent world is kid-friendly.

 

Dead Star
Developer: Armature Studios
Release: Early 2016
Armature Studios had a neat booth capable of 5v5 matches in their top-down space shooter. The developers described Dead Star as a League of Legends-style MOBA in space. Players can choose between multiple classes and ship designs. Teams will need to work together to secure outposts on the map. The arcade-like gameplay was immediately fast and intuitive. The full game will allow 10v10 matches, leading to some deliciously chaotic space battles.

Read the full list at Pixelkin.org

The Flame in the Flood Preview [Pixelkin]

The Flame in the Flood is a survival-crafting game where you live off and survive against nature along a grand Southern river.

Read the full preview at Pixelkin.org

the flame in the flood

Eleven days. That’s how long I could survive on my own. Well, I wasn’t completely alone. The dog had proven loyal and helpful. He was a walking backpack and alarm system. But he was no match for the pack of wolves I ran into when night fell just outside a ruined church. Eleven days.

The Flame in the Flood is an intriguingly named survival-crafting game. Several ex-BioShock developers formed an indie team and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 (which I backed). Now you can play the fruits of their labor right now via Steam Early Access, with the official release coming February 24.

The only mode available in Early Access is an Endless Campaign. It’s literally impossible to win – just try and survive as long as you can. Meanwhile the natural killers of hunger, thirst, and exposure are always just a step behind you.

Read the full preview at Pixelkin.org

PAX South 2016 Mega-Post

I recap all 3 days of PAX South 2016!

pax south 2016 cloud aerithI should start by apologizing for the lateness of this post. My original idea was to update my blog every night with all the crazy festivities of each day of PAX South. Instead we ended up spending all day and evening (minus dinner out) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. That’s about 9am to midnight. The hotel wi-fi was just not up to snuff for uploading pictures, so I resigned to the occasional twitter updates and pics throughout the weekend.

Then on the way home I caught a whiff of the con crud/PAX pox. Then yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. So yeah, excuses, I got ’em!

But no more! It’s time to break down PAX South 2016, and my personal experience with this unique gaming convention. Continue reading “PAX South 2016 Mega-Post”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Carmageddon: Reincarnation

Frustrating controls and frequent crashes prevent this nostalgic remake from stepping out of the shadow of the original 90s car-smasher.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Stainless Games

Publisher: Stainless Games

Release Date: May 21, 2015

Carmageddon-Reincarnation

In the immortal words of Dr. Ian Malcolm (paraphrasing): just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes that applies to remakes of classic 90s video games.

I was a big fan of Carmageddon back in the day. The violent destruction derby combined standard racing with large, fully explorable zones. Racing through checkpoints was only one of three ways to win.

The others involved either destroying your fellow racers, or running over every poor pedestrian that wandered into range of your four-wheeled death machine. It was silly, over-the-top violence that was very 90s and very fun. An expansion pack added more fun, while a middling sequel suggested that the magic may have already died a bit.

Skip ahead to our current Kickstarter-addled, nostalgic fueled age. Stainless Games bought back the rights to their beloved car-smashing series and jumped onto the Kickstarter bandwagon back in 2012. An official remake was in the works.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation was finally released three years later after a hefty dose of time in open development via Steam Early Access. The result was a buggy, poorly optimized mess that I initially shied away from, despite being a Kickstarter backer. Thankfully a few months of post-launch patches and support have stabilized the gameplay and the result is a briefly nostalgic, but ultimately forgettable experience. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Carmageddon: Reincarnation”

Nine Tips For Playing Yo-Kai Watch [Pixelkin]

A list of helpful tips and advice for playing Yo-Kai Watch on Nintendo 3DS.

Read the full article at Pixelkin

yo-kai watch

Yo-Kai Watch may be designed and marketed toward kids, but that doesn’t make it a simplistic game. Follow these quick tips and suggestions and you’ll be on your way to solving the mysteries of the Yo-kai around Springdale.

Crank-a-kai Everyday

You’ll soon discover one of the best treasure rewards in the game—those colorful Crank-a-kai coins. Return to the machine by the tree at the Wildwood Shrine where you got Whisper at the beginning of the game to insert them. Most of the time you’ll get a random item, but rarely a Yo-kai will pop out. There’s a rare chance you could get a very powerful A or even S-rank Yo-kai early on. Since you can use it three times a day, use it every day!

Read the full article at Pixelkin

2015: My Year In Gaming

I recap a full year’s worth of gaming in 2015, including new games and my backlog progress.

2015

I should really cut down on all these annual blog posts. The holidays are busy enough, and in 2015 I expanded my Top Ten list into ten separate posts, followed by my full Game of the Year awards and Most Anticipated Games of 2016 lists.

It’s all done in self-indulgent fun. My annual Year In Gaming post is probably the most navel-gazing thing I write on here. Part journal entries and part gaming calendar, I recap what I played on a month-to-month basis, and what really stood out.

2015 was the first full year of being a part-time freelance writer, and most of that was spent writing about video games. I maintained my blog both here and on Game Informer, appeared on podcasts, and can now say I’ve been published on Playboy. I also played lots of great games!

2015 backloggery

Though not as many as last year. I mentioned in my last recap of Rogue’s Adventures that I generally have less game time these days.

Since I enjoy recording my play times and my game library, it has helped me cut down on buying new games – which is painfully easy when you primarily play on PC thanks to rampant Steam sales. I played less games in 2015 but overall my “Progress Index” improved this year, so I’m pretty satisfied.

Progress Index is how Backloggery.com measures your finished-to-unfinished games ratio. Currently I maintain a Beaten ratio of about 63%, which has held fairly steady all year.

On to the monthly breakdown! Continue reading “2015: My Year In Gaming”

My Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2016

From space aliens to cyborg warriors to a Link and his horse, I list the ten games I’m most excited about that are set to release in 2016.

xcom 2 soldier

You’ve already read my Top Ten Games of 2015. Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite annual list. Who doesn’t like getting excited about new games? And holy crap, 2016 looks really freaking fantastic.

Here are my Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2016! Continue reading “My Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2016”