Category Archives: gaming

Pokémon GO: The Review

When I first installed and started to use Pokémon Go back in July I informed my wife I was playing it as a road test so I could write a review about it. She did not believe me however here we are doing a review on Pokémon Go…. guess I was right (although the review has taken sometime to do).

After installing the game I found there was very little tuition on how to play the various aspects of it. Sure catching Pokémon was straight forward enough however some of the most subtler details about the game were not so obvious (well to me at least). I had to be shown the techniques on battling gyms & it took me a little bit of time how to work Pokestops properly.

Sure these sound like minor things that should be picked up easily but bearing in mind my gaming background comes from the 1990’s where when you bought yourself a game you also got a nice sizeable book of instruction to read through.. guess I’m just old school and the younger gamers today are quicker a picking things up on their own without the need for massive tomes of information.

Once I got going however I found the game to be reasonably enjoyable with a good number of my friends playing it added to the experience. When one gets to level 5 one is asked to join a team with the choices of Team Valor, Team Mystic & Team Instinct. After asking some friends I joined Team Valor.


I have read comments that persons who are older should not be playing the game and it is for younger people. I would disagree with that, given a lot of the older people grew up with Pokémon as kids they have as much right to enjoy the game as their children. Which brings me to another good point. I have seen parents playing the game with their children, so it gets families outside together getting exercise and spending time together so I would say that’s a win.

In terns of the graphics they don’t set the world alight with huge quantities of win but they are reasonably good. There have been several good updates to the game including the buddy system. However not every change that has come into the game has been received well by the players.

Which brings me to the crunch of this review. While Pokémon Go has a very good initial appeal factor when you first start to play it. It can feel like a grind at times. After about 2 months of reasonably solid play my interest started to fade and I have not really touched the game since the middle of October.

I am not sure if I will get back into it again to the same level I did before or perhaps at a lesser level but at least I was true to what I said to my wife all those months ago… and finally did the review of Pokémon Go.


My top 10 PC games Pt2

Last week we started to take a look at my top 10 PC Games of all time. To have a look over number 6-10 please have a look at this post

Now we take a look at the top 5 which game will be number 1… the answer may surprise some people.

5: Diablo 2


Original Release year: 2000

One of the very first RPG games I played Diablo 2 was almost the complete package with a good strong story, good multiplaying capacity and heaps of mods. This was heavily played for many years a quite a few LANS I attended.

The only draw back really was there was not a great deal of customisation for character creation or builds.

Putting that aside however Diablo 2 still stands tall in the history of PC Gaming with mand fans myself included

4: Guild Wars 2


Original Release year :2012

The most recently released game on the list and it sits at number 4 on the list here is why.

While Guild Wars 2 is graphically a very nice game with some nice character creation  options and does have a good strong storyline which continues the lore from Guild Wars it lacks in some areas which its predecessor was strong in.

Guild Wars 2 lacks the customisable options in some areas which made Guild Wars a very special game to play. Also when it switched from Guild Wars to Guild Wars 2 to me the game lost a bit of it’s strong feeling of community.

Now don’t get me wrong I play this game almost every day and have continued some very strong friendships that were born in Guild Wars but Guild Wars 2 just lacks that special something that made Guild Wars such a great game.

If it carried some more of those qualities from the original game then Guild Wars 2 would be higher on this list.

3: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines


Original release year: 2004

Now this is an interesting entry in the list.

Coming in at number 3 bloodlines may not be the most polished and finished game but it is one of the best. Set in White Wolf Publishing’s World of Darkness the player takes on the role of a fledgling vampire and a whole new world is opened up to them.

There is some nice character development as the story goes on but the biggest impressive factor of the game is its atmospheric nature and the music in key locations. These combinations adds to the game as a whole and makes this a very special gaming experience.

2: Guild Wars


Original  Release year: 2005

They say the original is sometimes the best and in some regards this is true of Guild Wars.

Released in 2005 and recommended to me by a friend I started playing Guild Wars in the May of 2005 and I have not left the world since.

While character created was somewhat limited once you had a character you had a great deal of freedom with the skills you could run. This was further enhanced when build templates were introduced which allowed the player the ability to save their build and put it on NPC heroes and other characters.

Graphically reasonable for it’s time Guild Wars had a strong narrative this title is by far one of the most enduring games I have played. It would be number one except for one game title standing in it’s way.

1: The Longest Journey


Original Release Year: 2000

This Norwegian developed point and click adventure game stands above all other titles for me as the greatest game I have ever played.

This game has it all in one package a fantastic storyline <I won’t ruin it by telling you the story as it is work finding it out yourself> a first class soundtrack composed by Bjorn Arve Lagim & Tor Linlokken and wonder and very memorable characters.

The protagonist is April Ryan voiced by the talented Sarah Hamilton. Hamilton brings a great range to her character and brings April to life in a very special way. April Ryan has been praised as one the most memorable female character in the history of adventure games.

This is the kind of game you will start to play and want to just keep going.

For me this game captured me like no other game did before or has done since it totally encompassed me and fully immersed me into it’s very rich world world.

This game came along into my life and totally won me over. I highly doubt that I shall ever play a title in the future which will reach the heights for me as The Longest Journey has.

My top 10 PC Games pt1

As I look back and reflect on the approximately 21 years of PC gaming I have done I have seen many titles come and go, some of which were all time classics and some were downright forgettable.

I started to thing about the games that I have enjoyed playing the most in that time. To that end I have compiled this top 10 list of my all time personal favourite games I played on PC.

In putting together this list I took into account the following. The story of the game (if it had one), the ability the game had to be modified by mods & the impact the game has had since I played it. I attempted to remain objective on the technical side of the games because naturally the newer the game the better it looks graphically ect.

10: SimCity 2000


Original release year: 1994

One of the earliest games I played Sim City 2000 is the second game in the series but the first one I played. It was a fun game where you got to build a small establishment into a sprawling metropolis. While I have played other games in the SimCity series this one is still the one I had the most fun playing.

SimCity 2000 was still being released on other platforms as they were released right up to the PSN IN 2008 proving this entry has stood the test of time.

9: Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 4


Original release year: 2002

I have played many Grand Prix games over the years most of them done by EA Sports. However Grand Prix 4 is the one that makes the list. Having previously played Grand Prix 3 naturally I progressed to Grand Prix 4 when it was released.

While perhaps not the most realistic looking GP game out there this title it had a special quality to it which I enjoyed. Plus the wet weather driving physics in this title are still to this day held in high regard.

Some modding for this game has happened over the years including updating cars and tracks.

8: Command & Conquer: Red Alert


Original Release year: 1996

After the release of Command & Conquer in 1995 Westwood studios released Red Alert the following year and what a release it was.

What happens when you travel back in time and take Hitler out of history before his rise to power… welcome to Red Alert. Red Alert improved on the game play of the original game with a great sound track (The Hell March was so awesome).

Nothing felt greater than then doing a Mammoth tank rush across the map

7: Neverwinter Nights


Original Release year: 2002

The first of our RPG games on the list (yes there are a few). Neverwinter Nights was based on version 3.5 of Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign.

The game has a strong story line and multiplayer sides. However for me the most exciting part of the game was the mod making where you could make your own modules which could be used in online, multiplayer or single player games.

As a side note this is also the first of several entries where Jeremy Soule composed the music for the game.

6: Grand Theft Auto Vice City


Original release year: 2003

What do you get when you combine GTA with the best decade (in terms of music).. the result is this entry.

A clear advancement of GTA3 (not lease of which is the inclusion of motorcycles) Vice City still rocks to this day. The game tells the story of Tommy Vercetti who is sent to Vice city for a job that goes bad. He then turns everything around and all to the  backdrop of the best game soundtrack of any GTA title.

This is still the best Grand Theft Auto title to this date… long live the 1980’s


Well that’s it for the bottom 5 next Thursday we will have the top 5… which game will be number 1.

Swancon 41

To give the reader some context about the following post I will begin with some information. Normally for conventions like Swancon & Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) there is a two year process in which a group of people who are interested in running one of these events would bid to run the event in two years time. For example people looking to run Swancon in 2017 would submit their bid in 2015.

With that being said at the 2014 Swancon there was no active bid to run the 2016 Swancon. As a result of this WASFF (Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation) took action to seek members of the community who would be interested in coming together and running Swancon 2016.

Out of the darkness some awesome people emerged to form the committee for Swancon 2016 (who I will thank at the end of this post).

Fast forward to the 24th of March 2016 at the Pan Pacific hotel and Swancon 41 comes to life with a wonderful opening ceremony, which included an introduction of all the committee and the guests. Plus a fantastic Welcome To Country by Professor Len Collard. After the opening the people of Swancon were unleased upon the program that had been prepared.

Speaking of the program I have a couple of points to cover regarding it. Firstly as a person who was on several program items I found the flow of information from the program coordinator Frames to be quite excellent. There were many updates and I felt very much informed and in the loop about program related things.

Secondly I found the program to be very balanced and well rounded with lots of diverse items on it covering a range of subjects. A complement to an excellent programmer.

I sadly did not get to spend much time in the gaming room as I was busy doing other things but it looked like the gaming room very well run again.

My only real point that I would raise is I felt the guests were not marketed to their fullest potential. However as the committee did not have a dedicated marketing coordinator I feel the committee did the best job they could with the resources they had.

Once again the venue at the Pan Pacific was first class with all the convention space on one level of the hotel. Once additional thing that was implemented was improved accessibility around the convention.

Unlike Swancon 2015 this year our budget did not allow us to stay at the convention hotel. This year we stayed at the nearby Good Earth Hotel and shared accommodation with a friend. Being very close by made it easy to get to the convention everyday.

Swancon 2016 was my 11th Swancon and I found it very enjoyable and relaxing (despite being rather busy preparing to launch as I am on the 2017 committee). A convention is truly rated by how you feel after the event is over. I came away from Swancon 41 with a very good feeling.

My thanks goes to the awesome team that put together Swancon 41 there were so many of you if I try to name you all I will probably forget someone. Also thank you to guests who gave us their time to be with us.

Swancon 41 was a good convention I am looking forward to the next time I see the members of that community and also for Swancon 42 (for which I am the lead programmer)

A Journey of 1224 days

On October 31st 2012 I began a new gaming experience when I entered the world of Guild Wars 2 for the first time. Set obviously in the same world as the original Guild Wars however 250 years have passed between the two games.

As a player of the first game since it launched I was very excited to begin playing the new game. ArenaNet were very intelligent in the way they linked both games together both in terms of story and in the way they rewarded long time players of the first game. One of the things they did was for a period of time they reserved all your character names from Guild Wars so you could use them in Guild Wars 2. While I only kept one character name from the first game it was the most important one to me… Siena Delong.


Siena in Guild Wars was my monk, a character I had from the very beginning and I became very good at playing a monk in the game. Then when they announced the professions of Guild Wars 2 monk was not among them. I then had to find a new profession for my new Siena to be. I decided to choose Mesmer.


With that the very day I set up my account for Guild Wars 2 and linked it with my Guild Wars account Siena Delong the Mesmer was created.

The world in Guild Wars 2 is very much more in-depth then the first game with a lot more going on and many things a player can engage in as they explore the map. As time went along I created other character. However just like in the original game Siena has always remained my main character.

The Mesmer is not the easiest profession to learn it is a class that I would recommend for more experienced players. With this in mind I stuck with it and soon gained an aptitude with playing a Mesmer.


As a side note about the game it is visually stunning as you can see from the screen captures in this post. This is enhanced by the amazing score by Jeremy & Julian Soule. They have done so much awesome game music over the years I can not list it all here but they did do the work on the first Guild Wars game.

The personal story of the game is very immersive and also quite extensive as well. You can easily become quite invested in the story and get pulled right into the narrative. In fact there was one part I played which was quite moving. It also see the player go all around the world of Tyria and includes a lot of the map. As you play through the story you get a true sense of scope to the scale of the map in this game.


I am very happy to continue to have some good personal friends in Guild Wars 2, some of whom I knew in real life before starting to play the game. Some I have had the good fortune of meeting while playing both Guild Wars & Guild Wars 2 and forming real life friendships with them over time.

Guild Wars 2 is certinally a title worth playing if you are into this type of game. You will enjoy it a great deal.

Which leaves us with only one final question. Why is this post called “A Journey of 1224 days”. That is how long it took me to complete the personal story on Siena’s character. I am very happy to have completed it however there is always plenty to do in the land of Tyria in Guild Wars 2.


The fear of RPG players

Reciently I have been watching the RPG series on Geek & Sundry run by Wil Wheaton called Titans Grave: The Ashes of Valkana.


It can be found here if you are interested in watching the series

It was at episode 7 & 8 that I noticed something interesting which got me thinking regarding the relationship between the GM, the game & the players.

In episode 7 of the series a character was introduced called Runcible (pictured below). When he was introduced one of the party reacted with great suspicion to his presence and took action to be prepared for a possible combat situation… I will let you guys watch episodes 7 & 8 to see the results of scenario….


As someone who has both been a player & a game master for more than a decade I find it a very interesting case that RPG players are wary of anything even it might be benign and non threatening. I wish to pose the question… Have GM’s of RPG games over the years instilled into players an automatic fear that when something enters a game without the players knowing it’s intent?

I think the answer is yes… so the next time your GM introduces an npc into your RPG perhaps your strategy should be to talk to the npc first and perhaps not pull our your longbow or blaster.

Board Game Afternoons

Some of you may have seen my recent post of Facebook about the board gaming tutoring at the Armadale Library. I thought I would provide some more information in the way of a post on my blog

Firstly here is the promotions flyer which is doing the rounds.


This provides all the basic info but I thought some more in-depth knowledge would be good.

Obviously I am doing the games over a 6 week period in September and October from 1pm onwards on those days.

Below is a list of what games will be featured and the days they will be on

12th of September – Ticket To Ride

26th of September – Timeline/Cardline

3rd of October – King of Tokyo

10th of October – Qwirkle

24th of October – Formula D

31st of October – Stuff & Nonsense


It will be an exciting experience and I am looking forward to introducing board gaming to a wider community.

Catch you all on Wednesday for the first Doctor Who blog in the lead up to the launch of series 9