This is my personal blog site where I write about a variety of topics that interest me, mostly gaming (online, video and boardgames) and anime. I try to post every Tuesday. What this is, is some placeholder text for Google+. This is more placeholder text. I'm not sure how much I need to put here. This sure is boring. I wish I knew why this worked. It shouldn't. It sure is CONFUSING!
[::.WISH LIST.::]
If you are not on Google+, I strongly reccomend it. Most of my future updates will be there as Eric Penn.
You are a fucking cunt
What ever happened to integrity?
I don't see it on MTV.
All I see is choreography
and I'll never be a dancer!
--"Spokesman", Goldfinger
Life just sucks, I lost the one
I'm giving up, she found someone
There's plenty more
Girls are such a drag
Fuck this place, I lost the war
I hate you all, your mom's a whore
Where's my dog?
'Cause girls are such a drag
--"Dysentary Gary", Blink 182
This island is big enough
for every cast away,
But most of us are looking
for someone else to blame.
--"Scapegoat", Chumbawamba
Sometimes we get what we deserve, and sometimes we don't get what we deserve. Somehow, we always get what we need.
Frodo: I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
--"The Lord of the Rings", J.R.R. Tolkien
Have you nothing of your own?
Nothing that is not:
by others?
"Comes The Inquisitor", Babylon 5
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
Old Race Reports
[::.ABOUT ME.::]
More than you wanted to know
People that are not me
My Resume
Training log
Weight tracking
   (with trending, updated daily)
[::.BLOGS I READ.::]
Broken Toys (Scott)
Eating Bees (Sanya)
Karen's Training blog
Logo creation
Official HTML
Official CSS2
O'Reilly (semi-commercial)
Windows scripting help
Account status
Add an entry
Edit an entry
Delete an entry
This Web Page is warranted against any and all defects relating to the actual physical makeup of the Page. This warranty does not include the content, readability, or merchantability or fitness of this Web Page for any particular purpose, including, but not limited to, inclusion in commercial public or private documentation, contract or literature. Should the physical components of this Web Page (i.e. electrons and photons) be damaged in any way, please return them to the manufacturer for a full and complete replacement at no additional cost.
Pd world.jpg
PSVR - Hyper Void+ VR

The video games industry was just getting started in the late 1970 and early 1980s. The first video game, Pong, quickly gave rise to more advanced games like Spacewar and Astreriods. The vector graphics style of games quickly fell by the wayside and sprite-oriented games started to appear, like Willams’ Defender, and Space Invaders. Some of these newer games saw iterative improvements. For example, Space Invaders begat Centipede And Galaxian.

All of these games had several things in common. Since each play cost 25 cents, the game was designed to get extremely difficult in a short period of time in order to get more money out of the player’s pockets and into the game’s coin hopper. There as usually very little in the way of expository story. And there was (usually) no way to “beat” of “finish” the game. The vast majority of games ended with the player’s character or sprite dying, getting blown up, running out of gas, or some other untimely demise.

Hyper Void+ VR is basically a remake of the classic coin-op Galaxian in VR. While it's kinda neat to see a video game from my youth (and one that I absolutely LOVED at that!) be remade into VR, outside of the nostalgia factor, there really isn't much of a game here. I mean, there really wasn’t much of a game when Galaxian was originally released in 1979. It was basically endless waves of enemies dropping down from the top of the screen, sometimes making a few swirling patterns on the way, and trying to get past the guardian player who could move around in the bottom 1/3 of the screen.

Rather than having a screen where action goes top to bottom, this VR version features a "field" where the action goes from afar to near. The "hook" (as it were) is that the playing field is not always "flat"; instead it warps around with wrinkles and folds and occasionally closes completely to form a tube. The problem is that while a joystick worked fine as a input device for a flat-screen game of this type, it quickly becomes confusing in three-dimensional VR-space. For example, when your ship is situated on the upper portion of a tubular field, pushing the stick to the left makes the ship go right (its left, since its upside down to the player).

There is some semblance of a story that was added to make the game feel like the player is actually doing something, but to be honest, it is completely ignorable and doesn't change the experience at all. It's basically a game about shooting bad guys and not dying for as long as possible.

The game is not VR-specific. It can be played both “flat” and in VR. I’m not sure why a VR version was produced, unless it was trivially easy for the developer to port to PSVR. Even allowing for the confusing controls scheme, it’s just not that compelling of a game. At the end of the day it’s still just a buffed up version of Space Invaders. It’s available on both PSN and Xbox Live (for the Xbox in non-VR).

- Stupid @ Tuesday, February 14, 2017 3:56 PM PT [+]

PSVR - Thumper

Thumper is billed as a “rhythm violence” game and it pretty much deserves that moniker.

This is one of the few VR games that is available in “flat” gaming, but playing it “flat” is really doing the game a disservice. Instead of being a game on a screen, playing in VR is like being inside the game. Not in the sense that you are inside the game world, but rather, while paying it, this game becomes your entire world.

The visuals of the game are pretty simple. You are the pilot of a bug-like vehicle that is speeding down a one-lane highway (at least at first). It’s shown in third-person, so you can see the highway as well as the controlled vehicle. You can push the stick right or left, but the only result is that you “twist” on the single lane. Pushing the stick up causes your insect-like avatar to jump up for a (very) short distance. Pushing one button press causes it to unfurl some “wings”. Meanwhile, a beat-heavy techno track plays over the game. The music is integral to the gameplay.

If you didn’t know any better, you might think that this is a rhythm game like Rock Band. Press a button at the right time and you continue. Miss too many button presses, or press too soon or too late and you lose and have to restart the level. Well, yeah. But no, not really.

The controls are literally limited to one stick and one button. The game combines these simple actions in such a way that it will require 100% of your attention to play. And as you play, your entire life will shrink down into the virtual world of Thumper. It starts easily enough... press the button as you pass a glowing spot on the track (which appears only on the down-beat of the game’s music). At first the game gives you a nice leadup queue, both visible and audible. It counts down 3..2..1.. with a tick-tick-tick sound, and then on the beat it goes BOOM and you hit the button and the game continues. After you get it right three times, the game asks you to do it again, but this time without the hand-holding. A bright spot is seen far up on the highway and when you hit it at the exact moment of a downbeat, you press the button and BOOM! You succeed.

In most games, this kind of tutorial training feels contrived and simplistic. In Thumper, it is neither. The game is not teaching you mechanics in any interpretation of the word. Instead, it’s teaching you a whole new, completely foreign control scheme. It's teaching you how to play a musical instument. After you master the button press, the game teaches you about sliding – holding down the button and moving the stick to one side or another. Then it will mix the two, then it adds in holding the button down to break small barriers. Each new control mechanic is drilled into the player; you do it a few times in isolation, by itself. Then the game tosses that same control scheme at you in combination with something you’ve already mastered, and then weaves it into EVERYTHING you’ve been taught so far. And it does it at a pace that can best be described as breakneck.

Not that the game’s pacing is anything even close to “too fast”. Without any exaggeration, a literal five-year old played it and was able to deal with the first level’s tutorial speed. The challenge is that once you’ve shown that you understand a specific part of the game, it unrelentingly adds it to the quiver of tricks that it will throw at you. And throw it will. Often in quick succession.

Before I bought the game I watched a few YouTube videos of gameplay. I marveled at the speed at which people were able to react to the gameplay. I thought to myself, “There is no way I could play this! It’s way too fast for me! I just don’t have those kinds of reaction times anymore!” But the thing is, it really isn’t that fast.

Playing this game is more like playing a musical instrument than it is hitting certain buttons at a specific time. Just like a guitar only has 5 strings but can produce a lot of different tones and chords that combine to make music, so too are the one stick and one button controls of Thumper capable of describing a great many different actions. And just like most people could pickup a guitar and learn to play something like “Stairway to Heaven” in an hour or two, gaining the proficiency to beat the first few levels of Thumper takes only slightly longer than the levels actually last. The difficulty curve is almost perfectly balanced with the length of each level.

Every action you take in the game makes a sound. Every time the game is going to ask you to do something, it makes a similar sound about a second beforehand. After a few minutes in the game, you learn the call-and-response; you see the queue shown on the highway, you hear the sound prompt and you react without thinking as you’ve been trained to do.

And then it gets harder.

In most games of this type, the difficulty is increased by simply making the game go faster or adding more interaction. In Thumper, the speed does go up, and you will be forced to push the buttons and waggle the stick faster, but it also continues adding new control mechanics. The first level teaches you the basics. The second adds in jumping. The third adds in “thumping”. At level four, the highway gains more lanes. And while each of these mechanics is added, you also get more challenges that require you to use all of these new skills.

There are only nine levels but every single level adds more “game” to the game. Somewhere around level four or five it stops being a simple rhythm exercise and starts being a transcendental experience. The booming techno soundtrack, the simple visuals, and the brutally intense challenges combine to force the player into a zen-like mindset that excludes all distractions. It’s like adrenaline-fueled meditation on steroids.

Thumper is only available digitally. It’s currently $20 on PSN, or it can be purchased on steam for the PC. There is a free demo version which contains the entire first level. Give it a try. It’s well worth the price of admission, and I highly recommend the entire game.

- Stupid @ Tuesday, February 7, 2017 10:26 AM PT [+]

PSVR - Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

I should start by saying I'm not in the target market for this type of game. I'm not a huge fan of (so-called) "horror" games. Yes, I still jump at the jump-scares, but to me that’s not frightening, it’s annoying. Sure, I’ll have an instantaneous and involuntary fight-or-flight reaction, but it doesn’t give me an adrenaline rush. I’m back to normal in about the same amount of time as the jump-scare lasts. Also, I firmly believe that the world could use a lot fewer rail-shooters. So, yeah, I’m really Really not in the target-demographic for this game.

In case you aren’t familiar with this game, the “story” (such as it is) is that you are in a roller-coaster style cart that carries you through a funhouse of horrors. The motion controls turn into guns such as pistols, machine guns, shotguns, and other lead-spitting devices as you progress through the game. You always have the default pistols, and by shooting blue or yellow “power up” boxes, you can upgrade your guns to something stronger. Of course, the stronger guns have a limited amount of ammo and when they run out, the gun instantly degrades back to the default pistol. So basically, it’s a VR Horror Rail-shooter Shooting Gallery.

I tried this game mostly because many people are saying that it is a great VR demo. I expected it to be nausea inducing. (I am not one of those iron-eared VR players. Scavenger's Odyssey on the VR Worlds disc was practically unplayable for me.) Oddly enough, for the most part, it wasn't too bad. It did have a few moments where it kinda flirted with motion sickness - particularly when the rails "dropped" in a steep downhill, or whipped back and forth quickly, but those feelings quickly evaporated as soon as the track smoothed out, or when the game forced me to concentrate on aiming and shooting. I was able to get through the game without too much discomfort, but I can see how it might be difficult for some people.

The "horror" part of the game was as advertised. If you are disturbed by: realistic animal slaughter; clowns; zombies; zombie clowns; doctors; nurses; spiders; feelings of helplessness; animated mannequins; scary things that you can't really get a good look at; or giant malevolent demons, this game will probably be able to push your buttons. I'm usually not affected by these sorts of things; I’m old enough and have seen enough real-world “scary things” that I’m pretty well able to ignore scary things on a screen, no matter how realistic they are. Having said that, there is a level that ends with tarantula spiders crawling up your “body” and on to your face. That was the closest I've ever come to pulling the headset off during gameplay (aside from checking out due to motion sickness).

The shooting gallery aspect of the game was challenging and actually pretty fun. I played it on "normal" difficulty. The first few levels were pretty easy to get through. The game has a “collector” bonus for shooting a bunch of optional targets that are sprinkled liberally around the various levels. Problem is, in order to hit all of them you would need to be very quick on the trigger, have excellent aim, AND time your reloads so that you are never left without bullets in the chamber. Suffice it to say, any illusions I had of doing well at that aspect of the game quickly evaporated.

As the game progressed, the difficulty started to ramp up, but not impossibly so. It felt like a nice solid level design that got progressively more difficult as the game went on. The final two levels were very difficult and took me multiple attempts to get through. The final level in particular was extremely difficult. As the difficulty ramped up, I stopped shooting most of the optional targets and started conserving the big gun ammo for monster targets that were either going impede my progress or could actually hurt me (and reset the level).

Every level had a slightly different “scary” thing. All of them were pretty creepy. The scare for each level was just different enough that most people would have trouble becoming acclimated and stop being scared. (Unless, of course, you start out with the mindset of “it’s just a game” and never allowed the visuals to get inside your head. Easier said than done for most people, particularly in VR!)

The entire game was about 2-1/2 hours from start to finish. I played it from start to finish in a single sitting. It did not keep me engaged for the entire duration. About 2/3 of the way through the game I started looking for the end, wondering how much longer before I could finish up and go do something else. I actually got bored with shooting yet another “scary” target about mid-way though. The difficulty curve at the end of game recaptured my attention though, so it was worth sticking it out. Had I played over the course of multiple 30 to 45 minute sessions, maybe one level per sitting, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

The game does have a high-score table and can be filtered to your PSN friends list, so if you’re the competitive type, you might have some fun there. Several sections of the game have branching paths, so it could be fun hunting for the optimal path to get a higher score. (Or simply being more accurate and have better timing than your friends!)

Overall, it was a good game, but not a great one. Personally, I found the demo of the game to be just as much fun as the actual game, just shorter. The story (such as it was) felt like an afterthought rather than a integral part of the game. It certainly wasn't inspired enough to warrant repeat play. However, if you’re the ultra-competitive type, the high-score table might keep you coming back for additional playthroughs. If you can pick this one up at a discount, it’s probably worth it. Otherwise, the demo version is likely enough for most people.

- Stupid @ Wednesday, February 1, 2017 10:36 AM PT [+]

PSVR - Rez ∞

I was introduced to Rez on the PS2 by my then-girlfriend. We were in the pre-courting stage and she only owned two video games, Rez and Kinetica, which she brought over to my house to play.

I remember playing Rez and having a lot of trouble with it. I was originally a PC gamer and I’ve never been very good with a controller. Plus I’m not a really big music/rhythm gamer. Between me just not being able to deal with joystick aiming and the tap-tap-tap-tapppity-tap cadence of a rhythm-shooter like Rez, I was pretty much unable to finish the game. I think I was able to make it to the end of the third level after a couple weeks of trying. (My then-girlfriend completed the game right in front of me and I was blown away by her l33t skillz!)

Fast forward 15 years….

It’s the same game, with the exact same “look and feel”. The graphics have been updated to account for the much higher resolution of a HD display, but it still retains the same TRON-esque graphical style. It allows for both traditional thumbstick based aiming, and it also allows for the new VR-style "look-to-aim" control. I recall being put off by look-to-aim when I first time the PSVR back in October, but after playing a variety of VR games for the last few months, look-to-aim has become second nature. And using that control scheme, the game is dead easy.

I finished the first level (for the first time) at 9:01pm and completed the final level at 10:11pm. I played the first level twice because I'm a doofus that can't select levels properly, and I was forced to repeat the third level twice. The final boss in the third level unleashes a huge swarm of missiles at one point, and I just don’t think is possible to simply shoot or avoid them all. My game ended during that phase of the fight. Up until that point I had completely ignored the old 1980s-style “smart bomb” feature that instantly kills all enemies on the screen instantly. Popping a couple of those during the third boss battle made that challenge much more approachable. (It still required a bit of timing, because you only have a limited number of “smart bombs” and the battle goes on for a goodly while.)

After getting past that little speed-bump and finishing the five legacy levels in the game, I unlocked the new "Area X". This is the new VR addition to the game, and was designed specifically for the VR experience. This single area takes the “story” of the original game and compresses it down into a single level, complete with mini-boss battles and a final fight that mirrors the original game. Unfortunately, it's kinda short. The entirety of Area X took me only 17 minutes to complete (as compared to about one hour for the full "flat" game). Having said that, it was quite a surreal experience! Rez was always a bit of a mind-blender - the original game was actually pulled from store shelves and recalled in some places due to triggering seizures in some players - and playing it in VR was even more so. This is probably the most TRON-like experience I've had in VR to date.

Outside of Area X, Rez is still an on-rails shooter. While the design still holds up, VR aiming really detracts from the originally designed difficulty. On the other hand, Area X was designed specifically for VR and it shows! If the original five levels of the game had been redesigned in the style of Area X, and presented as an entirely new game I would probably have a completely different impression. (The original game remake still could have been included as a “nostalgia mode”.)

Overall, I'm not sure I would recommend the game outside of the nostalgia factor. It’s available digitally on PSN for about $20, which seems to be about right for an hour-and-a-half trip down memory lane.

- Stupid @ Tuesday, January 24, 2017 12:50 PM PT [+]

PSVR - Rogue One and Jackal Assault

This last weekend I finally went to see Rogue One. Yes, I’m a slacker and I’m really late to this party. So what? It was a good movie and I recommend it. The last word uttered in the film was a bit of a surprise, and I’m not going to spoil it. When I got home, I played the Star Wars: Rogue One VR Mission. This was really cool!

The start of the mission is pretty nifty in breaking the player in to the VR world slowly. There is an opening cinematic that is cool, but non-interactive. The first “playable” part of the game is more-or-less a walk-around mode for an X-Wing fighter. You can look at it from a ton of different angles, which is pretty neat. The model is really well developed and there is an incredible amount of detail. It “feels” like you actually are right next to this space-fighter plane!

Eventually, you start the mission by climbing into the cockpit. Many of the buttons in the cockpit actually do a thing. You can press various buttons, levers and knobs in the X-Wing cockpit. The start of the mission is pretty guided, allowing you to get a feel for how the thing flies without being immediately thrust into combat. This is good because it makes the experience much more immersive, but it is also bad, because the flight mechanics are pretty simple. You won’t be doing loops or pulling an Immelmann maneuver here. It’s limited to “arcade” style flight, which may be off-putting to sim fans, but this wasn’t really the point here.

Pretty quickly, you’re placed into a simple flight through an asteroid field, with weapons hot. You need to blow up the smaller rocks and fly around the larger ones. Again, a great way to settle the immersion even more. Unless you’re completely blown away by the experience, you can play with the different buttons and find several that work. You can open/close the S-foils. You can trigger a ship shield. You can change your X-Wing’s firing mode. You can even enable a targeting computer a la Episode IV.

After a few minutes, you encounter a damaged U-Wing flown by K-2SO, and need to provide escort to a jump point. (Interestingly, this occurs about mid-way through the movie’s timeline, albeit off-screen.) And then the shooting really starts! The simple flight mechanics, coupled with the slow introduction serve to get you into the scene extremely well. Again, this isn’t going to be a mission that is going to appeal to hardcore sim fans (it doesn’t support HOTAS setups). But if you’ve ever watched a Star Wars movie and wanted to be part of that world, this experience delivers and delivers big!!

After about 15 minutes of fighting (with a couple of interim tasks that you are asked to perform), you complete the mission by escaping. A final scoreboard is shown for the competitive people, but it really isn’t needed. This experience was AMAZING! Moving forward, this will likely become one of the experiences I use to demo PSVR to folks.

It's impossible to not compare this to the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Jackal Assault Mission, which was clearly designed with a completely different goal. Where the Rogue One mission focuses on immersion, the Jackal Assault is more about shooting. The flight model in Jackal Assault is not quite as simpler as Rogue One, but it still isn’t a sim. feels way more “arcadey” with a faster, more nimble fighter. The guns feel like they have a lot more “weight” and the entire thing feels more like a strike fighter with serious punch. When you fire the guns in Jackal Assault it actually feels like you are shooting some serious firepower.

The graphics in Jackal assault are slightly better too. While Rogue One puts you into an X-Wing that was originally imagined in the 1970s, Jackal Assault shows you the cockpit of a very much 21st century fighter. Like most modern games, the rendering of the cockpit is both clearer and better resolved, but has less functionality. None of the buttons or knobs in the Jackal’s cockpit are functional. But they sure do look nice!

Jackal Assault also ends with a scoreboard. And again, outside of those few people who feel obligated to get “the high score”, it will be meaningless to most players.

The two missions play out very similarly. Both offer about 15 minutes of overall gameplay. Jackal Assault is free for download from PSN and can be played by anyone with a PSVR. Rogue One is free DLC for Star Wars: Battlefront, but it requires you to own the game to download. (It can be purchased used for about $10 these days.) Overall, Jackal Assault is probably a better “game”, but Rogue One is by far a better VR experience!

- Stupid @ Tuesday, January 17, 2017 2:16 PM PT [+]

PSVR - Proton Pulse

Proton Pulse is more or less breakout/brickout in 3D. You might think that this would be fun, and in concept it seems like it would be! Imagine that you are controlling a paddle on the near side of a corridor and the “ball” bounces away from you, off walls, off the back, and then back towards you, only to be deflected back into play. Simple gameplay; classic brickout but in 3D VR environment! Unfortunately, it didn’t come out that way.

I keep going back to a comparison with DangerBall (found on the PSVR Worlds disc) comparison. DangerBall is a super simple game with spartan, functional graphics. It doesn’t have a lot of “nift” value, but it gets the job done. By comparison,Proton Pulse feels like a neon factory vomited all over the screen. Practically everything glows in some way or another. The player paddle is glowing green. Some (but not all) of the “bricks” glow green. Occasionally, one of the powerups will glow green. The “ball” glows green too! There are glowing red, and yellow elements in there as well, and it’s easy to get lost in all of the glowing neon on the screen at all times. There is so much visual clutter that there were several times while playing that I completely lost track of what I was “supposed” to be aiming for. That is bad enough but…

Proton Pulse lacks "urgency". Unlike DangerBallwhere the pace gradually increases until you are frantically trying to just stay in play, the pace here is glacial. Even when things get a bit frantic, all it takes is a single well played hit and the pace slows back down. Sometimes, randomly hitting some powerup or another would grant me a super big ball that was all-but-impossible to lose. Or a “metal ball” that would rip through everything and win the round without much effort. It’s not a difficult game. Without any exaggeration, my very first session with this game (which was also my LAST session with the game) lasted for over two hours. I could have played for longer – I was in no danger of actually “losing” the game when I stopped – but I was actually getting bored with it.

There are some interesting powerups. One in particular makes your paddle fire laser blasts. I can assume that this was supposed to add “difficulty” in that you would need to choose whethewr to deflect the ball or to fire the lasers at a specific location. Problem is, you can do both with the HUGE paddle.

The game does support the move controllers, just like HoloBall. Pressing a button changes the visor-controlled paddle into two hand controlled paddles. That’s all well and good, but the Move paddles made the game very twitchy. It was actually a lot less fun waving my hands around than it was simply “looking” to control the paddle. I’m not sure why this was even implemented in the game; it certainly doesn’t add gameplay value.

I think there is supposed to be some kind of narrative story involving some Easter Island monolithic heads, but even after playing for a couple of hours I had no idea what was going on. That’s not the end of the world, because it’s supposed to be brickout, not The Last of Us!

Between the brightly colored visual noise, the almost complete lack of any kind of challenge, and the glacial pace of gameplay, this is yet another $10 purchase that will never get played. DangerBall is better.

- Stupid @ Tuesday, January 10, 2017 1:39 PM PT [+]

Welcome to 2107
Well, it’s a new year. Woo!

About this time of year, a lot of people are posting their "Worst/Best of 2106" lists. Why? Because it's low-hanging fruit. It's easy to do and it looks like you worked hard on it. I'm not going to bother.

In 2016, I played a LOT of games. I started the year in full-on indie mode, got all excited and sucked in to Black Desert Online (which, by the way, is not a Bad Game, it's just not a very Good MMO!), took a side-detour into anime and TV-land, and then, as the year went by, found VR.

What I am going to do is repeat myself from a year ago. Last January, I said that I was going to post 52 weeks of content. Looking back on my history, I see that I posted 30 different reviews or impressions over the course of the year. Clearly I did not meet my goal. Rather than set the same goal for this year (which I'm also unlikely to achieve), this year I'm going to aim to improve my posting frequency. So, the number to beat for 2017 is 30 reviews.

We'll see how that goes.

- Stupid @ Tuesday, January 3, 2017 1:56 PM PT [+]

PSVR - HoloBall

HoloBall is a PSVR version of racquetball. It's supposed to be a souped-up version of Dangerball (from the VR Worlds disc), but instead is a buggy mess.

The initial configuration had my player crouching like a monkey, and I had to completely restart the game to fix it. The paddles didn't track well and I could not reach the edges of the playing field without leaving the play area. The game popped up an error screen after every point was scored, stopping the game and forcing me to press the X button to acknowledge it and get back into the game, completely ruining any immersion. The controls scheme was not well explained and two first-time players didn't understand how the paddles interacted with the ball. (It sounds silly, but it actually happened - both of the players who were confused by this are engineers and are very smart people... just not gamers.)

If you have ANY controller wobble at all, HoloBall is almost unplayable. On several occasions, the paddle "wobbled" right through the ball, making a perfect hit into a perfect miss. Overall, HoloBall left a bad impression on everyone who played or watched it being played.

I know not every game is going to for every person, and I'm capable of seeing the draw to most games that I don't enjoy. However, the fact that this game was constantly and consistently throwing up error codes and message after every goal leads me to believe that it was not well tested and had some sort of major errors. It even crashed completely while I was playing! (Which led me to stop playing.)

DangerBall is one of the most requested games in my multiplayer household. If I could get a refund for HoloBall I would. It's not even a good game to use as a VR demo.

- Stupid @ Friday, December 30, 2016 6:48 PM PT [+]

PSVR - Bound

This is a lovely indie game in the same vein as Journey or Flower. It's quite an experience, but not a great game. I do like the way the game looks - it's stunningly beautiful! But the gameplay is lacking in the "fun" factor. The camera controls are really wonky and detract from the experience. (I'm told this has been fixed since I've played it.) I'll finish it, mostly because it's pretty to look at at. But once I'm done, I'll probably never bring it out again. Even with the fixed camera controls, I just don't see this ever being played again, even as a VR demo.

Many people say that this game was an emotional experience for them. I don't get it. I mean, I do get why people feel emotionally attached to some games. I remember my first playthrough of Journey on my old PS3 and how emotional that was for me. But, after playing it again on the PS4, I realize that it really wasn't the game that was such an amazing experience, it was that the game allowed me to have an amazing emotional experience. The feelings that I had on that first playthrough were mine, and came from me, not from the game. I suspect Bound is the same for some people. But not for me. By the time I got to the final "level" I was simply waiting for it to get over, so I could get my consolation trophy for completing the game. (Spoiler: there isn't one.)

It a graphically lovely game. The environments are cool to look at and play in. But the "game" (if you can call it that) is super-linear, and there are no real challenges. The story (such as it is) may resonate with some folks' specific life-experiences (it has to do with loss and rejection), but I found it boring and uninspired. For me the ending was more "WTF?!" than "OMG!"

Overall, I'm glad that I played it so that I can say that I've seen it. But it wasn't rewarding and it wasn't fun. Luckily, it was only $10 (on sale).

- Stupid @ Thursday, December 29, 2016 6:40 PM PT [+]

PSVR - Gary the Gull

This is less a "game" and more of a semi-interactive VR demo.

It's about 5-10 minutes long. The "player" interacts with the environment in the form of nodding to say "Yes", shaking one's head side-to-side to say "No", looking at specific things, and speaking aloud. The speech part doesn't do vocal recognition (although it would be really cool if it did somehow!) but is more like the old DS "blow into the microphone to do [something]" mechanic. As long as you say SOMETHING it detects it and the experience progresses.

The story is basically that you are on a beach somewhere and this seagull flies down and starts talking to you. That's Gary. The writers tried to insert some humor into the experience, but the jokes are pretty flat; I didn't even chuckle, and I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to humor.

The graphics are pretty decent for what it is. There isn't a lot of variation, and the environment is completely fixed. You never "move" during this experience at all. It's as if you are glued down to your beach chair. As a result, the motion sickness issues are non-existent.

It's a cute little vignette and it's over pretty quickly. It's also free on PSN, so everyone should try it out at least once. It's definitely a pretty great first-timer's VR experience. It's much shorter than most of the other first-time experiences, which allows for a new user to get their VR-legs really quickly before moving on to more intense experiences. I'll likely add this to the list of "first time" VR experiences for demoing to friends and family. Outside of that, I don't think I'll ever play it again.

- Stupid @ Wednesday, December 28, 2016 1:35 PM PT [+]

Click Here For the Complete Archive