End of the GameTrekker…. Start of FilesNation!

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filesnation_logoIt’s an emotional day.

After 14 years of drama, blood, sweat, tears, and a LOT of Spam, GameFront / FileFront’s long and storied journey finally comes to an end.

I’ve been running the forums, and managing network sites, at FileFront for most of my adult life. It’s a bit part of mine and many other peoples lives, and I can’t stand by and just allow GameFront to die.

What I can’t do is buy it; I just don’t have the money, a buyout is not feasible.

What I CAN do is build a new home for the members of GameFront to go to; FilesNation. FilesNation will be a website dedicated not to hosting gaming mods, at least not initially, but to reviewing them, spotlighting them, and the world of modding, as well as touching on the gaming industry in general. It will also be a new home to the GameFront community in general. It’s also going to be the new home for my YouTube channel.

So, GameTrekker is no more. I’m sadly not going to have the time to make videos and write half-assed blogs for GameTrekker and FilesNation at the same time, so I’m going to put all my eggs into the one basket and push full-forward with FilesNation.

I’ll still make videos, mostly of the same content, but also with more videos and more focus of reviewing and discussing game mods. The modding community is going to be the niche here, this is going to be the magazine for gaming MODS, not gaming.

This website will redirect to the new FilesNation site when it’s ready, and my channel will remain in the same place but be rebranded. If you want to stay up to date on the latest on FilesNation, go to http://www.filesnation.com/ and sign up for the mailing list.

Thanks!

Danny

Video Games Live in 2016…

Categories: Gadgets & Reviews, News / Events, Nonsense
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untitledVideo Games Live has been revolutionising video game music concerts since 2006, mainly because there was no such thing as a video game concert before, and nobody else has done it to the same level of competence since. Headed by Tommy Tallarico, known for the soundtracks to such games as Earthworm Jim and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, VGL is the ultimate concert experience for the video game fan.

I last went to Video Games Live in November of 2014, which met all of my expectations and featured all of the games I wanted to hear. So, when VGL returned to Manchester last week, I just HAD to go.

Much like last time, there were a few problems, but entirely the venue’s fault rather than the show itself. The Palace Theatre in Manchester is a lovely building, but being forced to sit on a step all night isn’t great for a guy like me. My back was in paaaaaaaaain by the end. But it was worth it. They also over-booked the gallery seating by a mile, it was crowded and cramped, to the point they had to sit people in fire exits and move back the seating areas twice. Pretty shoddy organisation on the part of the venue.

But anyway, that’s not the point. Would my second experience be as good as the first? Would it just be exactly the same show I’d already seen? Would it be games I’ve never heard of and didn’t care about?

A mix of the two, really.

I enjoyed most of the music that was played. The show opened and closed with the same songs as last time, and also included a few other songs that we’d heard before, Skyrim, for example, but there was only the odd song that was played again from last time, and mostly these were songs that were worth hearing twice.

The venue itself actually helped in this regard. The acoustics in The Palace Theatre are MUCH better than in the o2 Apollo, by a mile. The venue is also a little smaller and much more intimate so the view of the stage was MUCH better. The songs we heard again from the last time we went sounded MUCH better this time around, I must say.

So, what was new from last time?

This rendition of Tetris was absolutely balls-to-the-wall awesome. Being sung by Laura Intravia (Flute Link on YouTube) and composed by Eimear Noone, who is responsible for the soundtracks of many a Blizzard game, it was pretty awesome to say the least. Laura is a talented musician to say the least, performing several peices on the keyboard, vocally and with the use of an Electronic Wind Instrument, or Terminator Flute as Tommy calls it.

The evening started with a cosplay contest, in which someone spectacularly turned up dressed as Grim Fandango, and somehow lost, despite getting the biggest cheers. Robbery. Strangely enough though, Grim Fandago’s soundtrack was also featured during the performance. Infact, here’s the setlist;

    Act I

Castlevania medley

Metroid NES medley

Donkey Kong Country medley

Phoenix Wright medley

Metal Gear Solid 3 : Snake Eater Intro

Command & Conquer 1-3 medley

Syberia medley

Kingdom Hearts medley

Grim Fandango medley

Tetris Opera

    Act II

Zelda medley

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor medley

Overwatch

Ico credits – You Were There

Skyrim main theme

Mario medley

Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross medley

    Encore

Final Fantasy 7 – One Winged Angel

Portal – Still Alive singalong

Quite a lot of the games listed here I had either a passing knowledge of the soundtrack of, or didn’t instantly recognise the songs of, unlike last time where pretty much everything on the setlist was what I was hoping for. That being said, it was great to hear Mario, Tetris, Skyrim, Zelda, MGS3: Snake Eater, Donkey Kong and Grim Fandango. I’m not a WOW player and have never been much into Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, but despite this I enjoyed the performances regardless. Good music is good music, regardless of weather you have heard it previously or not, and all the songs played were excellent and well rendered.

Also, Phoenix Wright. Fucking hilarious.

So, in conclusion, is it still great? Yes, it’s fucking amazing, well worth the ticket price, and I can wholeheartedly still recommend Video Games Live to anyone.

Go, go now.

Retro Review: Theme Park

Categories: Nonsense, Retro Reviews, Retro Reviews
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Theme_Park_coverWelcome back to the Retro Review, where we ride around the rollercoaster of Nostalgia and throw up the very best, or worst, of video game history.

“Following on” (it’s been FIVE years?!) from my Retro Review of Theme Hospital, we’re taking a look at another Peter Molyenux classic (before we went crazy and started creating generic micro-transaction-based God games), Theme Park.

Unlike the lightly odd setting of Theme Hospital, Theme Park gives players the opportunity to fulfil a childhood fantasy, to design your own Theme Park, and more importantly, build your own rollercoaster! There is a catch, however (unless your name is HORZA), you have to successfully build your business in order to be able to build the park of your dreams.

You start off with a small plot of land in the Bedfordshire countryside, a few thousand pounds, and all your hopes and dreams. The first thing you do on this game is build some paths, a bouncy castle, and a toilet. Much like Theme Hospital, you’ll pick a starting strategy and it’ll be with you for life. Hire staff to clean the park, run the shops and repair the rides, and set your prices to keep your guests happy and the money coming in.

themepark_005All the usual dubious business practices can be used to make cash quick; sell fries for cheap as chips, if you pardon the pun, but absolutely riddled with salt, then charge a fortune for drinks. Strategy for entrance and ride pricing depends on your attractions, a higher entrance fee with few, cheaper rides is a good way to start, but building towards a cheaper entrance fee and a high price for your premium rides in the long term. You’ll occasionally have to negotiate wages with staff, with harms flailing around a negotiation table to try and reach a deal. Try and get the cheapest option you can and only hire staff you absolutely need.

Once you’ve got your basic park built, you will need to start putting money into researching new rides such as rollercoaters and Ferris Wheels. Eventually you’ll have earned enough money and built the park to the point where you can sell it for a large profit, and move on to another part of the world, where the terrain, weather, economy and land value all vary.

There’s over 30 rides in the game, and depending on which version you’re playing, you can walk around your park and “Ride” the rides. Unfortunately, unlike later games in this genre, the “rides” are just FMVs of the ride and don’t correspond to the layout of the ride you built or it’s location, sadly.

main_002Despite being basic in comparison to future titles such as the hugely successful Rollercoaster Tycoon series, or the less-remembered follow-up, Theme Park World, this game was the genesis of the Theme Park management genre, and without it, I doubt any of the games that followed would have been what they are..,

Speaking of Theme Park World, I need to cover that game one of these days, it’s an often overlooked game that I personally really enjoyed, but paled in the shadow of the new king on the block, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3….

But that’s for another time.

 

Danny’s Retro Rating:

So, 1K subscribers, huh?

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I can safely say that I never expected to reach over 1,000 subscribers on YouTube. That’s 1,000 genuine, random, totally unique people who saw one or more of my videos and thought it was worth subscribing to me for. Pretty amazing, really.

y3Each time someone subscribes, it’s pretty cool to me. It’s the ultimate expression of appreciation for what I’ve created. I know, I know, 1,000 people is a small number, right? I’d have to get 100x as many subscribers before YouTube sends me a shiny plaque with a silver play button in it. Well, not to me, to be honest. 1,000 people. That’s a huge number of people.

If you’re a stand-up comedian and 1,000 people turn out to a gig, then that’s a pretty successful night, right?

Each time I do a show, or a video, the numbers vary, and it largely depends on the video (and, I suspect, how kind YouTube is being that day in putting the video somewhere people can see it) – sometimes only 40 or 50 people turn up. Sometimes 100, 500, sometimes 75,000 in a couple of cases.

I’d love to have 75,000 views on every video I do, but to have two or three with that number is amazing. Having 10 or so with 1,000+ views is amazing. Having views on any video, no matter how big or small, is amazing.

Anyway, I’m not sure what my point was here, except to say thank you.

I’ve got a bit of free time this week, the main criticism of my channel these days is the lack of videos. I’ve kinda attempted to get bigger and bolder in the videos I’m making, they therefor take more time, and as I find myself with less and less time, it’s becoming a bit of a downward spiral. But, I’ve got another week off, and I intend to try and use as much of it as I can to film as many videos as I can which I will space out over the coming weeks.