Sunshine Blogger Award (& Site Update)

Something I really like about WordPress is the community of people it brings together – it’s so easy to follow others and see what other people have to say about topics you’re interested in, which is pretty important when it comes to gaming, which is such a wide topic.

An example of this community in action is the Sunshine Blogger Award, where blogs nominate each other to promote good content elsewhere. I was recently nominated by AmbiGaming, which was a nice surprise as I haven’t won any of these before and it definitely brought a bit of sunshine into my life, so thank you AmbiGaming.

Before I get to the details of the award, I just also want to take a paragraph here to thank my readers also. I’ve had this blog for almost four years now, but I basically ignored it for two years and now I’m trying to get back into blogging. It means a lot to see people reading my thoughts, and I’d like to continue the level of content I’ve been putting out recently. Posts like the Diversity post I did a while back aren’t something I generally do, but I really liked writing that post and I’d like to do similar posts in the future. I was looking through some of my old news posts and I miss doing those weekly updates, even though I don’t think I have the time for it any more. I’ll find something to get my groove back though – I really missed blogging and it’s good to be back.

And now, the Rules of the Award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the questions given to you
  3. Nominate at least (fill in number here) bloggers!
  4. Write questions for your nominees to answer

Question 1: Surprise! You’re in an RPG. What is your character build?

Usually when I play RPGs where I can create my character’s build, I like attack-focused characters and put a lot of points into health so I can go around destroying things. If I woke up in an RPG, I would definitely not be able to do the “warrior” class and I think I would actually be better suited to a magic class (with a ranged attack weapon like a bow if necessary). The main reason I don’t like playing those characters in games is because I find the mechanics a little clunky and the need to replenish “mana” cumbersome, but if it was me, I’d definitely be up for a little spell-casting. I’d probably then put points into health, and maybe a stealth option if there was one (I don’t play many RPGs so most of what I know is choosing classes).

Question 2: What video game soundtrack rocks your world?

Tough question, but one I’ll enjoy answering. Generally, I find most video game soundtracks pretty unremarkable, they’re alright during gameplay but I can’t hum them back to myself after I turn the machine off. With that being said, I find Nintendo manages to consistently put out amazing soundtracks. My runner-up would have to be the Pokémart theme, just for it’s jazz goodness:

My winner though is the orchestra version of Professor Layton’s theme from Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:

Everything about this piece just comes together: the perfect mix of class and swagger for the professor. I love it, the entire game just had a really good soundtrack.

Bonus: The Super Mario Bros. theme has a special place in my heart, and this arrangement of a compilation of tunes by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra is just beautiful:

Their version of the underwater waltz at 3:10 is well worth listening too, it wouldn’t sound out of place in a classical ballet.

Question 3: If you had to summarize your blog with one snappy quote, what would it be?

It’s tough answering this when I already have a tagline, but I’ll attempt to do it anyway (that’s not my answer by the way).

“Bringing people together through their love of games since 2013”.

When I started this site, my goal was just to create someplace where everyone was welcome to discuss anything about games and gaming general. I still have that goal in mind, all these years later.

Question 4: If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be? Bonus: Why?

Here in Australia we have Jacaranda trees, which are super pretty in bloom:

jacaranda-mimosifolia-2

They also tend to bloom right around exam season in November, so if you wait until the Jacarandas start blooming it’s probably too late for you.

That’s part of my reason why I’d be one: they’re nice trees with and I have a bit of an emotional connection with them since I associate them with most of the knowledge I’ve learnt thus far in my life.

Question 5: If you had one day during which everything you did would be successful, what would you do?

The problem with this question is that it doesn’t define “successful”. For example, I could say publish a book, but that might mean the book publication itself was successful (i.e. it uploaded to Amazon) but the book itself could flop completely. Or if you say the cynical answer and rob a bank, you could rob the bank successfully and then be caught by the police the day after.

With that in mind I think the best thing to do would just be to have a massive party. If it’s successful, all my friends living in other cities could fly over, the party would go off without a hitch, and everyone would have a good time.

Nominations

That concludes my answers to the great questions, and now I’d like to nominate some other people for this award (in no particular order):

  • MoffBadgerPlays: A pretty new blogger, but she’s putting out some great gaming-related content. I remember my early days of blogging, unsure of whether anyone really liked the content I was putting out, so I hope this nomination encourages her to continue, because her content is already strong and it’ll be sure to get stronger.
  • Ever Gamer Review: A blog which has enjoyable content about games. All of the content just feels real, and the posts are a good mix of funny and helpful.
  • I Play All The Games: This is a blog I really like – someone’s attempting to play through every single game ever made. They’re up to the “C’s” of the Atari 2600, and it’s really interesting to see what some of these old games were like. I hope that one day in the future, when he reaches the NES stage, we’ll be able to compare notes with my NES collection.

And of course, the questions:

  1. If you could go back in time to any situation for 24 hours (just watching, no interrupting), what would you go see?
  2. What advancement in technology are you most (or least) looking forward to in the near future?
  3. If you could merge any two consoles together to create a Frankenstein’s Console, which consoles would you merge?
  4. What’s your favourite mobile (iOS/Android) game?
  5. If you could be any type of breakfast cereal, what sort of cereal would you be and why?

Once again, a big thank you to AmbiGaming for the nomination.

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New Series Incoming: The Complete NES Collection

First things first, I haven’t had much of a chance to write on this site recently, which is a real shame. I quite enjoy writing here, but my life got too busy and I had to sacrifice some things.

That being said, I do want to continue to write here. 

Today I’m announcing a new series, of something very few have attempted before: I’m going to play through the entire NES library. I missed the NES by many years, and I never had the chance to play some of the “classics” on that system, something which I think would be hugely beneficial to my gaming ability (at the moment, I’m very terrible at higher-difficulty games).

This is going to be a very long-term project, and usual reviews and editorials will continue as normal. Gamesland news will be discontinued, and any important news will be opinionated in an editorial. 

Here’s hoping to a good year in 2017!

A One Year Anniversary Post

It’s been over one year since this site was started, and I’m really happy with how it is today.

I mean, last year, the site was a scary, black with white writing place that had no idea where it was going. Today, it’s a friendly place with a somewhat clear direction.

Last year was great. Even starting late into the year couldn’t stop the start of the yearly awards, most of which still haven’t been reviewed. But this year is going to be bigger and better. Mobile Week 2014 is pretty much set, with 8 different games from several genres being reviewed, from October 20th to the 27th. Furthermore, there’s going to be even more reviews, because there hasn’t really been enough. And although it keeps being said, there’s going to be editorials. Eventually.

But still, if you want to leave some feedback or just talk about games, just leave a comment. The comment section has no teeth and therefore cannot bite.

Here’s to the new year!

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Gamesland Redesign and Feedback

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a large redesign of the site. I once had a bit of feedback regarding the design of the old one, which stated that the white-on-black text was hard to read, and I can understand that. So now the website is a bit easier to read, and I also think it looks far more inviting than the old design, mainly because of the colours and a few other factors. The content is all the same, and will remain the high quality content that was here before.

But that’s just the website. Here at Gamesland, I want to give readers the best possible experience. So want your feedback. Simply fill out the polls below, and I’ll attempt to adjust.

The Site Design

The News Posts

The Review Posts

The ‘Other’ Posts (currently non-existent)

Any Other Feedback?

 

So enjoy the site redesign, enjoy the content, and enjoy everything else.

P.S. If you’re a long-time reader, you’ll know that I wasn’t supposed to be doing anything until the first. Well, it turns out we have internet, so enjoy the few posts.

Gamesland Update

Hello fabulous readers,

It’s not often I do a post like this. Oddly personal.

This week there was almost no new news. Just about everything was announced at E3 this year, and we’ve already covered all that in a massive 2633 word (approximately) post.

So I figured there was no point having a news update this week for the two items that would have been in it.

In addition to this, I’m going on (yet another) holiday tomorrow. Effectively, this means no updates of any kind until the first of July. Then I go on a separate trip, so the next time I’ll post will be the 10th of July. So, no frequent updates for the next two weeks.

 

So, until then, enjoy the steam summer sales (I’ve already spent $33 and I don’t even have a proper PC, just a laptop with not-that-great specs) and don’t forget that all of Halfbrick’s games are now free on iOS.

 

I’ll see you guys (metaphorically speaking) on the 1st of July, where they’ll be more news from the Land of Gaming.

Gamesland in 2014 and Acknowledgements.

Gamesland started at the start of September 2013, and now it’s a new year. Gamesland will be doing new things. In 2014, this blog will not only have the weekly news, or reviews. It will have new segments. Several, in fact.

The first is titled A History of Videogames, and will be a twice-monthly post attempting to detail the history of videogames in general, and occassionally going into detail with a particular series or game which I feel has shaped gaming. The first post will be published on the 12th of January, and the next post will be published on the 26th, and so on.

The second will be an attempt to play through some of the most gamous series in gaming history. How does every game in The Legend of Zelda play in chronological order? How about Pokémon? I’ll play through the games in order, and publish a review here. Or maybe on another website, and I’ll reblog it here.

That brings me to the acknowledgments. I want to thank everyone who’s followed the site, and so, this is a list of all the followers of Gamesland sorted by how long the person has been following for (click on highlighted names to get taken to their website).

– Nikki Berkhof
Jesse Singh, a man who is an internet marketer, and his blog shares tips and strtegies on internet marketing and how to make money online.
– Android Bethy
Christian Mihai, a man who writes books and blogs about things in general.
Marissa Riback (mr688745), a woman who is an internet marketer and her blog is all about helping people reach their mental and financial goals.
Joe Seeber, a successful entrepreneur to help you with websites and life in general.
Marissa Riback (again, with username marissax3x3), this time she has a blog about beauty.
Erica Robinson, a woman who expresses what I call “feel-good” stories through pictures and articles.
Kendall F. Person , a man who writes. His tagline sums it up perfectly: “Where writing is a performance art and every post is a show”.
1001-up.com, a gaming blog run by three people who found a book titled 1001 books to read before you die, and decided to review every single one.
aquablue, a person who lists what they’re currently selling on ebay on wordpress.
porcelainred, a woman who blogs about things that are going on in her life.
Steven Fox, a writer who writes poetry and novels, and tests his ideas on his blog.
– chris1eong
James, a man who looks at everything mobile.
Gary Smith, a man who, with his team, reviews videogames and posts gaming news, impression articles, and videos.
The Gaming Grad, a man who posts gaming news, and is also an amateur game developer.
Aleexii, a man who blogs about “gaming, trends, entertainment, movies, tv, science, tech, gadget etc.”. Yes, that quote was from the tagline.
– l30ndn

Note that some of the above blogs may not be safe for children or any public place. If I’ve mistaken the subject matter of your blogs, spelt your name wrong, or made some other error, just leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

My thanks to everyone who followed, and I hope you all have a happy new year!

Mobile Week – Day 4: Pocket Trains Review

Available On: iOS, Google Play

Price: Free

Reviewed On: iOS

Pocket Trains is the sequel to the highly successful title Pocket Planes, released last year. The game sees you taking control of a few trains and trying to create a highly successful train empire. Along the way, you’ll purchase new regions, trains, and tracks.

The most important change to this title is the fact that whenever you buy a new train, you have to buy a track for it as well. Trains cannot run on a different train’s tracks, so you’ll want the track to be long enough to ensure that it’s worth putting a train on it, but short enough so that it won’t run out of petrol travelling along the track. This can cost quite a bit of coins, but it’s well worth it.

Another change is that events now happen only in cities that you have tracks running to. This made most of them seem quite do-able, as opposed to Pocket Planes, where they quite often happened on the other side of the world. Bux (the premium currency) are now a lot easier to get now as well, with the missions that deliver them giving you 10+ bux often. But that doesn’t come without its costs, now things that costs bux  now cost more bux, as opening a train crate will cost you 10 bux.

The process to get more trains is now simplified. Instead of tracking down certain parts like you had to do in it’s predecessor, you now open one train crate for 10 bux and hope it completes a set you have started.

However, just as I had started getting into the game, it said something like ” Someone spilt orange juice on the controls! Fix now for 10000 coins or 1 bux?” and then you had to choose between the two. It just felt wrong to me, and I feel like that should have been left out. It is a freemium model, but Pocket Planes didn’t have to resort to that. It’s made worse by the fact that there’s not even an option to wait for 5 minutes for it to fix.

Ultimately, I haven’t played Pocket Trains for long, but it doesn’t just feel as entertaining as its predecessor. The freemium model is just too outstanding here, and I ultimately think that Pocket Planes is the better game. I hope Pocket Boats is a bit better than this (if it comes).

Pros

– Nice Retro Artwork

– Fans of the games will enjoy it

– Good train-based ideas in the game (e.g. tracks)

– Bux are easier to get, but the ratio of bux to purchase is roughly the same.

Cons

– Freemium model really shows out

– “Pay to fix” the train

– Can be slow at the start, which leads to boredom.