Mickey Mouse: Memorabilia. Is it really that unsettling?

So,

it’s September. It’s the time when children go back to school and parents sigh as they have to drag themselves out of bed to make sure their children actually do go back to school. For me, someone who doesn’t go to school anymore, this isn’t the case. However, I do still drag myself out of bed at least before 9am every morning to keep me sane. Or sane enough anyway.

Speaking of sane, playing video games helps me not to get too bored with the amount of free time I have. There have been a handful of games I have been playing recently, one of them being Epic Mickey 2the sequel to Epic Mickey (if you didn’t figure that out yourself already).

Epic Mickey 2 to me felt like a polished up version of Epic Mickey, but this is probably because I played the sequel on the PS3 rather than the Wii, which is the platform I played the first game on. I must admit the second game was quite a bit easier, and I had many flashbacks to the last levels of the first game where I died and fell off things more than I wanted to.

But anyway, the games are pretty darn good. They both have fairly decent and positive reviews and even though tedious at points, the gameplay was fun to me personally. The style of the games is what’s number one though. Broken dolls, robotic Disney characters, and levels with lava? I really can’t get enough of that creepy Disney atmosphere, and the concept art is even better (credit to Shawn Melchor for picture number one and Kevin T. Chin for picture number two. It’s such amazing work! I could browse through this stuff all day-.
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Something tells me that Pinocchio still isn’t feeling like a real boy…
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I think the shrinking potion would’ve been more useful to you there, Alice…

Talking about creepy though, there are certainly a handful of Mickey Mouse trinkets, toys and the like spread across the Universe, and eBay. I for one would love to have a shelf dedicated to Mickey Mouse, for some reason I just love that cartoony rodent.
Mickey Mouse definitely has a rather disturbing history in terms of the merchandise that was released, and if you have seen some of the Haloween costumes from circa 1930, you’ll also probably have a good idea about what I’m talking about.
But let’s have a browse over some of the items that used to be in circulation, which will probably give you nightmares more than anything.

Honestly, what even is this? Sure, it’s from the 1930s, but it looks like something that’s come straight home from a drunk boxing match, and it really is rather unsettling.
The problem is that there are so many of them. You can search ‘mickey mouse 1930 doll’ on eBay and get pages and pages of fairly expensive results.

I mean, I don’t know why you’d want to, but if you did want to make some of these yourself, then here is a retro vintage sewing pattern you can buy (don’t say this blog never helped you).
If you’re not really wanting to make them, then you can always go and visit The Walt Disney Family Museum which has its own collection of the 1920s and 30s Mickey Mouse memorabilia. This time was when character merchandising became a novelty, and Mickey Mouse, in particular, became a craze.

If you want to see more about the weird and wonderful merchandising of this particular era, then give it an internet search! There are definitely plenty of disturbing Google results waiting for you, and with Halloween next month, you might as well prepare.

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Mickey Mouse himself has starred in a number of films, video games and probably many many other things that we surprisingly wouldn’t know about it we didn’t research. Of course, Mickey Mouse’s Debut was Steamboat Willie, and to me, this is one of my favourite versions of Mickey Mouse. Even though I still love him now, the vintage look is actually kind of dark and perhaps not so much for kids as you would have initially thought. Then, in 1984, Mickey Mouse made his first video game debut on Game & Watch systems. I don’t have much of an interest in Game & Watch games as of now, but I can’t wait to try and collect a bunch of Mickey Mouse-y items to show off to, well, myself.

To finish off with, here is a picture of the great Walt Disney surrounded by an original set of plush dolls at Disneyland opening day in 1955. Wow, such history! And Disney history at that.

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So, all in all,if you’re interested in a more modern Mickey Mouse game, with a great style and pretty fun gameplay and lots of co-op action if you really want, then I recommend Epic Mickey 2. Of course, I’ll be playing, watching, collecting and exploring other Mickey Mouse titles in the near future, and if you have any recommendations, then please comment them down below!

Thank you for reading! – Hannah. 

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When You Suddenly Don’t Feel Like Playing Games (or doing anything)

JUNE ISSUE: POST #3

I’ve hit a brick wall. Not literally, because that would hurt way too much and I don’t have enough money to buy new glasses again. But it’s gotten to the point where I look at a controller and I wonder how do I use this? What is this contraption that I hold before me? I start up a game on the PS2 and I’m fumbling around with a Wii remote bellowing why on earth won’t the dude on the screen run? I’m pressing ‘Y’ goddammit! I’ve literally become a temporary angry Granny at 22 years old.

I say temporary because this has happened before. I’ll suddenly lose all interest in what I’m doing, lose all basic skill and put my undivided attention into something else (although that new hobby hasn’t been knitting winter sweaters just yet). Although, thinking about it, I’m lucky that this doesn’t happen with people because I think both my Dad and my husband would be very upset with me at this point.

But with that being said,  I know that some people on this earth must feel the same as I do, right? Suddenly you wake up and you don’t feel like doing that one thing that you thought was your passion for the last month or something that actually made life enjoyable, and then you’re like, crap, well that’s the endI’m ready for the sun to explode and obliterate all existence.

But really it’s not the end. I know you must think I’m crazy, but if you’re anything like me, you just need a break (and a kit-kat).

I understand that some people never technically need a break though. They could play games (or do anything- …, no, not that) forever if they didn’t need to sleep or eat or, well, live, but we’re not infinite (unfortunately) and we’re not a cyborg. We’re like a Sim. That bladder meter is going to go into the red at some point, and if you don’t attend to that need, then someone’s gonna need to fetch a mop, and possibly a paper bag to hide your shame.
I understand also that there have been some stories of people actually dying because they get addicted and forget to tend to their basic human needs, which is a scary thought, and which is why the fact that I don’t really get ‘addicted’ to things doesn’t bother me as much as I thought. (I also would never put a hobby before food. Food is too important.)

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What I’m basically saying is, losing interest in something for a while is okay, and losing motivation is natural, and this is what I’m trying to tell myself (even though it is gaming, which should be a crime). I received some really lovely replies and messages from people, saying that it’s okay if I need to take a break from gaming or writing, and while I feel kind of defeated, they’re right. It’s hard to discipline yourself and do something day in and day out, without it getting at least 1% tedious. We’re humans, not a bloody machine. As much as we’d all probably like to sit mindlessly at a computer with a mechanical brain doing all the work for us, it wouldn’t make life very interesting.

I ramble a lot, I know, but whilst gaming and writing isn’t my biggest passion right now, I have been attending to some other hobbies that I’ve neglected, such as language learning and art (and eating spaghetti). I find it hard to stick to everything at once, but my interests are always deep inside me somewhere (which makes me slightly uncomfortable. I’m glad they don’t talk to me.) and they’re ready to jump out again at some point, I know it. They just need time to reflect.

Sure, it’s a completely different story when you’re talking about work versus hobbies, because sometimes we just can’t control what we have to do for work. But as for hobbies, we can do them as little or as much as we want. So we have to be kind to them, otherwise, we may burn out and lose them forever.

So please, don’t be like me and feel guilty for taking a break from an interest or hobby. You shouldn’t force yourself to do something, because it might take the fun out of it and then where would you be? You’d be a grumpy Granny, and nobody wants that.

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming (or Happy whatever-you-do-for-fun!)

LDG

 

Six Horror Games from Different Countries

JUNE ISSUE: POST #2

My previous post that featured horror games is actually one of my more popular posts, so I figured, hey, why not do another post on horror games even though you never play horror games? Great idea if you ask me. But, this post will also be tailored towards people who like non-English titles (as in, created by people where English isn’t their first language. Since everything is translated nowadays anyway), or towards people who are studying languages (like me) or just like to experiment and be open-minded (I like those people.)

So, let’s begin and take a look at what I found.

Unforgiving – A Northern Hymn (Sweden)

The first game I stumbled upon is a Swedish horror game inspired heavily by Swedish folklore. First of all, this what I love about Scandinavian games, I swear they just try and fit in some folklore at some point, and I don’t blame them. It’s interesting, fascinating and downright awesome. (Also the studio that made this game is called Angry Demon Studio. I’d like to know why they have a demon, and why it’s so angry.)

Back to the game though. This game, in particular, is a first-person adventure that uses the folklore and mythology to scare your nuts off. There are a bunch of famous creatures from Swedish folklore, that have haunted real-life children for decades. The game is noted to have a great atmosphere, great music, and a great story. So, overall, it seems great. I also read that it’s not full of jumpscares and puzzles, which is something I like. It sounds unique and it seems like there’s a lot you can learn and take from this game. I hope I can play it someday, but to be honest, I think it would give me the willies.

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I just hope that’s a big fluffy teddy bear. 

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School (Korea)

Even though I love Asian games, I don’t know that much about the Asian horror market. What I do know if that there are quite a few that seem to be set in High Schools, but I mean, schools are creepy, I’ll give them that.

This game is a Korean title from SONNORI Corp, which follows the story of student Hee-Min Lee as she braves the horrors inside of the school. He slips into school one day to hide a box of sweets for a girl that he likes, but then he suddenly gets trapped (that’s what kindness does to you) and is locked in the school with goodness knows what (well, a ghostly dead janitor apparently).

Apparently, there are lots of puzzles, multiple endings, and difficulty levels which change how scary the game is. The reviews of the game are quite varied, but overall it seems like a decent title, and definitely something you should check out if you like this style of game.

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He looks like he needs some sleep.

The Town Of Light (Italy)

I had actually heard of this game before I was doing research, so I’m not sure if it’s one of the more popular titles or not, but it does seem to be getting a fair amount of good reception. Developed and published by Italian developers LKA, this game is set in a hospital in Tuscany, Italy. You play a 16 years old girl called Renee, who was a patient at the hospital in the 1940s. You explore the world around you and relive the history of the main character and her confusion of the world.

What’s interesting is that the story can develop in different ways and that the story is actually based on real facts and events, and horror games are always scarier when they’re supposedly based on true stories.

Also, this game supports VR. So, if you really want to be transported to the first half of the 20th Century to a place that actually existed, then this is your chance.

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Stifled (Signapore) 

Now, this next game’s design (from Singapore developers Gattai Games) looks so amazing.  You see and hear your enemies through your microphone input. Yep. You heard me correctly. This is a game where you use ‘echolocation’. You create sound waves to reveal things. How rad is that?!

The sounds made by your in-game character and yourself reveal objects, however, by doing this it also makes enemies and creature aware of you, which is downright terrifying in my opinion. You have to make the choice of being quiet and staying hidden or making noises to progress (of course, you don’t have to make noises. You can bind it to a key if you want instead. But where’s the fun in that? I want my neighbours to think I’m crazy.)

This game follows the story of David Ridley, whose memories of trauma are turning his world into darkness. The developers of this game previously also made a game called Lurking, so if this style of game appeals to you or you want to try something new, then I suggest you check them out.

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Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale (South Africa)

Then we have the walking simulators of horror, although I believe that this is more of an adventure thriller game. Plus, there’s also point & click aspects, so it’s not entirely a walking simulator. I read that this is basically a ‘spooky adventure game’ with puzzles rather than a thrilling game with jumpscares, so that makes a nice change. The aesthetic of the game is inspired by horror though, as is takes place on an abandoned farm in the eastern Free State in South Africa. And nobody likes abandoned places.

The game follows struggling writer Peter York who becomes trapped in this place and has to confront a dark history in order to have his freedom. Your character is dealing with pain and loss, and you’ll be engaged in a story which spans multiple decades.

This game is the first of five planned instalments to the series, so I think it’s worth keeping an eye on (or two).

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Doorways (Argentina)

Doorways is an episodic first-person horror game, filled to the brim with horror and atmosphere. Again, this is a game that doesn’t seem to focus on jump scares but just makes you feel more and more uneasy as you progress. So that’s lovely.

You play as Thomas Foster, a special agent who has to find and track down four psychopaths. I always wondered what it would be like to have that kind of job, and now I can experience it virtually. The best chapter with the highest reception seems to be Chapter 4: Holy Mountains of Flesh (which is a great name for a chapter, by the way). All of the chapters are available in English and Spanish, so if you’re learning Spanish and like horror games (and tracking down mean people), then perhaps you should give this game a go.

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So there are some horror games that I stumbled upon this morning! I really enjoy looking around and searching for games like this, it really makes a change and some of them are really really awesome. Especially ones that incorporate history and mythology into them, I would certainly do that if I knew lots more about that sort of thing. I really need to crack out some folklore books.

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

–LDG

Looking Back at May and A Fresh Start

JUNE ISSUE: POST #1

Recently, I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to writing. I’m not sure how often or how much I want to do it, and I don’t know what to write about and if it’s even good in the first place. But, I woke up today feeling like writing about something. So here’s a post for you. Apologies for not posting much this last week, but it’s June now so perhaps I can have a fresh start (hence part of the blog title, “A Fresh Start”. I knew the title would link to this post somehow). Although I guess I’m on a semi-hiatus? I’m still experimenting with my hobbies and every now and then I need a break to rethink things, since writing is by no means easy (for most people anyway), especially when it’s only something you got into a few months ago.

I do enjoy writing stories, however, and I was thinking about writing some based on video-games, but whether people would enjoy them or not, I have no idea. But again, I just want to do what I feel like doing, even if one day I have passion and other days I don’t, I think it’s okay. If one day I want to try something different- I want to be open-minded and give it a shot. So that’s what I’m aiming for. Perhaps you’ll see more stories and artwork on here for the month of June. Maybe even some photography. Or something completely different. But, whatever I post, I hope I’d have some support. Even knowing that one person is supporting me makes me happy. So thank you. And here’s to another month!

That means that yes, somehow May is already over, and if you look over at this post Ten Gamer Goals for May you’ll see that I was trying to complete some goals. And, I think I failed. A lot. But nevermind, I’m going to be trying out some of these same goals for June, so perhaps it’ll go better this time around! Let’s have a look back at how I did.

1) Do a video game book reading challenge

I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, but I did finish the novel adaptation of Alan Wake by Richard Burroughs. It was pretty good. I really felt like I could imagine the whole game while reading (it’s a great game, by the way). The writing could have been better, but I’m happy I read it nonetheless. Next up I want to read the books for BorderlandsDragon Age, and BioShock. So, wish me luck!

2) Read Game Studies books/articles

I didn’t do this at all. I really should have since I have some Game Studies PDFs and all, but it’s okay. It’s just another fresh goal for June. Bring it on.

3) Read Game Magazines

I didn’t really do this that much either, but luckily I did pick up a few more for super cheap. So even though I didn’t read many, I did improve my collection at least. (Picking up more things instead of playing them? I think everyone can relate, right?).

4) Beat 5 Games

Last month I beat, let me see… 3 games. Which is a lot less than I wanted to beat, and a lot less than I was beating monthly last year. But hey-ho, they were games I really wanted to beat so I’m cool with it. They were the Dreamfall Chapters, Beyond Good & Evil and Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, so I’m pretty happy. I recommend all of them, too.

5) Earn one Platinum

Nope. Noppity-zero-none-nope. Nowhere near, unfortunately. This month I will conquer a game once and for all! (I hope.)

6) Play Silent Hill

Well, I did play it. I played some of it. I tried it. I was terrible at it. I really am not used to those controls. This isn’t going to be a goal for June since I’m probably not going to pick it up again for a while. Not until I do some hand exercises anyway.

7) Get 50 WordPress followers and maybe some gamer buddies? 

Oh! Neat. I actually did get over 50 WordPress follows, so that’s awesome. I won! I completed a goal. Now, am I trying to get to 100 follows in June? We’ll see. (Thank you to all my followers and readers, by the way).

8) Become more knowledgeable about games in general

I probably am somewhat. I read about games every day so I’m pretty sure my stats in gamer knowledge have risen. So, yay for that! More stats!

9) Watch some tv shows/movies based on video games

I thought I did this, but I actually didn’t. I went on a Jimmy Neutron binge instead. Oops.

10) Have fun!

Oh, I try. It’s hard, but I try. I need some tips to try and have more fun. How do people have fun nowadays? Please do let me know in the comments.

So, yeah! Those were the 10 gamer goals that I had set up for May, aaaaand I didn’t do so swell. But that’s okay, I mainly want to focus on beating more games and reading and trying to write what I can for this next month. Having goals is nice but you shouldn’t let them control your life.

What goals do you have for June? Let me know and we can support each other!

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

 

My Favourite Songs on Rock Band (Wii)

MAY ISSUE: POST #30

Since I lost a lot of motivation to write anything today, I thought I would do a simpler post and also share some good (or good in my opinion at least) music while I’m at it. I like rock music, and I like Wii games, so when I finally received Rock Band for Christmas one year, I didn’t put it down for months. Years, even. I was constantly rocking. I didn’t actually play Guitar Hero at all until 2016. I was a full-on Rock Band person.

The first Rock Band game was released on Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and Wii around 2007/2008. It was developed by Harmonix, distributed by EA and published by MTV Games. The game allows you to play with up to four people (or you can wing it solo, like me. Because I didn’t have friends that were as cool as me. Cough cough). You can play guitar, bass, drums or sing (if you want to deafen your neighbours), and even keyboard in the later editions of the game. The great thing about it is that you actually play physical plastic instruments, and that was the real fun part.

So what songs can you expect from Rock Band? Well, I’m mainly talking about Rock Band 1 and here, although there is, of course, another two games and Rock Band: The Beatles and Lego Rock Band to browse through if you so wish.

Let’s have a listen. Here are some songs that I played many many times.

Thank you to all the YouTube channels I got the videos from, and 
thank you to all the bands for making these great tracks in the 
first place.

1. Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers

No, I’m not singing along at all. Why would you even think that?

2. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

This song was on the first Rock Band but I’m linking this video because of the good quality. I love this song to death. This is probably one of the songs that I’ve continued to love and listen to for years and years.

3. Detroit Rock City – KISS

Can’t go wrong with some KISS. I remember buying the song after I played it in the game, although I don’t really love it as much recently. But, of course it’s still great, and I would love to be able play it on guitar one day.

4. Foreplay/Long Time – Boston

Boston is a great band. ‘Nuff said.

5. Tom Sawyer – Rush

This song is one of the best songs in existence though, to be honest, and I’m going to bless you with Rush playing it as well as the song itself. I’m too kind. Please, rock out all you wish, but don’t give yourself a concussion.

6. Welcome Home – Coheed and Cambria

I definitely played this song the most. Oh man, this was one of my favourite bands for a while, and a lot of their songs are still my favourite songs to date. I really need to play this on Rock Band again. I’m ready for some nostalgia.

7. Aqualung – Jethro Tull

I actually have a big history with Jethro Tull and his music. My Dad was and still is an avid fan, and he passed that onto me. So, I’ve seen him live numerous times. He’s incredibly talented.

8. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Come on, you have to mention this song. I’d be a criminal if I didn’t.

9. Man in the Box – Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains is another great band. I’m so glad this game introduced me to a lot of this genre music, whether it’s good that it was the game that did that though, I don’t know. But, hey, at least I got into rock even when I was a weird looking nerdy kid.

10. White Wedding – Billy Idol

And finally, don’t lie and tell me you don’t do a little shakey-head-nodding thing at the opening guitar riff.

What were your favourite Rock Band songs? Comment below!

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

A Few Video Game-Related YouTube Channels You Should Watch!

MAY ISSUE: POST #27

I’m looking at the clock, and I literally have one minute to type this post. The reason being that I didn’t sleep too well and I woke up late and I missed my deadline, but since this is the first time ever that it’s happened since creating this blog, I’m allowing it.

Therefore, (as much as I don’t like YouTube anymore), I thought I would write a post about some YouTube channels that I don’t mind watching.

I used to be on YouTube myself and I used to use it probably close to 24/7, but its changed so much in recent years, and with all the drama that goes on behind closed doors, I don’t really feel comfortable browsing around it anymore. Of course, this is just me personally. It’s like this nostalgia thing. I love nostalgia, and YouTube is so different to when I used to use it back when I was an early teen. It seems crazy that so many people now use YouTube to earn money or to spread so much good or bad information, and that you have to have the most high-tech equipment and well put together videos to be popular and- no, it just doesn’t feel right to me. I miss the bad quality microphones and video. But of course,  I do respect people who do earn money from YouTube, don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome. But I personally only stick to channels that I like and make me feel good and happy or nostalgic. I do also watch a number of gameplay videos in other languages, mainly Japanese, but I won’t be mentioning those this time around.

So, without any further delay (since this post is already late) let’s get to it.

MetalJesusRocks

This is my ultimate favourite channel, which weirdly I only started watching no more than half a year ago. MetalJesus‘s videos feel more like a chill TV show of some sort (with a rad opening tune), and this is why I like it so much. He puts a lot of time into his content, and he has a crew with which he often records videos with and a massive growing collection which is a must-see. There’s a lot of information to be gained from this channel, and it’s entertaining and funny, and it’s easy on your ears if you want to leave something on in the background for a while. He currently has 538K subscribers, and I think he deserves way more as his videos often revolve around hidden gems on different systems, buying guides and pickup videos. My favourite videos, in particular, are the pickup videos with Radical Reggie, which is another channel you should check out because he seems like such a chill and nice dude, and definitely needs some more support. Let’s give these channels some more love, people (I’m counting on you!)

Yogscast/Angory Tom

Now I’m really opening up the doors to nostalgia. Oh man, the Yogscast channel is the channel I binged watched for years and years since around 2009. I watched right through their original Minecraft videos, and right through all their other early gameplay content as well (I even experienced their face reveal days! I also have an old t-shirt. I’m not trying to brag or anything). Recently, I haven’t watched their videos as much as their content has changed quite a lot, and I for one, love Lewis and Simon the best, so it’s been sad to not see them be a duo as much anymore. However, the whole crew is great, and they’re always up for a laugh and that’s what makes the channel fun to watch. I for one, will always watch their old videos and listen to their old podcasts, but as a channel as a whole, and with 7.2M subscribers to date, you can’t really miss out on giving them a watch.

Simon of the Yogscast has recently been in videos with Angory Tom a lot (fyi. who’s also part of the Yogscast), and Tom has one of the best voices for laid-back videos ever. Seriously, not being weird, but you could fall asleep to it. I absolutely loved his City Skylines and Planet Coaster and Parkitect videos, and now I’m obsessed with any new video which features Simon as well. He currently has 141K subscribers, but with content on the Yogscast channel as well, you can’t really miss him.

Game Grumps

Okay, I admit it, I haven’t been watching Game Grumps as much recently, and only because I haven’t been watching YouTube in general recently. I do miss them though, and although I’ve only been watching them for a few years, I do prefer a lot of their older content (Danny is my favourite. Just to say. I fangirl). One of my favourite series by them is, of course, their Sonic Boom series. It’s hilarious, and you really should take a look if you haven’t seen a Game Grumps video before. With 4.5M subscribers, you could also say that they’re on the popular side. They’re super nice people though (or so it seems), and they contrast nicely with the Britishness of the Yogscast, and Danny is also part of a band called Ninja Sex Party (you know you want to click that link).

ProJared

Last but not least, let’s go for another pretty calm channel. ProJared is definitely a smart guy though, and his videos are a great insight into a lot of games, and he gives very professional opinions (but also whilst being comedic. Which is important.) With 1M subscribers on his main channel, he talks to us as if he’s having a conversation with us, and that’s always nice when you want to feel less lonely but also want to become more knowledgeable about certain games (and also be a nerd). He uploads gameplay videos on his other channel, and they’re definitely work checking out too. Again, ProJared’s videos are nice to leave on in the background if you want to, for example, play games while listening to something. Then you’re double gaming almost. Or not. Just go watch his channel and stop reading whatever I’m rambling on about.

Something I’ve noticed with all of these channels though, is that they’ve been on YouTube for a long ass time. And maybe that’s why they’re so good. They’ve been through it all, so to speak, but I also believe that there hasn’t been much drama revolved around them, which is also nice. People have tried to show me other channels, but I’m pretty darn picky, and that’s okay. We all have our preferences. So with that being said, what are your favourite gaming-related YouTube channels? Should I go out of my comfort zone and check them out? Comment below!

Thank you for Reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

My Sims Game Collection

MAY ISSUE: POST #36

Hello everyone, and welcome to another collection post, where I showcase a random selection of my gaming collection. This post, in particular, is all about my Sims collection. Of course, The Sims series is huge, with a few spin-offs too to keep you going. This time last year, I actually only really had The Sims 3 games on PC, but my interest in the series grew and I scoured charity shops and car boot sales and this is what I’ve managed to pick up (so apologies for any ugly stickers. I know, I’m a mess). I think, surprisingly, the console editions were the first games I ever played from the series, and then I played The Sims 3 on PC through my teen years after that. I remember coming home sometimes and being obsessed all night. As a lot of people were. Ah, good times.

I still have a long way to go (miraculously) and unluckily, I’m currently in a bit of a pickle with The Sims 4 game I purchased (I hate how it’s the only one in the series where you can only register the code once) so I won’t be including that in this post (since it makes me sad- especially with the recent announcement of The Sims 4: Seasons).

But enough of my wallowing, I still have enough Sims games to last me a lifetime (actually, you can never have enough). So, let’s take a look at what I own.

First up, is, of course, the first Sims. I actually really enjoy this game a lot and I was playing it on my Windows XP computer not so long ago (as in, half an hour ago). It really was an absolutely great start to the series, and actually, some of the items that are available are better than the items in the games that follow (in my opinion). I feel like this Sims was the most mature in the series too since the more recent releases definitely have taken a more family-friendly turn. I’m missing only two more main expansion packs for The Sims, and I can’t wait to grab them and finish off this particular part of the collection.

Then we have The Sims 2. What interests me the most is the giant leap between the games, since it’s pretty incredible how far they’ve come. I actually only have one main expansion pack missing (I have The Sims 2: Fun with Pets Collection but forgot to include it in the photo) but it seems to be a tad more expensive and a little hard to find. This is a really great set of expansion packs though, and overall, you get a game full of lots of content. I personally really like Seasons, because I like seeing my Sims trying to work out what on earth to do with all that snow (and slipping over. I think I’m a sadist).

The Sims 3 definitely has my favourite cover art from the series, and I also remember explicitly when I first tried to play the game on my PC and it ran terribly. But then I came home from school one day and my Dad had installed more RAM or something like that, and it ran smoothly from that day forth. I had never been more excited, and that’s when my addiction began. So thanks for that, Dad.

Now moving onto a series that I want to get more into. I’ve hardly played any games from the Sim City series, but I know I love city building games, so I can’t wait to dig into these. The whole idea of the games is great, and it seems like another set of games that has developed a lot over the years.

Let me just say, I LOVE the MySims series. Well, the two games on Wii anyway. I played them so much when I was a kid, and I beat them both earlier this year for nostalgia reasons (and because I genuinely think they’re great). I don’t know what it is about them, especially MySims, but I find them so relaxing and the feeling I get while playing them makes me feel pleasant and happy. You really have to give the Wii ones a try if you love cute and laidback games. I really need to get Agents, Skyheroes, and Racing.

And, lastly, we have the console editions of The Sims series. I only recently got The Sims: Bustin’ Out, but I can’t wait to try it. I also haven’t really played Urbz much yet either, but from what I have played, I know I’d love it. As for The Sims 1 and on PS2, I played those quite a bit when I was younger, and they were so cool to me. To be honest, they still are. The fact that they had story modes and that I actually found the first game difficult was shocking to me, and I had so much fun with it. The Sims 3: Pets to me was a lot to be desired, but it’s still cool that there are console releases like that, and I never say no to adding them to my collection.

And there we have it! Those are all my Sims games so far! I think I have a pretty neat collection built up (and they definitely take up quite a bit of space on my shelf). Maybe one day I’ll have a full collection, but until then, I really should focus on playing them more. 

Oh, and of course, with rumours spreading about EA being an apparent bitch recently, we probably won’t be getting any more Sims games apart from the mobile ones. Which is pretty sad, but, maybe it has run it’s course. The older ones will always be my favourites anyway.

What is your favourite Sims title? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

The Beaten Diaries #14a: Evolution of SpongeBob Video Games

MAY ISSUE: POST #37

I’m sure that you, the same as me, love SpongeBob. Whether that be the old SpongeBob, the new SpongeBob, or any SpongeBob. Well, to be honest, I can also understand if you don’t like SpongeBob, but I think a lot of people my age and older, and even people like my Dad, can watch episodes and have a laugh.

Of cousre though, this is primarily a gaming blog, and luckily for us, there is a range of video games we can play that put us into the SpongeBob SquarePants world. Some are, of course, better than others. I for one, back in early 2017, managed to get SpongeBob HeroPants on the PS VITA for really cheap in America when I was over there for a while. The game is lighthearted and fun, but graphics and gameplay are a lot to be desired. Also, there are a handful of glitches. However, it is a short game, so you’re not really pulling your hair out for 20 hours (unlike some other games).

I 100% the game, since it was fairly easy to do so. I got all 15 Memorabilia, which are little neat trophies that you can view in the game. Overall it’s not too bad, but of course, since SpongeBob SquarePants began airing in 1999, there have been quite a few video games since then. Even though I did a post on video games based on cartoons last week, I think I want to do one on SpongeBob in particular anyway, and dive into the games more and showcase them. I would love to do the same for The Simpsons and other widely known shows, but that’s all in due time.

SpongeBob actually first appeared in Nicktoons Racing on Arcades, the PS1, Windows, Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance in the good ol’ year of 1999. So let’s have a quick look at his first video game appearance.

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Aw, there he is. Looking as dapper as ever.

But anyway, let’s take a look at the first SpongeBob game ever released.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Legend of the Lost Spatula

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The name of the game pretty much says it all.

In the game, you help SpongeBob find the Flying Dutchman’s golden spatula, which I guess is lost in some way. SpongeBob believes that if he finds this spatula, then he’ll become the greatest fry-cook. Whether that’s the best in the world or just in Bikini bottom, we’ll never know, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind where, he just wants to be a great fry cook.

This game was on the Game Boy Colour, and was  developed by Vicarious Visions and published by THQ in 2001. The game was pretty mediocre apparently, which is understandable. It is said that the gameplay is too simple, but the game still appeals to fans and younger audiences. The graphics look decent though, and I think personally, I would get quite a bit of fun out of this.

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SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Krabby Patty

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Surprisingly, the next game to come out was a Windows only release from 2001, and to be honest, I would love to own it. I have an old Windows XP machine beside me, and I would love to throw some more games onto it. And you can’t go wrong with some SpongeBob fun.

This game, in particular, focuses on two different stories. One story is sbout Plankton, and how he is creating a robot to, naturally, try and steal the Krabby Patty recipe, and SpongeBob has to try and stop him. The other story you can play, is one where SpongeBob’s pet snail, Gary, has been taken by Plankton and you have to rescue him.

SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge!

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The next game makes me happy because saying SuperSponge! is pretty fun. It was released in 2001 and sold on the PS1, Windows and Game Boy Colour. The game is all about Patrick’s birthday, and SpongeBob wanting to get him the best present ever, which is apparently a signed picture from superheroes Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. Of course, you have to complete numerous tasks in order to get the signed photographs, and that’s basically what the game is about.

This title also received pretty mixed reviews, but hey-ho, it’s another SpongeBob game so I wouldn’t complain.

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SpongeBob SquarePants: Employee of the Month

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I don’t want to make this post too long, but I don’t really want to skip over SpongeBob SquarePants: Employee of the Month, which was a point and click PC only title back in 2002.

Mr. Krabs gives SpongeBob two tickets to Neptune’s Paradise, an amusement park, as a reward for being employee of the month for the billionth time. You basically have to figure out how to get there with Patrick. I like how it also notes on this one website that SpongeBob cannot die, so that’s nice to know.

But yeah, I love point and clicks and to be honest, this game looks awesome to me. Especially for nostalgia reasons. I hope I can find it cheap (then I can report back to you all on how it truly is).

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SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman

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Finally, onto one of my favourite consoles, the PlayStation 2! The first SpongeBob video game to make an appearance on the console (and GameCube)  was Revenge of the Flying Dutchman, which had pretty good reviews if you ask me. The story of the game follows SpongeBob (who else?) whom accidentally releases the Flying Dutchman. He threatens to take Gary away,so SpongeBob travels across the world to search for treasure in order to defeat evil spirits (such as THe Flying Dutchman).

It sounds pretty fun to me, although I believe that the Game Boy Advance version is slightly different.

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SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom

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Here’s to more and more PS2 releases (and GameCube of course, and Xbox, and Game Boy Advance, and PC).

This particular one is from 2003, and you control each of the characters in order to save Bikini Bottom from the robot that Plankton created, and that’s kind of it. There isn’t too much to say about this one in particular. But I mean, who doesn’t want to battle for Bikini Bottom? I know I do.

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Oh look,a hidden Atari 2600 controller made out of sand!

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: The Video Game

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Of course you need a game based on the movie, and this is it! I mean, you can already see that from the title, I’m sure, but anyway, this is the game based on the first SpongeBob movie. It plays very similarly to Battle for Bikini Bottom, and you have to save everything and everyone from another one of Planktons doings.

There are again plenty of different ways to play this game, such as on the PS2, Game Boy Advance and you can even buy it on the PlayStation store! So how about that kids.

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And so, this concludes the first part of the history of SpongeBob and his video games.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I showcase the games from 2005 to present day!

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

The Beaten Diaries #13: Dishonored and Why Stealth is Fun for Some People (and not me)

MAY ISSUE: POST #35

So, I’m really bad at stealth. I mean really bad. First of all, it makes me paranoid, and who enjoys feeling paranoid? Well, some people, maybe, but I don’t get thrill out of it at all (I don’t even like the tension in games shows). With that being said, I have enjoyed some stealth aspects in video games. Recently, I played Beyond Good & Evil, and it became one of my favourite PS2 games. But with that being said, I think there’s a difference between stealth on the PS2 and stealth in more modern gaming. I for one think it’s more difficult nowadays, but then again, maybe I haven’t tried enough sneaky games to really have a proper opinion (so don’t trust what I say, basically).

With that being said, I was really excited to try Dishonored back at the beginning of 2017. However, I had no idea that it was technically a stealth game, and I went in weapons ablazing, and then got miraculously stuck when it came to having to sneak past some guards.

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I don’t know whether it’s because I get really nervous, or because I rush things when I’m nervous, but I was terrible at those parts of the game. I did beat the game though (I know, it’s shocking)… on high chaos that is (meaning that I shot a lot of people and kept stealth attacks to a minimum. Oops. Well, at least I got a trophy for it). Overall  I beat the game on normal difficulty, but it felt harder than normal and I didn’t even get more than 25% trophy percentage. I felt pretty ashamed.

But anyway, before I delve into the world of stealth, let’s look into the game Dishonored a little bit because it is a well-loved franchise after all, and a lot of people enjoy it and I understand why. Dishonored is a stealth (well, it’s meant to be stealth. I changed it into the least stealthiest game in the world) action-adventure video game, published by Bethesda Softworks (also known for the Fallout series, of course, among other titles) and developed by Arkane Studios.

The game throws you into the word of an assassin, who seeks revenge! Set in Dunwall, you begin as the bodyguard for the Empress, but then she gets killed and her daughter is kidnapped, so that’s not very good. Your character, Corvo, escapes just before his execution (lucky for him), and with the help of some loyalists, you become an assassin to help restore the Empress’s daughter, Emily, to the throne. It’s all very exciting, I must say. I really wonder what being an assassin must be like. I’d be too nervous to be one, to be honest. I’d constantly ask if it’s okay to assassinate people and then apologize for killing them for weeks afterward.

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So what about stealth games? And why do some people like stealth more than others? This is the question I’m raising for this post today.

I’ve been browsing some forum posts revolving around this type of question, and these are the thoughts that I’ve decided to note. Someone said that they’re a fan of stealth because it requires a lot more thought and planning, and they say it’s a lot more satisfying when you complete a mission without setting off alarms or killing anyone. But somebody has also commented, that if a game gives them guns, they’re going to use them, and they find it boring to sneak past enemies rather than straight-up shoot them. I personally side with this second comment to an extent. I definitely find it way more fun to run around and shoot everything and laugh manically, but really, should it be fun? Why is killing in games fun in the first place? Maybe it’s because doing bad things is stimulating, but of course,, in games you don’t experience the consequences like you would in real life.

So maybe that’s why stealth is fun for some people. Maybe the thrill of almost getting caught but then managing to quietly kill your enemy is way more satisfying than getting noticed and then shooting everyone around you in a frenzy. Especially since you can’t really do that sort of thing in real life. I for one actually have definitely enjoyed killing some enemies in games by sneaking around a corner and grabbing them and smashing their head against a wall and strangling them (it’s hard not to sound like a psycho, but seriously, I’m not). But playing a whole game stealth? It gets a tad boring for me. So I guess, all in all, I enjoy games that let you choose and strategise. I like having control and choosing what to do in the situation, rather than being limited to one particular tactic.

Some people really enjoy strategizing in games and spending the time to think about what they’re doing. I suppose these are also the same people who like puzzles and are very patient, perhaps, But then again, I love puzzle games and have patience but hate stealth, so I guess it just depends on the person (and how they like to kill people). But again, I hate tension a lot. So crawling around a room for a while trying not to get caught just makes me feel on edge a bit too much. But I guess playing a game stealth changes the whole experience entirely too, and it gives you more options. Some stealth games actually give you the choice not to kill anything, and I understand the satisfaction with that, especially if you finished playing a game like Killing Floor or something beforehand. It definitely makes a nice change.

The main thought I have here is about tension. I suppose stealth is seen a lot in horror games too because of this reason. Which is why I absolutely screamed my head off when my husband was playing Alien Isolation and I accidentally watched at the wrong moment and he was stealthing and something was behind him and he didn’t notice and- shudder. Stealth definitely makes horror games more intense, and I guess, more fun and scary for certain people.

Another point is that I also think that stealth can make you feel cleverer in the long run, especially if you outsmart enemies or aliens or whatever you’re up against, and your actions really do matter. So really, it’s up to you to decide what sort of gameplay you enjoy, and whether you can handle the anxiety of nearly getting caught.

Thus, even though this was a mishmash of thoughts regarding stealth, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the topic. Do you enjoy stealth games? Or do they make you too nervous like me? Let me know in the comments!

Examples of games where you can stealth-it-up include:  

♦Metal Gear Solid (another series I was absolutely terrible at, but 
I think I just need practice)
♦The Evil Within
♦Batman: Arkham Asylum
♦Splinter Cell
♦Deus Ex
♦Hitman
♦Thief

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

Minimalistic Games on Steam

MAY ISSUE: POST #34

Much to my excitement, there’s actually a ‘Minimalist‘ tag on Steam, which means you can browse games with a minimalistic style, and that’s pretty awesome. Some days you just wanna throw away all that chaos and be a minimalist (at least I do anyway).

For this post, I’m going to be choosing ten of the interesting-looking titles, and showcasing them to you. Keep in mind that these are games I haven’t played yet, but I will probably play them pretty soon since I’m choosing them to share with you guys.

Flower Design

If you like Viridi, then you’ll probably like the game Flower Design. It looks like a simple flower arrangement game, where you, well, arrange flowers and change colours of flower pots and stuff like that. Frankly, it looks very relaxing. Even the style of the game puts me at ease. All in all, if you want a game which provides you with a cheaper alternative to real flower arranging, then this is for you.

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Mini Metro

Mini Metro is a strategy simulation game which involves designing a subway map for a growing city. The goal is to keep the trains, routes, and lines efficient, without running out of resources. I’ve only ever gone on a subway about two or three times in my life, but this game seems like it would make you never see maps the same way again. Even though it seems like a puzzling game, it’s also apparently relaxing, and definitely minimalistic, so you should give it a try.

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Maciej Targoni’s Games

Do you want really cheap puzzle games with lovely aesthetics? Then klocki is one the games you should be looking into. The maker of this game is called Maciej Targoni, and his other games Hook and PUSH are minimalistic puzzle games, as well. So do yourself a favour and look into all three. They’re all simplistic of course, but klocki i, in particular, has a very bright and heartwarming style, and I think the guy who designed these titles is a genius.

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Absolute Drift

I actually really like minimalistic driving games (not that I’ve tried that many), and now I really want to try this one. Oh, and I also really like drifting, so why wouldn’t I add this to my wishlist instantly? (And that’s exactly what I did). There are plenty of events and tracks to try out, and I think you could especially have fun with this game whilst listening to music or listening to a podcast or something zen like that. Because, after all, the game is also the ‘zen edition’ too. It would be a shame not to take advantage of that.

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Warcube

This game made me audibly say ‘aww’ when I saw it because I love games that feature cube characters (reminds me of Unbox, which is another great game). This game states that you can ‘crush your enemies, siege castles, and bring glory to your six-sided self!’ which sounds extremely exciting to me. And did I mention that you play as cubes? In medieval times. Yes, cubes. Adorable little cubes. Cubes cubes cubes. They should just take my money now.

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Seek Etyliv

I think it’s time we brought even more RPGs to the list. Seek Etyliv is a very recent minimalistic experimental puzzle game where every move counts. It combines poem storytelling and dungeon crawling, and the style and interactions that you face are all very unique to the game. I bet it’s a great experience. The whole game also takes place on a 3×3 grid, so you have to be careful. I for one would love to try this out.

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NO THING

Now, you can’t have a list of minimalistic games without something weird and surreal, because honestly, if you want to make a minimalistic game, then that’s a perfect opportunity to make it weird too. This game is set in 1994, but strangely, it’s the future. It tells the story of an office clerk who is sent to the Queen of Ice with an important message, whatever that may be. There’s simple controls, full-voiceovers, bright, colourful graphics and wave music. So, if you enjoy a simple yet really intriguing, difficult, out-of-this-world game, then this is for you.

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Ballz: Farm

You have to admit that the graphics look cute in this game, and I’m a sucker for cute graphics. Plus, I like the title. Apparently, you control a paddle, and you attempt to make it bounce against a number of objects, causing them to disappear. So, you have to keep hitting objects until every single one of them is gone. Simple! And definitely minimalistic (and apparently it has fun farm music too, which means I’m instantly sold).

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Burly Men at Sea

Finally, it’s time for a visual novel/point-and-click game, and this one looks like it has absolutely great visuals which represents minimalism really well. The game follows a folktale about a trio of bearded fisherman, who seek adventure. I for one love games which involve folklore, especially Scandinavian folklore. It’s so fascinating to me, and I’m really happy that I stumbled upon this. Also, I like the fact that it’s the second game made by a husband and wife duo (called Brain&Brain). It seems absolutely great.

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So there we have it! I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post, and all these games have those particular atmospheres to them that just draws me in. I can’t want to try them all one day. Games games games. I love games.

So yeah! Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

Music Spotlight #7: Benny Oschmann

MAY ISSUE: POST #33

I always struggle with these posts, not because they’re difficult to write, but because it’s hard to choose a composer in the first place. I look at the games on my shelves and I think to myself ‘who’s going to be the lucky sod this time?’ But today, miraculously, I thought, why don’t I do a post on one of my favourite game series? I haven’t done one on the series really, so this is a perfect opportunity to at least feature some of the music.

That series is The Book of Unwritten Tales. It makes me sad that the series, from what I know, isn’t really well known when it should be. It’s one of the wittiest, unique-looking point and click series I’ve ever played. I had tons of fun with it, and I’d play it all over again.

But this post, in particular, is about the award-winning musician who made the music for this series, and of course, plenty of other titles too. He’s taken part in projects such as Kinectimals, Toy Story 3 – The Video Game, Hitman Absolution, Angry Birds Toons and The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief. This composer I speak of is none other than Benny Oschmann (which is a great name if you ask me).

Name: Benny Oschmann
Country: Germany
Links: Website  

Thank you to the YouTube channels for providing us with the music!

Of course, first of all, I want to remind myself of the great music from The Book of Unwritten Tales. The game follows the story of four characters, whom you play as, named Wilbur, Nate, Ivo, and Critter. They exist in a world torn by war, and a particular artifact in the world is about to determine everybody’s fate. There are great puzzles joined by amazing voice-acting, and of course, music. So let’s have a listen.

I don’t know about you, but this gets me pumped up for the game, especially the beginning.

This one actually feels really nostalgic. It’s really rememberable, and even after a second (or a millisecond) I could tell you which game this piece comes from (if I’m just hearing it that is. Looking at the video would be cheating).

These two tacks, in particular, fit the game perfectly. When you’re playing, they really set the mood and the atmosphere. It’s perfect.

Unfortunately, the soundtracks for the other two games aren’t really uploaded well onto YouTube, but here’s the full soundtrack for The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles, which from the get-go, you can hear it’s brilliant. It’s a light-hearted and fun game, and you can feel that through the music, which is so important, in my opinion. The music of a game can leave big impressions.

I really want to play The Raven: Legacy of A Master Thief, and the music gives me a pretty good first impression (and reminds me of The Book of Unwritten Tales as well. It’s strange how you can recognise someone’s style across different projects). If anyone has played this game, please let me know what you think of it!

He also composed the music for a game called Black Mirror which released late last year. It currently has mixed reviews on Steam but I think it looks pretty interesting, however, it is a re-imagining of a gothic-horror adventure series, so I think I would want to try those first. But yes! Since this post is about Benny Oschmann, I thought I’d finish off with this beautiful piece for Black Mirror. Please do enjoy.

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

Artist Spotlight #7: Sebastian G Hyde

MAY ISSUE: POST #32

Since I’ve been on a Sims kick recently, I thought I would look into some of the artists for at least one of the games in the series (and it wasn’t easy to choose). I’ve seen a few pieces of art for The Sims series before and it’s actually really awesome. I don’t know about you, but when I think of concept art, the first thing that comes to mind is like, adventure and giant landscapes and protagonists and heroines, but no, of course, there’s also the art for chill games like The Sims, and that’s exactly why I’m showcasing Sebastian G Hyde with you today.

I personally love The Sims, and that goes for both the PC and console releases. The first game on PC was released in the year 2000, and of course, has been very popular and still holds up today. The style of the series has definitely gone through a lot of changes though. I personally like the earlier eras, but that’s probably because I like retro and nostalgic things.

So, who is this artist I’m showcasing anyway? Let’s have a look.

Name: Sebastian G Hyde 
Links: Webiste Fine Art Website 
All artwork owned by Sebastian G Hyde. Images are gathered are from
his websites.

Sebastian G Hyde was probably born drawing or at least started at a very young age. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised just north of Seattle, Washington. He graduated with a BA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 1989. What’s awesome is that he holds (or did hold) a weekly drawing session at his home studio, which many local artists attended. I really really wish I could’ve attended too. Woah, is that motivation I feel? 

But anyway, first off, let’s take a look at some of his concept art, and then move onto some of his more personal work. He has created a range of art pieces and really awesome ones at that.

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He produced artwork for games in The Sims series such as Pets, Castaway and Urbz, and honestly, there’s so much work on his website(s) that you can’t go wrong with having a browse. I don’t think you can blame me for including so many either. I love his pencil work and the shading that he does, and also the few pictures that do have colour are coloured so nicely. It really captures the fun and light-heartedness of The Sims series in general.

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He has of course also produced concept art for other games and game concepts, including Motor Derby, Crystal Castle, Mutants,  and Master of Magic II. Even his artwork alone makes me want to try out these games, even though Mutants was only a concept.These images in particular have a pretty unique style to them.

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There are also illustration and 2D and 3D art pieces on his website, but I want to move onto his other website, which is a compilation of his fine art pieces. I don’t think I’ve yet really talked about fine art when it comes to concept artists, and it’s nice to finally feature some. There are lots of drawing to browse through, so I recommend you take a look for yourself. But first, here are some of his figure drawings. I took some figure drawing classes for a while, and I can tell you that it’s not easy at all. Although, Sebastian sure makes it look easy. But these pieces are really beautiful, and the colours are really nice too. He’s definitely a talented dude.

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Finally, I think we should finish off by looking at some wonderful landscapes. I know I say this a lot, but you really can’t go wrong. He really has experimented a lot, and that is definitely what makes him a great artist.

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And he clearly has a sense of humour too.

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG