I was at Harvey Nichols earlier today and spotted a pair of triple white ultra boosts as well as black ones. At first I thought they were the regular ultra boosts but turns out they were the James Carnes x Dirk Schonberger editions. What sets these two apart from the regular and popular ultra boosts is the material used. The black version is made using wool fibre and has reflective detailing while the white version is made with Dyneema fiber, an ultra strong and lightweight material.
For some reason though Harvey are selling the pairs for KD110 which is far more than the KD70 retail price in the US and KD80 retail price in the UK.
An inside look at the Amazon Fulfillment Center and what takes place after you place an order online. [YouTube]
With the recent trend of remasters and remakes I thought I would highlight games that have aged well enough to still be played and feel as though it was just released yesterday. The first game that popped into my head was Chrono Trigger.
Chrono Trigger was first released on March 11, 1995 for the Super Nintendo. The game was developed by a superstar team that included Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy), Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest) and artist Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball & Dragon Quest). Yasunori Mitsuda (Xenogears, Chrono Cross) composed the music for the most part, but Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) also contributed once Mitsuda fell ill.
Chrono Trigger is a role-playing game that featured some revolutionary and innovative features that have since become the norm in most modern role playing games. Enemy encounters weren’t random. Enemies are visible on the map and are avoidable. Unlike previous role-playing games that had a separate battle screen when you encountered enemies, fighting in Chrono Trigger is quick and happens directly on the map. And when you’re fighting, the game features “Active Time Battle” which means that enemies won’t wait for you to attack before attacking themselves which makes battles more hectic, intense and fun. Another welcome addition to the battle mechanics is the ability for characters to team up and combine moves together to perform some devastating attacks. My favorite aspect of Chrono Trigger is the ability to travel through time. This ability allows you to visit the same areas at different time periods, so as you complete side-quests in the past you can see how your actions affect the future. Chrono Trigger also has 15 different endings (including a bad one). Playing through the game multiple times was made easy through a new mode called New Game+. In this new mode, special abilities, your characters’ stats and equipment carried over from your previous game. This allowed you to beat the game at a much faster pace, encouraging players to try to view the other endings without making it feel like a chore.
The game still looks good after all these years partly due to the detailed pixel art. Good 2D visuals tend to age much better than good 3D visuals. Each time period in Chrono Trigger has their own unique color pallet and theme, so you’ll easily be able to distinguish each time period easily and areas don’t have that “same-y” feel. The characters all look great as well, which is rare for a JRPG, there always tends to be one or two badly designed characters. Each character has an interesting backstory and distinctive personalities. As you travel through time learning more about each character, you see how they developed into who they are. The villain, Lavos is another unique aspect of the game. Lavos is a terrifying, huge parasitic monster. Villains in JRPG’s usually tend to talk a lot about their motives, reasons for why they’re trying to achieve their end-goal. Lavos is special in the sense that as a creature, it doesn’t speak. There is no reasoning with Lavos. It has one purpose in life and that is to drain planets of their energy before moving onto the next one.
Since the Super Nintendo release of Chrono Trigger, the game has been re-released on the Playstation, Nintendo DS, the Wii’s Virtual Console, iOS and Android. The best version to play is the Nintendo DS version which includes two extra dungeons, the animated cut-scenes, an improved translation and a second screen, that shows the map of the area you’re in and allows you to place menu shortcuts. Amazon still sells the Nintendo DS version for a pretty decent price. But if you don’t own a Nintendo DS or a 3DS, the smartphone version of the game is based on the DS version of Chrono Trigger. You’ll just be stuck with touch controls and no second screen, but on the plus side it’s only $10 which is a steal for a game like Chrono Trigger. The Playstation version can be downloaded if you own a Vita, but I would avoid this version because it (for some odd reason) adds load-times, there’s also an issue with slowdown during battles and an inconsistent sound quality.
Chrono Trigger is one of those titles that every person who enjoys video games should play. The same way every movie fan should watch the Godfather at least once or anyone who loves music should listen to the Beatles. Chrono Trigger will stick with you, I first played the game almost 20 years ago and I never forgot it. There are scenes and moments in the game that will stick with you: the courtroom scene, the jail break, the first time you visit the future. Are early memorable examples. I carry Chrono Trigger around with with my 3DS at all times, sometimes I’ll start a new game but not to necessarily beat it, but just to just have a taste of the game and meet the characters all over again. This was the game ultimately changed my life by introducing me to role-playing games. The characters, the art, the music, all near perfection.
I wasn’t really interested in Super Mario Maker when it was first announced, but every announcement since has gotten me more and more interested, and right about now, I want it. I’d even pre-order the special edition version if it was available for the North American market.
This recent video from IGN reveals some new interesting information. Not everything will be available to the player when you first start the game. You have to spend 5 minutes each day, creating and working on a level for more items and tools to become accessible. Which makes sense to me. It lets the player learn the basics of level design and lets the player get accustomed with all the objects and tools. On top of that it would be a lot less overwhelming if you gradually unlocked everything you can use.
Besides that tidbit, the game will also feature two challenge modes. The 100 Mario Challenge and 10 Mario Challenge. In 100 Mario Challenge you get 100 lives to complete a collection of courses (chosen randomly off the internet) in a row. 10 Mario Challenge is similar, except you have 10 lives to complete a random collection of courses.
Super Mario Maker will be released on September 11.
A.W.A (Arabs With Attitude) featuring Qusai, Vico, Arabique, Sphinx, Big Mo, Anas Arabi & Flipperachi [YouTube]
Produced by: DJ Outlaw
Directed by: Raed AlMurish
Mp3 download link:
Back when Wolfenstein: The New Order was first released I felt that the market was oversaturated with shooters that all felt the same. I even wrote about it. I didn’t really give the game a chance until I found out the studio who worked on it. MachineGames was founded by key members of a studio called Starbreeze Studios. Starbreeze Studios were in charge of two great games, Chronicles of Riddick and The Darkness. Both those games weren’t your typical shooters. There was greater emphasis on the narrative and a greater emphasis on immersion. The pacing was different than most first person shooters. This made the purchase of Wolfenstein: The New Order a no brainer for me.
But when I started the game, I had mixed feelings. The games prologue felt like your typical FPS game. There was a lot of running around in trenches, shooting Nazis, running around a bunker shooting more Nazis. It’s long too, but it also gave the player a good idea of what to expect in terms of gameplay, there’s a little bit of choice when going through the different levels. You can either go in gun-blazing or go in stealthy. You’ll encounter commanders as you progress through each level and if you take down these commanders without raising the alarm, it unlocks the location of each secret on your map. If the alarms are raised, waves of enemies will come at you until you take down the commander. Besides that there are various challenges that you can complete to unlock a variety of perks that range from the amount of ammo you can carry to the speed of your reload. These challenges are optional, but encourage you to play a specific way which makes things more interesting.
At the end of the prologue you meet the creepy Deathshead and that’s where the game takes a turn for the better. I love the concept of an alternate history. The one MachineGames created for The New Order is no exception. You can discover more and see how the world differs by reading news clippings that can be found throughout the game. These news clippings will answer some questions you might have, but not all, leaving you with enough curiosity to want to come back to this world in the future.
There are a lot of great moments in this game, some remind me of MachineGames previous titles. Like a prison segment that’s quite reminiscent to one from Chronicles of Riddick. Without revealing anything, there’s a scene on a train that’s incredibly intense and just a joy to watch unfold. I enjoyed these moments of quiet, where shooting was not involved. Exploring your base, talking to the other characters, playing the old-school Wolfenstein level. It also helps that the game is designed incredibly well. I had fun looking around the environments. The design elements of objects like the Nazi propaganda posters, the little food packaging that you find lying around, the technology, all looked beautiful.
Everything sounds good too. Mick Gordon (who also worked on Killer Instinct and the upcoming Doom game) does a great job at creating music that fits the mood of the game perfectly. One of the most annoying things in a shooter is picking up a gun that looks powerful and having it sound like a much smaller gun. It throw the “feel” off completely. Thankfully all the guns in this game sound like they look. The big ass automatic shotgun sounds a lot more powerful than the normal double-barreled shotgun.
MachineGames hit the jackpot with Wolfenstein: The New Order. My only other complaint besides the games opening is that I felt the final battle in the game could have been done better. MachineGames built a world thats immersive and they showed enough of it in the New Order to make me want to know more. It will be interesting to see which direction they take the story in. Hopefully they can maintain the standard of quality they set themselves in The New Order.
One of the greatest features to come out of the last generation of consoles was the ability to download games straight to our consoles. This along with the fact that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo gave the means for indie developers to publish their games, we were able to experience games that probably wouldn’t exist otherwise. The popularity of these games didn’t go unnoticed. Sony signed Thatgamecompany right as the two founders were finishing up their master’s degrees. Thatgamecompany released Flow and Flower before giving us Journey. All three games felt like some sort of experiment. In Flow you played as a microorganism and in Flower you controlled the wind.
Journey is special. I still remember the first time I played it and beat it. At the time I only owned a Wii and an Xbox 360, so I wasn’t really following any news or releases regarding the PS3. I had heard of Thatgamecompany but didn’t really pay much attention to them. One night I was over at my friends house while a friend of ours was visiting from abroad and they encouraged me to play through Journey. We sat there in the dark for two hours while I went through the game, pretty much in silence the entire time except for the occasional “wtf” moments. At the end I was speechless, the game took my breath away, I’ve rarely experienced that kind of moment and I’ve been playing games for over 22 years. This might all sound like hyperbole, but I mean every piece of praise I write. It might have been that one specific night I played the game, maybe the stars aligned just right, I’m not sure what it was but when I was done with Journey that night, it left a lasting impression on me.
In Journey you control a robed figure. You start off on a dune and your goal is to reach the summit of a mountain that is illuminating light. Along the way you have to solve simple puzzles. Your character wears a scarf, its length determines how long you can fly through the environment. The game is pretty linear, but you can explore off the main path and discover secrets that explain the games mysterious lore. You can also find glowing symbols that will increase its length of your scarf. The longer the scarf the longer you can fly.
One of the games special features is its multiplayer. As you traverse the world you’ll come across other players. You’re randomly placed together so you can’t control who you play with. The only way to communicate with the other player is through a serious of sounds and pings. You can work together to recharge your scarves and to help each other fly further. You can see how experienced the other player is by counting the rows of patterns on their robes. Most of the time these experienced players will help guide you to secrets. Sometimes you might play and beat the entire game and not even experience the multiplayer.
To top it off, the music in the game is brilliant. The composer Austin Wintory was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for Best Score Soundtrack for his work on Journey. The nomination was the first for a video game soundtrack. It’s hard to say what Journey would be without Wintory’s work because his music fit so perfectly with the game.
Journey is one of those games that I keep going back too. I owned it on the PS3 and I just bought it again on the PS4. It’s a game that I’ll keep going back too as long as I own it. I understand why people would dislike it, but I personally think it’s a perfect game. If you were to play it I would strongly advise to play it in one sitting, with the lights off and the volume up. It’s not a long game, it’s not difficult and it’s pretty straight forward.
Three great trailers were released yesterday at Gamescom. There was gameplay footage of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and that game is looking quite incredible. The movement looks so fluid, the music sounds great and it’s visually beautiful. EA also released a gameplay trailer for Star Wars Battlefront that featured the fighter squadrons game mode. Looking at all the gameplay videos EA and DICE have released for Battlefront it’s obvious that they are really doing a great job in creating an exciting Star Wars game. Lastly a trailer was released for Mafia III. I wasn’t really interested in the game until I saw the direction the developers are taking it in. The 1960’s is an interesting time period and the cast of characters featured at the end of the trailer has gotten me curious.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Star Wars Battlefront: Fighter Squadron Mode Gameplay Trailer
Mafia III (Not EA)
When Nike released the Air Max 90 in cork back in April, I loved the concept but hated the way they looked. They were fugly in pictures and worse in person and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a pair. Then Nike released the Air Force 1 mids in cork around 10 days ago and I knew I had to get one. They looked so much better than the 90s and I right away knew how I would wear them and quickly proceeded to order a pair. I just got them in the mail this morning and they look even better in person than they do in photos. They’re super hot and really easy to pull off since they work well with black jeans.
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