Playing NBA 2K14 on PS4

How I got in to playing basketball games? First I started to get interested about these kinds of sport games as I was already playing basketball. It was my hobby for 7 years. Then I stopped playing as I wanted to concentrate to studying more. The first basketball game I ever had was Super Real Basketball. It was a game for Sega Mega Drive. It wasn’t the greatest game or the most realistic. But that’s how I started to get into basketball games.

The game that really caught my attention was NBA Jam. I played it in arcade in the 90s. It became my favourite game at that time. I liked also very much Mortal Kombat. These were the best games for us to play in arcades. I usually played with my friends in arcades. Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam are so great titles that I still play these original games on my Sega console even today. There have been many games released later that had better graphics and controls and so on. I still like these original games also.

NBA Jam was a hit in arcades all over the world. Sure, it was appealing and attractive. It wasn’t so realistic. There was NBA Live series that was trying to create games that were more detailed. I didn’t like this series so much or get into it. I remember playing some basketball games on PS1. But the best games that were dealing this sport were yet to be released. I have also played many basketball games on Xbox and PS3. I just didn’t so much get into them. I have to mention, in this context, a very good basketball game for PS2. That game is NBA Street vol 2 on PS2.

NBA 2K14 isn’t the latest basketball game but it surely is the one I have played the most. This game was also among the first games I bought for my then fresh and shiny PS4. I started creating a character. My imagination started flowing. I created a player that was 6 feet tall. He played as shooting guard. I added some base skills to ball handling, passing and 3-point shooting. When the game, and new season starts, you don’t first get to play. You might get 5 minutes at court to prove your skills. Then you start to get more playing time as your character progresses.

NBA 2K14 has many dimensions in it. I found it appealing as I have some history inside basketball. I have learned new ways to look at this sport. I have tried to make some kind of a game myself. This has not been easy for me. I would like to create some kind of strategy game. I went on to play 2K14 for maybe 100 hours as I developed my characters skills to overall of 99 and managed finally to win the MVP and the championship. This is a very good game. I think it brings some role playing games’s elements to sport gaming. As I had achieved almost everything the game had to offer I moved to NBA 2K18. I didn’t like it so much. This time I created taller character that played the position of power forward.

The legacy of Colin McRae Rally

Now that Dirt 5 is coming to us later this year it would be nice to think about how Codemasters started this whole rally game thing. So it was 1998 and PS1 was the best and most popular gaming system out there. We had already seen some really good racing games. Gran Turismo was released early in 1998. The first Colin McRae Rally game was good, but in my opinion, the second game was even better. It had some awesome physics modeling that made it the most realistic rally game of its time. Back then racing games were mainly played with gamepad instead of a wheel and pedals. This made playing not so realistic but also really fun and it also demanded a good concentrating.

Two first games were popular. Third game, Colin McRae Rally 3, was released on the next generation of gaming consoles. It was released for PC, PS2 and original Xbox. I really liked this game also. Graphics are better than in the first two games but the feeling and controlling is very much like in these first two games. Colin McRae Rally 04 and Colin McRae Rally 2005 followed some years after. It tells a lot about this games popularity that there were so many games released. It actually had competitors. One really good simulation rally game was Richard Burns Rally. Some players thought that Colin McRae games weren’t actually the most realistic racing games that existed. That was about to change. But it took several years for Codemasters to develop its most realistic rally simulation game yet. I am talking about new games that were released to PS4.

Dirt series started with Colin McRae DiRT. It brought nice rally driving experience along with some other kinds of vehicles for players to drive with. It was a good racing game. It was followed by Colin McRae Dirt 2 and Dirt 3 that were both released, also with the Dirt series’s first game, on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. I talked about how Codemasters were also beginning to develop a racing game that would be more realistic. The game, which also has a sequel, was Dirt Rally. It was released for PS4 along with PC and Xbox One. It brought realistic driving experience to players that could even use wheel and pedals to play this racing simulation.

Surely there are many racing games and even series’s of racing games. Colin McRae Rally is still very important to me and close to my hearth. It introduced me to rally games. I also played other racing games, but not really any other rally games. With Dirt Rally 2.0 and Dirt 4 released already some years ago rally game fans will know where they are turning their heads to as they need some more rally gaming experinces. The saga continues as Dirt 5 will be released later this year.

Saying goodbye to PS4

So there’s PS5 to be released at the end of the year. You may have been thinking that PS4 is totally over. Should you just remove it from your setup? You may change your mind because there’s going to be released some very big titles. One of them has already been mentioned in this blog. It is the remake collection of two games – Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 and 2. The other one is Dirt 5. It’s going to be released on October of 2020. We have already seen some big game releases like The Last Of Us 2 and Final Fantasy VII Remake.

How long exactly is PS4 going to be around? That is a good question. If you think about PS3, the predecessor of PS4, you can find out that the newest games haven’t been released to it. But still some hardcore players are playing it. At the beginning of this year I found out that there was PS3 emulator for PC released. It made possible to play a copy of your favorite PS3 game on PC. Though one game could take a lot of space. Some games require 50 GBs of space. Considering this and the issue of high system requirements it would be awkward to actually use this emulator as we have seen PS3 prices dropping from the price tag of brand new gaming console.

PS3 is still around and that’s not going to change for a long time. PS4 is going to lose its title as the most powerful PlayStation gaming console very soon. You can also consider some of the last games that were made for example for PS1 in early 2000s. Game companies could actually make some never before seen games because they had so much experience about developing games for exactly that system. We saw then games like Final Fantasy IX and Vagrant Story. And remember how good Silent Hill was compared to for example the first Resident Evil. There are some mistakes that can be corrected and there definitely is advantage in being some of the last games on any gaming console.

What will be the first game you buy for your new gaming system? PS5 already has some games to choose from that will be released at he release or shortly after. I am waiting to see Gran Turismo 7 for example. There is always going to be some time until new good games are starting to be released on a new gaming system. In the case of PS4 the consumers had to wait for a long time waiting for good quality games. And this also started the trend of HDs and remakes. This makes sense as you think for example how many games were released on PS1 and PS2. Why would you have to reinvent the wheel every time? There is going to be some advancements in technology. This will eventually bring some new kinds of games to us players.

I will have to say this. I am not going to buy PS5. Even if there actually is going to be a new Diablo game released on it. I am aiming for a gaming PC as my next platform for latest games. I am also going to wait two or three years to buy it. This decision is not written in stone. My mind can change. I was a bit disappointed to PS4. This is only my decision and you should definitely make yours after you have given this idea some thought. It has been some years since PS4 was released.

New information about PS5

Few days ago Sony released new information concerning PlayStation 5. We finally got to see the thing itself. There already had been pictures that described the looks of DualSense that is the controller of the new gaming console. There were two models introduced. The other has optical drive that supports Ultra HD Bluray and the other is fully digital so it doesn’t have an optical drive at all. Optical drive is practically a very small opening that receives the disc.

Earlier unofficial pictures of this upcoming gaming device were false. I’m not sure where they leaked and did Sony actually consider these designs. The final look of PS5 is very, at least in my opinion, stylish. You can place the console on its side or to an upright position. Although there were neat pictures of the device there were very few details introduced. One of those details is the price. I would think that the digital version would be cheaper, but that wasn’t yet officially confirmed.

PS5 does have many promising game titles to be released on it. Those games include Resident Evil 8, Gran Turismo, new Spider-Man and also Ratchet and Clank game. You can compare PS5s looks to Xbox Series Xs if you wish. I doubt that there would be debate rising because these both look equally nice. And you really can’t argue on matter of taste. PS5 and Xbox Series X are both going to be released at the end of this year. I think the sales of both of these systems is going to peak at this years christmas. Let’s see which one takes the lead.

Can you see inside the game?

There are many different views to video games. In my opinion by playing them you learn different things about the world itself but you also learn how games are played, structured and what are the rules inside it. You can also take a psychological view of what the game is trying tell you. What is the plot and what are the developers main points or what is the games message. You can also analyze the game – what are the rules and how do you proceed in this game. Some games ask for the player to make decisions that effect to what happens and how do other characters react to this. When I think about this one particular game comes to mind. That’s the first Fallout.

Some players are happy to just play and play and keep playing and enjoying these video games without learning things about the world around us. I think that’s okay. Not everyone has to be a scientist or go to university. It’s just my own habit and my personality that drives me to think about things a little bit deeper. At times I find myself reading books, skimming through texts that I find online and just having a conversation with someone at social media for example. I enjoy this a lot. I think your brain is your greatest weapon and it is even greater than a loaded handgun.

There is also a technical view to gaming and games. After I spent years learning programming I found how the logical part of games is constructed. I am happy that I graduated and even though I didn’t finally get a job as a programmer I learned many interesting facts about computers and technology. That was combined to my earlier experiences about playing video games. Now, I am not a hardcore coder. I know the basics. Still this little knowledge opens a door to understanding a lot about video games.

You basically have content that reacts to users actions. You get points by doing something. As Sonic you collect rings. As Mario you jump on enemies. These points are actually variables. When Mario jumps, or we can say that you push the button, this action triggers a function that defines how high the jump is and usually it also records how long did you press the button and did you press any other directional buttons. When Mario lands on an enemy there is another function triggered. Have you ever wondered how on earth can a game save of for example Fallout 4 fit in to so small space? This is because for the game to be saved you only need some statistical information, some variables, that have all the necessary information inside them. So it all makes sense, finally.

There are many ways to analyze games. You can view them as entertainment, learning tool, hobby, profession (maybe), subject of any kind of science and so on. You can also think what goes on in the game and what is the atmosphere like. If you want to learn more about games and maybe willing to learn how to make games I can tell you that you should first start programming some way. You can try to get to some good school to learn things out. That’s the route that I took. After you have learned basics you can advance to a tool, usually a framework, that you can build your game on. Good tools to learn are Unity, Stencyl and Phaser. And remember that programming is only the logic part of games. To make a game you need also to create all the 3D models, story, textures and music with some sound effects. It takes a lot to make a full game. Some just have what it takes and…well, some just don’t. Try to be patient. If your first game, or the prototype of your first game is awful, don’t give up. Just keep thinking, designing and learning. That’s also how you can grow as a person.

Creating the sound of Mega Drive

Music has always been a big part of video games. From the earliest soundtracks of Commodore 64 to the CD quality output of the first Sony PlayStation this genre of video game music has been developing as time has progressed. PS1s sound cannot be classified as chiptune. We are here going to concentrate to earlier sound worlds of consoles and especially to Sega Mega Drive. If you didn’t already know I am going to also mention that Mega Drive and Genesis are basically the same. The name Genesis was used in USA. But the consoles are the same.

Commodore 64 wasn’t as powerful as Mega Drive. It still plays a big role in the development of video game music. Many good principles of making music were first introduced to music producers when there were C-64 games soundtracks created. Back in 80s the music was generated with applications called trackers. It differs in many considerations from music production today. Today it is common for a musician to have a fairly powerful personal computer, software and a keyboard and a microphone. At some times producers used hardware synthesizers and even samplers (mainly hip hop). Today it is common to have virtual intruments that are called VST instruments or to put short VSTi’s. There is also effects which are called VST effects.

So how does modern music production relate to retro games music? It is interesting because many artists or hobbyists are still interested in the worlds of sounds that were created over 20 years ago. They still sound freash. Even if they have this sort of a retro feel. It is still interesting how they actually managed to get quality sound out of these primitive devices. This sound is actually a genre that is called simply “Chip Tune”.

I am going to tell you how you can basically build this sound and compose as original chip tune artist. You first need a VSTi host app. I prefer free one so you can download a program called LMMS (Linux Music Making Studio) that runs on both Windows and Linux. I prefer also Linux and VSTis don’t even work today on Linux. Then you will need a proper free VSTi. We are going to use a synth called Genny. You can see this posts featured image. That is the GUI of Genny. Don’t be afraid of the look of this image – it has many ready-made presets so you don’t necessarily have to make your owns.

In LMMS you load a thing called VeSTige. That’s the actual host for VSTis. Then, if you have already Genny’s .dll-file downloaded, you can load it up to VeSTige. It’s that simple. Feel free to change presets and play sounds from your MIDI- or even regular keyboard. Nice! If you have any difficulties just try to search with Google for additional tutorials and tips. I am not going to tell you everything about VSTis and LMMS, but I am very sure that you will find information about these if you proceed to create your own tunes with these tools. This was just a few words about generating some chip tune music. Bye, for now!

Some of my experiences with Gran Turismo

I first played Gran Turismo on Sony PlayStation. It was my first full game that came with the used console I had bought. My PS1 had also some demo discs included. I didn’t really get in to using racing wheel. And the game didn’t in my opinion necessarily need one. PS1 had many great driving games. I definitely enjoyed also Colin McRae Rally series as its first two games were released on Sonys first gaming console.

Gran Turismo was something amazing. It was released in 1998. It brought realistic graphics and gameplay to console gaming systems racing games. You could also test and upgrade your vehicles. You could buy new cars and tune them and buy more parts. It had over 150 different cars. You got money from completing races and finishing on top positions. There just were so many goals you could try to achieve. Think for example collecting all the cars the game offers.

You can see the second Gran Turismo game on this posts image. I never really played that. I didn’t play GT3 or GT4. But the game I did play some years after getting into the first game was the fifth game of this series. Racing gamers have seen many good games that were developed after the first Gran Turismo. I can name for example Richard Burns Rally and Dirt 3. In my humble opinion GT5 doesn’t come close to these. It is named as Gran Turismo 5 and it is a good game. But…do you have to play it just because it has a strong brand and some earlier games in this series were good? Is that good enough reason? I don’t think so…

Gran Turismo 3 and 4 were great games. I broke my PS2 a while ago so I couldn’t play these on it. And I don’t know if these games have aged well. Racing fans just have so many alternatives to turn to. Dirt Rally 1 and 2.0 have been released and also we can add Dirt 4 to this list. There is already one new Gran Turismo (Sport) that was released for PS4. There does exist some good racing games available only for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. We are not going to go there…

Childhoods Favourite – NHL 94

I wrote recently about Sonic The Hedgehog and how it was my first Sega Mega Drive game. I am going to present to you another game that I liked to play on this gaming system. It was Electronic Arts’s NHL 94. I remember it well as a game that was fun to play and which delivered awesome playability and challenge. You could play just one game. There was possibility to play an All Star game. There were no national teams but I remember how I found many Finnish players on various NHL teams. I think best of them were Jari Kurri and Teemu Selanne. Selanne played in Winnipeg Jets with another Finnish player Teppo Numminen.

You could also start a Playoffs series. I think there was a possibility to play the whole season but as there were no way to save your game that would have been pointless. You could adjust the difficulty level and the length of a period. Big part of this game were the statistics. Players had different abilities such as speed and shot and passing accuracy. Sometimes players were injured. The game kept record of user stats. I remember how I tried to make the crowd cheer more because I wanted to break the record of the desibel levels of the crowd.

I played this game a lot. I think it’s the game I played most on my Mega Drive. NHL 94 was released also on SNES and Sega CD. There was also a release for PC that was simply titled “NHL Hockey”. It had official NHL license. Wikipedia states also that many people think that this is the best sports game ever released. According to my text above I don’t think this becomes as a surprise. It was developed as two dimensional point of view. If you like to play older NHL games I can tell you that I also like NHL 97. Maybe I will write a post also about that game some day.

Tony Hawks Pro Skater is making a comeback

I was first introduced to Tony Hawks Pro Skater as a young teenager back in 1999. It was the golden era of Sony PlayStation 1. I’m not much of a skater. I mean I had a skateboard but I think I started skateboarding too old. I didn’t learn the tricks. The toughest trick I managed to do was pop-shove-it. And some of my friends had fun at my expense because of that. But that’s enough about my skateboarding skills.

Skateboarding is fun to watch. At the end of 90s some game developers thought they could create a game based on this style of sport. This was also a good opportunity for Tony Hawk to gain some more recognizability. The game was an absolute hit. It made kids want to start learning real skateboarding. And it did bring this sport more fans and hobbyists. It made skateboarding very popular.

If you liked the game or why not the whole series or maybe just the three first ones or what ever – there is going to be released a new game with better graphics that maintains the playability of the original one. This release includes THPS one and two. The release date is currently set to September 4th. There might be delays coming to this releaase because of situation with Corona virus.

So the game brings THPS to some newer consoles. Activision hasn’t released a THPS game after 2015 when THPS 5 flopped badly and received bad reviews. If you have played this game you propably remember the sonudtrack. In this new release there will be almost all tracks that appeared on original games but some are going to be missing. This is happening because of licensing problems. This small HD collection will be first released on Xbox One and PS4 and might be available for newer consoles later.

So we are waiting to see if this collection brings us a game with good quality. It’s been a while. I think I am going, once again, have these nostalgic feelings I sometimes tend to have. Lets hope it will be a good THPS HD version of the first and the second game. And lets hope that the release isn’t going to be delayed, well, at least not badly.

Sierras early adventure games – Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards

As I am born in the 80s this game was one of those first games I played as a small child. It was released by Sierra in 1987. It uses a game engine called Adventure Game Interpreter or for short AGI that was originally created for producing the first Kings Quest game back in 1984. Again this was something we gamers had never seen. Suddenly you had graphics instead of staring at a screen that had just some text on it.

Before Sierras innovative way to create graphics to adventure games fans of adventure game genre had to content themselves to bare text parser with no graphics at all. These games had graphics but the actions the player makes have to be written. You can move the character and sometimes when you perform some command you need to be in some place inside the games inner world. And you can move from screen to another screen. I wasn’t even born when first text adventures came to markets but I can see how this kind of an improvement would be like.

Leisure Suit Larry was based on a text based adventure game originally released in 1981. Al Lowe copied most of this games ideas. It was almost the same game with only graphics added. This is my view. You can propably find a copy of this game and play it yourself and you will understand better (I can’t publish this games name).

My experiences with this first Larry game are strongly represented in my memories of my childhood. I learned to write some words with computer keyboard playing this game. Back then I didn’t understand games details. I for example didn’t understand what is a prophylactic. And graphics of this item in this game were blurry enough to let my imagination handle it as some sort of a gem. The game has some controversial content but it is understandable that you maybe would let a child play this game. Of course there are many other games that might be more suitable for a young kid. But this is how I got started with Sierra.

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