#PrimeDay Gaming Deals

Prime Day Gaming Deals

This is what we live for, right? Deals on games we didn’t really want to buy, but as soon as they go on sale we buy them up to store them on our shelves or hard drives and stare at them contently knowing we have them should we ever want to play them. Don’t even try to deny it.

Prime Day started off slow and I wasn’t sure we would see anything worth writing about, but then the Lightning Deals started happening and now I’m staring at Amazon compulsively waiting for the deals to roll in.

So far here’s what we’ve found.

The Order 1866 Collector’s Edition – $19.99 (Normally $60)

Destiny Limited Edition -$39.99 (Normally $99.99)

Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited (Xbox One) – $34.99 (Normally $60)

Update @ 4:15pm PT

StarCraft Collector’s Edition Risk goes on sale at 6:00pm PT

500GB PlayStation 4 Batman Arkham Knight Bundle + Final Fantasy Type 0 + PlayStation Plus – Lightning Sale at 5:00pm PT

Continual Updates coming throughout the day. Please share any deals you find on gaming, entertainment or tech related products!

Bringing Back Videos in a New Way

Keen and Graev's Youtube ChannelI’ve given a lot of thought recently to where I see the blog going for the remainder of 2015 and into the near future. I’m always thinking about whether or not there’s something we can do to enhance the blog without taking away from our core competence of writing content about the games we play.

When Twitch was just starting out we dabbled into streaming a bit. I might consider doing that again, but a capable internet connection is not available in my area at the moment. Even so, streaming doesn’t mesh with the style of content we provide here. We’re not entertainers. We’re not serious journalistic types. We have always provided something that most sites lack; Something we have always been about: Discussion.

I want to start making videos again, and I want to tailor them towards a deeper and more analytical discussion like you see here on the blog. For example, when I talk about immersion and danger in a MMORPG, wouldn’t it be great to actually show that in a video and walk through the process of identifying those traits? Showing what I’m writing about seems to me like it can only enhance or augment what is already taking place here on the blog.

Videos were one of the biggest ways we kickstarted our blog’s success. Remember those Age of Conan beta videos I shot where I ran around the battlegrounds and discussed how each class felt compared to the others? Those brought in 100,000’s of views and visitors. How about those cheesy Allods online videos? I can’t believe some of them broke 100,000 views. The facts cannot be ignored: Videos are a preferred medium.

I’m not looking to provide TV-like entertainment or provide something you’ll tune in to every afternoon at work for a laugh or to distract you. That space is already monopolized and readily available to you on Twitch. I’m looking to provide something I haven’t found, and a space I think is empty and ready to be filled. I have the experience, especially in MMOs, to provide commentary on gameplay mechanics, design elements, and the type of stuff readers of this blog would want to see. My hope is that by turning my written-medium into video form I will be able to reach a wider audience to not only grow our blog but help educate and improve the gaming community.

The style of these videos will be very casual and similar to the “let’s play” style that has become popular over the years. I’ll probably throw an intro on there (with custom music composed by my Wife — she’s an awesome composer & arranger) and launch right into showing you gameplay with discussion.  From there I’ll just launch into playing and discuss what’s going on. I expect to probably have series going for games. I might have everything from an EverQuest series of let’s play videos to Assassin’s Creed. Whatever the game, there may be multiple videos and I want them all to showcase the games while highlighting that thoughtful discussion.

These videos won’t be super regular at the start. I can’t promise one a day yet or anything. I want to test the waters and get my own feet wet with figuring out exactly how I want to create them, but my goal is to eventually be making them regularly. They will be especially interesting and worth-watching for upcoming and newer games. I will be going through some older games as well, but will focus my efforts on what’s new when those opportunities are available.

I will, of course, post everything here. If you want to give us a follow on our (currently very out-of-date) Keen and Graev Youtube page please do! I’m also looking for feedback on a name. How about “Keen Insights” … yay, nay? The name might come later.

Conglomo-catch-up-blog

Welcome back! The holiday weekend is coming to a close, and that means it’s back to games and back to blogging. I think now is a good time to give you guys a conglomoblog with details on what I’ve been up to and where I see things going in the second half of 2015.

Right now there just isn’t a log going on in the MMO sphere. MMOs really are my bread and butter, but over the last two years I have really embraced other avenues of gaming. I’m hoping to see 2016 be a year for MMOs, but that’s a discussion we’ll likely have 6 months from now. In terms of MMOs, you know I am still playing on the EQ progression server and dabbling in ESOTU.

What I’m playing

My two main go-tos right now are Assassin’s Creed Unity and Splatoon. My wife and I are playing Unity together and easily over 25 hours in with a bit more to go. She loves the history, and I love the gameplay of being an assassin in a semi-open-world. I have to say though that Unity is lacking compared to Black Flag and the Ezio series. I just bought Assassin’s Creed Rogue on Amazon (on sale for $9.99 on PS3); Rogue came out at the same time as Unity but received no marketing at all and is actually heralded by many reviewers as one of the best in the entire series. I will definitely write up my thoughts on Rogue upon playing.

Splatoon remains some of the best fun I’ve had on a console. Nintendo has provided continual FREE updates to the game since launch including more weapons, maps, game modes, and special events. The word I would use to best describe Splatoon isn’t a technical term like “FPS” or “Shooter” — Splatoon is a playful game. I hope the attention Nintendo has given to the online game here translates into their new online service coming soon.

Where I want to go…

I’ve decided just now as I write this to hold off on telling you in this post my plans. I’m going to turn that into a post for tomorrow morning. I’ll just throw a teaser in here and say it’s something I have wanted to do for some time but haven’t had the time or the freedom to do so until now.

 

The Island of Forbidden Dreams

King of Red LionsOccasionally I dream about gaming, and sometimes my gaming dreams are incredibly real and vivid. I think it happens when I eat too much dairy before bed…

Last night’s dream was a weird one for sure. Graev and I were looking for a place to explore or hide — I can not recall which because even now I think it may have been both. We were looking at a map of the world trying to find a place to go when we saw this cluster of islands off the coast of Massachusetts (these do not actually exist). The islands were not labeled on any modern map, but when we dug deeper into historical maps we saw that one of them was named The Island of Forbidden Dreams.

We set sail for the island on our boat that resembled Link’s ship King of Red Lions. As we got closer to the island things felt different. The world did not feel the same. In the distance the island came into view and what we saw elicited nothing short of a “woaaaah cool!” response. The Island of Forbidden Dreams was a real-life version of Minecraft. Pirate-like structures resembling something like Melee Island out of the Monkey Island games rose from the cliffs (see our blog’s header image above for a visual cue).

When we docked at The Island of Forbidden Dreams we cautiously looked around but saw no one. We began interacting with the world as though we were playing Minecraft. We quickly started moving blocks and exploring. We found a few pirate outfits and, keeping with the theme, we dressed ourselves like Guybrush Threepwood. The island and harbor were a mix of Tortuga, Booty Bay, the village on Melee Island, and some jungly place. Very cool.

Melee Island

Things start to blur together from here, but somehow we found some signs — yeah, the wooden Minecraft ones in the ground — indicating that other gamers had been here before and that they were planning to come back. “We can’t let them take our island,” Graev said with gusto. We began building cannons, guns, fallback points, and fortifying our position. We were not going to let them take our base.

Night fell. Torches were lit. In the distance a blocky-like fog began to roll in. We heard dreadful (yet cool) pirate themed music seeming to come from nowhere. Other people began pouring onto our island armed with all sorts of swords and minecraft inspired pirate outfits and weapons. When we would kill some of the people they would pop into pieces like minecraft blocks exploding or leg people falling apart. It sounds gruesome but it was very cartoon-like and PG in nature. We fought a tough battle and somehow I think we won.

The dream transitioned to some weird tribal council like you’d see in Survivor. Graev and I were pirate kings and having to choose our spoils from the battle. We got to vote them off the island and keep their stuff. My wife insists I include this part… Chris Harrison (host of the Bachelor/Bachelorette) was the one leading the council. When we had voted the pirates off the island we also had to vote their pirate princesses off. We had to pick one to keep and the other two had to battle to the death. It was weird… anyway…

The Island of Forbidden Dreams was ours!

Splatoon

Splatoon Review

 

Alright Inklings, it’s time for our Splatoon Review! Splatoon is Nintendo’s first true foray into an online multiplayer experience on their consoles, and definitely their first attempt at creating an online shooter. How’d they do?

Splatoon is set in a brand new world where everyone is a kid… or a squid… let’s just call them Inklings. Inklings have gathered in Inkopolis Plaza which acts as a staging area for shopping for gear, venturing forth into single-player missions or challenges, jumping into ranked or unranked battles, and interacting with other players’ Inklings via the Miiverse.

Maps and Overall Feel
Splatoon is an incredibly fast pace third person shooter. Each round/map is only three minutes long, and players have one goal: Cover as much of the map in ink as possible. The team with the most ground (note: ground only) covered in their color ink will win. While an incredibly simple approach, and favorable for the younger audience, there’s depth and strategy at play here that only some of the more advanced or skilled players will employ.

You can still “kill” or splatter your opponents by shooting them inking them up bad enough. When you die you spawn back at your starting point which takes anywhere between 10 and 15 seconds to happen. This is valuable time lost if you consider that any ink you lay down can be painted over by the enemy. The map turns into a constant tug-o-war. The key is to own the center of the map and not let the enemy sneak behind your lines. If you lose control of the map you are likely to lose. [Read more…]