Elon Musk, Games, and The Last of Us

I somehow stumbled upon this Y Combinator interview of Elon Musk – actually a clipping, on YouTube – I’d seen the full interview but this video reveals his deep interest in gaming. After stating his recommendation ‘Overwatch’ & applauding the gaming studio Blizzard for their titles he quickly turns to the interviewee (Sam Altman) and asks what his recommendations are, and he says “The Last of Us” (TLOU). It struck me right there that Elon could see his prophecy of human extinction being proved through this amazing gaming experience.

In his presentation at the Astronautical Congress in 2016 he laid out a plan to “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species” and colonizing Mars to avoid the danger of becoming extinct due to some unforeseeable incident. Without revealing much, TLOU presents a similar scenario in which human species is infected by a mysterious virus and a chaotic sequence follows which brutally resembles a doomsday apocalypse.

If there’s one person who’d really appreciate a script such as ‘The Last of Us’ it’s definitely Elon Musk.

PlayStation Virtual Reality

The Paris Games Week (PGW) concluded last week and I watched the PlayStation media event.

What has fascinated me from the beginning with the PlayStation (PS) console is the ‘Uncharted’ (UC) and ‘InFamous’ titles. ‘Uncharted – Among Thieves’ was the first title (Part 2 in the series actually) that I got my hands on , and I was completely stunned with the gameplay and the graphics. It’s much like watching a movie actually. After that I have played almost all the ‘Uncharted’ titles to date. The much anticipated ‘Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End’ was announced at the PGW to be released on 18-March 2016, it’s the last title in this ambitious series. The sadness over its culmination has overtaken the excitement from the launch. Guerrilla Games’ ‘Horizons Zero Dawn’ was good in terms of gameplay.

But the highlight of the event for me was definitely the demonstration of PlayStation VR. While Facebook has longterm goals for Oculus, Sony has already announced some terrific exclusive titles like ‘Robinson – The Journey’ for the VR platform, and many others. Looks like VR may finally become a mainstream reality soon and can’t wait to get my hands on it.

PS4 20th Anniversary Limited Edition

Go, Gone, Poof!

If you’re fretting and fuming over losing the chance to buy the PS4 20th Anniversary Limited Edition console today in Canada, I’d suggest DON’T! I am sure there’s a long line of Canadians doing just that over the last few hours. Sony commemorated 20 years of the launch of the PSOne by producing one great PS4 console design calling it the “PS4 20th Anniversary Limited Edition”, LIMITED in true sense of the word not just marketing gimmickry. Since the original PSOne was launched on 3-Dec or 12/3 they decided to produce only 12,300 of the PS4s worldwide. Just 12,300 can you believe it!! (lucky they didn’t go for just 123 pieces because that’d have been awkward).

The Japanese were the first to get their hands on this rare masterpiece on 3-Dec-14, and the Canadians today and I was keeping an eye on @PlaystationCA in the hope of some early news of this rare console launch. Here’s how I had hoped things would have worked – the tweet would have included a future date and a time when the link would go online on Sony’s online store, I would stay prepared with my CC and boom! But this happened today when I was away from my notebook for just 10 minutes only. Now I wasn’t told that the link would come and go *poof* within minutes. That’s insanity!

PlaystationCA Tweet

And I can’t even say I was “too late” because when I returned things had changed drastically in a matter of minutes! (I almost cursed myself “what was I doing in those 10 minutes?”)

PlaystationCA Tweet

 

So I resign to the fact that with just 12,300 units worldwide it was practically impossible to get my hands on one of them. Congrats to everyone who could buy it. Kudos to you. I am really envious, just so you know.

Here’s what I have to tell Sony though – you always disappoint me. Be it the incessant hacking of your servers (this has now become like an annual hacker party where everybody’s invited) where my privacy is compromised, or the multiple account ID issues on PS Vita/PSN. And now losing the chance of acquiring a masterpiece, a collector’s item which got you fixated on the launch date. Agreed you had to commemorate the launch of the console but getting serious about a number (12/3) that practically makes no sense WORLDWIDE when you consider the colossal gamer community Playstation has! (the ones who supported you by buying your PS consoles and titles for 20 long years!). It’s so pitiful to know that you had to celebrate this memorable gaming moment with your fans with only 12,300 units! Tsk tsk.

Gaming – What’s Hot, What’s Not.

It happens quite often, I’m in a game shop looking for a title and I cannot wrap my head around which title I should buy! There are tons of titles for PS3 to choose from which makes my job difficult. 4 things that help me get what I want always:

Game Reviews
First and foremost I head over to IGN to see what the experts have to say. IGN has a pretty interesting rating system that helps in making a choice, but please remember that gaming is all about personal preferences much like movies are. Always go with that gut feel while reading the review. However ratings give you that inside look as to how a game feels helps you in making an informed choice. There are other websites that offer review based ratings such as Metacritic. Also Wikipedia is another awesome choice for a one-stop-shop gaming knowledge.

Story
It’s not always the boom-booms and the melee attacks that make up for an entertaining title. A story also contributes in making the game more interesting and immersive. I have always been an Uncharted series fan throughout, to me it holds all the entertaining values that an ideal game should have. Not to mention the cinematic experience typical of an Indiana Jones movie. After aren’t games are supposed to entertain us? Pick a game that has a good storyline so even if you are tired with the gameplay the story doesn’t let you down. If you are bored to wits’ end you can always go back to play that amazing story and relive those moments all over again. With Uncharted it’s always like acting in a movie as Nathan Drake! Trust me on that.

Gameplay
Speaking of gameplay, it’s about interacting with the characters using an external peripheral such as the game controller or the Move controller (PlayStation). For instance in ‘Uncharted-Drake’s Fortune’ when Drake walks on a log you have to tilt the controller sideways in order to help Drake maintain balance or he falls down into the stream below and dies. In the Killzone series the controller has to be moved in a circular motion to unlock a door, just like you would open a safety vault. This clever tactic of using external peripherals to control the game’s story brings lot of intrigue to the game making it interesting to play, hence the gameplay is an important factor in choosing a game. The game controller or the Move controller also has the ability to vibrate at certain points during the game which adds to the immersive value of the title. Of course you can’t know the gameplay for every title before buying that game unless a friend tells you or you read it online.

Fanboy
Honestly if there weren’t exclusive titles like Uncharted, inFamous or Killzone on the PlayStation it’d have made life boring. That’s not to say there aren’t good titles available on PS3 but you get my point – it’s called fanboyism. It’s what makes you buy titles regardless of what the world says because you enjoy playing them the most. One of the deals for me for buying a gaming console was the availability of a vast library of exclusive titles and PlayStation made the cut for me. Uncharted and inFamous are my most beloved game titles and whenever a new edition is released I pick it up without hesitation. Unfortunately both these titles have moved to PS4 now.

YouTube
Another brilliant way to help you choose a game title is to watch the gameplay. Nothing comes close to experiencing the real stuff than to head over to YouTube and see the walkthroughs (or watch a friend play). I cannot imagine any game title that doesn’t have a detailed walkthrough or a trophy guide uploaded on YouTube, the gaming community needs to be thanked for this a zillion times! Not only do these videos help you choose a title – the graphics, storyline, audio, etc. can be vividly captured and reviewed, but they also help if you are stuck on a difficult story level or busy harnessing trophies. Take full advantage of this priceless medium.

Price
Speaking of price, if you are just a casual gamer the cost of a game would matter to you a lot. Games can be a costly affair and brand new titles range anywhere from C$50-70. Most games are left untouched after you play them once while some of them are left incomplete because you lose interest mid-way and gather dust on the shelf. The best part about gaming is that the fun value or the excitement is not diminished if you buy traded games. And if you are not a serious gamer this will matter to you a lot in the longer run. I prefer to buy used titles at EB Games and I have never been disappointed with the quality they offer. The difference in price can be a lot as compared to a brand new title but it also depends on the life of the title – older titles cost less than more recent ones which are traded. Pay a visit to an outlet and start browsing the games, you never know which title will hit the target for you. Also if you are holding on to a game title that you haven’t touched for many months and is lying around the house, unless if you are really a collector of titles give it up for trading and share the joy of gaming with other gamers. They will bless you for your righteous deed.

Happy gaming!