GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog

Goodbye YouTube Ads

Posted: 21 Feb 2018 04:07 AM PST

Goodbye YouTube Ads

Goodbye YouTube Ads As of today, a lot of YouTube channels (including mine) are no longer eligible for running adverts or even linking to Patreon in end cards (as you need ads enabled to show it). While initially it felt a bit of a blow, I stopped caring about it soon after. In fact, with my new videos this year, I didn't even bother to monetise them while I had the opportunity to. YouTube is a great platform to upload and share videos, interact with like-minded people and build communities. We don't really owe YouTube anything as they give us exposure and a platform to exist on. Hosting video is very expensive, especially on a high-traffic site such as theirs. It's still possible to make a living on YouTube for those that want to, but you have to be good at what you do and genuinely love making videos. You need to be consistent with a regular schedule of quality uploads. Those who are beneath the eligibility threshold of 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 hours (240,000 minutes) "watch time" in the last 12 months won't be missing out on a great deal of income. I must admit that it was quite nice making the odd few pence or even a pound here and there throughout the year, but in all honesty just doing 1 hour of work would earn me more than I've made passively in the last 4 years on YouTube. Those who want to make a living on YouTube, will still be able to make a living on YouTube (through a good business model that goes beyond just simple YouTube Ads). Those who want to do it as a hobby, are still free to do that as well. Don't let this change knock you back, see it as an opportunity to reflect and assess why you do this. If it's for love of making videos, spreading a message, building a community, sharing your passions, then surely not running a few ads shouldn't stop you. Musicians don't learn an instrument to make money, they do it as a way to express themselves creatively. It takes a lot of time, hard work and dedication. The reward is what you create, not what you earn from it. So today YouTube is stripping me and many others of earning a few pounds, so what? It doesn't stop me and it shouldn't stop you either. Create for the love of it and if in a year or so you make a bit of money out of it, hey, that's just a bonus.

Let’s Play Fun ‘N Games (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Posted: 19 Feb 2018 02:54 AM PST

Let's Play Fun 'N Games (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Here's a quick let's play of Fun 'N Games for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. Due to the style of the game, I felt a let's play would be a better suited format than a review. The video quickly demonstrates the various games and tools that this cartridge offers. Is it "too cool for school"? ... No... no it isn't. I mean... erm... check the video to find out!

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog

Top 10 Batman Games

Posted: 06 Feb 2018 03:05 AM PST

Top 10 Batman Games

As I've been a fan of Batman and the Joker since I was about 4 years old, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my top 10 Batman games of all time. Expect to see a mix of retro and recent games in this list. The only rule I've set myself is to include just one game from a particular series. So with Arkham or Lego, I've limited my choice to just one favourite. This is to try and keep the list interesting and varied, rather than filling it up with 3 to 4 Arkham titles. So here we go...

10) Batman: Return of the Joker (NES)

Batman: Return of the Joker is a bit different to most Batman games as this is more of a side-scrolling shooter. You can fire Batarangs and other types of ammo, plus on certain stages you even equip a jetpack and fly about. It's a lot of fun, even though it doesn't feel like an authentic Batman experience. It's also quite challenging as some enemies attack as soon as they appear on screen, making them tough to dodge and often resulting in you getting knocked back and down to your death. Thankfully though, there are infinite continues and a simple password system in place. The graphics are some of the best I've seen on the NES and with this game developed by Sunsoft, the music is great as well, just like their original Batman game. There was an "updated" version released on the Mega Drive called "Revenge of the Joker", but honestly I think the visuals and sound looked worse than the 8-bit original. I recommend the Nintendo version out of the two.

9) The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Mega Drive)

The Adventures of Batman and Robin for the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis is a two-player action game and a real showcase of what the console is capable of. The graphics, animation and amount of action on screen is incredible. The developers certainly knew how to get the most out of the system. Some may argue that this game deserves to be higher up on the list, but I found it too damn hard, which unfortunately really limited my enjoyment of the game. It's punishingly tough, but it is fun in short bursts and worth a look at if you have a lot of patience or an Action Replay cartridge. Unfortunately I don't have one of those and even though I suck at the game, it's one I keep coming back to.

8) Batman: Vengeance

Batman: Vengeance is another game based on the excellent animated tv show from the early 90s. This particular title takes its art direction from the 4th and final series. Whilst it isn't my favourite as I don't like how they changed the Joker, it's still interesting to see in 3D. This is complimented by the original voice actors such as Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, each giving an excellent performance as you'd expect. The boss battles are fun and I found the overall story, broken up into an episode format, a really enjoyable experience that was true to the show. The gameplay does unfortunately suffer from a few camera and control issues, especially during the first-person view when Batman has to use gadgets, but if you can get past these annoyances which come with the majority of old 3D games and if you're a fan of the animated series, you're in for a real treat.

7) Batman Begins

Batman Begins feels like a game that's rarely talked about, but it really impressed me for a licensed game based on a movie. These sort of tie-ins are often terrible as they're rushed for release or lazily rely on the license name to make quick and easy sales. This game is dark, gritty and does a great job of capturing the essence of Batman. It utilises stealth, gadgets, combat, plus fear and interrogation, years before Rocksteady did it with their excellent Arkham series. Batman Begins is not a perfect game by any means, but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. The actors from the movie reprised their roles for the voice work, the graphics and character models are good for their time, and I feel like the team who made this game understood Batman and loved working on it. It's well worth trying if you haven't played it before.

6) Batman: The Telltale Series

Batman: The Telltale Series was thoroughly enjoyable despite its flaws. I got a real sense of how it felt to be both Bruce Wayne and Batman, requiring some really tough decision making. I loved how I got to be the Batman I wanted to be, with the game's story adapting based on my choices, like many other Telltale games. It's just unfortunate that while playing this I encountered numerous bugs and glitches that completely broke the immersion, which regrettably is also like many other Telltale games. From volume issues, stuttering animations and large sections of the screen going black, to the game just crashing completely, it was very frustrating at times. If it weren't for these problems, it would have scored much higher on my list. Don't let that put you off entirely though, as it's definitely still worth playing for the story alone.

5) Batman (Mega Drive)

I must admit that this Batman game was one of the toughest decisions to make in this list. The NES version is a classic with great platforming action, wall-jumping and fantastic music, but honestly I just had more fun with the Mega Drive version. I think it's partly down to the fact that visually it's linked closer to the Tim Burton movie, plus it has has the Batmobile and Batwing stages which I really enjoyed. The main downside to the Mega Drive Batman game was that it felt like I spent too much time on the ground doing low kicks to try and avoid damage. There's also no wall-jump in this version, but there is the classic grapple and Batarangs. I would suggest you play both versions of this classic game as they're excellent in their own right. They just weren't different enough to justify two entries in this list when there are so many Batman games to cover.

4) Batman Returns (SNES)

Batman Returns on the Super Nintendo is an excellent side scrolling beat-em-up, ideal for fans of games such as Streets of Rage or Final Fight. This is completely different to the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis version, making it a very pleasant surprise when I first played it. Even though it's based on the movie, I wish they'd incorporated a two-player mode into this game somehow. It's still fun in single player, but it would have been even better with a friend. I love how you can pick up enemies, smack their heads together, smash them into the ground or even throw them into a shop window. Batman Returns is simple in terms of gameplay and some may find it quite repetitive perhaps, but personally I love it and it's a game I come back to time and time again.

3) Lego Batman: The Video Game

While Lego Batman: The Video Game is quite a simplified and comedic action game, the level designs, references, music and characters made this arguably the best 3D Batman game ever at the time. Honestly before this, a lot of people had almost given up on the possibility that anyone could ever make a good 3D Batman game. Infact I loved this game so much, that I held off completing it for ages as I didn't want the experience to be over. Quite hard to explain and sounds a little bit weird maybe, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, went on to 100% complete it and then bought it on the Nintendo DS to go through it all over again. As for the other Lego Batman games, while they're still good, I don't think any of them quite captured the feel of the first game. Branching out into space and flying about is still fun, but I prefer to stay in Gotham with all the Batman characters. I'm also not a huge fan of the split screen mode they added in the later games as it can be quite disorentating.

2) The Adventures of Batman & Robin (SNES)

The Adventures of Batman and Robin is easily one of my favourite games to play on the Super Nintendo. Not only because it's incredibly faithful to the animated TV show in terms of its visual style, but because it captures the feel of it as well. Much like Batman Returns, this is completely different to the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive version, being slower paced and with a stronger focus on gadgets. The level design, character interaction, graphics and animation all make it feel like an interactive episode. Sure, there isn't any voice acting in this due to the hardware limitations, but it has aged really well. It's very challenging, which may put a few people off, but to me it feels more fair than the Mega Drive alternative. This game will take several attempts to learn different mechanics as there's a lot of variety between levels. It's not perfect, the Batmobile section in particular is a bit ropey, but overall I consider this to be the best 2D Batman game available at the moment.

1) Batman: Arkham City

Of all the Arkham games, Arkham City was my favourite. If you're a fan of Batman, it's likely you've played these already, but if not, start with Arkham Asylum and enjoy the ride. This game built upon everything that made the original so amazing and opened up the environment with various side missions and objectives. There was also the opportunity to play as Catwoman, which added a new perspective and her combat style and story sections were a cool addition. She even had her own Riddler trophies to collect, in areas that weren't accessible to Batman. Even though the most recent Arkham Knight game is bigger and features better graphics thanks to it being released on a next-generation console, I feel that Arkham City was the most enjoyable experience, with the best combination of main villains to fight and overall story, where Batman was pushed to his limits.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? I'd love to hear about your favourite Batman games in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video, please hit the like button and consider subscribing and as always; thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video!

Haunting Starring Polterguy Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Posted: 31 Oct 2017 03:55 AM PDT

Haunting Starring Polterguy Review

Haunting Starring Polterguy is a unique title for the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis. Whereas typically in games it's best to avoid troublesome ghosts, in this you get to play as one! After being hit by a truck while on a faulty skateboard, the kid you play as (Polterguy) decides to seek revenge on the manufacturer and his family, known as the Sardini's. I'm not sure why he wasn't just looking where he was going, why he didn't decide to target the lorry driver instead or why Vito (the Father) looks like Alan Partridge on the European cover art, but I guess it doesn't matter too much. The game explains the basic premise with typical early 90s "radical" attitude. Bart Simpson was all the rage back then and while Bill and Ted tried to teach us to all to "be excellent to each other", it's much more fun to be mischievous. You're given a quick tutorial of how to interact with objects and scare the family, and this is what the game is all about. At the bottom of the screen you have an "Ecto Meter" which keeps track of all your ectoplasm. Over time, this depletes slowly, but you can collect more for each time you scare a family member as they leave the room. The goal is to cause all of the Sardini's to run out of the house screaming and have a lot of fun doing so. The sheer number of objects you can interact with is really impressive. Once you've scared everyone out of the house, the Sardini family move into a new home and you get to do it all over again. There's 4 in total to play through with a boss at the very end. Each house has a different layout with new objects to interact with. You won't get a chance to use all of them in your first playthrough, which is what gives this game it's core replay value. Trust me, you'll want to try and see everything! Where this game doesn't do so well is when you run out of ectoplasm. Unfortunately it takes you to an underworld dungeon where you must collect more ecto to refill your meter, avoiding enemies or you will die. This is the only way you can die, even though you're technically dead already…?! You can also find some power-ups here later on which can prove useful, such as items to distract the family dog, replenish your ecto meter or leave a super scary gift for the family. The worst part of these areas is the jump mechanic. For some reason if you jump too near a wall you bounce away from it which can be really frustrating. The final boss exists in this area at the end of the game and the aiming and hit detection for that is also painful to endure. The controls in general are quite "floaty", but this is forgivable seeing as you play as a ghost. One other thing some people may find slightly annoying is that when you scare a family member out of a room, you have no real control over which exit they take. Sometimes they can keep going back into the room they were previously in, but they will eventually go a different way if you persevere. Interestingly, there is a 2 player mode. You must take it in turns to try and scare the family out in as quick a time as possible. If the times are the same, the winner is based on points. The only areas you play alongside each other is in the dungeons, but I guess it's still an interesting feature if you have a friend over, as you'll get the opportunity to see more object interactions in one playthrough, provided they don't just copy all your movements. There's not much in the way of music, possibly due to the fact that there's a lot of sound effects which play a more important role. The main focus here is obviously the gameplay, graphics and animation which this game does really well. It's very impressive for a 16-bit isometric title.