This week Paul takes over Zed Games. Together with Zahra they discuss the news and Firmware updates, then Zahra takes over the helm reviewing Black Skylands before Paul traps us with a review of Webbed.
Tag: aussie games
The week in gaming news from Ezie and two reviews from Paul on 12 Minutes and Not For Broadcast. It’s a spicy one!
Twitch streamers are planning a protest
A group of streamers intend to turn off their channels on September 1st to protest the slow response from Twitch with regards to addressing a spike in bigoted harassment on the platform. This protest has been organised by RekItRaven using the hashtag #ADayOffTwitch. This protest has been brewing for a long time with streamers expressing their frustrations over the last few months. A lot of the harassment issues these streamers appear to be facing involve what is called “hate raids” where users will create a large number of dummy accounts and use bots to spam channels with hateful messages. Twitch promised back in August that it would launch channel-level ban evasion detection as well as improvements to its account verification process, however streamers are still waiting. Streamers have decided to take matters into their own hands by using third party software to attempt to combat the hate raids. Twitch have still yet to respond to the issue.
Germany’s 2021 Gamescom is going off with a bang
Featuring many big announcements from the likes of Nvidia with their games Myst and Guardians of the Galaxy getting ray-tracing support for PC. Xbox brings a new flashy controller to accompany Forza Horizon 5 and another controller for Halo Infinite not to mention what has already sold out the Halo Infinite themed Xbox Series X, The Sims 4 gets a free update the Industrial Loft Kit. Toplitz Productions announces Starsand for you survival game lovers where you must survive the desert dunes from giant sand worms. Destiny 2 reveals The Witch Queen to be launched in February. Broken Roads created by Aussie developers Drop Bear Bytes looks to be releasing in 2022. Another Aussie game that brought you Yonder: The Cloud Catcher announces Grow: Song of the Evertree and shows off a heap of solid gameplay. As well as so many other games such Pets Hotel which is literally a hotel for pampering and taking care of pets to indie watercolour game Torn Away set in WWII. The most recent announcements are Horizon Forbidden West to be released on PS4 & PS5 on the 18th of February 2022 and the Official LEGO Star Wars Skywalker Saga is expected somewhere between March and June next year. Gamescom will run until August 27th with hopefully more awesome drops to come.
Soulja Boy claims to own Atari
You heard me; world famous rapper Soulja Boy posted a video online claiming that he signed two deals with Atari making him the first rapper in history to own a games company. Atari were forced to respond to the matter with a Tweet that says, “We know that CEO of Atari is a dream job, but that honor belongs to Wade Rosen.” We can say with certainty that Soulja Boy does not own Atari.
Speaking of world-famous rappers Snoop Dog loves to stream on Twitch and recently he has moved his gaming set up and has some how accidentally muted himself. It’s so far been three whole streaming sessions and he still hasn’t noticed. You’d think he might by now he would however, unfortunately, Snoop Dog has his Twitch chat disabled and unless someone has his number it doesn’t appear like he is unmuting himself anytime soon.
The week in gaming releases:
o Have a Blast [PC, Switch]
o Hotel Life: A Resort Simulator [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
o The Magnificent Trufflepigs [Switch]
o Spelunky & Spelunky 2 [Switch]
o Spookware [PC]
o Baldo [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]
o No More Heroes 3 [Switch]
o Tormented Souls [PC, PS5, XBX, Switch]
o Book Of Travels [PC]
o The Big Con [PC, XSX, XBO]
o Crown Trick [PS4, XBO]
o KeyWe [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
o Maneater: Truth Quest DLC [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
o Monster Harvest [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch
• Rustler [PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
o Train Life: A Railway Simulator [PC]
o Lake [PC, XSX]
This week Ezie takes over and brings in a new voice, Eliott! Together they take on the week in gaming news, give us the Old One-Two on South East Games’ Paint the Town Red, and press play on Paul’s review of The Forgotten City.
This week Paul and Rani talk big news and review Death’s Door and Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
This week Paul & Zahra discuss Gold Games, Paul reviews Mario Golf Super Rush and a discussion with 4ZZZ Station Manager Stephen Stockwell (Stocky) about some Golf Game Classics.
Overwatch under investigation
The US department of Justice antitrust division is looking into the Overwatch League over its soft salary cap policy. The idea behind this investigation is to determine whether the existing policies in the league are anticompetitive. An Activision Blizzard Esports spokesperson told Dot Esports in a recent statement, “we have received an inquiry from the DOJ and are cooperating accordingly, we deliver epic entertainment to our fans and support out players and team in producing the most competitive and enjoyable esports leagues in the world.” The soft salary cap had a threshold of $1.6 million USD in 2020 and if the team were to exceed that amount in annual player salaries Blizzard Esports would have to pay players’ salaries as well as that excess amount to the league as a luxury tax, thus making every dollar over 1.6 million twice as expensive. That luxury tax would then be distributed among the non-offending teams. It’s possible that only a few teams may have passed this threshold however the details are still unclear. A spokesperson from the DOJ declined to comment on the matter and the existence of an investigation.
Nintendo’s OLED Switch drop
A recent surprise announcement from the gaming giants Nintendo showed off a new model of the console with a 7-inch OLED display as well as a bunch of other small hardware updates including bigger storage 64GB and wider kickstand, it even has a built-in ethernet port for all those Lan parties you’re having. There is also improved audio quality. The current Nintendo Switch has a slightly smaller display at 6.2 inches and only 32GB of storage. The Nintendo Switch OLED will be released on the 8th of October at $539AUS and they are available for pre-order now.
Games Done Quick 2021
It’s that time of year again where Games Done Quick raises money for good causes. For over 10 years, Games Done Quick has been raising money via speedrunning. Basically, a bunch of awesome volunteers play games at incredible speed for entertainment. The events are live streamed on Twitch.tv nonstop from the 5th of July until the 10th of July. Each streamer will share some tips and tricks around how they get the fastest times from their speed runs. This year’s charity will be Doctors Without Borders which is an international medical humanitarian aid organisation that works in over 70 countries providing lifesaving medical care and speaks out about what they have seen in those areas. Their work aids people based solely in need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation. If you’d like to check out Games Done Quick and how you can contribute by clicking here.
Gaming Releases this week:
• July 8
o Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual [PC VR]
• July 9
o Black Skylands [PC]
o Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin [PC, Switch]
• July 13
o Curved Space [Switch]
o Outsider: After Life [PC]
o Where the Heart Leads [PS5, PS4]
o Skydome [PC]
o Space Punks [PC]
• July 15
o Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective [Switch]
o Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game [PC, XBO]
This week Paul & Maylee discuss awesome board games they love as well as a review of a game called Root. Not to mention the week in gaming news.
Paul & Rani hang out in studio discussing the week in gaming news, two games one good and one not so good as well as discussions about narrative design in games.
Developer: E-Line Media
Publisher: E-Line Media
Music: Curated Playlist
Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, Linux and Mac
Released: 17th April 2020
Genre: Adventure, Educational, Simulation, Indie Game
“Beyond Blue takes players into the near future, where they will have the opportunity to explore the mysteries of our ocean through the eyes of Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist. She and her newly-formed research team will use ground-breaking technologies to see, hear, and interact with the ocean in a more meaningful way than has ever been attempted. The game features an evocative narrative and exploration of an untouched world.” – E-Line Media Game Description
Beyond Blue is evocative and heartfelt in its design. E-Line Media have a statement that says, “Inspiring Players to Understand and Shape the World.” And that is exactly how I felt about Beyond Blue. This wonderful ocean research game was inspired by Blue Planet II and you really do feel the passion and love for the ocean throughout its narrative and educational aspects.
You as the player Mirai love whales and spend time with a family of sperm whales with their new born calf Andrea. You follow Mirai on her personal journey above the water as well as her professional life underwater where she hosts live streams called OceanX Streams, collecting samples from the ocean floor, tracking marine life and of course discovering the mysteries of the ocean. All this to help educate the wider world about the “blue heart” of the planet.
There are in total 8 dives each one lasting anywhere between 15 minutes and upwards of 45mins depending on how much you like to explore. Mirai has her home base which is a futuristic submarine that she returns to examine findings and complete reports. It’s also where Mirai contacts her sister back on land where she is trying to help support her sister in taking care of their grandmother. This ties closely to the research Mirai is conducting on a family of sperm whales, the pod has a new mother and daughter duo whose family also consists of a grandmother.
Beyond Blue is so educational that while I was playing, I learnt that sperm whales live in family units and that the females will stay together forever while males will leave until they are of breeding age. Sperm whale females build strong and lifelong bonds with each other and those bonds will transcend generations. Grandmothers will pass on valuable knowledge to their younger family members. Mirai intends on studying the baby sperm whale well into adulthood and throughout her life to understand more about the species.
The voice acting is fantastic, all the characters really come alive with the phenomenal voice work of Anna Akana (Ant-Man), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Pirates of the Caribbean III), Ally Maki (10 Things I Hate About You), and Mira Furlan (Babylon 5). These talented actors really help bring the educational elements of Beyond Blue to life.
In between dives quotes from researchers, marine biologists, oceanographer and underwater explorers also known as aquanauts appear throughout the game. There is also this incredible video feature that you unlock throughout the game that is called ‘Ocean Insights’ which are a series of short videos from the real world based around real scientists sharing their love for the ocean, it’s secrets and most importantly sharing their discoveries about our natural water world.
The great thing about these Ocean Insights is that the videos you unlock usually relate to something you have discovered on a recent dive. Honestly unlocking these little mini educational videos was my biggest driving factor for completing a dive. I wanted to hear more from people like Dr. Sylvia Earle the founder of Mission Blue and resident explorer for National Geographic not to mention a bunch of other awesome National Geographic residents you get to hear from.
When exploring in game I found the mechanics to be surprisingly intuitive and the UI Hud to be so smooth an effective. Beyond Blue is considered to be an indie development however the player movement and visual design would suggest a much bigger production. It might not be high graphics but it certainly doesn’t need to be with such a smooth interface and wonderfully designed player movement.
I did have a minor issue with loading a saved game however, when I first logged back in after taking a break the game froze when I selected ‘continue’ so I did unfortunately have to get task manager involved to close the game and start up again this time opting to load a previously saved game instead. I’m not sure if this is an issue isolated to windows versions of the game or my PC just sucks but keep that in mind if you stumble across the same problem.
The music gives off ethereal ocean vibes while diving, creating this really paced atmospheric energy peacefully guiding and encouraging you explore further into the depths. When you are onboard the sub however you get this exceptionally curated playlist of ocean inspired music from a variety of different artists as well as the ability to unlock more tracks throughout game play.
Beyond Blue is touching, awe inspiring, educational, and also a challenge for us to rise to the occasion and protect this vulnerable underwater world. There is so many wonderful things to appreciate about our little blue planet and its vast seascapes and Beyond Blue has done an exceptional job of bringing the ocean closer to us so that we may learn and engage more with our ocean environment. If you are lover of the planet, get Beyond Blue you will almost certainly learn something and experience the vastness of our oceans.