Now On: Bioware Social

Hey everyone, know I haven’t posted in a while. That happens. I never actually forget about this, but you know how life can be. That said, I still am interested in continuing the iGamer series, and it’ll definitely pop up again in the future. For now though, most of my online activity is on the Bioware Social Newtwork. If you like Bioware games, or me trying to be insightful while telling jokes at the same time, check it out. You only really need to like one for it to be worth checking out, really. You can pick me out by the name “Riknas” and my buffalo avatar.

That’s it for now!

 

Riknas, signing off!

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Introducing: iGamer

Alright. First thing’s first, I want to apologize to everyone about my previous post. For the record, I am never attempting another blog project with Donovan ever again; and that’s all I really want to say about that. While I am still interested in continuing the Free Play Blog, it has been made extremely clear to me that our pairing was not meant to be.

However, while Free Play is on hold, I do have another solo project in the works called iGamer.

igaming-business

This will be a weekly series revolving around the topic of Mobile Gaming, be it on your Smart Phone, DS, PSP, or those strange borderline cybernetic technologies like Google Glass. You can expect an analysis of the different genres present in the mobile gaming industry, the varying prices and payment plans present in them; and of course, plenty of video game reviews.

Stay tuned,

Riknas, signing off!

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Revival

freetoplayheaderWell hey there everyone! After an extremely long hiatus, college has granted me a short-lived summer break. And while my original intention was to simply enjoy myself with reading, writing, and video games, I found that the Riknas Rants blog still called out to me whenever I turned on my computer. I did the best I could to ignore the voice that came from the desktop and burrowed into my brain, and for a long time it worked. However, a short argument with a friend of mine led to a long stint playing yet another Massively Multiplayer Online Game. And it was with that, my fate was sealed.

While this is far from a permanent return (my school life will inevitably put the blog on hold once more), it does mark the return of my very first blogging and MMO Project: The Free Play Blog. Archives of reviews dating back to the original project, as well as a solo review I made is still available on this site. Having said that, I am letting you all know that I will once again be writing reviews of Free to Play Online Games. Not only that, but the new Free Play Blog will be a two person project just like it was when it first started. Every week, we plan to reveal  a new F2P MMO, and give you our personal assessment of it. It is our hope that the upcoming reviews will be slightly more intimate in nature than our previous ones. In the original Free Play Blog, I would alternate with Andras Krigare playing a F2P game. He would play one game while I played another, and each weekend one of us would write the review of our respective. This time we plan to actually play the game together like we did in the Free Play Podcast, which should give us more opportunities to appreciate the group dynamics that these games are supposed to offer. Due to some technical restraints, we can not guarantee that we will be able to play every game together, but it should still allow for extra perspective in the upcoming reviews.

Unfortunately, Andras will not be able to resume his old role as my co-host; filling in for Andras will be a long time friend of mine: Donovan. Far from a brand new concept to him, Donovan has had a few of his own blogging ventures, and has actually made a blog post before on a previous iteration of the Riknas Rants blog site. In fact, it was my argument with him that led me to playing F2P MMOs all over again, so every review that we make this summer is entirely his fault. While I can’t say for certain his old posts will be returned, I can confidently say that he is an experienced writer and that you should definitely read his upcoming reviews.

Be ready, we’re coming soon.

Riknas, signing off!

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Intermission – Visual Novels

Hey everyone. Just thought I would pop in and let people know what I’ve been up to. With only a couple more days before I head off to college, I’ve been making sure to keep myself busy. But, I did make sure to set aside some time for you guys.

Anyway, for quite some time I’ve had on my list of distractions these things called “Visual Novels“.
“What is a Visual Novel?” You ask? Well, I just put in the link describing them twice you lazy jerk. However, the easiest way to describe it would probably be to call it a really fancy version of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book made for your computer (especially popular ones are re-released for consoles). By fancy I mean with added graphics, voice acting, sound effects and a ton more content. Even for a fast reader, if you’re paying attention to the voice acting, these stories will last for hours upon hours upon hours, and then several more hours on top of that; if you want to see all the content and the different endings, you might need to multiply those hours by two or three.  Did I mention they can be really long?

Chances are though, most of you haven’t even heard of visual novels before just, and you most certainly haven’t heard of them being made available for consoles. The main reason is because they are mostly popular in Japan and East Asia, and are being re-released on their consoles and not anywhere else. The vast majority of visual novels are not even translated into English at all. As to why that is the case, I’m sure there are several reasons contributing to it. Never mind the obvious culture barriers of things being  “too anime” or what not, visual novels appear to be very expensive to make in comparison to simply writing a book, and to those who would rather play a straight up video game, visual novels would come across as rather boring as it is; no one would want to spend the extra money to export games that can’t be guaranteed to sell well.  The most “mainstream” one that people might recognize over here would most likely be Capcom’s Ace Attorney series, which is mostly available for the Nintendo DS. Another possible example could be the critically acclaimed story Ever 17, which was popular enough to be translated from Japanese to three other languages (Chinese, English, and Russian) for commercial release .

Objection! …Or something like that.

Despite the lack of attention given, there appears to be a rather devout cult following dedicated to bringing the genre over here in the West, who have gone out of their way to translate a great many visual novels for those who want to try them out. Unfortunately, no one (from what I can tell) has sought to actually replace the original voice acting with english or anything other than their native language. That said, the fact that I’ve actually started hearing about them in the first place, does seem to suggest that there is a (slightly) growing traction to see the genre migrate overseas.  I have also caught wind of  indie developers wanting to make their own versions of visual novels, which seems promising as well.

One final note for everyone would be a parental advisory warning: while many visual novels are approved for all ages, some do contain violent and/or sexual content that would be deemed unsuitable for minors.  That’s all for now!

Riknas, signing off!

Blog Break

Don’t worry, the blog isn’t broken, I’m just giving everyone an update.

Remember how I said my erratic schedule was going to level out? Well, I was wrong. I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like, but at the moment college and other commitments have taken priority. Mind you, I am loathe to do this; between higher education, the Free Play Podcast, and a few other projects I have in mind, I am going to be taking a bit of a break from blogging to better pursue these ventures.

Lately my posts have felt somewhat forced, and I haven’t been paying as much attention to the rest of the blogosphere as I should. While normally I would not announce this, I think it’s better to let everyone know that I’ll be on a bit of a hiatus rather than leave you all hanging.

I’ll try to be back soon!

Riknas, signing off!

Bringing Back Free Play

Do you remember the Free Play Podcast? You know, the funny yet informative show that Riknas, Andras, and Joe did? The podcast where every week they would get together and review a F2P MMOG? Yes? Good for you!

Wait, you don’t? What is wrong with you?

Hey again everyone. It has come to my attention that the Free Play Podcast is no longer available off of iTunes, nor can it be streamed through its original host, VirginWorlds. I personally find this to be distressing, and would like to see it restored. Fortunately, I have almost all of the records of the podcast on my hard drive; I just need to go through the necessary steps to put it back up. Hopefully it won’t be too difficult…

If anyone would be interested in helping revive this project, please comment here or email me at RiknasSarn (at) gmail (dot) com.

Until then…

Riknas, signing off!

A Quote Post

I didn’t know we were allowed to use these as blog posts, but apparently we can.

I remember hearing these words on a podcast some time ago:

“MMO’s don’t need to be difficult, but they should always be complex.”

Don’t you agree?

Riknas, signing off.

It’s All A Blur

Hey there internet, how’s it going? I just recently had a thought: Wouldn’t it be really interesting if I was a cat? I mean, really, that would be pretty crazy. Not only would I be blogging about online gaming, I would be a cat blogging about online gaming. I could start adding new perspective from my feline intuition, and I could record myself playing online games knowing that everyone would watch it and think, “Man, look at that blogging cat! It’s just so adorable!” My readership would sky-rocket, let me tell you.

D’awww, look at him discussing the intricacies of social gaming and online human interaction! Cute!

Oh yeah, I also thought about the blurring lines between multiplayer and single player video games. Mind you, I’m talking about metaphorical blurring, not to be confused with the blurring of your vision after seeing your own mother naked… Don’t think about that last bit too long, or you’ll start to experience the vision blurring as well.

Anyway, people have often complained about multiplayer being forced into games that they feel are meant to be single player. Then, they follow-up by saying that the multiplayer dynamic either weakens the single player experience, or takes away resources that should be going toward the single player experience. Not only that, but the people that buy the game and play the multiplayer content will apparently destroy the franchise entirely by allowing this terrible trend.

At the same time, many a person points out the growth of single player friendly content in MMOs, which  also happens to be destroying the value of the multiplayer experience. This leads to the growth of “solo players”, a blight which soils the name of our multiplayer games and will ultimately tear the genre apart by its seams until the MMOs are all just single player games with an optional co-op feature.

Multiplayer games aren’t exclusively multiplayer, and single player games aren’t exclusively single player? As in, we can now play games in more ways than one? That sounds more like progress to me.

Riknas, signing off.

Now Playing: Dark Souls


Hey everyone. I know I haven’t posted in a while. It is my fault, I must confess. My posting schedule will remain erratic for a while, but it should start leveling out tomorrow. In the mean time, let me point out that  I’ve been playing Dark Souls with Donovan for a little while now, and we’re having a great time. Because I finished Demon’s Souls prior, I’m sort of used to the games difficulty. If anything, I actually feel quite used to it, however I noticed he was really pissed at the game when we first started.

 
The game is seriously unforgiving, and more than willing to kick you in the teeth with difficult bosses, lack of save points, and brutal punishments for dying (amusingly enough, the name of their website is “preparetodie.com“). Even so, the level design is absolutely fantastic, and Donovan went on to say that the game’s graphics are beautiful and has a very gritty feel to it; some of the monsters are actually terrifying to meet. As for the difficulty, the best way to handle it is to develop a sense of masochism, knowing that the difficulty of the game itself is its own sort of feature. That said, if you want to try and work with us on Xbox Live, my username is Riknas, and his is “VOAN” (the “O” is a zero, by the way).

Now excuse me, I have to go trudging through some sewers…

Riknas, signing off!

I Have A Name

It’s Joshua “Riknas”. You can use Joshua, or you can use Riknas. If you really feel like it, you can use them together like a title or even alternate between the two every time you decide to mention me. My only request is that you spell the names correctly. While I appreciate those of you that have given me shout outs and linked to me, it would be really awesome if  “Riknas” or “Riknas Rants” would actually be spelled the way I just did, I even keep it on the top of the webpage and everything; it’s the way you spell it if you type it in to Google or on your URL tab.

Of course, if you’re doing it because you thought my names are too boring, by all means let me know and I’ll see if we can work something out. I’m not going to actually go over the misspellings I’ve seen; I feel that would be in poor taste on my part and would be too much like pointing fingers at people. Suffice to say, there have been far more typos for my name and website than I had originally thought possible…it makes me sad.

Just figured I would let everyone know.

Riknas, signing off.