Games Inbox: How much do you spend on games a year?
The Wednesday Inbox starts sharing Super Mario Maker 2 level codes, as one reader offers a Gunlord-X Switch review.
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With so much talk of new consoles and new console models at the moment I can’t help but wonder how people manage to budget for this sort of thing. I’m not exactly on the bread line or anything but with two kids and not wanting to overextend myself I’m fairly careful about how much I spend on games.
I try not to buy a new game if I haven’t finished what I’m currently playing and I won’t buy anything for full price at day of release unless it’s something I’m super confident will be great (Borderlands 3 is probably the closest to that at the moment). I still don’t have a budget exactly but given the time it takes me to complete a new game I generally don’t spend more than about £50 a month a game. That does increase towards the end of the year but I still don’t think it’s more than a grand a year. Is that normal? More or less than other people?
For what is essentially my main hobby I don’t think that’s an unreasonable amount of money, especially given how long a good game can last. Obviously getting a new console increases the amount but that is, thankfully, pretty rare and I don’t resent it.
Ready for more
The Shenmue III Kickstarter has turned rather ugly, quite quickly. Well at least on the PC side. Epic is now offering refunds for those who backed Shenmue III after it went exclusively to the Epic Store instead of being available on Steam.
They have also said that the PC physical copy will have a disc containing an installer for the Epic Store and a download code in the box.
Thankfully when I backed the game I chose the PlayStation 4 version and went out and purchased a PlayStation 4 slim in anticipation.
I know that Shenmue III will most likely be universally panned, as the world has moved on in terms of mechanics. I know that those who don’t like the previous games won’t suddenly like this one. However, from what I’ve seen I just cannot wait to continue Ryo’s adventure.
I finished Shenmue I & II recently and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Rock me like Turrican
Here’s a review of Gunlord-X (on Switch) for Lord Darkstorm: it’s brilliant, go buy it.
I had a fantastic time with it and found it totally absorbing. It’s good old-fashioned, non-stop, balls-to-the-wall blasting with huge levels to explore, entertaining weapons and ludicrous bosses. Things never let up and the sense of immersion and achievement are immense – that moment when you look up after overcoming a boss by the skin of your teeth only to wonder why you’re a sweaty mess and where the last half an hour went.
Progress carries over so you can start from whatever level you reached last time. Most present quite a challenge but become much more surmountable once you learn where to go and what lies ahead. There’s also plenty of variety, and a thumping soundtrack to carry you through.
Controls are straightforward and precise, though the morph ball takes a bit of getting used to. I also found the jump a little off to begin with, but only in the sense that the weight of it feels quite retro.
It took me five to six hours to beat. I generally didn’t bother with collectibles, except in some of the simpler levels as collecting them all grants an extra continue.
I’ve enjoyed it as much as anything else I’ve played this year. At less than a tenner it’s a solid 9/10. GC’s review of the original is also well worth a read if you haven’t already found it.
Hope you enjoy it!
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Nintendo doing their own thing and not trying to directly compete with more powerful rival hardware goes back years. Do you remember when Nintendo refused to put a CD drive in the N64, to compete with PlayStation, and stuck with cartridges? They said they could do anything with carts that CDs could do, but with instant loading. To prove this they released Star Fox, which had cut scenes and tons and tons of speech!
What you may not know, is that in 1984, when Nintendo had a big arcade presence with massive selling games such as Donkey Kong, LaserDisc games became the big new thing. Pretty much all of the arcade game manufacturers – Taito, Williams, Gottlieb, Atari, and Cinematronics – jumped on the Laser band wagon and produced amazing-looking LaserDisc games which were seen as the future of arcade gaming. Nintendo of course didn’t play ball even then.
The LaserDisc players which were the heart of these new games were very unreliable and broke down all the time. Nintendo knew this and didn’t want to make their own Laser disc game, instead they released Punch-Out!, which had massive cartoony sprites, to compete with the likes of the very popular LaserDisc cartoon games Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. Incidentally, Punch-Out! had two monitors, one on top of the other, like the Nintendo DS! Apparently, this was because they had a ton of spare monitors they needed to use up!
GC: That’s not really very accurate. One of the main reasons Nintendo stuck with cartridges was because they were more profitable, in terms of licensing them for use by third parties. It wasn’t necessarily a good idea overall but the N64 did end up being more profitable than the PS1. And LaserDisc games were only really a minor novelty, that most companies only made one or two of.
Power is overrated
The power of the Switch is genuinely not a concern to me. I love my epic games, with stunning graphics, as much as the next person but… Zelda proved horsepower didn’t matter. I think Breath Of The Wild will still look good a couple of generations from now, the style is great.
I bought the Switch hoping for it to be exactly what it’s turned out to be – and it’s fantastic. I’ll happily get the Switch version over other formats for the portability, it’s that much of a boon.
Besides, ANY decent multiplayer game is bought again on the Switch to have a portable library with me anywhere we go – my tiny case holds all the games PLUS 4 Joy-Cons. Perfect to be up and running in seconds. It’s a marvel of a console.
I was excited for Contra: Rogue Corps. You guys did a great interview as usual but my excitement died at E3 along with Yahtzee’s. The weapons overheat. And you need to stop firing for a second or so while it cools down.
Um… why does there seem to be nobody else concerned about this? And I’m understating my feelings on the matter. It puts me in mind of the awful turret sections in Dead Space, Sly Cooper 2, and so on.
It has to be one of the most hateful game mechanics there is, up there with brainless computer companions you need to escort and equipment that breaks.
It is just so contra-ry to how this series should be played. Now, I’ve only played one. The only one us Mega Drive owners were allowed to have back in the mid-90s: Probotector. Imagine your weapons overheating during one of the game’s many pitched boss fights? Is this not madness?
You could say that Halo managed to make this work with plasma weapons but I would argue against. You tolerated it in Halo. They were never the best weapons – your pistol and shotgun never overheated and besides, the plasma guns were more lenient than, say, the vast majority of atrocious turret sections we’ve all had to suffer.
I cannot see this working. Tell me how I’m wrong.
GC: You don’t stop firing; you just switch to the other weapon – as you’ve always got two. The length of time before needing a cooldown can also be extended with upgrades.
And in one fell movement, Microsoft has got me excited to be an Xbox owner. Phoenix Point sounds excellent! I cannot wait to try it out, I hope it’s amazing!
A Switch option would be enough to buy one, I would love to play a game like this on my commute every day with near infinite replayability.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Just wanted to say how excited I am to finally be playing Super Mario Maker 2. Well I say play; I actually much prefer the making side of it. I just completed my first effort last night. It’s so interesting experiencing, even a little bit, what a developer has to go through to create the games we play.
I had a really simple idea for my level of racing against a Bob-omb in a clear pipe to the end goal. Actually bringing the idea to reality though threw up loads of little unforeseen problems and there is a real moment of joy when coming up with an often simple, yet perfect solution.
Having learned lots from the original, I like to think this course is a big improvement on my first attempt last time, which was basically just a bunch of floating springs and a sky-high difficulty. No-one has actually played it yet though so if anyone would like to try here’s the code:
Beat the Bob-ombs! – 635-R1T-1RG
I hope all the readers of GameCentral will be sharing their levels like they did for the first one. In general, they were much better than the average effort. If Nick The Greek is reading, I’d definitely be up for trying one of your Saw-style levels again. Have you made any courses GC? I don’t suppose you’d like to share them?
PS: Super Bell Hill is just the best music!
GC: We only played it on the test servers, so we can’t upload anything, and we haven’t had time again since.
Don’t know if other readers have seen this but there is a PlayStation Indie Humble Bundle currently available. Here’s the link.
So if I backed for a physical PlayStation 4 edition of Shenmue III via Kickstarter, am I unaffected by yesterday’s Epic/Steam news story?
GC: Yes, the fact that it’s Shenmue III is essentially irrelevant – it’s just part of the ongoing controversy around Epic Game Stores buying exclusives for their PC store.
I only know consoles but my fiancé is looking at getting a gaming PC for my step lads. She’s looking at £600, is that an OK amount? Cheers
Baginho (gamertag)/bagotini (PSN ID)
GC: You should be able to get something decent for that, yes. We’re sure there are readers that can help you with the specifics.
Hi GC, any word on bringing back the Evening Inbox? I appreciate it must be a pain to organise, but I used to really look forward to it, to end the day with.
GC: We’ve been out at press events for most of the last two days, so couldn’t have done them anyway, but we’re prepared to give them another go from Monday if there’s a consistent supply of emails. So, if we receive enough over the weekend and into Monday that’ll be the first new one. Although we also need Hot Topics letters and Reader’s Features as well, so please don’t stop them coming.
This week’s Hot Topic
Since we’re just over the halfway point of the year the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is what has been your favourite new game of 2019?
How many new games have you bought this year and how does that compare to usual? Do you think 2019 has so far been a good year for new games and what do you think have been the major trends? Do you think any of the new games will go down as all-time classics and are any in your top favourite list?
You can find our list of top games here, but bear in mind our top 20 never includes remakes, remasters, expansions, compilations, or versions of games previously released on other formats – but you’re free to talk about anything as long as it was released new in the UK this year.
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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