A Date With Destiny

This week on the Lost Spark Podcast the guys go hands on with the fantastic titles that have released over the last few weeks. Listen to full hands-on impressions of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battles, Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Destiny 2.

Listen in to James and Antony as they return to the world of Destiny and co-op their way through the fantastic new campaign and discuss best methods to get ‘Raid ready’

Also this week on the podcast James and Antony go ‘spatular free’ with Darren away and deep dive into the new Great British Bake Off and discuss the changes and the first 3 weeks of baking goodness.

In the news section this week, as well as a bevy of Nintendo news there was briefly cross-platform play in Fortnite between users on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, over the weekend, Polygon reported and Epic Games confirmed today.

Gamers in the Fortnite subreddit spotted what they thought was cross-console play in the co-op sandbox survival game over the weekend. While others were skeptical that Xbox One users and PlayStation 4 users were in fact playing together (thinking someone had mistaken a PC gamertag for an Xbox Live handle), an Epic representative said this afternoon that that’s exactly what was happening.

“We had a configuration issue and it has now been corrected,” the spokesperson said.

This is unusual because, while Microsoft opened the Xbox platform to cross-platform play last year beginning with Rocket League, Sony has been resistant to letting PlayStation 4 gamers share an ecosystem with Xbox One.

If you want more information on some of the items in this weeks Podcast here are some handy links:

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Ol’ Blue Skies is Back

If there’s a universal truth among video game players of a certain age, it’s that we all, from time to time, find some small comfort in wallowing in the nostalgic history of our pastime. We live in what could credibly be argued as the best era for access to new and diverse video games, and yet the list of re-visited and remade franchises grows longer by the year. Remasters sit happily alongside retro-styled pixel art indie games in the upper echelons of the charts, and historical collections such as Rare Replay manage to showcase both the genuine original articles alongside their jazzed-up and polished modern re-imaginings.

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Nindies and Nidhoggs

Welcome to another episode of the Lost Spark podcast. This week we have a bumper packed show with a bevy of all the latest news from this week in gaming. With thoughts on the Xbox One X Project Scorpio edition selling out pretty much everywhere worldwide and Microsoft’s elation and commitment to fulfill demand, all the games coming in September from PlayStation Plus and Games with Gold, right through to employees of KFC being trapped in a room by Colonel Sanders until they learn the hallowed Chicken Mastery in VR.

There’s also a good look at the latest Nintendo Nindies Summer Showcase that aired an hour before recording with a look at the highlights from the selection of over 20 titles for Switch that Nintendo packed into just 22 minutes.

Antony gets to grips with Nidhogg 2 and discovers, much to Dazza’s chagrin that he is in fact the lord and master of the game. Destined to forever wear the beloved Nidhogg Crown encrusted with jewels and claymation body parts and leaving Dazza shaking his head in fury at having Antony dance upon his face with his feet just one too many times. It really is some top notch non stop fun.

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Xbox One X, All Kit And No Caboodle

This weeks’ episode of The Lost Spark Podcast delves into Gamescom, the Microsoft conference and the gaps left in the foreseeable future for Xbox One X.

With the 90 minute show managing to reveal almost nothing that wasn’t already known  and attempting to whet our appetite’s with warmed up footage that’s been around since E3, the common feeling from ardent and expectant fans has been one of disappointment.

Over at Spark Towers, we pride ourselves on an objective positivity as we dissect the industry we love, but in this case, although we fight for it, there’s an unmistakable air of underwhelmed surprise.

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Achievements Unlocked, And Set To Change

Welcome, come inside, take your shoes off, slip on your comfy indoor footwear of choice and settle yourself in for another adventure with the Lost Spark Podcast as special guest James Thomas (@BigSheep) joins Antony and Darren once again to discuss Pizza, Circus tricks, Cinema silence, oh and of course, the reason we are all here – Video Games.

This week the debate gets interesting when James brings the news of an expected shake up of Xbox Live Achievements to the table and asks, are achievements in need of a change, are we happy with them as they are or even protective of the current ‘cheevo’ status quo and if we had the chance to make a change what could be done to improve a system loved by gamers worldwide? Is there any achievement in changing achievements? Continue reading

PS Plus Hike – Adding Value Or Simply Revenue?

Welcome to episode 101 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark Podcast where you can bank on fun and frolics galore as the guys reflect upon the week that was in gaming.

The news that set the European PS4 community to lament this week was the surprise announcement from Sony that their Playstation Network subscription is set to increase by a whopping 25% after August 31st this year. Details of why and reasoning from the Japanese giant were thin on the ground in the email announcement which stated it’s case thus:

‘From 00:01 BST on 31 August 2017 we are changing the prices of PlayStation®Plus.

– Annually, the price will change from £39.99 to £49.99 per annum.
– Quarterly, the price will change from £14.99 to £19.99 per quarter.
– Monthly, the price will change from £5.99 to £6.99 per month.

What this means for you

We will alter the price of a PlayStation®Plus membership at 00:01 BST on 31 August 2017. As you are an existing member, this means that all recurring subscription fees payable by you on or after 31 August 2017 will be charged at the new price. Up until 31 August 2017, you may purchase a PlayStation®Plus subscription at the current price, which will then be added (or “stacked on”) to your current membership period.

If you don’t want to continue with PlayStation®Plus

If you want to prevent your PlayStation®Plus membership continuing at the new price, you will need to cancel it – turn OFF “auto-renew” in your account settings at least 48 hours before your next payment on or after 31 August 2017 is due. There’s some guidance on how to cancel your membership on PlayStation.com.’

Website Eurogamer reached out to Sony and got a little more info regarding the reasoning being;

‘We are changing the pricing to reflect various market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members.’

This unexpected change to the fee has unsurprisingly riled many subscribers, especially as there seems to be no silver lining here to sweeten the pill. No added value to assuage the community’s shock at the rise, which has caused some animosity out there in the PS4 gaming sub space.

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Gamers of the Lost Sparks 100th Podcast EX Plus Ultra Evolved Edition

Welcome one and all; old listeners and new! Thank you all so much for joining us, make yourselves at home, get yourselves comfy, sort out your audio listening preferences and please jump in and join us on our 100th episode.

It’s been a thrilling journey since going live on May 15th 2015 and as much as the last 100 episodes are an amazing chronicle of our gaming habits, hypes, thrills and the odd let down over the last 2 years or more, we sincerely hope that you, our listeners have enjoyed Antony, Darren and occasionally James’ unique brand of gaming views, news and critique. The idea behind what we do has always been to stand by a positive outlook in an industry that can sometimes take those negative downturns and on the whole the guys hope you will agree and have enjoyed our little corner of the gaming world.

With no massive fanfare but more of a humble and enthusiastic nod to the time spent on their endeavor, Antony and Darren verbally fist bump their 100 podcast journey so far and dive straight on in to more of what’s been going on in the world of pixels.

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We Got 99 Podcast’s And We Still Ain’t Done

In the penultimate episode until our crowning centenary, episode 99 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark podcast kicks off with the latest ripples from the world of gaming assisted by recurring special guest, James (@BIGsheep) Thomas.

Antony presents us with a section that is so in beta phase that we have called it ‘Beta Corner’. The guys discuss the exciting beta versions of Destiny 2 and Star Wars Battlefront 2 that are not too far away from our eager reaching gaming hands.

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Crash Bandicoot Shows Again That Nostalgia Equals Cash

This week, Antony and Darren make the best they can out of the snippets of news flying around in a quiet week for the industry. There’s never a dull moment though as the most eye opening stories of the week get the Sparks’ unique analysis.

Among the topics this time on the pod, is the phenomenal success of new release – Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, as it shot in straight into the number one spot in the UK gaming charts.

We have had a bit of a nostalgia renaissance recently with the likes of WipeOut and Tekken getting recent releases and doing well, thank goodness Yooka Laylee didn’t spoil the vibe.

It seems that gaming nostalgia is a powerful force for all of us and who can blame us for having such affections for the games of yore that we loved when we were younger. Maybe it was a game we got with a system at a young age, maybe it was a title we had looked forward to for a long time and loved, or maybe a title can just take you back and remind you of a time of your life that is preserved around the memory of enjoying your gaming and life back in the glory days. Continue reading

SNES Mini – A Piece Of Gaming History But Is It Worth The Hassle?

This week in the vacuum that the behemoth that is E3 has left, Antony and Darren talk about the official announcement of the SNES Mini from Nintendo. A console that has been snapped up and out of stock from retailers even before the pre-orders became available – yes, that’s how massively popular this retro piece of nostalgia is.

Learning lessons from the last iteration – the NES Mini, Nintendo have promised more supply this time, in order to meet the intense demand that this desirable console will garner. It looks as though, however that consumers have also learned lessons from the last versions’ popularity too with the SNES Mini being almost instantly completely wiped out of stock over the face of the earth.

It’s the same old story. Great coup for Nintendo and for the lucky few who manage to secure their pre-orders in those first precious seconds of the console going live on the web. After which, it’s the struggle for the majority of eager fans that would be owners of this dinky gem – the website crashes, the furious refreshing, the scouring stock at every store you can think of and then, finally, the reality kicks in as you finally give up and grudgingly admit that the only way to obtain your cherished Nintendo throwback is to succumb to the nefarious re-sellers that have somehow snapped most of them up and advertised them on Amazon or eBay explicitly to take advantage of the likes of you (and us).

‘What can be done though?’ cries the throng of frustrated customers as they struggle to attain this lovely little system and only silence and a temptation to pay two or more times the price through one of the re-sellers remains.

So, what can be done? And can this familiar situation ever be dealt with?

UK gaming chain GAME have tried to make a stand by increasing the deposit required on the SNES Mini to £50 instead of the usual £10 they require in order to presumably discourage this behavior. It’s a stance that can be appreciated but in the long run may do more harm than good as your profiteer type will no doubt think nothing of putting down the full £50 deposit to secure an item that they are sure to sell at a profit later – not phased at all. However there may well be plenty of gamers who haven’t got that kind of money to put down as a deposit and so they may miss their chance of securing one due to that policy, which is really sad.

The only way that this frustrating trend can be effectively dealt with is by Nintendo providing such healthy supply that eager consumers can pick one up without jumping through hoops for hours on end. Or, consumers rally, stay strong and make a decision. A decision that enough is enough and they won’t allow themselves to be exploited anymore and refuse to pay double or more RRP for these tempting toys.

If the profiteers efforts could be rendered useless and null with supply and/or consumer resistance leaving them stuck with their bulk buys that no one took off their hands then perhaps the practice could be quashed and the honest gamers would join hands and cheer as one in light of a new dawn of fairness.

Or is it unfair of us to resent people trying to earn a few pounds out of an almost sure thing? It’s not illegal after all, just really annoying for those that missed out.

All this is not even mentioning the dreaded fear that the fantastic games housed up inside the SNES Mini could mean a lack of them appearing on the virtual console when it becomes available for the Switch. Let’s hope that isn’t a thing that’s going to happen. We want our classic Nintendo games liberated and portable in these days of the Switch. Let them roam with us and keep us company during train journeys and plane trips.

So are you interested in the SNES Mini and if so, are you going to buy one (should that be try to buy one)? Or are you going to leave the queue and make a stand?

Listen in to Episode 97 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark Podcast to hear views on this and much more. Continue reading