Can Mass Effect Tear Us From Horizon and Zelda?

It’s a time when Gamers worldwide are suffering from the most delightful of troubling problems, a severe bout of too many games. The stars don’t align this way often, but rarely, when the moon shines in the 16th quarter and the stars fall upon each other blurring the celestial axis, a time of plenty is triggered for the hallowed gaming ones. A time of constant quality games pouring forth from all directions. A time of joy and delight as we decide what fantastic diversion we want to get swept away with next. A time of working out how we are going to manage to play all these games before the next one comes hurtling along. A time to manage those gaming finances. A time of, yeah actually, too many games.The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild

Of course, we shouldn’t cry out in dismay at being troubled by so many delightful distractions and of course, we can wait. Every game doesn’t absolutely have to be consumed on release day does it? Of course not, but for some gamers out there an influx of fantastic games, whilst being a wonderful thing, can also be fraught with pondering, calculating and decision. Which game to get? Is only one open world required or do others provide enough distinctive difference to justify a purchase at the same time and what about the time? Being hit with many a 40 / 50 / 60 hour (and in many cases beyond) game can back a dedicated gamer to the wall with the important (and nice) decision of just what is the best use of their time and money. Which game is the one to go for or can they all be squeezed in at once and if such an undertaking is undertaken, is there a risk of rushing them and perhaps not enjoying them as much as if they were all treated individually? Continue reading

Does Zelda Make The Nintendo Switch A Must Buy?

It’s here! Yes, Nintendo’s console/portable hybrid was released last week and it looks like the launch has been quite the success if early sales figures are anything to go by.

Sleek, shiny and tactile, listen in to episode 82 of your ever faithful podcast to hear James (BIGsheep) and Antony give their hands-on verdict on this latest innovation that lies waiting to transform your gaming experience, cutting the shackles of an experience that up to now was only for the seated gamer, within the confines of their private abode. Having both bought one at launch, James and Antony are in prime position to gush about all the positives the hardware has to offer, positively ooze love and kisses over the game the console has been bought for – good old Zelda (mild spoilers from 1hr 03min to 1hr 30min), and also, of course in the interests of fairness, point out any negative points that have marred their experience of getting down and dirty with the Switch.
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It’s A Hit! PSVR Sells A Million

On this weeks’ treat for your earbuds, the Sparks chat as usual about the news that’s making the news in the world of gaming. There’s plenty to discuss this week with some fantastic games and also a fair chunk of VR related news and innovations.

Sony have gone on record with their announcement that their PSVR foray into the VR strata has sold almost a million units in the four months that it has been available (915,000 to be more precise). This is a great start for VR on the PS4 with sales figures hitting higher than the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive combined so Sony have a right to be pleased enough with themselves to make this announcement. That 55 Million PS4 install base will certainly have helped, that’s for sure and teh figure would most probably have been higher in terms of sales if Sony had taken a risk on manufacturing more units. Nevertheless though, in terms of VR, this is a strong start and shows a demand and passion out there in the gaming massive for VR type gaming goodness.

The podcast turns into a bit of an expensive shopping list for Dazza as the guys discuss the just announced GTX 1080ti from Nvidia, HTC’s Motion Tracker peripheral and Deluxe Audio Headset (now priced) and Nullspace’s haptic-fantastic Hardlight suit. So, much, shiny, tech!

Antony and Darren also get down to discussing a matter that most of us deal with occasionally – our local game stores. Has customer service declined, or was it never there to begin with and should a business based around fun really act at point of sale in a manner that threatens to deflate a gamers happy enthusiasm for their hobby? Is your local store one of the good guys, or do you find the whole process wearing? Antony tells his story and makes his compelling case this week.

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Can Microsoft Escape The Shadow of Sony’s Killer First Party Line-Up?

We’re back baby! After an unavoidable 2 week break the Sparks are back, bringing with them Episode 80 of their unique brand of pure podcast-tastic-ness.

This week the discussion turns to how well 2017 is shaping up for Sony and PS4. Not only with some fantastic existing releases coming in so early in the year but with platform exclusives coming down the line that have the guys very excited. WIth Resident Evil 7 in PSVR, Nioh garnering well deserved praise, Horizon Zero Dawn nearly upon us and many other exclusive titles (some being new IP’s) awaiting us down the road it is, once more, a great time to be a gamer.

If, that is, you own a PS4… Continue reading

Horizon Goes Gold, Resident Evil Hands On and Farewell To Nakamura

This weeks podcast sees the guys spin their unique slant on the last week in gamer-ville, with chat and debate around all the happenings in the last 7 days.
Joined by Tesco poster boy James Thomas (@BigSheep), Antony and Darren find themselves getting down to the big issues of the moment such as the merits of hens’ teeth and the challenges of hedgehog rescue – DANGER POTATO!

After learning many lessons about holding back excitement and tempering expectation, it’s no surprise that the announcement of Horizon Zero Dawn going Gold has been taken with nothing but calm acceptance by the Spark team (as the guys pre order 2 cases of the game and almost stop recording to go and start queuing up down Amazon’s warehouse). Listen in to hear some of the background of the development of this game that so many of us have our fingers crossed for to be a true classic of this generation. Continue reading

Has The Sting Been Taken Out Of Scorpio’s Tail?

This week the Sparks drill down into the surprising revelations of Microsoft Scorpio’s hardware specifications according to the leaked whitepaper that Eurogamer brought to light. These poured a degree of cold water onto the flames of expectation that Antony and Darren were fanning in anticipation of what was thought to be communicated as a console that would be godlike in its power, delivering true (let’s assume that means native) 4K graphics without batting an eye, a monster of a box that had the Sparks seeing the line between console and PC getting meaningfully blurred.

But wait! Stop right there oh faithful one, because as Digital Foundry writer Richard Leadbetter delves deeper into the whitepaper specs, it seems that a less awe inspiring piece of tech could be what looms before us and if the information is correct we could be looking at making a decision on buying a very different beast than we may have been lead to believe from the initial announcements. More of a PS4 Pro competitor than the behemoth incarnate that the initial announcements framed for us.

The Whitepaper in question is from E3 2016 and so is an old piece of documetation and could have changed from that time to this so we can perhaps look at this news as possible conjecture. Of course we will know nothing for sure until we get official word from the boys in green.

But were we perhaps naive to expect such a machine to appear within this generation being as it was also communicated that this system (akin to the PS4 Pro), would not leave those not ready to upgrade their Xbox Ones (and S’s) behind, promising parity with those legacy systems. Could we truly see something great from any endeavor that was in this way shackled to the legacy sku’s?

Whether it is Naivety, Desire, Gaming Passion or just plain old believing official communications, let’s all just step back, take a breath and temper our expectations. Let’s stop expecting the second coming of the (Insert your fave console here) and just downplay our hopes a little.

Then, when the time comes for reveal, instead of a collective disappointed eye roll and sigh resounding through gaming communities everywhere, we may just be surprised for once. A little bit pleased and a little bit excited about the next shiny console to look forward to.

You never know, those sighs may be replaced with surprise as our tempered expectations are met with more than we expect from the

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Nintendo Switch: The Good, The Bad and The Bonkers

Last week Nintendo delivered all of the information we have been waiting for on their new Console/Handheld hybrid, the Nintendo Switch.  For some this rather quirky and very ‘Nintendo like’ treehouse presentation was all the information they needed to head to Amazon and pre-order, for others it left them somewhat underwhelmed, confused and £279.99 richer!

The Switch announcement and pricing has left the Sparks divided and on the pod they debate the good, the bad and the bonkers parts of the Switch. Continue reading

Are EA Leaving Season Passes Behind?

Another week passes by and episode 76 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark podcast is here for your listening delights.  Among the games being played by the guys and stories of the drudgery of clearing away festive decorations, the guys discuss EA’s decision to leave out the Season Pass from Mass Effect Andromeda. This bucks a seemingly inescapable and obligatory trend that during the last few years felt as if its unwelcome presence was here to darken our gaming doorsteps permanently, costs layered on top of the price of a game has never been a welcomed concept in the community and the situation is made worse when the majority (not all) of season pass content is usually disappointing.  So could it be that this announcement could hail a time when the constant clamour for cash for content could be dwindling?

Of course, no Season Pass doesn’t necessarily mean no requests of cash for content, after all the game could just as easily have the same old DLC in there, just without the initial purchase choice to be made by the consumer.

It’s a hope that may be unlikely but not impossible that could 2017 be the year when EA lead by example by ditching the Season Pass concept but also changing their model to a path in which extra monetisation is gleaned from cosmetic DLC alone, keeping games and the gamers that love them less fragmented and more fun.

We can only hope.
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The 2016 Gamers of The Lost Spark New Year Special

Yep, it’s the end of our first full year of podcasting and so in true gaming pundit form, the Eye of Spark Towers shines out and focuses on the games of 2016 in our 2nd Game of the Year Extravaganza.

It’s gonna be captivating, even enrapture-vating!

But firstly, in the spirit of the New Year descending upon us, here’s a brief retrospective and some offerings of thanks;

Since starting off in May 2015 the Sparks have grown considerably and we are really proud of what we have created, realising our ambition of creating a positive, energetic and objective look into the world of video games and associated technology through our eyes – gamer eyes.

We are absolutely delighted with the brand that we have created – just the two of us – and seeing the show reaching a wider audience over the last year and a half or so has been a real source of joy and excitement for us. It’s a real hard struggle to make a dream a reality especially when starting with nothing. Everything we have done has been voluntary and out of our spare time and with no commercial aid. We are formed on the basis of our iron gaming wills alone!

Special thanks must also, of course, go out to the fantastic James Thomas (@BIGsheep) for agreeing to guest on our show many moons ago now and for enjoying it so much that he has become a regular on the show. For all the appearances and all the input – Thanks James!

Of course, most importantly, we would like to thank You. Our listeners. For turning up, for listening in, for getting involved and helping us grow. Any venture of this type is nothing without an audience and so the biggest appreciation and thanks go to you. We will strive to continue to develop content for you to enjoy and trust us when we say it really is our pleasure to be out there for your listening pleasure. Thanks Guys!

This is our 75th Podcast and interestingly if you were insane enough to play them back in one ginormous playlist, it would run for… 181 hours!

That’s almost 7 and a half days worth of pure gaming chat, speculation and laughter encapsulating the last year and a half. It’s an achievement we are incredibly proud to look back on.

This week, Antony, James and Darren take the time to give the results of their top 3 games of the year after the difficult job of whittling down the many quality titles in what has been a solid year of gaming across the main platforms.

Tune in, not only hear the guys top 3 games of 2016 but also the results of these other challenging categories posed to the guys. Not an easy task and one which certainly caused a head scratch or two in the process of winner picking:

  • Honourable Mention
  • 2016 Missed Opportunity
  • Biggest Disappointment
  • Biggest High Point
  • 2017 Prediction

So, welcome one and all, join in the fun and take a listen and if you like what you hear, stick with us through 2017 – it’s gonna be one heck of a year!

Don’t forget If you would like to give us a rating or a review on iTunes then we have this handy link for you, click here to jump to iTunes review for the Lost Spark Podcast!

Will The Strength Of Its Games Always Be Enough For Nintendo To Ignore Power?

‘Now Your Playing With Power’ proclaimed the 1986 NES marketing campaign that is just so wonderfully a product of those 80’s days. Fast forward 30 years and there’s a different cry that seems to resonate from Nintendo’s camp.  It’s all about the games now, and that previously lauded power is secondary…

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