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

Should 4K Consoles Be Offering Increased Storage?

It’s Episode 96 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark Podcast and with E3 out of the way (just), Antony and Darren get together once again to discuss all the happenings after the dust has settled. Braving the blistering heat of their respective studio’s as the UK swelters beneath an intense heatwave, nothing as paltry as ridiculously high temperatures will stop the guys from having their say.

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The Return Of The Lost Spark E3 Podcast Extravaganza

Strap yourself in because it’s back! It’s the return of the Lost Sparks E3 extravaganza, Join Darren and Antony as they breakdown, analyse and get down-right excited about the E3 2017 Press Conferences:

EA (00:10:44)
Microsoft (00:50:13)
Bethesda (02:53:29)
UbiSoft (03:07:29)
Sony (03:45:02)
Nintendo (04:55:12)

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

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!

The Essential E3 2017 Games List

It’s back! The Lost Spark E3 Essential games list is here.

No need to run from site to site in order to create your most wanted games list. The sparks have done the hard work for you with our guide to the most essential titles shown at E3 2017.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 – Cinematic Trailer

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Lost Spark E3 2017 Predictions

This week, as E3 grips the Sparks, James and Antony run-through the E3 press schedule timings and spend a moment to wildly speculate and try to predict what will be announced during the highlight of the gaming calendar, E3!

Will we see Nintendo adding ‘Deluxe’ to all of the old Wii U titles and release them on the Switch? Will Spider-Man open the Sony conference? Will we see The Avengers on stage at Microsoft’s conference? Join James and Antony for episode 94 of the Lost Spark Podcast for this and all the gaming news from the last 7 days.

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