Tag Archives: Games with Gold

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.

Dazza has taken a trip back in time to 2002 and re-aquired Kingdom Hearts on the PS4 with the 1.5 / 2.5 Remix Edition after getting his desire ignited by the Kingdom Hearts 3 Toy Story trailer and is very pleasantly surprised at the value of the package and the fact the the game is enhanced on PS4 Pro to a 4K 60fps feast.

Enjoy a wealth of Kingdom Hearts facts and trivia from Daz as he gushes about this really great, or indeed definitive version of the Square-Enix classic. This game really is your single ticket to get you up to speed and ready for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Meanwhile, Darren talks about his visit to PlayExpo Blackpool 2017 while Antony tries to keep calm as he prays for adult only Pixar showings in cinemas.

in ‘What We’ve Been Playing’ this week Antony jumps into Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch, and even though the game is great colourful splatting fun the online setup and user interfaces are just so, well ‘Nintendo!’.  Listen into this week’s podcast for a full hands on of Splatoon 2, the ‘Salmon Run’ mode and the new Nintendo Online iOS app and hear why Antony, along with his gaming buddies have switched to Discord.

It’s that time once again for the new Games with Gold announcements for Xbox Live Gold players, for August you will be able to download the colourful and zany, Slime Ranchers, available from the 1st – 31st August.  From the 16th August to the 15th September you will be able to download the awesome and incredibly addictive Trails Fusion.

For Xbox 360, playable on Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility you have, starting 1st August Bayonetta through to the 15th August.  Then on 16th August 16th, Xbox Live Gold Members can download Red Faction: Armageddon for free through August 31st.

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 and rate, review or subscribe to the Lost Spark Podcast!

Ready Player One Trailer

Digital Foundry’s Kingdom Hearts 1.5 / 2.5 Remix Analysis

Kingdom hearts trailer

‘Bad Ape’ YouTube Clip

Wolf Among Us Season 2 Announcement Video

PlayStation 4 Beta Programme

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

There’s More To Gaming Than Just ‘Triple A’

In this weeks podcast we have all the usual fun frolics and frivolity as the guys discuss the week in gaming, what’s hot to play and everything in between. Hold on to your control pads gamers, it’s Episode 89 of the Lost Spark Podcast.

An interesting point in the news (courtesy of wccftech) this week was made by Cliff Bleszinski (Cliffy B) of Unreal Tournament and Gears of War fame and more recently the co-founder of Boss Key Productions.

During industry conference Reboot Develop 2017, Cliff took to the stage and put forward his view that ‘AAA games’ cost too much to make and the development of such games are a ‘nearly unsustainable’ model, his reasoning behind this is based on a number of points including the fact that:

  • Customers can only afford a few $60 dollar games a year and this price is a high point for most consumers
  • Consumers have been burned with DLC / Bugs in their games
  • Player expectations are very high in terms of Graphics. feature sets and polish and quality

Citing Horizon Zero Dawn as an example, Cliff went on to posit that the seven year development cycle for a project like this can be undertaken and afforded by Sony with the reason that they can get so heavily invested in something like this is that they will be the ones profiting from the sale of their consoles, which a game like Horizon Zero Dawn is very likely to have a positive effect on.  So Sony – whom Horizon Zero Dawn’s Developer Guerrilla Games belong to – has two branches here, both the software and their hardware, with which they can recoup their investment and further to this make a profit.

In contrast to this he then made a comparison to the financial commitment that was made by Take-Two with regard to Bioshock Infinite where the outcome of overstretching to fulfill a AAA vision resulted in a number of lay offs over at Irrational Games.

A remedy for this, he suggested, would be the advent of the ‘AA game’. These games would be games that despite a restricted budget focused on what matters most, giving examples of his type of game being the likes of Rocket League by Psyonix and Digital Extreme’s Warframe adding also that digital only would also be a consideration for success.

So, have our expectations got out of hand, or is the amazing high standard and polish of the games we see nowadays simply a result of the evolution of technology and the desire of creators to improve, innovate and deliver that next big thing? Is it all simply about the bottom line (obviously to a great degree, it’s business), or is there something to be said for the ambition of developers and creators to express themselves and push the limits of the gaming medium via the technologically impressive consoles we use today?

Whether it’s gamer expectation, businesses pushing for profit or creators with the passion and determination to bring their ambitious gaming visions to the gaming community, it does look like there is a point here. No one likes to hear about studios closing, job cuts, or devs not getting paid for their hard work and if this can be avoided by simply scaling back ambition on a project and being more realistic in financial terms of what can be achieved then that’s great. Though conversely, it would definitely be a shame if the spectacle of the ‘AAA game’ was only within the reach of the hardware manufacturers.

Ultimately, if the costs of the AAA’s continue to get out of hand and cause businesses problems the amount made will dwindle as the lessons are learned.

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2017 and the Gaming Super 7 – Best First Quarter Ever?

This week in episode 85 Antony and Darren take a moment to pay tribute to this stellar first quarter for gaming that we have had in 2017, admire the amazing selection of top quality games available for us all and reflect upon whether the standard set could possibly be held up by the rest of the year. That rest of the year sure has its work cut out if it wants to hold a candle to this stunning start that we have had.

The Sparks 2017 ‘Super 7’ goes like this:

  • Yakuza 0
  • Resident Evil VII
  • NiOh
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild
  • Nier Automata
  • Persona 5

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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

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

Scorpi…Oh! Continue reading

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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Did EA Get The Titanfall 2 Release Wrong, Can It Respawn?

Thrown into the midst of this weeks jam packed podcast is the sad tale of Titanfall 2. It’s a disheartening story of lack of sales, which is so sad when the Sparks’ both agree that Respawn’s second iteration of their Pilot/Mech shooter not only feels amazing to play, with the tightest control and gameplay out of the big three FPS releases of the moment (Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare), but also boasts the most refined and enjoyable campaign mode too.

With flashes of inspiration from the likes of Mirror’s Edge to Super Mario Galaxy, this is one FPS that really has the player relishing each and every moment of minute-to-minute action in a campaign that really does feel like the start of a great future for the franchise.

Unfortunately, a bad release strategy – releasing in between the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty – seems to have hampered the pick up of this great title and really, it’s fair to say that we understand why.

It is rather a baffling release strategy that leaves the Spark’s wondering if EA will back the franchise further, or was this plan perhaps designed as a way of giving the Titanfall universe one last hurrah before relinquishing any future commitment to sequels based upon sales figures?

We also discuss how Respawn got Titanfall 2 to just feel, you know, so good. With some light shed on the matter from Respawn’s own CEO Vince Zampella in an interview he recently did with glixl.com. Hear about Respawn’s development mantra and just how those controls were honed on the pod.

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Will You Switch To Nintendo?

The big news this week on the Lost Spark Podcast is the reveal of the Nintendo Switch and so of course, your friendly neighbourhood Sparks’ dive into the announcement with gusto discussing thoughts on Nintendo’s reveal trailer, speculation of those questions that the reveal didn’t answer and everything we know so far about Nintendo’s latest tech.

Is portability the killer move for Nintendo with this new platform in an era where smartphones and tablets do have a chunk of the market? Or does the fully fleshed out, more rounded and complete gaming experience that the Switch will offer give it the edge in that area, or is this a niche of its own, becoming what the Vita or even indeed the Wii U portable screen should have been?
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Tales From The Indie Paradise That Is EGX

This week on the Lost Spark Podcast we have a jammed packed episode as Darren (@DazWhitham) makes his triumphant return to the pod, James (@BIGsheep) is back with tails of scaling historical ships all in the name of work (and pleasure!).  Also on the podcast this week Antony (@ChessmanUK) chats with his nephew Will (@FireproofWillUK) after a fun packed day at EGX. Continue reading