In most sci-fi books and movies humans appear as naive, stupid and greedy beings, and machines created by them usually rebel against them as soon as they get “smart” enough. In Primordia, debut game made by not really famous Wormwood Studios and Wadjet Eye Games and released on December 5, 2012, everything is different: robots do not want to harm humans; on the contrary, they believe that humans are supreme beings, perfect machines.
These holidays I played Primordia for the first time. I was tired of playing The Witcher 2 and waiting for its new installment or Cyberpunk 2077 to be released, so I wanted to try something new. I didn’t think I could ever like a 2D game with bad graphics, but…
Last week, I ventured back to 2005 and looked into the revolution that was Guitar Hero. Wasting no time at all, I’m going to take a look into Guitar Hero at its finest moment as well as Rock Band, DJ Hero and finally, the DLC of tracks we just had to keep purchasing.
There will be a few of you reading this who want to be the next Jimmy Hendrix, Slash or just simply wish you could make a pleasing noise with an instrument. Learning how to play an instrument, even at a half decent quality will take time, effort and money, so when an easier option appeared that didn’t require knowledge of chords or finger placement it took the world by storm. That, ladies and gentlemen, was Guitar Hero.
First arriving in 2005 in America, being developed by Harmonix and published by Red Octane , Guitar Hero held the promise to give the industry a game that took similar game mechanics from the popular Japanese title GuitarFreaks , released in 1998, which had the player interacting with a guitar-shaped controller using their hand-eye co-ordination to strum and hit buttons to match those being displayed on the TV.
We Brits didn’t see the Guitar Hero series hit our shelves until 2006, five months after its release in the US. None the less, this didn’t stop the success of it running wild. Guitar Hero was a game that allowed us to rock out in our living rooms as if we were on stage at Wembley Stadium. The set up was pretty simple, similar to a Karaoke booth; after choosing a song of your choice, using the guitar controller you had to match the notes that were coming towards you on screen and hit them at the correct time to successfully play them. Get a string of correct notes together and you started getting combos. Failing that, you got booed off of the stage and told to never come back again (not as harsh as that but there were a few times I’ve had to put the controller down myself before I chucked it at the wall).
Guitar Hero ended up being an unexpected hit not long after being released, becoming the second highest selling PS2 title in February 2006 and there’s no wonder – it allowed wannabe bedroom air guitarists (like myself) an opportunity to live the dream through a game that offered around 30 rock hits from past and present including Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’, ‘Ace of Spades’ by Motorhead and everyone’s favourite – ‘Smoke on the Water’. For me, the game became very addictive, what with the increasing challenge of difficulty as you worked your way through the songs and various tiers, it never got boring.
Rhythm action games hadn’t really been anything else apart from dancing simulators where you managed to look like a fairy on acid trying to stomp out the buttons on your dance mat. Guitar Hero lifted this dying genre, blew it out of the water and gave it some life by earning more than $2 billion sales to date and launching the Guitar Hero series into our lives for a number of years to come. By the end of 2006, Guitar Hero II was sitting on our shelves ready to be picked up in the glory that is the Christmas rush. With the first title setting the bar so high in terms of what was to be expected, the second instalment didn’t disappoint fans of the first. Whilst still being made by Harmonix, the sequel to the original game did not have the same impact the original had, but rather kept the series strong characteristics reinforcing the franchise. At this point in time, Harmonix appeared to have their eyes on the bigger picture and wanting to move onto something that would change the genre for good.
2007 marked the start of the Rock Band series which offered more variety than Guitar Hero offered in its previous titles. As you could guess from the name, Rock Band came with not only the guitar peripheral but the addition of drums and a microphone. The possibility of getting closer to that Wembley Stadium stage was getting closer for us bedroom rock band wannabes. Rock Band introduced us to the somewhat familiar grounds of singing at our telly’s (badly for some of us) yet gave us the opportunity to smash sticks at pads that collectively resembled something of a drum kit. This moved gamers away from power sliding across the living room to taking a steadier position behind the drums and try their hand at the drumming aspects of songs which offered a completely new challenge that differed from the lack of challenge guitar offered with their being two previous titles that I’m sure a lot of gamers will have mastered by this point in time. Rock Band’s set list didn’t offer anything new compared to the already successful Guitar Hero series yet was still advancement for the music rhythm genre and moving it further away from the dance mats still. Rock Band invited fans of the genre to join together as a band and play together both offline and online. With the band tour mode featured in Rock Band, this allowed up to four people to come as one and play songs together to go around world in the game – definitely a step up from arguing on who was playing bass and who was playing electric guitar on Guitar Hero II.
Even in the space of a few short years, the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series were both making a name for themselves not just in the music rhythm genre but, in the gaming scene as a whole. Next week, I’ll go into depth about the pinnacle about both franchises, the birth of a new one and whether it was as successful in regards to making its mark compared to its two fellow franchises.
Following yesterday’s revelations by EA regarding the future of The Sims 3 franchise, fans were overjoyed to hear that we will be graced with not one, but two expansion packs to sink our teeth in to.
As of March, players will possess the ability to enrol their Sims into university. The content within The Sims 3: University expansion pack is said to go ‘beyond the classroom.’ It allows Sims to partake in party going and forming a solid social network. Having a degree will also aid your Sims immensely when job hunting. The expansion pack will also provide a new town and campus for Sims to explore.
It’s pretty clear that the University expansion pack is looking to go beyond the basic academia aspect of university. Although your Sims will be studying major-specific subjects, they also possess the ability to learn through class activities and join in social activities.
Socialising is even integrated into your Sims studies they are able to partake in study groups. Sometimes Sims just love to let loose, so why not allow them to host a bonfire party to really heat things up?
The Sims 3: University Life allows Sims to text, blog and stream video. Utilising these methods builds your affiliation with the three social groups across campus – the Nerds, the Rebels and the Jocks. Building your Sims cred with these groups will provide them with an array of opportunities, including obtaining a dream job or gaining an additional trait. The traits in which you choose for your Sims play a massive role in complementing the degree they study.
I mentioned previously that a degree would aid Sims whilst job-seeking. A degree allows for faster promotions and a higher-entry level job.
EA announced that Island Paradise will sail into our lives this June. The title allows players to take control of customisable houseboats and set sail in search of islands, create and manage resorts or discover wonders beneath the ocean utilising scuba diving and snorkelling activities.
With the revelation of these two expansion packs so prematurely in the year, does this signify a possible Sims 4 announcement towards the end of the year? Surely they’re running out of expansion pack ideas for this instalment of the life-simulation franchise? How many of you are anxious for a Sims 4 reveal? Think it’s likely this year? I’d love to hear your opinions.
Thanks for reading, happy simming!
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