Every now and then, I feel compelled to try something new in hopes that it’ll become a new passion or at least help me connect with other like-minded people. For much of my early life, right up until I was in my mid-20s, I was generally reluctant. I spent a good chunk of my life dealing with crippling anxiety, shyness, and sub-par social skills. I like to think I’ve gotten better. But when it comes to trying new things, I’m still behind the curve compared to most.
So, when I do attempt something new, it’s noteworthy and exciting. For the most part, those attempts have been successful. I consider this site and my YouTube channel a success in that regard. Now, I’m hoping to add a new endeavor to the mix.
To that end, I’d like to officially announce that I’ve joined Twitch. I now have my own channel and I just recently began streaming on it.
Now, I’ve been aware of Twitch for quite some time. Some of my friends regularly use it. But for the most part, I didn’t really get into it. I just know that whenever I explain Twitch to older people, their reactions are often funny.
I tell them that it’s largely a channel where people stream themselves playing video games and other people join in to watch. When they ask why anyone would want to do that, I often counter with why anyone would want to watch other people play sports. I also point out that a lot of people my age have fond memories of getting together with friends, hanging out, and watching one another play our favorite video games.
I’m one of them. I can’t count how many hours I spent with my friends just watching them play games like Goldeneye or Mario Kart.
Twitch is just a bigger manifestation of that. And recently, I’ve caught up with some old friends of mine who are now active on Twitch. That inspired me to start a channel of my own. I’ve already made a number of YouTube videos showing me playing games like Marvel Strike Force and Cyberpunk 2077. This is just me expanding on that.
Like my YouTube channel, I don’t expect to get a lot of followers at first. But I’ve already found that it’s a fun way to interact with people and to share some personal thoughts here and there. In my first few streams, I even dropped some hints about upcoming YouTube videos. So, if you ever want to interact with me directly, this is another way to do it.
I also hope that, when I get a Playstation 5, it’ll be easier to use Twitch to share my gameplay. That could be another way to interact with friends and build an audience. Time will tell. But I just wanted to announce this for anyone interested in a different kind of interaction.
It’s been almost a year since I began my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Then again, a lot of the work I put into this channel happened during the last year’s extended COVID-19 lockdowns. Hence, I can totally believe it’s been that long.
In that time, I’ve learned a great deal about the art, process, and particulars that go into making YouTube videos. I assumed it was a lot harder than successful YouTubers made it seemed. I was right on many levels. At the same time, I was somewhat relieved that the tools you need were readily available and learning to use them did not require going back to college.
I hope that those who have been following my channel since it began have seen an uptick in overall quality. Some of that uptick is largely due to hardware. If you listen to my first video, you’ll hear some fairly poor audio quality. That’s because I used a cheap USB microphone to record it. Compare that to my more recent videos and the difference should be clear. That’s the benefit of investing in a better mic.
One such improvement involves my recent foray into video game footage. If you’re subscribed to my channel, you’ve seen me posting screen recordings of me playing a video game called Marvel Strike Force. I’ve created an entire playlist from it. I’ve even had a little fun adding epic music in the background and doing large mash-ups of extended gameplay.
The problem is that I’m finding it more and more difficult to refine that content. Aside from just recording the gameplay and putting music behind it, I’ve been struggling to add much more to it. At one point, I wanted to do some audio commentary during the gameplay. I found that to be difficult because these screen recordings come from my iPhone and I can’t use my fancy new mic on that.
Since I use a PC and not a Mac, I can’t really take advantage of better hardware on my main computer where I do all my video editing. I’ve also taken up a lot of space with some of the footage I’ve recorded and that’s on a relatively new device. Clearly, if I’m going to keep providing this kind of content, I’ll need to find a better way. I’m considering a software like Blue Stacks.
However, I’d like to take things a bit further than the games I play on my iPad and iPhone. At some point, I want to start doing gameplay from my PS4 and, eventually, a PS5 whenever I get one. With games like “Resident Evil Village” and “Mass Effect: Legendary Edition” coming out, I want to be able to stream longer and more extensive gameplay.
I know there are established ways to do that. I’m just not sure what form it’ll ultimately take on my channel. Will I use this gameplay as a means of offering background footage while I offer commentary? Will I just leave it alone and just show the footage? Will I use the footage to mash it up into something more creative?
I don’t know yet and I’m certainly open to suggestions. For now, one of the most immediate solutions I can pursue is getting a large external hard drive that I can use to store footage from both my iPad and my PS4. Another is to simply upgrade my iPad so that the resolution is better.
It really depends on what I feel will make a better video, in the long run. I’ll still do plenty of videos breaking down my favorite TV shows, movies, and thought experiments. My channel is still young with less than 100 videos. I’m also still building my audience. I don’t know how big it’s going to get or if I’ll hit a limit, as I’ve done with my many other creative endeavors. Only time will tell.
Again, I’m open to suggestions and tips. If you have any, please feel free to share them. In the meantime, enjoy this footage of me beating Dark Dimension IV in Marvel Strike Force.
In the time I’ve been playing games and following the industry, I’ve seen many games that were heavily hyped. I vividly remember how games like “No Man’s Sky” and “Spore” were supposed to revolutionize the industry. Most of the time, the game was a letdown, relative to said hype. A few managed to deliver. Franchises like Zelda and Grand Theft Auto keep finding a way.
However, I’ve yet to see a game garner as much hype as “Cyberpunk 2077.” I’ve also yet to see a game garner such a mixed reaction in conjunction with such a chaotic launch. Now granted, some of that might be due to the general chaos of 2020, but the story surrounding this game has been a special kind of messy.
The long and short of that story is this.
The game itself was announced was announced back in May 2012 by CD Projekt Red.
The game was originally slated for release in April 2020, but was delayed twice.
Once the game finally did come out, it was found to be glitchy and buggy. Some older gaming systems, like the Playstation 4, could not effectively run it and even robust gaming PC’s struggled to play it.
Due to the bugs and messy release, fans and critics alike were outraged. Some demanded refunds and Sony even removed the digital version of the game from its store.
Again, there’s a lot more to the story behind this game and how its release was handled, but those are the basics. I won’t get into the meaty details. Others more qualified than me have handled that far better and I’ll defer to them for more insight.
The reason I’m talking about “Cyberpunk 2077” has less to do with the game itself and more to do with the emerging trends behind it. This isn’t the first game to endure a messy, glitchy launch. It’s also not the first to invite massive backlash from fans and customers. I doubt it’ll be the last, either.
It all comes down to this.
Nobody should be surprised that a game as big, ambitious, and complex as “Cyberpunk 2077” had glitches at launch.
Nobody should be surprised when any game that runs on powerful, complex gaming systems aren’t perfect from the beginning.
Everyone should expect patches and fixes that come out years after a game comes out. They’re practically unavoidable.
I know that sounds like a broad generalization. It may even sound like I’m making excuses for game developers like CD Projekt Red. I promise that’s not the case. This is just me sharing my perspective and I feel it’s worth sharing in the current era of AAA gaming.
Like it or not, the gaming industry has evolved a lot since the days of Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and the first Playstation. It’s not just that the industry has become more consolidated and more impacted by games people play on their phones. That is also part of it, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the bigger picture here.
A game like “Tetris” or “Super Mario Bros” is much less complex than a game like “Grand Theft Auto V” or “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.” I’m not just talking about the story or gameplay, either. These games require a lot more in terms of development, polishing, and refinement to go from the drawing board to a finished product.
The hardware is more powerful.
The mechanics are more complex.
The logistics are far greater.
You didn’t used to have to hire top quality voice acting talent on the level of Keanu Reeves to develop a game. You just had text boxes and sound effects. That’s all games like “Legends of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” and the first Pokémon games needed.
However, those games couldn’t come out now and be as successful. They were products of their time, limited by the hardware and software needed to develop them. It still took time and effort, but let’s not lose perspective here. The entire size of those games could comfortably fit on a $10 flash drive.
In essence, a game like “Cyberpunk 2077” is to “Super Mario Brothers” what a Saturn V rocket is to a standard wheel. It has far more moving parts, far more complexities, and far more investment needed in order to make work.
When you have something that complex, things aren’t always going to go smoothly. Patches and tweaks will be necessary. It’s just a matter of extent. Even top-rated games like “Grand Theft Auto V” needed a few patches to make work. Other games like “Destiny 2” required so many patches that the game was basically overhauled.
In both cases, the games were better because of this. Even if it wasn’t perfect on launch, it created the foundation from which a truly awesome experience could emerge. That’s the best way to approach games like “Cyberpunk 2077.” Regardless of what the release date says, assume that’s just the beginning and not the end.
At the same time, some games are so mired by their launch that nobody notices or appreciates it when the game is ultimately fixed. That’s what happened to “Mass Effect: Andromeda,” a game that was also plagued by a glitchy and messy launch. However, several patches helped fix many of the issues. Now, I can confirm that the game in its most updated form is a genuinely solid gaming experience.
Unfortunately, fans gave up on that game, and many like it, too quickly. I feel like others didn’t even give it a chance because they listened to those who made such a big deal about the glitches at launch. It would be like people avoiding cars for the rest of their lives because the first few crashed or didn’t run well enough.
For this reason, I’ve gotten into the habit of not buying any AAA game at launch. Unless it’s a remaster, I always wait at least three to four months before I consider investing in it. That usually affords enough time to work out the kinks and get the necessary patches in place for the game to realize its full potential.
Sometimes, it’s still a letdown. Games like “Anthem” have never really taken hold, no matter how many patches and tweaks they get.
For the most part, though, there’s a benefit to waiting until months after launch. The hardest part is not letting negative reviews from people bemoaning the early glitches color your opinion of the game. That’s what helped me enjoy “Mass Effect: Andromeda.” I never would’ve gotten that experience had I read all the complaints about the earlier version of the game.
Sometimes, you need to exercise a little patience to get the gaming experience you seek. That’s not easy these days, especially as the gaming industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar entertainment behemoth. I remember just how visceral some of the reactions were when “Cyberpunk 2077.” Now, some of those same people are whining about the game appearing to have been rushed.
It’s the kind of hypocrisy that makes you want to punch your computer screen.
On top of that, game development these days is subject to significant strain among developers. It’s what fuels a less-than-pleasant aspect of the industry called crunch. When a company is eager to get a product to the market or to meet a deadline, it’ll lean heavily on its workers. Many times, those workers will suffer as a result.
It’s a distressing part of the industry, but one I doubt will go away anytime soon. As long as there’s demand for AAA games on par with “Cyberpunk 2077,” we’re going to endure things like this. Games are going to be launched with bugs. Game developers are going to be overworked to death to meet a deadline rather than risk angering the consumer base.
Until these trends and dynamics change, it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. In the meantime, I’m still going to be patient with “Cyberpunk 2077.” I don’t think I’ll get it until several months have gone by, complete with patches, and I have a new Playstation 5 to play it on.