Age Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Age RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 5 Time Periods the Total War Franchise Should Totally Explore Wed, 14 Dec 2016 03:00:02 -0500 Stefano Bonacchi


The Rise of The Mughal Empire


Hardly any game focuses on Indian History, this is a shame, since it is very rich in strife and warfare and very interesting.


A Total War set in the times the Mughal Empire rose to prominence with the whole Indian subcontinent as a playable map would thus feel really fresh compared to another one set in medieval europe or Japan.

This is because as the Mughals were to be later known, they were one of the Gunpowder empires, muslim empires built quickly thanks to the use of cannons and muskets against technologically inferior foes, much like the Ottomans, who ended up controlling half of the mediterranean coast, thus an emphasis on both traditional cavalry tactics but also on siege warfare with cannons would be quite interesting.


These were the time periods/locations I think the Total War series should be set in, do you agree? Do you think other time periods are more suitable? Let me know in the comments below!


Muslim Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Levant


Given how Important it has been for world history it is surprising that hardly any strategy game focuses on this time period.


I feel that a Total War game set in the Levant from 630 to 700 would be very interesting and fun.


Mostly because the arabs focused on light cavalry, tough not in the same way as the Mongols did, and had the luck of finding both their greatest existential threats, the Persian and Roman empires, exhausted from a long war and decimated by a plague.


A mechanic that simulates the spread of the plague and how it weakens more the settled nations than the nomads like the arabs would be much needed to balance the starting situation, after all the arabs were not incredibly superior soldiers, but had luck and good generals on their side.


Also to note is that arab warfare was mostly made up of raids, a mechanic to allow raiding the infidels unless they convert or pay a monthly tribute could also be introduced.


Three Kingdoms Era China


Romance of the Three Kingdoms has inspired an insane amount of video games, and the Total War series is not among them at the moment.


Although, given the very volatile and interesting political situation that China was in during the Three Kingdoms period, it should really be covered in one of the next games of the franchise.

The Three Kingdom period was the era that followed the collapse of the Han dynasty, as no Warlord proved to be overwhelmingly superior to the others -- though Cao Cao came close -- the empire ended up divided in 3 sovereign kingdoms that were in a more or less constant state of warfare against each other.


American Civil War


Set more or less at the same time of the Third Italian Independence War, yet in a completely different continent with very different armies and strategies being employed, in fact here trench warfare was prominent although not as much as in WW1, the same can't be said for the European wars of the time.


While there has been a Revolutionary War focused expansion, there isn't a Total War game or expansion set in or around the civil war, thus it would be very much needed. It might even work as an expansion for a game set during the Italian Independence wars period, to sort of show that warfare was not the same everywhere.


Italian Independence Wars


These three wars spanned a time that goes from 1848 to 1866, a time of turmoil in the whole European continent, thus a Total War Game set in Italy and Europe around these years could prove to be quite interesting and unique -- especially so for an American audience


The same goes for everyone really, these particular wars are not well known outside the nations involved in them, but are nonetheless interesting for they still employed some 19th century tactics but at the same time evolved significantly from napoleonic warfare. In fact train transportation of troops became quite notable and important in that era, so train systems along with roads can be in game.


The Total War series, has proven to be one of the most well known and loved series of strategy games in existence.


However, despite its renown, there are still some very interesting times and places it has yet to explore -- no matter how many time periods it has already gone to.


Starting off by taking on the Shoguns of Japan, Total War: Shogun and it's sequel Shogun 2 is set in feudal Japan. The Roman empire also featured twice, in Rome and Rome 2, which comes with the the Geek empire too -- and the 'spin off' Attila, which added in roving factions which don't have a set city. We then got the Medieval series, which was set in Europe during the Medieval era, and completely changed how trading and negotiations worked. Then, a shift for the Total War series with Empire, being set during the 18th century it focused much more on ranged combat with gunpowder weapons, and cannons. It was mostly set in Europe (due to the faction choices), India and the Americas featured also -- Napoleon took the same idea, but was focused around the Corsican born French general, and Empire maker. Most recently, the Total War series once again did something new and moved into the fantasy world with Warhammer -- it improved the roving factions with Chaos.


But even with all these eras, there are many more which could make for an interesting setting in a Total War game.

Mature 17+, Is the ESRB too hard on video games? Mon, 11 Jan 2016 11:00:16 -0500 BlackTideTV

Although video games have increased in production, quality, audience and any other quantifiable aspect, they have apparently taken a turn for the dark side. In recent years, games with a "Mature 17+" rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) have drastically risen versus the much less popular "E for Everyone" rating. Nearly all of the anticipated releases for 2016 have a Mature rating making them difficult for younger audiences to purchase and enjoy. 

Once upon a time gaming was geared for youths but now they are all but forgotten (except by Nintendo - which we'll briefly mention later in this piece before providing a standalone article on that topic). In this article we look to compare past and current games, their ratings and audiences, why they might look like they do, any outlying characteristics about certain games or time frames, and finally conclude what the ESRB and game developers need to do to make gaming fair once more.

The Good Ol' Days.

Gaming began as a source of entertainment for younger audiences. Super MarioSonic the HedgehogPac-Man, they were all oriented towards children. Gaming has since become more realistic, more gruesome, and more sexual, but it isn't entirely for adults only.

I grew up playing the PlayStation 2 and games like Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, Sly Cooper, and Jak and Daxter; all appropriate albeit challenging games. However, the PlayStation 2 soon became one of the first consoles to really push for mature audiences. More mature games aren't a bad thing, but kids aren't so innocent that they had to be left entirely in the dark.

My first encounters with mature rated games were the Outlaw Sports series and the God of War games. Both are very worthy of a more mature rating, but one more than the other. 

Outlaw Sports was rated Mature for a few reasons, most of them tame. Sexual themes, strong language, humor, use of drugs and alcohol. Basically what everybody sees in your average comedy movie. This game series could have easily been labelled Teen.

God of War is a different story entirely. Nudity, Blood and gore, intense violence, language, strong sexual content, this game was the most risque piece of work since sliced bread (who knew bread could be so sexy?).

The question the world needs to ask itself here is: what do we consider too much for younger viewers/players? What is mature versus teen versus everyone?

Is the ESRB too hard on games?

This is a huge controversial issue and I don't want to start anything too massive, but are parents too protective of their children nowadays? Are we that scared to show our youths a bit of nudity or have a small amount of crude humor (which they probably wouldn't even understand) in their games?

With so many sexual advertisements and dirty jokes in kids movies for the pleasure of accompanying adults, free nudity campaigns like Free the Nipple, and general behavior of the average human, it should be time that we start to re-expose youths to the world before they're "legal."

There once was a time when kids weren't so protected. They could go outside and climb trees or - dare I say it - compete in a soccer league where one team really does lose! (There are actual sports leagues that don't confirm winners on account of hurting the other team's feelings.) It's time to get back to reality in both reality and video games.

So, what should be appropriate for an "E for Everyone" rating?

  • A small amount of nudity - children are aware that everyone has a body. Why hide it from them? Almost every single comedy movie out there has nudity in it and everyone has seen a buttocks or two. Let's be honest, if children were more exposed to a small amount of nudity, there's a good chance that over-sexualization of girls would be down, rape would probably be down, and kids would be more aware of sex and the responsibility that comes from it (don't get me started on the sexual education of children in elementary schools).
  • Strong language - if you never heard your parents yelling and screaming every curse word in the book, you had quite the childhood. Everyone swears. It's just part of the culture. Not a very eloquent part, but a part nonetheless. Of course, certain very strong words should be omitted but that's a job for the game developers and writing teams. 
  • Mature humor - chances are the kids won't understand a lot of jokes thrown into less mature games anyways so what's the harm? Lots of adults like to play games like Sly Cooper or Ratchet and Clank so what's so bad about a little sexual innuendo every now and then? Disney Pixar and Dreamworks have been putting hidden jokes in their cartoons for years to keep adults happy while watching the films with their young ones.
  • Use of drugs and alcohol - does watching people use drugs often make you want to use drugs? Not likely. Building on this, most children have little to no access to any sort of drug in the first place so there really is no harm in it.
  • Blood and gore - we aren't talking Game of Thrones decapitation here, but a little bit of blood is not a big deal. Oh my god, everybody has blood inside them and when they get cut they bleed! Big deal!

Now that we've seen a few of the content descriptors that often make games go from tame to Mature 17+, we can see why almost every game is rated maturely. If your character is walking along and stubs his toe on a desk and yells, "Shit!" ESRB jumps on it and says, "That has to be mature! He swore!" In the long run it's parents that push the ESRB to rate more harshly. This generation of children has seen more protection than any generation in the history of mankind. At this rate the next generation will come out of the womb and enter directly into a big plastic bubble for the first 20 years of their lives.

Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law!

It's more than just a kick-ass Judas Priest song, it's something that younger gamers do all of the time. Who hasn't had their parents buy a mature game for them? Almost everyone I know has gone a round in Grand Theft Auto before the age of 12.

Gamers aren't the only people to break the law surrounding ESRB ratings. A lot of employees of Wal-Mart or other video game retailers will neglect to ask for ID when youths try to purchase mature games. It's too much of a hassle. Everyone knows that if you refuse to sell a mature game to a minor they'll just come back with their parents. 

What is the ESRB going to do? Conduct unannounced inspections of everyone's house to try to catch underage players? Just another thing to think about as we move forward through the article.

The Outcome of Poor ESRB Choices.

The ESRB has rated countless games Mature 17+. What has that done for the industry? Nearly every anticipated game of 2016 will be rated maturely, meaning younger gamers need not apply. We might as well move video games into the adult store next to the sex toys and the cigarettes.

If people were to abide by the rules the only system anyone with kids would have is the Wii U being the only system that can hold an Everyone rating on most games. Essentially, every other game on every other console/system being rated mature is what keeps Nintendo in business by having the only "family friendly consoles."

Long story short, too many games have unrealistic ratings. Call of Duty for example is a war based game that has mild language and some blood and gore. To "legally" play that shooter players are required to be at least 17 years old. When was the first time you played CoD? Probably before 17.

Again, there is a bigger controversy at play here. Children in today's society are ridiculously overprotected and need to be unburdened from that protection. The world is a cruel and unusual place and it will hit kids like a brick if they aren't prepared for it. 

Final Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC will be an epilogue that takes place 2 years later Sun, 30 Aug 2015 06:26:42 -0400 Andrea Koenig

BioWare and Electronic Arts announced both online and at PAX Prime today that they're release the conclusion to the adventures of Dragon Age: Inquisition in an upcoming DLC called Trespasser, to be released September 8th.

This DLC will come in a special way to the Dragon Age franchise, as it will be something that the team has never done before: an epilogue. Specifically, it will take place 2 years after the main game, adding a brand new adventure.

So what do you do with a world-saving organization in a world that doesn't need any more saving?

Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director for Dragon Age, describes it this way:

It's a chance to meet and talk with old friends, to uncover a new threat, and ultimately decide the fate of the Inquisition you worked so hard to build. It might just contain hints about the future of Thedas, too.

Based on sneak peaks from the trailer, we can make a few more deductions about what is ultimately going to come out of this DLC.

This "new threat" will be the Qunari.

There hasn't been much released on the Qunari's threat, other than the fact that they made an invasive move, and it's time to reunite your team to stop them. The Qunari are also using the Eluvians to fulfill their plans.

Because of their immediate threat, this will ultimately cause different reactions from different characters, even some that might not usually have been accessible to players after completing the main storyline.

During an interview at PAX Prime, Laidlaw mentions that some of such characters, such as those who became Divine, might call it the last straw and join in on the battle, regardless of Divinity.

This allows for any special characters that players liked during their adventures will become available again. It hasn't yet been confirmed if this is the case for all sorts of character limitations.

The Eluvian Mirrors play a major role.

The Qunari are using the Eluvians to invade and attack. However, so are you and your team as you go place to place, trying to plot their next move.

In the same interview as previously mentioned, Laidlaw also pointed out a few key factors to the game involving the Eluvians:

There will be new locations. They're actually old locations, but the ancient areas are new to you. Player characters start at the Winter Palace, but all the places you venture to will be "completely new, and completely constructed to tell the Trespasser story."

But why call the DLC Trespasser? Well, simply put, that's you. You will be entering worlds that haven't been touched for thousands of years, trespassing as you go.

Laidlaw hinted at additional meanings, but that's what we have for now. Everything is meant to unfold during gameplay.

Solas returns

Mike Laidlaw has already trampled on any fan's dreams for those who think the epilogue will be about Solas. He might be a fan favorite, but his appearance in the game is as much and as little of a return as the other characters.

This is one where the crisis, the regrouping, a last hurrah, a chance to see your friends and followers, and Solas are all a part of it.

Seeing how things turned out for Solas is just as much a part of the adventure as seeing how things turned out for Blackwall – it’s just that his plays out differently from the others.

Will there be more Solas story? Yes, but it's not just Solas. You will understand his situation and his story in a more developed way, but his entire story is "too complicated" for fans to expect a complete wrap-up in this DLC.

It is also unconfirmed that Solas will be able to join the party. For now he is strictly a character that makes an appearance. Once again, Solas is a complicated fellow. He will just get more story than he had before, completely fair game like the others.

However, there are hints toward using Solas and his story to explore any potential future Dragon Age games that may come down the line. And to stop the hype train before it starts, no future Dragon Age games are confirmed or in the works. Laidlaw and his team just end their games by thinking ahead.

The fate of the Inquisition is on your shoulders.

What happens to you? The Inquisition? That's all up to you and your gameplay.

There's a bit of political tension between the Inquisition and Thedas. These established views in Thedas politics are exactly why the DLC is 2 years later.

The people believe that with your weapon still around and their moment of peace, you might bring back more war and destruction. It's a rational thought - you formed a militant organization to stop the crisis. The crisis is over, so the organization is no longer needed, right? But what about future threats?

Oh, right, then the Qunari attack. 

There will be a lot of choices that have to be made, and some big questions you'll have to answer:

  • How do you approach the Qunari threat?
  • How do you approach oppositions of the Inquisition within Thedas?
  • Do you disband? Or remain united?

Catching up with friends and stopping the crisis brings about the true ending to your story. Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn't end at the main game rolling credits. It all ends with Trespasser.

That said, this DLC can only be played if gamers have fully completed the Dragon Age: Inquisition main game storyline with at least one of their characters. So, make sure you have a post-game save.

This will be the third and final DLC for the Dragon Age: Inquisition installment, after Jaws of Hakkon and The Descent

Dragon Age: Inquisition: Trespasser will be released September 8th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Nerd DIY: Increase Your Nerd Cred With This Sweet Papercraft Dragon Age Qunari Emblem Tue, 04 Jun 2013 19:26:14 -0400 Guru_Shoe

Are any of you out there like me and have a place that is your very own getaway from all of the day-to-day problems and stresses of life? Whether it is a reading Nook with your favorite books lining the walls, a work space with your inspiration surrounding you, a shrine to your favorite cartoon about ponies (freaking bronies… gross), or just a straight-up gamer’s paradise with everything that you collect to show off to your friends; I think we all have one, even if it’s not inside your home, I’ll bet you can think of a place that makes you happier even in the darkest of times.

I call my getaway “The Cave.” Hardly a strain on the imagination, surely, but it works. I have all of my posters, books, nerdy possessions and electronics set up just where I want it, making The Cave a place that radiates with everything I love. But I stumbled across something awesome that I think I am going to try, and you should too!

As I was doing the daily blog slog, something on the Bioware blog stood out. Owen Borstad, a veteran programmer at the studio, created this awesome papercraft that makes the symbol of the Qunari people, a hardened badass race from the Dragon Age series.

After seeing that it was made out of paper--of all things--I quickly wanted to know if I could do that too, and sure enough, the instructions were right there in the post! If I get some extra time over the weekend, I am going to attempt it.

Here is the actual post on how to do it on the Bioware blog.

If you have already done this or plan to do it, post it in the comments so we can all see how awesome you are! 

Age of Empires II HD Not For People Wanting A brand New Game Tue, 07 May 2013 15:56:15 -0400 KonradGamez

Haemish here.

I bought AoE II HD this past week and I personally was NOT disappointed. I knew, because of the research that I did, that this game was going to be the EXACT same game as released in 2000 but with better multiplayer and with 1080p resolution (only in 1080p).

Major differences are:

  • The graphics
  • The unit limit
  • The online lobby
  • It's only $19.99 USD

So far I am 1-1 online and the single player modes are as fun as they were when I was a kid.

I highly recommend purchasing this game.

Haemish out.

All information relates to the time of release of this article.