The first Final Fantasy I ever played was Final Fantasy 2 (or for those die-hard fans, Final Fantasy 4). I was 6 years old and I had absolutely no idea how to play it, who was who and what was going on. But that did not stop me from sinking many, and I mean MANY, hours into Final Fantasy. I loved the colors, I loved the names of the characters, I loved the random encounters and sense of adventure. Since then, not many games have been able to replicate that feeling for me…until now. Square Enix’s Project Octopath Traveler didn’t just replicate that feeling, though. It exceeded it.
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Have you ever walked in on a surprise birthday just for you? What about an unexpected raise at work? These are the kinds of surprises that make us feel amazing. With video game releases, these surprises can be few and far between. For years, gamers have lived with the expectation that after a game has been announced, it won’t release for another one, two or even three years. Our initial excitement quickly fades, and what first brought us to the edge of our seats turns into a singular source of frustration. But things don’t have to be that way. How special would it be to see release windows within a few months of a game’s reveal? Well, we’re in luck; gamers may start seeing that more often.
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I look back on my memories of the original Crash Bandicoot with a fond smile. The pits I jumped over, the crates I smashed, the times I almost snapped my controller in half because of that damn rolling boulder; I remember all of it. The Crash Bandicoot remaster was a selfless gift, a gift I didn’t realize I wanted until I had it. That being said, and wonderful as this was, I worry that the success of this remaster will cause developers to capitalize on our nostalgia instead of exploring new and interesting areas of gaming. I mean, I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything, but did we REALLY need to have a remastered Modern Warfare? Continue reading

Introducing Rivals, The Inner Gamer’s newest blog series. Rivals is all about eSports; its history, its players, and its fans. This growing industry represents some of the most passionate video gamers in the World and it is our mission to tell their stories. Every few weeks, a member of our staff will examine a current or historical eSports topic and articulate their thoughts on it to you, our readers.

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In the games of old, everything was simpler. You got one character, one weapon and a handful of abilities. Mario was Mario and a sword was a sword. As the years have come and gone, however, the idea of “loot” has become more and more prominent. Loot gives players a sense of progression, reward and personal accomplishment, and the birth of the “loot box” has transformed that even further. What used to be a neat little bonus has become an integral part of game progression. Will we ever reach a point where we say we’ve had enough? Continue reading

The early 2000s are home to some of my fondest childhood memories. Organized sports, slumber parties, the Cell Saga and, admittedly, Total Request Live. The turn of the century was a cultural apex to which many of my current tastes can be traced, including my obsession with video games. This era was dominated by the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but at the time, I gravitated toward the familiar. The Nintendo Gamecube and the Sega Dreamcast were my childhood consoles of choice and I played just about everything on those bad boys, from Soul Caliber to Zelda and back. But of all the games I played in these very formative years, it was Sonic and his unlikely companions that have stuck with me the longest. And no, I’m not talking about Tails or Knuckles or Dr. Eggman. I’m talking, of course, about Chao. Continue reading

It’s amazing how much time we had as kids to play games. I could easily play eight hours of video games in a single night. Today is much different. We have jobs, lives and commitments that have reduced our free time to just a small fraction of what it once was. Time is sacred now, and we must choose how we spend it wisely. I’ve been a gamer for over 20 years and I’ve learned a lot about video games in that time. But the most important things I’ve learned are three simple ways to enjoy games without sacrificing everything else. Continue reading

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