Belong: The Rebirth of the Internet Cafe

DEXUxs3XsAETPrY.jpg large
Belong Glasgow

The idea of an Internet Cafe is nothing new but popular gaming store Game has decided to breath some life into the concept. Now in locations across the UK, you will find Belong, in Glasgow you will find Belong alongside a regular game store on Union Street outside Central Station. Belong Glasgow is home to 16 gaming stations, each with a PS4 Pro, an Xbox One S and a high spec gaming PC. They also offer VR experiences with an HTC vive that have various VR games to choose from. You can purchase snacks and drinks too, with a varied selection including American candy and drinks as well as your usual snacks. One thing to remember is that the usual gaming restrictions apply so if you are under 18 you will not be able to play games restricted to 18 years or older, if you are older than this play on the safe side and bring some ID.

Across the UK these Belong stores are referred to arenas and each arena has a tribe. These tribes are set up as a way to create competition between the locations, the tribe in Glasgow is called the Clyde Claymores and to associate with this name the arena has been named The Armoury. The Arena hold qualifying nights throughout the year, for games such as Overwatch, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and League of Legends.  The qualifying nights will decide if you move on to the ArenaClash. This is where Arenas from across the UK play against each other for prizes. The winners will get cash and the knowledge that they are the best in the UK.

If you are planning a birthday party or even just want to have a gaming night with all your friends, you can rent out the Arena. You can have all 16 gaming stations for three hours on a weekday for £150 or for £200 on a weekend. If you are planning on renting out the Arena you can contact the store and they can help you organise a time that will work out the best.

Below you will find the prices for Belong across the UK, please note that the Glasgow store prices are currently cheaper than advertised since they do not have the super high speed internet installed yet. When it is installed, prices will return to normal.

1 Hour Arena Play = £5

2 Hours Arena Play = £8

6 Hours Arena Play = £15

8 Hours Arena Play = £20

10 Hours Arena Play = £25

10 minute VR experience = £5

30 minute VR experience = £15

It is fair to note that this whole idea is not anything particularly unique as cafes like this exist across the world. The main difference here is the infrastructure that Belong are building to create a network of these Arenas across the UK. Competitive gaming has come a long way in the past ten years and this is a smart move by Game to cash in on this growing market. This is something that will continue to develop as competitive gaming evolves and becomes more mainstream. If you want to grab a glance of what is to come, head on down to Belong on Union Street and if you are interested in a bit of competition go for one of the qualifying nights.

For more information on Belong and the Clyde Claymores check out their webpage https://www.belong.gg/arenas/glasgow/, follow them on twitter @BelongGlasgow or head on into the shop and have a chat.

Advertisements

New Nintendo Console: Switch on or Switch off

Note: This article was written before the launch of the Nintendo Switch

New consoles usually create a lot of discussion; the Nintendo Switch has been no different in this regard. The Nintendo Switch will be the seventh console that Nintendo have released and it definitely one of their more ambitious consoles. Lots of the features have been praised and criticised in equal amounts. The announcement trailer had everyone excited, a console you could pick up and take with you with its own battery life and all of the different things that you could do with this feature definitely excited people. Having always been a Nintendo fan, I was sure that this would be a console I would buy on release. As more and more information came out, I began questioning more and more whether or not this console would be worth it.

There are definitely reasons to pick this console up. Nintendo have always managed to create amazing exclusive franchises, two of these being Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. Both of these franchises would be getting new games for the Nintendo Switch and both look quite different from their predecessors and seem to be trying to switch up their formulas. Since the console and the games have not yet been released, a fair judgement cannot yet be reached. This leads to one of the main issues that I have in deciding whether or not the Switch will be worth it. A new console needs to give you a strong exciting launch of games to entice you into buying it and I do not really see this with the Switch. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild will be available on launch but the new Mario game will not be available till Holiday 2017. Other games available on launch include; Super Bomberman R, Skylanders: Imaginators, Just Dance 2017 and others. The total confirmed release titles for the Switch is ten. Quite a few of these are games I have personally picked up on Steam in the past for less than £10, for example, Human Resource Machine, World of Goo and Little Inferno. These games were quite enjoyable to play but they do not really entice me towards the Switch. After about a year of being out, the Switch will surely have a much larger library with a lot more enticing games but Nintendo are not doing a great job of convincing me to buy this console on release.

Nintendo have never had the most conventional controllers, they have not made an exception with the Switch. The new controllers called “Joy-Con” seem quite interesting. The system comes with two of these Joy-Cons and they can be used in several ways. You can slip them on to the side of the touch screen and control the Switch like that, you can use one Joy-Con while your friend uses another and you can even connect the Joy-Cons to a Joy-Con Grip to make a more conventional looking controller which would probably be used for more single player action. The idea of having this all as a part of the system you get out the box sounds great to me and I like seeing new ideas tried out. Having a console that you can use in a bunch of different scenarios with relative ease really appeals to me as, I like to game with friends. The Switch seems to be aiming to make local multi-player gaming as simple as possible.

The idea of having a console you can pick up and take with you sounds great but if it has poor battery life or substandard visuals, it just sounds gimmicky. One rather disheartening figure was that the new Zelda: Breath of the Wild would only be playable for “Roughly three hours on a single charge” according to the company. While this may seem like a rather serious downfall it is important to remember that is still a console and the primary way to use it will be through a TV. When you have it plugged in, battery life will not be an issue. Another point to keep in mind is that the new Zelda game is also quite graphically intensive, so if it was another less intensive game, the battery life would probably be longer. The idea seems to be that you can be playing a game, have to go do something and you can take the game with you. Gaming on the go is not a new idea by any standard but Nintendo is really trying to link the gaming at home with gaming on the go.

At this point in time, I think it is hard to say if the Nintendo Switch will be worth it. With the release date of the Switch being less than a month away, time will see whether or not this new console will be a success or end up failing like its predecessor, the Wii U.

Pokémon Sun and Moon: A Breath of Fresh Air

Pokémon Sun and Moon manages to bring a wonderful world to life, the island paradise of Alola. Alola is the home to the two new Pokémon games Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Both of them are set around the same story with slight differences, the most noticeable being that Moon takes place twelve hours in the future, this means that when it is nighttime in Moon it is daytime in Sun and vica-versa. The game brings back many features that were popular in the past while adding new and exciting ones.

Since the first Generation of Pokémon I’ve always been a fan and I was curious to see how this iteration of the much loved RPG would do. With renewed interest in Pokémon globally thanks to Pokémon Go and the celebrations of twenty years since Pokémon was originally launched, this generation would surely bring in more players than previous games so the game would have to be something quite special to please the potential new and returning players.

The game is not completely different from former generations, you still travel around a world, this time Alola, while training and catching Pokémon. In all previous games you would battle your way through eight gyms until you made your way to the Elite Four, this is something that has changed. Rather than just battling leader after leader the trainer instead takes on Island Challenges. These vary from a listening challenge where you have to correctly identify noises from the game to travelling through a cave while challenging Pokémon. These are a welcome change and gives this generation a fresh feel.

Another change to the game is Poké Pelago which gives the player something to do with their Pokémon rather than just letting them sit in a computer like previous generations. Poké Pelago is divided up into several isles that you can invest into. These islands range from a place to send your Pokémon to relax, to a training camp and even an area where they can explore and in turn bring the player back goods. Another new feature in the game is the Page Rider which has come in to replace TMs. Rather than having to teach your Pokémon moves to Fly or Surf you instead get Pokémon that you can summon which do that task for you, this means that you no longer have to force your Pokémon to learn these moves so that you can progress. This is one of the many quality of life changes that this generation has seem to thrive for. Another quality of life change would be the fact that if you catch a new Pokémon when you have a full party you can now instantly bring the new Pokémon onto your party without having to travel back to a PC. Simple improvements like this are all over this game.

From the time you start up the game you are welcomed by the new Hawaiian themed music and design which are delightful to behold. The vibrant colours and joyous music make the introduction, which can be quite dry and dull to players used to the games, engaging while leaving you wanting for more. The first island you are on is definitely not the most exciting but it serves as an introduction for those who are unfamiliar to the series. After you’ve completed the first island you are versed in all the knowledge you need to carry out your Pokémon adventure and the subsequent islands hold a lot more freedom and adventure.

This game is not without its faults though, increased loading times and lag during larger battles are two things that can be noted. Another complaint that I have heard people complaining of is removal of features added in the last game such as ‘Trainers Eyes’ and ‘Poké Radar.’ It is not uncommon for successful features from previous games to be removed in subsequent releases and this has been commonplace since the early days of Pokémon. While I personally do miss these features I feel as though suitable alternatives are in the game. Trainers Eyes gave you the ability to challenge trainers who you had faced before, it is not in this game but there are two new places to go and challenge; The Battle Royal and The Battle Tree. Both of these allow you to fight against trainers as much as you wish. The Poké Radar is another feature which people have been missing. The new Rotom Pokédex has picked up most of the features of this, it will show you exactly where you need to go to catch a specific Pokémon if you have seen it before, if you have not seen it you can scan QR codes to add that Pokémon to your Pokédex and then you can find where it is. People will always miss features that are no longer about but sacrifices need to be made when making a new game.

Overall, I think that Pokémon Sun and Moon will go down as one of the most successful generations, this is already true in some respect as in the United Kingdom, Sun and Moon have already passed all sales records for any Nintendo game. The game has exceeded my expectations and has already eaten up many hours of my spare time. The improvements in this game on previous generations are vast and the new features do not feel gimmicky as they sometime have in the past. If you are new to the series or a die hard fan I would recommend this game as it has something for everyone.

Blogapalooza

What an awful title.

Hi there anyone reading this, this is just a quick post to explain what you have managed to stumble upon.

This is my blog where I will be posting any reviews that I write. At the time of writing this post I am currently in University studying Networked Systems Engineering and as a side hobby I have been writing for the University newspaper.

I will be posting any of the reviews that I do for that newspaper and any reviews I do in my own time on here.

Hopefully if you have found this you will enjoy what you have read.