Extra-Life 2016

And another Extra-Life 24 hour video game marathon is complete.

On November 5th, along side many many gamers across North America, I took part in my 3rd annual Extra-Life marathon to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Network. Starting at 8am and playing straight for 24 hours.

This year, Nichole an I decided to race each other in God of War to start the day. Me with my old fat PS3 (the backwards compatible model) and her with a 2nd hand PS2 we bought from the local retro video game store ($60 for the PS2, controller, and PS2). Everything started out fine, but as the morning, and day went on, the poor PS2 started to hang, freeze and drop any progress Nichole was making. This ended up ruining our race, as to be fair, I would pause and wait for her to catch up to where her game froze. By the end of the day, it became unplayable, and we needed to give up, and move on. I was able to finish the playthrough, and see Aries dead. With shaky hands, and a deep sigh of relief, I placed the controller down. I had defeated Aries for both of us.

Throughout the day and into the early morning hours I had a large handful of people stop by and hang out to play some games. We played some Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Halo Master Chief Collection, some Rocket League and Castle Crashers too.

The first year I participated, i was able to raise $450, which was well above my $200 goal. Year 2, my goal was $500, and I was able to push just under $700. This year I sent my sights high, with a lofty goal of $1000. Before game day itself, I had already surpassed my Year 2 total raised, which was amazing. By the end of the 24 hour, I had landed on exactly $1001.

I thank everyone that participated and hung out, donated, and sent their encouragements. The money goes to a good cause, and I am happy to participate every year, making sure the event gets more attention and participation. Our donated went to the BC Childrens Hospital, and this year, local gamers were able to raise $136,000 and counting. The event still goes till the end of the year for donation, but the big event, and my part, is done.

I’ll hopefully find some time to go through the footage and pull out some worth gameplay clips.

-iRogan

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Drawtober 2016

So Drawtober is complete. I was able to complete 16 drawings, which is not as many as I had hoped or planned, but as always, life gets in the way. At least it was half a month’s worth. All the drawings were completed in one sitting, each day, and primarily in Ink.

For Ink, I normally just use PITT pens, or brush pens. A few times this year I used a proper brush and ink well. And the last drawing of the month (Mary-Jane) was Ink wash for shading, which was fun. I’ll definitely have to draw more like that.

I also used Copic markers for a few of the colour pieces, and one done entirely in pencil (Ripley). You can see below for the full month’s gallery. And I’ll upload my time lapse videos to Youtube and post them here too.

Here’s the full month breakdown:

Day 27 – Mary Jane (Spider-Man)
Day 26 – break
Day 25 – Tomb Raider Lara Croft
Day 24 – break
Day 23 – Moxxi (Borderlands)
Day 22 – Catwoman & Black Cat
Day 21 – day off
Day 20 – day off
Day 19 – day off
Day 18 – day off
Day 17 – day off
Day 16 – Harley Quinn (reference)
Day 15 – Jessica Rabbit
Day 14 – games
Day 13 – Wonder Woman
Day 12 – games
Day 11 – Widowmaker (Overwatch)
Day 10 – Sally (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Day 9 – sleep
Day 8 – sleep
Day 7 – Samara (The Ring)
Day 6 – Rey (Star Wars)
Day 5 – X-23
Day 4 – Supergirl
Day 3 – Cortana (Halo)
Day 2 – Ripley (Alien)
Day 1 – Spider-Gwen

 

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iReview – MX VS ATV REFLEX

MX Vs ATV REFLEX (2009)

Publisher: THQ
Developer: Rainbow Studios
Platform: Xbox One Backwards Compatibility
Availability: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

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Released probably eons ago (actually 2009) by Rainbow Studios and THQ, MX vs ATV Reflex is the 3rd game in the MX vs ATV series.

The game has been made backwards compatible on the Xbox 360 and was recently made the Xbox Live Games With Gold free game. So I picked it up, and have been playing it a lot. A surprisingly amount actually, considering I have Forza Horizons 3 available, and I’d rather play this.


 

The game features Motocross Bikes, ATVs, Buggies, and Super Trucks, and you race out in the wilderness, over dirt, mud, water, and snow, or in an arena with jumps and obstacles. Throughout the campaign there are a few different modes. Waypoint, Nationals, Supercross, Freestyle, Omnicross, and then the Chmpionship races. Each series supports different classes of vehicles, whether they be, MX Bokes, ATVs, Buggies, or Super Trucks. The Omnicross mode which features all four types of vehicles, in my opinion, has got to be the most dangerous of all sports conceived – from the Bike’s perspective. You’re sharing the path with ATVs, Buggies, and Super Trucks. I think it would almost be impossible not to get killed. The trucks, in these latter modes seems to have a clear advantage over the smaller vehicles. They’re more stable, faster, and larger.

Each mode has a set of races that make up a series, and there are 3 series for each mode. They start easy, only 3 races, and then 5, and then 8. Each series more difficult, and longer, with the championship series having the longest races, and the most laps.

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There are also bonus races at the end of each mode’s series. These are either elimination style, or a solo time based checkpoint race, or races where you start as the person in last place, and try to win. The MX bikes also have a free style mode in an arena, or open area, with jumps and ramps, where you get scored on your tricks.

The big change this year is the handling mechanics. The left thumbstick will control your bike or vehicle, and the right stick controls the player’s body and balance. You can lean your body into the turns or jumps to get more momentum, or to right yourself if you lose balance. The right stick also allows you to pull off tricks while flying through the air.

From a course perspective, one of the notable key additions to the series is the real-time deforming ground. As more vehicles race around a track or path, the ground and mud will show the tire tracks, and the ruts will get deeper and more torn up, as the race continues. This can throw off the player’s balance when landing or cornering.

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The main issue I have with the title is the difficulty curve – specifically with the bikes. On Rookie or Moderate, the game is quite easy, and at times I found myself finishing a race 30-50 seconds ahead of the 2nd place racer. This is when I can get out ahead of the pack. If you get stuck behind, it can get very difficult to gain any placement, as the tracks and corners can be quite tight, and it is easy to knock into another racer, and fall off your bike. After a couple bails you’ll be at the back of the pack, and it will be difficult to fight your way through, to complete the race with a solid placement. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd advance, and only the championship series have multiple point rounds. This is especially notable in races where ATV’s and Buggies are racing beside you. They have no care for your well-being and will side-swipe you or knock you off the course as if you’re not there.

The game is easy on the achievements, and will tie up a lot of your time to complete all the races. As you get later in the series and championship races, they take about 10-15 minutes each to complete. The game is, however, surprisingly a lot of fun, and it feels really good when you can hit the jumps and land solidly on the other side, maintaining your rhythm and momentum. For the series that allow them, I would suggest you use the super trucks, instead of attempting the MX Bike or ATV, as you’ll be less frustrated in the end trying to compete against them.

One downside is that the game is old now, so the Xbox Live functionality has been disabled. Possibly one of the victims of THQ going bankrupts a few years ago.


Notable Achievements:
Coming on Strong (Lap an opponent in a race) – 15GLong Jumper (Land a jump of 300 feet or greater) – 15G

-iRogan

 

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Weekly Round Up – Oct 14th

As I sit here at work, watching the lights flicker due to the storm outside, I’m really just hoping that the power remains on at home all weekend. Might be cool to draw by candle light though…

So I’m 1 day shy of two weeks into the Drawtober/Inktober event. I’ve completed a drawing in 10 out of the past 13 days, so that’s the good news. Over the weekend I’ll add to the page and update the gallery. Things are going well, working in a few different mediums, and I’m generally happy with all the work. I am getting a little tired though, as I tend to draw for a few hours straight, and complete full pieces instead of quick drawings. So my days are getting full, and I’m neglecting certain aspects of my life.

Like games…

I’ve gotten a chance to put in a few hours into Forza Horizons 3 and it is awesome. Just as good as Forza Horizons 2, with the addition of water physics. The Festival set up is a little different this time, a little less redundant, and no forced road trips, and you can race in co-op which is awesome, but otherwise the games are very much the same.

Played one of the Xbox 360 backwards compatible titled, in MX vs ATV, a dirt bike, ATV and truck racing game. Its a pretty fun escape from the regular racing titles I play.

And still plugging away through Recore. Just Cause 3 and Deus Ex Mankind Divided have taken a backseat for the month while I waste my time drawing.

After Drawtober is Extra-Life, on November 5th, and I’ve started the donation social media train on Facebook and Twitter. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention it hear. Please check out the Extra Life page. The closer we get to the event, the more I’ll be talking about it. I’ll be streaming the event as well on November 5th. Colour me excited.

Be good.

-iRogan

 

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Drawtober 2016 / Extra-Life 2016

Drawtober is right around the corner. The concept of Drawtober is for the whole month of October, is to try and draw something new everyday. Some people like to use different mediums, or the same medium for each day. Like ink, and they’ll call it Inktober.

Drawtober is a celebration of art for the full month, and is recognized in a lot of the artistic communities. I’ve taken part in the past couple of years, and quite a lot of the art in my gallery was actually done during the month.

I’ll obviously be participating again, and trying to go for a full 31 days (which I’ve yet to do) my theme this year will be Girls. Comics, Video Game, Movie. All types. Last year was video game characters. Last year I recorded a lot of my work and made time-lapse videos, so I’ll likely be doing that again.

My gameplay tends to suffer a bit during October as a result, so I probably won’t be spending a lot of time in anything new. I’ve been putting time into Recore, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, and The Division. I’ll be picking up Forza Horizons 3 this weekend as well. Gears of War 4 comes out in October as well, so we’ll see how things go. I may find time to catch up on some of my reviews while I break from gaming, if I find a break in the gaming.


 

After the month of October, we fall into November which has the annual Extra-Life campaign.The campaign is to help raise money for the Children’s Hospitals. It technically goes all year. But the big day is November 5th, 2016 where I’ll be playing and streaming for 24hrs straight. For the kids!

I’ve already registered for this year’s event, and you can find the link on the side bar. I’ll be creating a new page under Features as well. Last year I ended up raising over $600, and my goal this year is $1000. I’ll be getting a tattoo as well to celebrate.

-iRogan

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WHAT i’M PLAYING – Sept 13, 2016

Dues Ex: Mankind Divided – Initial Impressions

The first thing I noticed when jumping into Deus Ex Mankind Divided, after just finishing a playthrough of Human Revolution, especially on the Xbox One, is that it’s not as good looking as I hoped. I was hoping for smoother frame-rates and crisper textures. Maybe its the whole concept that you’re looking through augmented eyes, and a lot of things are outlined, that takes away from the real-world views, but it just doesn’t appear to be that much of a step up over its predecessor, from 5 years ago; could be the Xbox One’s fault too.

Some of the larger open areas I did find frame-rate droppage, dipping below 30fps and holding me back from running ahead. The load times, if you die, or load a save, can also be cumbersome. Transitioning between city hubs is not as bad, as the game hides the loading by showing you riding the train.

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The rest of the game thus far feels very much like Deus Ex. The city is a boiling pot of Humans who fear the Augs. There are separate entrances for Augs on the train, and police will perform random identification checks on you in the street. And at all times you feel watched and judged for being different. There are a lot of different side-missions to tackle, and these are refreshingly detailed and lengthy in design.

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PS4/ Journey / Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection

I recently purchased a PS4 and renewed my PSN account. The reasons for this are twofold: firstly, so I can own a PS4, so that I can play some the Sony exclusives coming out (The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4, Horizon-Zero Dawn), and secondly, in November for the Extra Life campaign, I’ll be hosting a simulcast of God of War. Both my girlfriend and I will be racing through it to see who can complete it first. Haven’t quite figured out the logistics yet of capturing both streams, but it’ll likely involve the backwards compatible PS3 and the PS Now version on the PS4 or PC. Unless I can gather up a 2nd capture card. Luckily I got two months to worry about it.

With the PS4 I purchased the Nathan Drake Collection (previously I had played all 3 on the PS3, but it will be good to play through them again before I play #4), the new Killzone, and through the PSN monthly free games, finally got the chance to play Journey.

Journey was a lot of fun to play through. Not at all complicated, but very good looking with lovely, lonely scenery and sand physics. It’s also quite the emotional trek put to a fantastic score. Sitting in at just 2hrs to beat, I expect I’ll play through this game a few times.

GTA: V / The Division

In multiplayer/ Co-op, with Illestrader, we’ve been playing a lot more GTA V and The Division recently. In anticipation and preparation of Extra-Life, I’ve been recording my footage and recording all the audio, to perfect all the settings. So I might splice together some gameplay clips. Make a Youtube thing of it. I had fun putting together the Ben-Hur Achievement Hunt, so this will just be more practice.

GTA V can be, at times, a very frustrating game to play Online. A lot of the time trying to figure out the little intricacies of the new mechanics, like VIP, and CEO, and then only realizing that this makes you a target for everyone else, and the rest of the time sitting in lobbies waiting for the host to start the game, while they wait 5 minutes for the 16th out of 16 person to join, when 15 is FINE!. The stunt races have been a blast though.

Free Weekends – Titan-Fall 2 Tech Test, Forza 6, and Battlefield 1 Open Beta

Over the past few weekends I’ve been lucky enough to get to play some games for free (Forza 6), and those that have not been released yet (Titan-Fall 2 and Battlefiled 1).

Forza 6 was a lot of fun over the weekend. The game is, as expected, gorgeous, and the rain effects and puddles are splendid. I like the way the campaign is structured now, where it jumps around from tier to tier, showing off different types of cars and years and game modes, so that it doesn’t get stale. I’m holding out for Forza Horizons 3 though. If I did get it, I’d probably waste all my time in the photo mode.

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In-Game Photo Mode :3

Titan-Fall 2 Tech Test was a lot of fun to play. I really like the grappling hook, and the new game mode, Bounty Hunt, really mixes up the gameplay. The titan’s this time around take a while longer to spawn, and don’t seem to last very long at all when you’re piloting them. Left to their own devices on Guard or Follow though, and they seem to last a good while longer. Maybe I’m just too aggressive when I pilot them, thinking I’m invincible.

Battlefield 1 is a gorgeous game to behold, and sadly only one map was made available during the beta. The WW1 theme is an interesting setting. Lots of tracer bullets and the mortars and tank shells take huge gouges out of the earth. More often than not, I’d find myself climbing out of sand craters. The level of destruction is so obvious at the end of the match, but so subtle throughout, you’d think that the map actually started ruined. It’s a nice touch. It feels a lot like Star Wars Battlefront, but then again, it should: same engine, same developer. I’m excited for what the campaign has in store.

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Games that have taken a seat on the back burner are Just Cause 3, and Homefront, The Revolution – although, Homefront received a huge update, fixing hundreds of issues, notably graphics and loading, so I should jump back in since those were the issues that plagued my earlier experience.

-iRogan

 

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Achievement Hunt – Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur – Free Easy 1000G

Ben-Hur doesn’t succeed as a game or as an advertisement for the film. In fact, all it’s really good for is some easy achievement points.

Released before the theatrical release of the new Ben-Hur movie, the game boasts a season full of chariot racing. But this “season” comprises of only 3 races, each race one lap longer than its predecessor.

I figured it might be fun to jump into for a bit to laugh, and see how bad it is. Also see if I could unlock a few achievements along the way. And I wasn’t disappointed.

In what can be described as an achievement sprint, I captured all 10, 1000G, in an hour. I have a time-lapse video below to show the progress:

So if easy achievements are what you’re after, and you have an hour to spare, look no further than Ben-Hur. I have the achievements listed below, and how long through my 1 hr 8 minute playthrough it took me to earn them.

  • Falcon’s Swiftness – 50g (0m:57s)
    Finish a lap in under 120 seconds
  • Falcon’s Ascension – 75g (0m:57s)
    Finish a lap in under 60 seconds.
  • Spoils of the Victor – 50g (5m:37s)
    Destroy an enemy chariot.
  • Mercury’s Touch – 100g (8m:08s) 
    Finish first in a race.
  • Mercury’s Gale – 150g (16m:14s)
    Finish first in a race, without using a health potion.
  • Gauntlet of Might – 50g (20m:00s)
    Destroy an enemy chariot, with a whip attack.
  • Executioner’s Touch – 100g (34m:35s)
    Destroy all enemy chariots, in a single race.
  • Ben-Hur’s Redemption – 150g (37m:01s)
    Complete a season of racing.
  • Emperor’s Gauntlet – 75g (50m:34s)
    Destroy 5 x enemy chariots, with whip attacks.
  • Emperor’s Glory – 200g (1h:08m:42s)
    Destroy all the enemy chariots, in every race of a season.

-iRogan

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