Father’s Day Western Digital Guide for Gamers

If I have done one thing right as a father, it is introducing my kids to the “retro” gaming world. Or as I like to call it, the games I played as a kid. Every time we pull out the old NES or SNES because the kids saw something cool on YouTube, the kids make fun of me and complain about not having any save function on the games to keep their progress.

The world of gaming sure has changed, and today we find ourselves with more and more need for storage. Whether it be cloud or local the shear size of gaming today is sometimes scary.

Don’t worry though, the folks at WD have been kind enough, over the years, to continue to develop some of the best storage hardware on the planet. They are now even making console specific products. Below is a list of the best gaming options that WD has to offer.

I personally run a WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive SSD, and have never experienced a problem and the load time vs the on board HD in my console is ridiculously fast!


Coming in at $154.99 USD for 500Gb, this is a bullet proof option for the gaming enthusiast. Click on the image to check out the technical specs.


As I mentioned before, WD is now heading into console specific territory with a Nintendo licensed drive. Available in three sizes, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.

These Nintendo licensed SD cards are not only backed by the WD quality, they look sweet too and you won’t have to spend any of those gold coins we all covet with the $54.99 USD top end for the 256GB card.


Now for the cream of the crop!

If you are a hardcore gamer, this drive is for you, hands down, no questions asked!

This NVMe drive is so fast that I don’t even have time for a bio break during loading screens anymore. This is a must have for anyone building a system for gaming. Best value on these bad boys comes in the 1TB size with a $134.99 USD price tag, and yes I had to check the price twice.

There are quite a few more options on the WD website that I encourage you to take a look at. Dad will love you for it!

Until next time….

 

All images courtesy of Western Digital Store

18 Quintillion Brave New Worlds: No Man’s Sky Creates Everything

When I was asked to write about No Man’s Sky, my first thought was, “Should I tell them I’m a grandfather?” So, yeah…

As I’m writing this, I’m watching my grandchildren watch Winnie the Pooh on Netflix (for approximately the 379th time in the last two days). These two kids live in a world where they can watch whatever they want, whenever they want, on a thin plane of pixels delivering millions of colors in a resolution that was science fiction when I was little. The first TV I remember was black and white and had the resolution of the Zapruder film.

Now these kids live in a world where they can step fearlessly into a digital universe of 18 Quintilian planets to explore, trade, fight, and have an experience as far removed from reality as their 4K television is from that clunky little RCA box I remember from my childhood. Needless to say, my grandfatherly mind is blown.

Full disclosure, I’m not as old as most grandparents–46 as of this writing–but I’m old enough to vividly remember the mesmerizing bloop-bloop of Pong coming from the electronics counter of my local Sears when it first hit the “mainstream” of Midwestern American culture (which is itself an oxymoron) in the mid-70s. Let’s dwell on that for a moment. 40 years ago, I was turning a small plastic wheel back and forth in order to keep my moving stack of giant pixels from letting that other moving stack of giant pixels direct that other moving block of giant pixels past me. A little over a week ago, I woke up on a huge, colorful, mysterious planet full of bizarre flora and fauna which did not exist before I arrived, and began my cautious trek to the center of a game universe so large I won’t begin to scratch its surface in what’s left of my lifetime.

Because of the sheer enormity of the game, and the countless hours I will spend playing it, I figured it was okay to skip the blow-by-blow, nuts-and-bolts, “10 things you have to do in No Man’s Sky” review in favor of just seizing the opportunity to remind everyone how amazing it is that the game exists at all. A small team of visionary developers has delivered a paradigm-shifting experience that seems to have subtly shifted their own job description from “game designer” to “game Creators.” That’s right, Creators with a capital “C,” because who but God is capable of creating an endlessly variable universe filled to overflowing with…life?

No Man’s Sky is forcing us to confront some potentially unsettling questions about our reality. When I describe the game to my non-gaming friends and family, the reaction I get is invariably, “That’s creepy.” Well, yes, I guess it kinda is. But as a lifelong fan of video games I can also say that No Man’s Sky is absolutely an awesome accomplishment. Is it also fun, engaging, and worth the hours I will spend there? I hope so.

Stay tuned.

No Man’s Sky: The Sky is Calling and I Must Go

Just over 40 days to go and we will get the chance to explore over 18 Quintilian planets in the game, “No Man’s Sky“. The Sky is Calling and I Must Go!

 

The game is set to release for PC and PS4 on June 21st, 2016, and it has me genuinely excited. And I’m not the only one. There are a lot of people out there chomping at the bit to get at this game and to see what it truly is, because we really don’t know, yet.

Here is, in summary, what we do know about the game. Your end goal will be to make your way to the center of a Galaxy that you’ll spawn into. You’ll be able to explore and experience a multitude of planets along the way. All the content of this game will procedurally generated. (On a side note, this has the benefit of removing load times which can be annoying as heck, but I digress.) You’ll have gear that will need to be upgraded. To get these upgrades you’ll have to unlock them by collecting resources.

Now you might be saying to yourself, “But that’s not unfamiliar game play, plenty of games have you go from Point A to Point B, and along the way give you tasks and puzzles to figure out. What’s so darn compelling about this one?”

Good question, and the short answer is “It’s a mystery.”

 

 

First off, I like this game for what it isn’t.  While there’s some combat action and play, this game isn’t a combat shooter. While there are resources to gather and manage this isn’t an RTS.

The initial hook of this game, for me, is its science backdrop. I see things that remind me of iconic Sci-fi such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Larry Niven’s “Ring World”, Frank Herbert’s “Dune”, and Ray Bradbury “The Martian Chronicles”. There are others, such as Heavy Metal Magazine and the Artist, Moebius a.k.a. Jean Giraud. The creatures and the color palette are where I see those last two influences the most. My guess is that we could sit around and bring up all the different science fiction stories that impacted us and see the influences in this game.

There are a few things that give me pause about this game. The first thing is the lack of a social aspect. It almost feels as if this game is designed to keep you from playing with other people.  Or it could also be that we just haven’t seen what the social facet of the game is yet.   As we get closer to the game’s release date more and more information is being released.

The Sky Is Calling and I Must GoI would also point out that as gamers we’re pretty adept at creating things and finding ways to fill that vacuum.  What those are or what they will be I can only speculate.

The other thing that I think is missing is a really good horror reference.  I know that there are things out there, animals and plants, that can kill you, that’s not what I’m talking about.  What I mean is more to the idea of the fear of the unknown and the terror.  Is there something out there that stalks us?  Is there a terrible consequence if we don’t make our way to the center of the galaxy?

The third thing is story, precisely it’s that the story of this game is that you find your own story.  There’s a lore to this universe, and part of the fun and game play is that you uncover this lore.  Will there be enough lore to uncover and keep this game interesting as we explore more planets than is humanly possible.

In the end this game is going to be what we make out of it.  It will be a choose your own adventure in a giant procedurally created universe. Hello Games has seemingly captured the Science Fiction experience that I’ve always loved and still do. That idea that there are places to explore, mysteries to uncover, and questions to answer. More often, then not, those places and answers lead to more places more questions.

 

Valve’s Steam Machines Have Arrived

Valve’s Steam Hardware is finally here. You can now get your hands on the Steam Controller, Steam Link, and a variety of Steam Machines to bring PC gaming to your TV screen.

Last month, Valve released a limited run of Steam hardware to early adopters that jumped on the first pre-orders of the hardware. Today, you can pick up the hardware for yourself.

Steam Machine
Steam Machine

Valve’s Steam Controller is a gamepad with a very unique layout that Valve said is better for PC games than a traditional dual-stick gamepad. The controllers are available for $49.99 and can be ordered from the Steam store and on Amazon, or you can pick one up in person at GameStop or EB Games stores. Valve has partnered with these retailers to have dedicated Steam sections where the hardware will be sold. These stores will also carry Steam prepaid cards that can be used for game purchases.

Steam Link devices use Steam’s In-Home Streaming feature to play PC games on the TV without moving your gaming system to where the TV is. These devices are also priced at $49.99 and can be found at the same retailers as the Steam Controllers.

Steam Machines are also available today from a handful of computer manufacturers. These systems are designed to be used as a game console and run on Valve’s SteamOS operating system. The company said that over 1,500 titles will natively run on the Steam Machine platform, but they are also capable of leveraging In-Home Streaming to play any game from a gaming PC on the same local network.

Steam Machines are available now from Alienware, Zotac, Cyperpower, MainGear and other PC manufactures. Steam Machines will be available for as little as $449.99, but there will be more expensive options. The devices will vary in price and performance, with some offering larger hard drives, better processors and higher-end graphics solutions.