Never Let Anyone Stop Your Hype

Hype. It’s kind of become a bit of running joke in video games these days, I feel. Hype used to be a good thing. It meant the prospect of a game you were generally looking forward to. But then something happened.

More specifically, I think early access games happened. Games were (and still are) popping up frequently in early access with big promises and a lot of hype. And many people end up disappointed. Deeply disappointed. I’m no different. Many games came and went that were woefully disappointing. Some of them even shut down or never reached full release.

I purchased a few of those games myself. In the interest of not wanting to call out any one developer in particular, I’ll leave those games unnamed.

That said, I wanted to address the issue of trying to “hate” or dampen peoples’ hype about a game. That is to say: don’t do it! Part of the enjoyment is getting excited, or hyped about a game and its release – whether it be early access or not. Let your friends get excited.

Likewise, we shouldn’t try to dismiss a game that’s trying to build hype by doing new and exciting things. While gamers should certainly be wise and cautious about games and their hype, I don’t think it’s fair to tell them not to hype their products. Yes, don’t make false claims about your game – this only leads to annoyance, disappointment, and justification for people that like to stamp out anyone having hype for a game.

That said – GET HYPED! I’ll give you an example of this right now: I’m absolutely hyped for the release of upcoming pirate massively multiplayer online game ATLAS. Based on the information available to us, it looks to encompass many of the things I’ve discussed in other blogs before that I want to see in games: deep governing/political mechanics, trade, economy, epic PvP, and a whole lot more.

ATLAS launches December 19th to Steam Early Access

Yet, as I browsed a lot of the discussion it seemed to turn to negative and people were getting upset about others getting excited (hyped). WHY!? I understand this game is extremely ambitious. Some might argue too ambitious considering it promises 40,000+ players in one server in a seamless experience. That’s not easy to do, considering it boasts action oriented combat and a massive world.

And don’t get me wrong, I want people to be cautious about ATLAS. I plan to watch streams and get feedback from people I know will already be buying it before I immediately hop in. The publisher of the game, Wildcard, didn’t have the best track record when it came to ARK as well. Having said all that: it’s okay to be hyped! Just take your time and wait to ensure everything is on the up and up.

ATLAS promises deep gameplay with boss fights, economy, and trading

Get excited. Get HYPED! And as tempting as it can be, try not to take away from people’s hype. You can tell your friends to be cautious, but let them be excited. In an era of games that can often be cookie cutter or “been there, done that” – I think we should be celebrating developers instead of chastising them for trying to get people excited for new or unique features in a game.

More so, we have more information at our finger tips to help reduce spending hard earned cash on games that get overhyped. Watch a streamer. Watch a YouTube video. Read video reviews. Look at critic reviews. Check out the Steam reviews.

Well – that’s all, friends! I hope you enjoyed this take on hype. If you’d like to experience the hype live and in person do feel free to drop by during my Twitch stream. Likewise, please come on by and message me on Twitter if you have any thoughts or comments on this article.

See you next time, friends!

Inspiring New Games, Pt. 1: Freedom Fighters

In this series, I wanted to look at some games that were perhaps underrated or overall not considered a classic game, but they offered an interesting game mechanic that might be a great addition to new games.

I love a lot of different games, but I especially love games that offer interesting game mechanics. Freedom Fighters – a game developed by IO Interactive and published by EA Games took a unique spin in a couple different facets.


For those not familiar, the game was a third person shooter that took place in an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union never collapsed. The game’s premise begins in New York where the Soviets begin a wide scale invasion of America. While this isn’t necessarily a new idea (Red Dawn, World in Conflict) it did give a different feel. You played as a couple of plumbers caught up in the fight and who take on the role of Freedom Fighter.

The aspect I loved about this game was the decisions you made in choosing your battle had actionable and noticeable consequences. While there have been plenty of games to implement “consequences,” often times it feels more like an illusion with no meaningful impact on the game.

Destroy a helicopter base of the Soviets? They lose air cover for another mission you undertake. Free some civilians? Some of them will join you in the fight.

That was the beauty of Freedom Fighters. Choices not only mattered, but they impacted the game in noticeably. You felt like the world was adjusting to the actions you took, which is a very powerful feeling when playing a game. It signifies that you’re not just playing a game; it means you’re IN the game.

Another aspect that I loved in a game like Freedom Fights that I’d love to see in other games is the sense of “building something.” I don’t mean build in the Minecraft sense either.

You started out as two plumbers who were in the middle of a drastic invasion of their country. From it though, you were able to recruit resistance members, build up an organization, and make an impact on the game world. And this was all done years ago in a relatively limited engine at the time.

I hope games like this continue to exist and evolve. I love the idea of starting out as underdogs and working to fighting against an overwhelming force through decisions that impact the world.

Well, that’s all! I hope you enjoyed this edition of All Talk All Game. Hope you enjoyed. If you’d like to see me hang out and play game on Twitch – come on by! Likewise, feel free to drop me a message anytime on Twitter.

See you next time, friends!

The Spookiest Games and the Horror Genre in Games

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of horror games or movies. Give me a wild roller coaster any day! Make me watch a horror movie though? I’ll pass on that.

Nonetheless, there’s been some games where the sense of horror really provided a great gameplay experience. Some of the games I found filled with horror weren’t really horror games by definition, but they just encapsulated a terrible experience or gave the feeling of horror or dread.


A great example of this is Fallout 3. There was something spooky about being trapped in a vault, escaping, and then ending up in this post-apocalypse world. Insert people worshiping bombs as gods, ghouls, and synths and it’s the stuff of nightmares! It’s the kind of vibe you get when thinking about what comes after the Terminator movies. Radioactive monsters. People who will do anything to survive. It’s terrifying from a perspective of the atmosphere.

Another game that really spooks me? FEAR. The original, specifically. While the game was designed with some horror elements, it definitely wasn’t what I’d think of as a traditional horror game (like Outlast). Yet, it’s environment and characters are so freaking creepy. It contains some really surprising jump scare moments. And, really, there’s nothing creepier than an evil looking little kid.

What other settings lead to a sense of creepiness or horror?

How about Far Cry 5? There’s nothing creepier than being involved with a cult. Especially a cult predicated on violence. I think one of the underrated elements of horror in games is just the sense of dread. The anticipation of knowing bad things are looming, even if they don’t happen all the time.


Another great example is the Dead Space games. The feeling of being trapped with all these little buggers is often more terrifying then the little suckers you fight.

Scarcity is another factor in creating a general feeling of fear within a confined setting. Take the Resident Evil games. While being stuck in a house with zombies isn’t exactly fun-filled, I think it’s the scarcity of the game which makes it even worse.

The idea that you need to eliminate these monsters, but you can’t because you lack the resources to do so is terrifying.

Sound is a HUGE component of this sense of horror in these games too. Sometimes it’s the sound of pure silence in a game that brings a feeling of fear. Other times it’s a creepy voice like from the little girls in Bioshock.

Whatever it is, even as a non-horror gamer or movie person I love those feelings when they’re used for atmosphere or game developers include interesting game mechanics to cause the fear, such as in Resident Evil.

That’s it for me. For those that celebrate it: enjoy your Halloween this evening, folks! Join me for less creepy times on my Twitch channel. Or, if you’d like, tell me what games creep you out on Twitter. Enjoy the candy and have yourself a great sugar filled Halloween! See you next time, friends!

Fostering Positive Game Communities


We’ve all seen it before, whether it’s on Twitter, Reddit, or YouTube. Some games have a positive community designed to inspire and encourage others in the game. Others are toxic that constantly downplay or rip the game, its developers, and its community members.

So what is the difference between the communities? Why do some games thrive and maintain a positive nature and others suffer in the doldrums of toxic muck? Is it simply the game itself? Does it depend on how “big” the game is? As a long-time forum user and Reddit/Twitter user, I’d like to believe I have a small perspective on this matter after seeing a lot of great (and not so great) gaming communities.

In my opinion, one of the first aspects of a positive gaming community is having clear, fun, and meaningful discussion between the game developers and the community of gamers who inhabit those games.

Star Citizen maintains a distinctly positive and inclusive community.

Take a look at a game like Star Citizen. While Star Citizen has had no shortage of its dilemmas, most of these have been outside the game community itself. People have called it everything from a scam to saying it will never release fully. Yet, almost every comment on the Reddit is positive, productive, and informative.

So why is that? The game itself is/will be highly competitive and include Player vs. Player combat. The game has already a massive following with well over two million users. Well, one reason is the game is arguably the most transparent, upfront, and consistent in communicating with its loyal followers.

Every week contains consistent updates based on the communities feedback. Community concerns are never left unaddressed long. When the company missteps, it addresses those concerns directly and quickly.

Compare this community to that of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. Arguably it is one of the most popular games of all-time. Yet, look at it’s forums, it’s sub-Reddit, or the messages directed at it’s developers and you sure wouldn’t know it.

Anyone who steps foot into those spheres will see consistently negative ideas thrown around, people bashing the game with little to no constructive criticism, and generally toxic behavior.

(As a side note, I’m a huge fan of PUBG)

Now, some of that can be linked to issues with the game, but the communication from PUBG Corp (the developers of the game) largely go dark or inactive for large periods of time during difficult times. When a broken patch was recently released (update #22), we didn’t get much more than a Twitter post acknowledging it. While developers and community managers are happy to show up when players are excited by new patches and maps,  they are frequently missing when the game stumbles and messes it up.

That’s a huge way to lead to a toxic community. Instead of addressing, acknowledging, and suggesting steps to fix the error, people are left to stew and fume with their fellow gamers in the community. Not surprisingly, this leads to a ton of negative feelings about the games.

So what else can lead to positive game communities?

Encouraging new players as they progress in the game. Kerbal Space Program’s Reddit is frequently filled with up voted threads and images of “first time getting to orbit.” The game developers often feature community members mods or cool moments on their forums and social media.

I’m a big believer that a games design can lead to more positive attitudes or “weeding out the negativity.” For example, in Kerbal, you will fail frequently. Yet, if you maintain a positive attitude, persist, and keep working hard you will eventually succeed.

Overwatch has come a long way in developing a more positive community.

I think another underrated element is implementing game mechanics to encourage positive behavior. Overwatch was notoriously one of the most toxic games that I can remember in recent history. Yet, recently, I feel like it’s improved. While it still has a long way to go, the recent additions of in-game mechanics to encourage good behavior I think has been a welcome change. You will still get toxic players from time to time, but the rate at which this happens seems to be significantly lower.

Reward your players for being positive members of the community. Give them gifts! Give them positions of leadership in your community. Embrace the positive and outcast the negative. Never go dark, even when you want to so badly in difficult times as a game developer.

Well, that’s in on maintaining a more positive gaming community! I hope you enjoyed! If you’d like to be part of my own positive community, feel free to swing by my Twitch channel. Likewise, drop me a message sometime on Twitter. That’s it folks! See you next time, friends!

Overcoming the Us vs. Them Mentality in Games

I’ll admit it. I’m a Nintendo fan boy.

Or at least I used to be. I like to think I’ve overcome my fanboy-ism and now try to treat each console as they come.

It’s okay if we have favorites – there’s nothing wrong with liking a particular brand, company, or product. I know buying a Naughty Dog game that I’ll be in for a pleasant 15-20 hour story-based action thriller. I know that I’ll pretty much enjoy any Zelda game Nintendo decides to put out.


Likewise, I know my love of PC gaming and Nintendo is strong, but I have tried to branch out more in an effort to broaden my horizon.

Long ago, when I was young, I once used to despise Sony and Xbox. This was largely because I grew up on Nintendo products. Having this mindset led to me dismissing the things other people got enjoyment out for the sake of “protecting my favorite.” It’s ridiculous now that I look back on it.

Not only do you damper people’s own fun, but you are limiting yourself in what you might be missing out on. It wasn’t until the Halo series was released on Xbox and I played it at a friends house that I realized I was missing out by trying to win “the console war” for my side. I shudder to think of how I might have missed out on Gears of Wars and Halo had I stayed stuck in my ways.

In addition, had I continued to be stubborn about Sony, I would have missed out on Naughty Dog games, Bloodbourn, and many other fantastic titles by arbitrarily only siding with one console.


It worries me how common this type of thinking is in video games. With the Battle Royale genre blowing up and more competitors entering the field I’ve seen a lot of fans of PUBG begin to bash anything else that threatens their favorite title, like Call of Duty Black Ops 4.

So my advice for this post is simple: be open minded. Don’t knock anyone else’s preferred method of gaming in order to justify or boost your side. Realize that there’s a lot of different ways to experience and enjoy video games, whether it’s on an expensive PC rig or on a mobile device.

Better yet, let others enjoy their fun. Unless it hurts someone else, I say let them go to town on whatever engages them in the world of video games.

Well, that’s all! A little bit of a shorter post today (you’re welcome, I think?). If you enjoyed reading me ramble on this topic and would rather hear or watch me ramble instead feel free to swing by my Twitch channel. Likewise, always feel free to drop by and say hey on Twitter. I’ll see you next time, friends!

Why More Games Should Include Player-Driven Economies

One of the things I’ve always loved in MMOs and multiplayer games are entirely player driven economies. While Player vs. Player combat in MMOs and multiplayer games has historically been my favorite thing to do in these types of games, I’ve always enjoyed relaxing now and then with crafting and trading when games have allowed for it.

The deeper the crafting and economy system the better. Some of my fondest memories of MMOs have been the hard work put in to the crafting and trade systems.


A great example is the game Star Wars Galaxies. Star Wars Galaxies, or SWG, was an MMO developed by Sony Online Entertainment back in the day. While the combat, quest system, and many other aspects of the game left a lot to be desire it gave a TON of options when it came to crafting.

I fondly remember playing a doctor in SWG. As a doctor, I handed out insane buffs to player’s characters. People would form huge lines, pay me in credits, and I would buff them. Some of the scenarios that came from it where absolutely hilarious.

I once had members of the Empire accuse me of being a Rebel (I was, in full disclosure) and they tried to rob me of my supplies. I once bartered with a fellow merchant who didn’t have credits, but he/she had just finished a huge batch of speeders and gave me 10 of them for a buff.

I struck up all types of interesting and fun conversations with my “patients” in those massive lines. Two people even “hit it off” who were next to each other and in line for my buffs and got married (in game, of course). This wasn’t even on a role playing server either!

The point is: by enabling something to be player controlled, rather than just getting a buff from an ability or NPC, it ended up in some of my most memorable and favorite moments in gaming.

Here’s the cool thing about Star Wars Galaxies though: everything was player built and made. In order to get the food products and resources I needed to make the buffs I needed a factory. But as a doctor, I couldn’t make the factory, so I bought it from an architect. But he couldn’t get all the minerals he needed for it as an architect, so he bought a bunch of extractors from someone else who specialized in creating them. And he bought the metals needed for that extractor from someone who purely specialized in getting ores and metals from the ground. This is just one small example.


Another game I have good memories of the crafting and economic system was Archeage. While the game itself was deeply flawed (it used a labor point system, which could be pay-to-win and limited the crafting you  could do in a day), its depth of crafting was incredible.

Everyone in our guild had different roles. One of our big goals was to make a huge galleon ship. In order to do this it required an insane effort on our part with everyone specializing to achieve the same goal.

One of us focused on growing trees and getting the correct lumber for the job. Others worked on growing cloth for sails, mining iron for the metal components, and earning gold needed to create the ship by creating trade packs from various materials.


Flash forward even further to the game Eco. A multiplayer game all about stopping an impending asteroid (without murdering your planet in the process). Not an MMO by definition, it still has player driven economies. With my group of friends we all specialized in various tasks. One person was a cook/chef, which gave us the energy/calories to complete physical labor. I was our engineer who built a wide variety of machines and infrastructure that assisted us in our efforts (I also proudly built our laser that killed that pesky asteroid). I relied on other friends to mine me ores and smelt them. They relied on our carpenter to build the houses we needed to put the smelter and forge in. It was all interconnected.

Sometimes having those interconnected systems can be frustrating too, though. “Bah, our iron worker isn’t on, so I can’t get the metal I need!” For us though, it led to a fun system where we’d post a “work order” in Discord, so when our friend in that role got on they would then they’d complete the order and deliver it, and we’d return the favor as they needed things.

So what would I like to see in more games? Even more interconnected roles and specializations. I love games that encourage player interaction. Particularly if people decide to role play. Here’s a few things I think would be fun with player driven economies:

  • I’d love to see more games encourage not just crafting, but the transportation of those goods to other areas. One one my hopes for Star Citizen is that it will include significant crafting and transport of said goods. With a fully realized open world with boarding, ships, and the potential pirates how cool would it be transporting goods? Oh you’re in the business of mining metals? Maybe you hire someone to transport them, since you don’t have a massive cargo ship yourself. In turn, they need to hire fighter ships to defend them from pirate attacks. Maybe if the pirates succeed, they need a black market for those stolen goods, which is another area of commerce and trade.
  • Likewise, I hope to see more meaningful and enjoyable crafting experiences. Just going out and right clicking on mineral nodes is pretty mundane. Likewise, if crafting takes skill, it might lead to more people specializing and relying on others for goods. I’d love to see skill based systems for mining. I’d eventually love to see a Factorio style system for creating goods. This way, players are rewarded for continuing to branch out into other skills by taking over more of the supply chain.
  • Allow for player created contracts with some binding contract (Player A will deliver 500 metal ingots to Player B. When Player B receives 500 ingots, Player B will award Player A with 1,000 gold coins. If Player A does not deliver 500 ingots by (day) then Player A will lose (number) of reputation points. etc.
  • From raw mineral to epic creation and every step in between. I think it’s exceptionally fun to take raw goods like metal, wood, food products, etc. and convert it into advanced things. For example: take metal and turn them into ingots, then ingots into wiring, then wiring into computer parts, etc. It allows for people to specialize and become interconnected.
  • Recreation of the supply chain. Rarely does a company control and create each part of a good. A grocery store doesn’t farm the wheat needed to make their store brand bread. Or harvest the sugar that will go in it. They buys those goods from others, ships them to a factory, and has the factory send them those goods. I’d love to see more connection like that. Make it a long and rewarding process if players DO control those elements of the supply chain, but the game should encourage players to rely on purchasing goods from other players in order to make their own goods.
  • Make more crafting roles important and essential. Being a cook in the game often feels way less important than being a blacksmith. In Star Wars Galaxies, the chef’s foods provided insane buffs. Do the same for other roles too. Make the tailor’s goods be just as essential as the blacksmith’s goods.

Overall, player driven economies are just plain fun in games. Best of all, for players not interested in it, they can simply earn their money another way (perhaps by fighting/quests/combat) and save up to buy the end result products. Star Wars Galaxies taught me that a lot of people are interested in more than combat though. There were hundreds of people in cantinas as entertainers. Giving buffs, socializing, and earning money to purchase goods they wanted. Same with crafters in that game. For me though, I love the idea of crafting to help support my own adventures in combat. Let my character make goods to help support my adventuring and earn coin that can be used to help me buy things.

Phew. That was quite a long winded post (kind of a theme so far, in case you hadn’t noticed). I’d love to post a video on my YouTube channel in case you would like to see more on this topic in the coming weeks. Likewise, if you want to see me play games live, come check me out at Finally, feel free to comment on about this blog post on Twitter. See ya there, friends!


Getting More Enjoyment Out of Sandbox & Open World Games

From my perspective, one of the biggest trends in gaming has been the rise of open world games. At first, these games seemed revolutionary.

“You mean I can go anywhere I want in this game world?” said a younger me.

Yep, you can! But as the trend continued for the next decade, I began to realize how shallow open world or sandbox games tended to be. That and there was this perennial arms race to continue making bigger, and bigger open world games.

It’s great to have an epic world in scope, but when a large portion of the world cannot be entered or interacted with in someway it leads to a shallow gameplay. Likewise, because of some limitations in open world games, it’s led to a lot of linear or “been there, done that” type missions.

We all recognize the “this is an escort the NPC mission” or a “tail the NPC stealthily” mission. After a while, it gets boring. But, there have been some games to do some truly incredible things with open world games. One such game is Kerbal Space Program.


One might say, “Hey Forenci, Kerbal is the definition of a literally empty world! It’s all empty space and even when you land on other worlds that’s empty too!” Fair point, random stranger. BUT! Kerbal Space Program of course makes the journey of getting to those empty worlds an enjoyable experience. And like your English teacher always used to say: “Sometimes it’s not about the destination these characters reach. It’s about the journey they experience along the way.”

When I was playing Kerbal Space Program I realized my growing dislike for bland, open world games could be altered. I will admit it helped that Kerbal Space Program is brilliantly designed.

While in the sandbox mode (which is what was only available when I purchased it) there were no missions, no goals, and no achievements. At least, not in the standard sense. But there was a natural progression of goals that simply…happened. Without warning or encouragement from the game. It just happened.

In Kerbal, you begin making rockets that typically fail to even make it to space. Sometimes they explode on the launch pad. Sometimes they explode in the air. But you learn from your failures and keep going. Suddenly, you make it into orbit around your home planet of Kerbin! It’s a glorious achievement to your prowess in engineering.

Next, you say, “hmm..where else can I go?” And you set your eyes to the nearest moon (Mun). You struggle to get there. You fail. You finally make it into orbit around the moon! SUCCESS! Wait, you ran out of fuel trying to land on the Mun and explode. Then you land on the Mun. I’M THE GREATEST – until you realize you don’t have enough fuel to make it off the Mun and have to mount a rescue mission (oh look, a mission that randomly appears without prompting). Then you finally do it! You land on the Mun and safely return to your home world of Kerbin.

All this without any prompting from the game. And even then, you can continue and begin to work on more difficult journeys to further and further worlds. Then you start making refueling stations and refueling bases on other planets.

My point, with this exceedingly long example, is that incredible game design enables you to set goals, missions, and create achievements in a completely sandbox and open world game. It’s something I’ve become more and more likely to do, even in games that aren’t open world.

Take Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. An open world game by definition, although with a clear ending in sight (be the last to survive). While the gameplay itself is rewarding, I quickly found myself setting more and more goals within the game. I wanted to be better and better, so I would set goals for improving my ranking and kill to death ratio with each passing season despite the game not having any clear ranks (it does now, though).

Even in Call of Duty Black Ops 4, which released just last week, I’ve applied the things I’ve learned in open world/sandbox games, and I have applied them to Call of Duty multiplayer. My goal is to unlock all the cool skins in the game because it allows me to diversify my gameplay style and achieve unique ways of playing.

Which I think is the moral of this long winded post. Find what you enjoy in open world games and set goals and missions for yourself that will bring you enjoyment. While I’ve never been a person who likes to build for luxury in games, I know there are people who love that. If you love building epic houses in Minecraft, try setting a goal! Maybe you can recreate Hogwarts in the game. Or maybe build the most lavish mansion you can think of and record an episode of “Minecraft Cribs.”

Maybe you’re an achievement hunter. So, look up all those achievements or better yet: sit down and write some of your own. If you like to role play, get with some friends or like-minded people and act out a scenario or improv. If you’re a competitor set your sights on being the best of the best on the leaderboards or just make sure everyone on the server knows you’re the best there is. At the end of the day, try making some goals or focus on what brings you enjoyment in games and apply them to open world games.

Now, having said all this, here’s my plea to developers of open world games: give us a fun and rewarding area to play in. Give us options to do really cool things. Don’t make the biggest area possible and fill it with absolutely nothing. I’d much rather have something the size of a small city, but I am able to go into all the buildings, interact with interesting NPCs, and give me the freedom to engage in interesting gameplay mechanics.

Give us exciting ways to traverse your open worlds too. I could swing around New York City all day in Marvel’s Spider-Man. I love games with superb movement mechanics in open world games beyond just standard vehicles (cars/ground vehicles).


Fill the world with interesting people, missions, or tasks. Steer away from the mundane escort missions for character X and instead give us ways to connect and become attached to our party members.

Flesh out open world mechanics that allow for a wider variety of play styles. Give us mission editors. Give us role playing mechanics. Give us a ton of achievements. Give us modular building so we can go crazy.

Well, that’s it folks! I’m thinking because this was such an interesting blog to write of making a companion video at my YouTube channel in the coming weeks. Also, be sure to come by and watch me play games live on my Twitch channel. Finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and make suggestions for anything else you’d like to hear me write about on Twitter @forencigames.