Gameplay vs Storyline


A video game may be judged based on many aspects of it, for instance, presentation, level design, sound effects, gameplay, and storyline are some of them. I particularly prefer games with great gameplay and storyline. I have been always thinking which one is more important to video game greatness. A particular video game I played last year, which holds one of the best storylines of all time, makes me consider the gameplay far more important to gamers. The video game I played was The Walking Dead: Season One from Telltale Games. In terms of storyline, there’s no doubt TWD: Season One is an amazing game. However, it’s not enough to make the game a masterpiece. That gameplay based on point-and-click games from the 90’s doesn’t make the game interesting as it story does. The gameplay is slow, and even broken at times. I played that game more interested in the storyline set pieces contained in the cut scenes than in the actual game. Controlling the main character, which is an amazing video game character, was boring when needed.

After coming back to the Resident Evil series, I remembered playing one of my favorite games of all time: Resident Evil 4. RE 4 is one of the best and funniest third-person shooters of all time. Such an amazing gameplay Capcom has managed to create on that game. I am still wondering how a game can be as fun as RE 4. The controls are fast and responsive, and the shooting mechanics are just wonderful. However, RE 4 holds one of the worst storylines in video game history. It doesn’t make any sense at all. The main character is in charge of rescuing the USA President’s daughter in a small village in Spain. If it had actually happened in real life, it could be the third Great War against Spain. Human beings have done worst in the first two wars for less than that. Even though, I played RE 4 several years ago, I felt like that game storyline was unappealing and laughable at times. But, the plot itself makes room for moments of enjoyment. At the end of the day, the storyline was forgettable, but the gameplay was incredible in a way that I was always coming for more RE 4 (and still want to play the remastered version coming out to PS4 at the end of 2016).

Comparing RE 4 to TWD: Season One is a tough task, but I am comfortable enough to affirm that RE 4 is far better that TWD: Season One. One game is great on the storyline department and the other one has an incredible gameplay. But, as I write, I wish I were playing RE 4. The bad storyline does not make the game any bad to me, while TWD: Season One isn’t one of my favorite games of all time. It’s a good game, nothing beyond that. A real masterpiece such as The Last of Us is able to mix a great gameplay and an amazing storyline altogether. But, such a few games can match that achievement. Out of my mind, I think maybe Bioshock could be considered close to TLoU in terms of matching a great story and gameplay. To sum up, a great gameplay is keen for a great game, and a well-written story is important as well, but not enough to make a game a masterpiece. RE 4 is closer to be considered a masterpiece than TWD: Season One does.


Resident Evil (the Main Series) Needs Depth Changes


Resident Evil 6 is not a good game. Period. I was a fan enough to torture myself during the 20 chapters of that game. I think I did it because RE 6 is one of the few games that still allow couch co-op. It is a feature 8th console generation is missing out. So, what are the bad things about RE 6? First, the shooting mechanics are not well done. It’s not fun shooting and killing enemies in RE 6. Capcom realized it and improved it a lot in Resident Evil Revelations 2. Second, the storyline is fun at 2 or 3 chapters in Leon’s campaign, but in the rest of the game is painful, even laughable sometimes. Even a masterpiece like Resident Evil 4 does not have an amazing story, but that game is pretty fun overall, unfortunately there’s no much fun in RE 6.  Third and most important is how developers tried to throw a lot of mechanics in that game expecting they would work just fine. I’ll tell you they don’t work. I can’t remember a game with as many quick time events as RE 6. But, what annoys me the most is where the game uses QTEs. Pretty much every section of the game implements a bunch of QTEs. Some of the most mundane activities like starting a motorcycle engine are implemented using QTEs.

One classic section of almost every game is the boss fight. RE 6 has by far the worst boss fights I have faced in my gaming life. When you defeated a boss, you feel accomplished for that, and wish you didn’t have to do that again. I appreciate when a game has many bosses’ encounters; it’s just fine. However, RE 6 has the same bosses coming back from time to time. In Leon’s campaign, we faced the same boss in three chapters in a row. The problem was that every boss in each main chapter: Leon, Chris and Jake, has come back at least twice. At the end of Jake’s campaign (the last main campaign we played), when the boss came back again we were laughing out loud the situation. RE 6 is not a smart game either. A well-developed game as The Last of Us doesn’t change the camera view to show an event happening in other portion of the screen. Smart games require a press button, generally L3 or R3 to change the camera view and show the event that is happening somewhere else. Don’t be surprised RE 6 just changes the camera view while a dozen zombies are attacking you.

That being said, I really hope RE 7 will be more similar to the Revelations series than the main Resident Evil series. I think the series need a level design similar to the classic Resident Evil 4, but keeping the amazing shooting mechanics they developed to Revelations 2. Resident Evil is one of my favorite franchises of all time, and I really want to see Capcom turning things around.

A Game Killed an Opinion



Don’t hate me, but I didn’t like JRPGs. I remember when I was a kid and I got a game called Final Fantasy 7. What I can say about that game, I really dislike it. Okay, I was a kid and didn’t speak English yet. I think understanding the game’s storyline and plot in a RPG is especially important. Unfortunately, a few games come out in my first language, so most of my friends don’t even play those games because they don’t speak English. Besides the language itself, I found Final Fantasy 7 boring as hell. I was a kid, so my opinion doesn’t count. Crash Bandicoot was my thing at that time. I grew up on gaming pretty much excluding any JRPGs from my library. I think the only JRPG I played was Pokemon Leaf Green and Fire Red.

However, a couple months ago I bought a PS Vita and loved it a lot. I still use my Vita mostly for playing indie games, but reading reviews about the best Vita games pretty much every reviewer was recommending Persona 4 Golden. So, I decided give it a try. The first day I played Persona, I got to play it for only 2 hours and have to admit I didn’t like it. When I went to bed that day, I was really regretting my purchase. Just to clarify, the first 2 hours were just a bunch of conversations setting up the tone to the rest of the game. It was the same feeling I had when I played Final Fantasy 7 several years ago. The only difference was probably that I could understand the language they were speaking on the game.

Even though I didn’t like the first two hours, I gave it a second change later. The second time playing the game was totally different from the first time. I started getting into the storyline. The first combat was just amazing; a catchy music was playing while I beat some shadows. The characters were becoming special to me, I felt very attached to the plot and to the world itself. I played Persona 4 Golden for around 100 hours. It’s already one of my favorite games of all time. What I learned from this experience is that we cannot judge a game based on previous experiences. I was missing out an exceptional genre, and totally want to come back and play other JRPGs such as Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy X.

Being in a Podcast was Awesome!

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Today I’m going to write about something totally different from my usual blog posts. I wanna share with you guys an awesome experience I had a few weeks ago. I was interviewed in a podcast. For those who are not familiar, Real Life English is a website/platform engaged to spread the English language to anyone who is interested in learning. Beyond the website/platform, they have a monthly podcast talking about several subjects related to the English language. They do a pretty consisted job that inspires thousands of people around the world in learning English. I’m not kidding, thousand of people listen to each episode, and other thousand access their website looking for content in English. The hosts and founders of the platform, Justin Murray and Chad Fishwick are two amazing English teachers. What I admire the most about Real Life English and these two dudes is the passion they have about teaching other folks. I have lived in the USA enough time to realize not everyone is willing to help you learning their language. I don’t understand why some Americans decline in helping other mates. I feel so good when I met people trying to learn my first language. I have helped some folks learning Portuguese in the USA in some Portuguese meetings they hold at Indiana University every Friday evening.

When I was struggling learning English, I used to listen to podcasts about the language itself. Nowadays, I found it boring as hell. Real Life English is the only english-related podcast that I still listen. I listen to some podcasts yet, but most of them are related to Playstation and Comedy. What differentiate Real Life English from the other podcasts is that they are not concerned with the language itself. They talk about pretty much about any other subject they feel like chatting. On the episode featuring me (#112 available on Itunes), they asked for some advices for English learners. One of the most important advices that I can give someone learning any language is to try living in that language. We can do that with some small attitudes like changing the cell phone language, watching movies in the target language with subtitles at the beginning and without subtitles when you reach a certain level, and basically listen to the target language everyday. It’s not a big deal when you got access to the Internet. Podcasts are my favorites source of listening content.

However, my biggest advice and the most effective in learning any language is more difficult to attain: acquiring relationships in that language. I cannot measure how much English I myself have learned from my friends. It’s not about the language anymore when you got a strong relationship. I skype my friends in the USA, of course we chat in English, and I’m not concerned with what I’m going to learn with them, but I really care what is going on in their lives. I got a girlfriend when I lived in the USA that we only speak English. I can’t speak Mandarin and she cannot speak Portuguese. I became fluent in English because of these relationships. Going to any English class was not as effective as playing games with my roommates or going out with my ex. I have the advantage of living abroad that not everyone has access. However, it is not so difficult finding people to chat in English in websites as Real Life English or any other platforms of your choice. Real Life English is just an example, there are websites related to any language you are learning (busuu and gospeaky are both great). We have the privilege to live in an era that is so easy get to know amazing people all over the world.

Privacy on Facebook: Customizing Friends List


I’m very happy that I manage to write about technology for the very first time in this blog. I could not be happier as long as I just graduated in Information Systems/Computer Science. A kind of sandwich between my country (Brazil) and the USA (Indiana University). We Internet users should agree that privacy on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram are a big deal nowadays. It is just amazing how many people use those social networks for communicating, spreading new ideas, keeping in touch with friends, and several other things. Facebook is the highlight of this new era. As September 2015, Facebook has more than 1 billion users worldwide. One out of every six person in this world has a Facebook account that they actually use at least monthly. Problems with privacy and consequently sociability may be an issue interacting with other people online. I myself have suffered privacy/social problems in social networks. Facebook developers have tried to improve Facebook’s privacy implementing several features to help their members. The problem is that a small group of people are actually able to configure these features. It’s not really the users lack of computer skills, but it is actually the fact most people don’t know they have these features available.

One of the most important Facebook features is probably the friends list customization. I have done a research where we found the 13 privacy strategies applied in other research projects to maximize user’s’ privacy in social networks. One of the strategies was actually “Create Customized list of friends”. This is a tricky feature as long as not every social network is able to implement it and it is not so evident in the interface by any means. For instance, Instagram which was my main target on that research project, does not allow users to create customized list of followers. If you think about it for a second, this feature seems pretty cool and useful. Either on Instagram or Facebook, you are more likely to split your contacts in groups. Being able to separate them in friends/family, friends/co-workers, friends/acquaintances, for example. Again, I myself wish I had known this feature earlier in my social network life. What Facebook offers is cool for two reasons: (1) we can limitate the access from a specific group of people in your profile and (2) a specific group can show less or none information in your timeline. The way I have applied this feature is by splitting my Facebook “friends” in two groups: (1) Friends, which have no limitation of access on my profile and can show information on my timeline and (2) acquaintances, which show less frequently on my timeline and my posts show less on theirs as well. Facebook has implemented by default 3 customized lists: Close Friends, Acquaintances and Restricted. You are not limited to these 3 lists; you can create any lists you want to. A brief explanation of each default list of friends below:

  • Close friends: User will get notification whenever the friends in this list post something. Facebook’s algorithm will also try to put these people high on the timeline posts list. If you don’t know that, Facebook has an algorithm to choose the more suitable posts for you based on a lot of different aspects of your profile. So, these posts appear first at the timeline than others. The notification feature can also be turned off as you want.
  • Acquaintances: Users on this list will appear less frequently on your timeline. They will also get less information about you on their timeline.
  • Restricted: People in this group will be able to see only public information about you. The only difference between them and people who you are not friends on Facebook is that you and them are actually “friends”, but they cannot see anything besides public information.

You should be asking, how can you use this feature. It’s very easy and straightforward:

  • Scroll down to Friends on the left side of your News Feed:


  • Hover over Friends and click More:

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  • A new screen will pop up showing all Friends list Facebook has already created for you based on the places you’ve lived, colleges you’ve studied, and the three default lists (Close Friends, Acquaintances and Restricted). In case you have marked any family member on your profile; a new list called Family will be created as well:

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  • To add a friend on that list, you just need to click on it:


It’s important to note that your friends will not be notified if they have been included in any list. This post is based on Facebook’s Help Center ( Thanks for reading. I hope it helps.

Some Tendencies Need to Die (Part II)


Let’s continue our discussion of tendencies that should no longer exist in the video game world. This one is probably my big concern, but I’ve decided to write about it in the second part. What is very annoying about this one is that it actually has a lot of potential. When companies know how to use it, it offers to players such an amazing experience. I’m talking about DLC. A DLC can really enhance the gaming experience. We’ve gotten some pretty good stuff recently. I can tell The Last of Us: Left Behind and Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea are great games. Besides these kind of DLC most known as story DLC are pretty great for almost every game they were released. We can call it relevant DLC, even though the price is questionable for a bunch of them. Other relevant DLC’s come from games such as GTA V Online and Mario Kart 8. GTA V not even charge players for the heists content online, while Mario Kart 8 included new courses for a cheap price. I remembered when I was a kid how much I would enjoy having new courses in Mario Kart 64. DLC is amazing in that way, developers are able to expand their games offering new content for a fair price.

However, not every company is doing DLC right like Rockstar and Nintendo. Most of the video game developers are doing pretty bad actually. I’m very pissed with Season Passes. I think they can be relevant as long as the companies offer good content that could not be included in the game at release. The problem is that clearly developers are leaving behind content they could include in the game at launch for making more money selling Season Passes. Do they think charge 60 bucks for a game is not enough? Almost every AAA company is using this strategy nowadays. Most of the content is just cosmetic DLC. A new weapon color, a different costume, a new stage, so on and so forth.

The biggest problem is that many players support DLC. If it weren’t profitable, companies would no longer do it. We players should spend our money only in essential DLC, not cosmetic DLC by any means. This tendency needs to be used in the right way. DLC is cool as long as companies use it to expand the game and enhance gamer’s enjoyment. The industry will change only when players start not to support the unnecessary content.

Buy or Not to Buy a Playstation Vita



The PlayStation Vita is an amazing piece of technology. Vita graphical capabilities cannot be compared to any device ever made. Sorry Nintendo, but Sony really knows how to make an amazing hardware, even though I do think in terms of software they are not so great. However, Sony has failed to become Vita’s popular. Besides for Japan, where Sony and every PlayStation product is incredibly popular, Vita has been a failure everywhere else in the world. According to Sony, they sold only 10 million PS Vita worldwide, which is already the least famous PlayStation console ever created. I have absolutely no regrets about buying my PS Vita a couple months ago. Sony has almost successfully implemented a common environment for all PlayStation devices (PS3, PS4, PS Vita and PS TV). However, I’m always wondering why Vita is a failure in terms of sales. I decided to point it out what I do and don’t like about my Vita. The bad things first:

What I dislike on the Vita:

  • Ports are not well done on the Vita: Well, it was kind of expected, but some of the ports seem unplayable. I’m looking for you Jak and Dexter Collection. Some of the games are playable, like God of War Collection and Borderlands 2, but they don’t keep the same quality at all. Frame rate drops a lot of sometimes, but still fun if you enjoyed these games on the PS3.
  • The memory card is very expensive: I don’t need to talk about it. It is the worst thing on the Vita by far. Sony could not use proprietary memory cards by any means. SD memory cards are so cheap and well stablished on the market. Vita’s memory card, which could be a simply SD, are very expensive. It was a huge mistake for Sony, if they want to continue on the handhelds market, which I wish they will, they cannot keep proprietary memory cards. However, I got surprised the games that you buy physically, which I do prefer instead of digital, do not install on the memory card. I’m still very upset with these last two generations (7th and 8th – PS3 and PS4), because in most cases they install the entire game on the hard disk even though you’ve bought the physical game. There’s no difference between going digital or physical in this case. It is really annoying.
  • No AAA games at all: Sony have kind of gave up on the Vita. The system was labeled a legacy device by one of their executives a couple months ago. They will not make AAA games for the Vita, and it annoys me is so many ways. Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Gravity Rush look amazing on the Vita, and they should keep trying to give us quality games.

What I really like on the Vita:

  • Remote Play: It works almost perfectly on the PS4. There are a couple games that even implemented a Vita interface for playing their games such as Destiny and Far Cry 4. Playing PS4 games on the bed far away from the console is an amazing experience.
  • Indie games run perfectly: If you are like me and don’t like to play Indie games in a big screen, the Vita is your perfect choice for playing those games. Indie games are just perfect for the Vita, the 8-bit quality runs amazing on Vita’s screen. I strongly recommend playing games such as Guacamelee, Shovel Knight, Rogue Legacy and Hotline Miami on the Vita.
  • Vita has an amazing library: Besides the already amazing Indie games, Vita has a lot of good games. Persona 4 Golden, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Gravity Rush are great games. Otherwise, some ports work just fine on the Vita like Final Fantasy X.

So, if you are thinking about getting a Vita, I think overall it worth your money. Sony has made some questionable decisions with the Vita. But, I still think the console is amazing. One of the most underrated gaming consoles of all time.

The PSTV is Nothing, But a Failure


I was one of the people who got really excited when Sony announced the PSTV. Even though, Sony gave me good reasons to buy one at full price, I wisely decided to wait a while to get mine. After using it for a couple months, I can tell the PSTV is nothing but a disappointment for me. There’s a lot of frustration on it, mainly when the PSTV seemed to have so much potential that was wasted. How awesome will be having such a small and cheap device that can connect to Netflix and YouTube, and it is still able to stream PS4 games and let us play PSN games. Should be amazing, but it isn’t. The first big concern is related to the lack of applications for PSTV. If Sony has developed the PSTV to compete against Chromecast and Apple TV, they were not able to provide the consumers the most basic apps. The PSTV doesn’t have apps such as Netflix and YouTube. It doesn’t make any sense. Even the product’s name is misplaced in this case. They should not call it PSTV, there’s no really much “TV” on it. It is not a huge deal as long as the other PlayStation consoles (PS3 and PS4) still got those apps.

Moreover, my biggest concern with PSTV comes from where it should not fail by any means: the gaming department. In theory, players are able to play most Vita games on the PSTV. But just in theory, because at least half of my games don’t work on it. I mainly bought the device because of this feature. PS Vita has so many good games that deserve being played on a big TV. Unfortunately, due to Vita’s touch screen, which could not be implemented in a regular TV, many games are not compatible with PSTV. However, Sony screwed some games that should work just fine. One of the examples is the game Hot Shot Golf: World Invitational. I have been a fan of the series since the PS1 era. So, I decided to give it a try after playing it on my friend’s PSNow account. For those who don’t know, PSNow is a paid subscription that allows players to stream a bunch of PlayStation games. The majority of the games come from the PS3 generation. It works like a Netflix for games. For my disappointment, even though Hot Shot Golf is available on PSNow, it is not compatible with PSTV. There’s almost no touch screen feature on that game. Sony should work on adapting most of the games that are not compatible by now. If I own the game, I want to be able to play it on my PSTV.

I don’t regret buying the PSTV for two reasons: I spent only 39 bucks, and I’m able to play Persona 4 Golden, which is by far my favorite Vita game, on the big screen. But, I’m kind of disappointed with Sony. They don’t invest on PSTV or PS Vita. Both devices have a lot of potential. They are just concerned with PlayStation 4 success. Shame on you Sony, you guys could be even bigger than you already are.

Some Tendencies Need to Die (Part I)


I consider myself neither an old school gamer nor a modern kid who only plays new stuff. I usually play a lot of modern games for sure, but my favorite games come from the 6th generation, the PS2 generation to be more precise. However, there are a lot of things in this last two generations (7th and 8th) that annoys me so much. One of them is the online gaming. Don’t get me wrong, playing online is awesome for most kind of games, but they don’t work for all of them. Besides, a few games should focus on online gaming. Call of Duty is a good example of a game that should provide a better online experience than offline. However, I don’t want to see even a game such as Call of Duty not having an offline campaign (they already did it for PS3/Xbox 360 consumers in the new Black Ops 3). The industry seems not to believe on me, they do think online gaming should be implemented in every single game. Furthermore, they are really into focusing on online gaming for many titles that really doesn’t fit the style. I tell you, it doesn’t work like that. I miss playing games offline with my friends. But, it is not the only problem. Some games are even not considering offline campaigns anymore, in order to provide a better online experience.

One of my big disappointments comes from one my favorite racing franchises of all time: Need for Speed. I remember having a blast playing games such as Need for Speed Most Wanted, Carbon, and my favorite Underground 2 in my PS2. When they announced that a new Need for Speed was coming out this year resembling the classic underground series, I almost have a heart attack. Could even throw away more than 60 bucks for a game like that. However, as almost always, the industry is doing something wrong once more time. The new Need for Speed will be an online game. They have already done the same thing in the last installment: Need for Speed Rivals, which is a barely average game. This decision disappoints me in so many ways. I think an online component can enhance the player enjoyment, but it should work much more like an additional experience, by any means the unique experience the game will offer. I remember myself playing the old campaigns on the PS2, and it was amazing. Why the industry thinks the online component is so important for gamers nowadays. Another huge problem comes from the lack of balance that most gamers face online. Many of us (like myself) don’t have time to play games all day long (I wish I had). When you play against guys who play almost every single day, it is not fun at all. These 12-year-old kids will destroy most of us who don’t have time to practice very often.

A good solution for the industry is a better analysis of the games that do need an online experience and those who don’t. It is unforgettable that a racing game will offer an online-only experience. FPS and RPG’s are more susceptible to online-only gaming experiences. However, most kind of games should not be online-only. Playing online is awesome for every game as long as it works as an additional feature, not the main and only one.

Caring about Video Game Characters


Even though a video game character can be as authentic and iconic as Super Mario or Link from The Legend of Zelda, it is difficult to imagine the player caring about them by any means. Someone can argue they don’t seem real, or they are not even able to show human feelings such as love, fear, passion, etc. However, the video game industry has been changing so much in the last few years. The last console generation is showing off amazing graphics that can even make people not know how to distinguish a game or a movie. Graphics are really important, but it is not enough to make a video game character believable. Many games are using graphics to make a character sound, look, and act more like a human being, but only one game has reached a level that it is almost impossible not to care about the characters in the game. This game is The Last of Us. For those who don’t know, The Last of Us is a Playstation exclusive title published by Sony and produced by their own studio Naughty Dog. The game was released in 2013 on Playstation 3. One year later, the game was remastered for the Playstation 4.

The Last of Us tells a story about a man named Joel, who loses his daughter at the very beginning of the game in a sort of zombie outbreak, and found himself 20 years later on a mission to escort a little girl across a devastated United States. She is supposedly the only human being immune from the bacteria. Looking at the plot, it doesn’t sound unique or compelling, but trust me, it is. What makes them believable are probably the things they’ve been through during the game. Ellie, the little girl, is probably one of my favorite characters of all time. She doesn’t know anything about our world; she was born in the middle of the apocalypse. For instance, her thoughts about the simplicity of our world are an incredible experience to think about. The world is shitty as you can imagine, and she is wondering why girls in our time are thinking about dating guys while life is so tough (at least for her).

Besides, the game even shows that the most terrifying creature in the world is not the sort of zombies, but other human beings. People usually kill each other just for the sake of getting a different pair of shoes or protecting themselves against innocent fellows. Furthermore, Joel, who is the sort of hero in this tale, is not the good guy who helps everyone else. Joel is a human, and has feelings just like you and me. His decisions are questionable, very questionable actually. He does his best to protect Ellie. They evolve a relationship that makes both forget the world they are living in. He treats Ellie as a daughter in the development of the game. In the player prospective, it is just amazing how it evolves. At the beginning of the game, you and Joel don’t know Ellie, but after losing his daughter, the player can feel a little bit what life means for Joel. Then, the game jumps 20 years, and after meeting Ellie, the player feels she could be a good reason for Joel to keep fighting for his and her life. As you can imagine, many bad things happen to them, and it just makes them stronger. At the middle of the game, the player cares about Ellie just as he was Joel. She is very special for him, and you (the player) are able to understand why it happens. No big spoilers ahead, but at the end of the game, you understand the questionable decisions Joel makes. He is not going to let Ellie die for the sake of saving the human race. She is too important for him. When I played The Last of Us, I totally understood Joel’s decisions, and felt they were right. As Collin Moriarty wrote in his review about the game at IGN in 2013, “The Last of Us is a masterpiece, a case study in how games can immerse you, tell a fascinating story, and make you really care about their characters.”