Gleamlight Launch Screen

Moving on from The Elder Scrolls: Blades, we find ourselves at the ninth game in our list, Gleamlight for the Nintendo Switch. Gleamlight is a game that had difficulty climbing out from the shadow of its poor first impression. When it was first shown off, there were a lot of comparisons to Hollow Knight, a near-universally praised game. The art style and gameplay were clearly derivative. Gleamlight averaged a score of 42 by reviewers on Metacritic. Let’s see why it’s so bad!

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Alphen, one of the main characters in Tales of Arise

I just beat Tales of Arise this month, and it is the first Tales game I’ve beaten since the original Tales of Destiny when it was released on the Sony PlayStation way back in 1998. Sure I’ve played others—I own quite a few of them—but I never really played all the way through. While Arise served as a great reintroduction to the series, a few things held it back from being truly exceptional in my book.

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Genki Shadowcast Device and Packaging

The Genki Shadowcast is a product I truly wanted to love. A tiny, affordable device for getting your video game console’s output onto your PC or Mac. Maybe my expectations were just a little too high, but it didn’t quite deliver on them.

The purpose of the device is to use your laptop instead of your television to play console games. I saw this and immediately thought of live streaming and video capture. It would be amazing to have this super portable capture card, smaller and cheaper than a CamLink, that you could use for streaming on the go.

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My GameCube, Game Boy Advance, some games, and Lucas amiibo

Over the last few years, YouTube channels like My Life in Gaming and websites like RetroRGB have clued me in to the world of RGB and scaling devices. I have experimented with a few, but with the release of the RetroTINK-5X Pro, I have finally found one I’m really happy with. I’ve used mine to construct a Megazord (or Voltron if you prefer) for playing Game Boy Advance games in high resolution. It’s completely unnecessary and pretty expensive overall, but damn, does it look good.

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The Elder Scrolls: Blades loading screen on Nintendo Switch

If you haven’t read my intro post to this series, I have decided to play Metacritic’s worst-rated video games of 2020. I find bad movies and games pretty funny, so I was excited to dive in. The first game I started with was The Elder Scrolls: Blades on Nintendo Switch. It was initially developed for mobile phones and then ported to the Switch. It achieved a whopping 42 by reviewers. Let’s try it!

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I’ve mentioned before how I think you need to constantly step up your production value as a streamer or content creator. You’re more or less a one-person production team. It helps if you learn enough to be at least decent at many different sets of skills. Like videography, editing, audio recording, motion, and graphic design, to name a few. Sure the content itself and your message are the most critical, but I also think that quality is right up there. I have learned to look outside of streaming for experts in those other fields and learn from them. Here is a trick I pulled right out of a Gerald Undone video.

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Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

There’s something genuinely magical about something that is unequivocally bad. A game, a movie, an album, it doesn’t matter. They can all be bad, so bad in fact that somehow that makes them great. Call me a masochist, but I remember buying a game many years ago because of how badly Game Informer reviewed it. “It sucks in a vomitous, spirit-crushing kind of way,” I believe is what they said. They had me at “vomitous,” I was immediately sold.

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Playing Apple Arcade games on an iPhone 12 with a Backbone One controller

When a friend first sent me a link to the Backbone One, I brushed it off. It just wasn’t something I found interesting. But as I’ll explain, once I had it in my hands, my thoughts completely changed. The main thing that stood out to me at first was the design. Including the Razer Kishi, all of the mobile controllers I had seen before looked bulky and quite frankly bad compared to Backbone. Backbone, on the other hand, was much slimmer and more nicely designed.

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The final game code seen on my Pocket CHIP

PICO-8 is a fantasy console designed by Joseph White of Lexaloffle Games. The hardware specifications have been codified in what I would consider an emulator of sorts. Once downloaded, it can be used to play games as well as develop them, design graphics, and compose sound effects and music. You could even run PICO-8 on a Raspberry Pi, or I personally use a Pocket CHIP handheld computer from the now-defunct Next Thing Co. There have been some pretty incredible PICO-8 games developed despite its very limiting specs. The team behind Celeste even built a PICO-8 version of the game as a prototype before making the final game.

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Voicemeeter by VB-Audio is a great little piece of software for Windows. For content creators, in particular, I think it’s in your best interest to learn how to use it. There are a few versions of Voicemeeter, each bigger than the last, but I like to use the standard Voicemeeter. It gives you an additional Virtual Input device and a Virtual Output device. My favorite way to use this is to separate my Discord audio to control it independently or remove it altogether from my streams or recordings.

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