Couch Podtatoes Episode 95: More Hot Podtatoe Headlines

CP4

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Couch Podtatoes. This week we’re running another Hot Podtatoe Headlines show, in which we gather some interesting tidbits from around the interwebs to share with you. We talk about some new games, hardware, Pokemon Go, and even cover some Idiots on the Internet, in our typical fashion. That’s really all there is to it, so have a listen and enjoy! We’ll see you in a week!

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 95: More Hot Podtatoe Headlines (runtime: 59:39)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:00)
Discussion: HPH (starts at 17:13)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Eri
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“Delusion Pandemic” by Lamb of God (from the album VII: Sturm And Drang)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

Uncharted 4: Complete

It’s been a while since Uncharted 4 released, but I finally finished it off. I made a screenshot dump post a couple of months ago, when I thought I was over halfway through the game. Going by number of chapters, I was actually over halfway through the campaign, but the last few chapters felt much more stretched out, as the game begins to open up with exploratory levels and vehicle travel. This isn’t something that’s new to the series by any means, but Uncharted 4 was much more expansive than its predecessors. Or at least, it sure felt that way.

Keeping with my vow to start blowing through my backlog, after realizing that I hadn’t beaten many games at all this year, I’ve already completed two more and made progress elsewhere. At the beginning of this month, I managed to complete the new DOOM, and now Uncharted 4 can be struck from the backlog list as well. I did already add another game to my collection since the steam sale though, so this is only a minor step in the right direction, but it is progress nonetheless. Unfortunately No Man’s Sky comes out in just about 3 weeks, so my backlog is going to collect dust again rather soon as I dive into that, but this is a story for another day. Back to Uncharted.

Honestly, there are so many improvements in this title it’s hard to know where to begin. The controls are intuitive; the climbing, jumping and rolling mechanics are all very sharp. The cover system and gunplay are spot on. I never felt overly challenged, despite going straight to hard difficulty for my first playthrough. The graphics are incredible, and smooth throughout. The action sequences are absolutely ridiculous, but that’s definitely nothing new for this series. It’s just so much prettier and smoother that it feels like a huge step up for the IP. It is unfortunate that the subtitle is “A Thief’s End” and this is the last we’ll be seeing of good ol’ Nathan Drake. He keeps his sense of humor to the very end though, and that’s where this game really shines.

The writers at Naughty Dog should feel proud. Not only did they make Nathan a more mature and responsible guy, but they made him more loveable, and there were so many points in the game oozing with real emotion, and that’s not easy to do in a game with a “meathead” protagonist. No, I don’t think Nathan Drake is a meathead, but I’ve heard the argument plenty of times anyway. Overall the growth of the characters and overall charm of the narrative pulled me in deeper than I thought I could go. And of course, there’s plenty of death and destruction to go around.

My only complaint with the game? The goddamn sword fight finale. Holy shit I had to do that so many times before finally getting through. In a game that is primarily about gunplay, WHY would you make the final encounter end with a sword fight? And an annoyingly implemented QTE one at that? It really is a minor complaint, but holy fuck was I screaming at my TV before I completed the game.

Having now played through all four games, I would still rate this one the highest despite the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. 9.5/10 Here’s some screens of the latter half of the game. They might be a little spoilery, but hey, the game’s been out for two months. Enjoy.

Storage Space Upgrade Project

File this under “spur of the moment weekend projects.” 

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No lack of space here.

This weekend I’ve been pretty productive. I managed to edit and post a podcast, catch up on making the video versions of the podcast (had to make 3) and even wrote a blog post. I did some chores, and I decided to back up all of my files to my external 1 TB hard drive as well. A little bit of everything, I suppose you could say. While doing my backups, I noticed that I basically filled up the 1 TB external drive, and recently I had noticed that all of my drives in my PC were getting pretty full as well. I’ve got no shortage of hard drive bays in my case, so I had been toying with the idea of picking up another drive, just to spread my data around more evenly, and also to free up the external for only extremely important files. Previously, I had it set up so that the SSD was a boot drive only, a 500 GB Blue drive was for system images and personal files, and my 2 TB Black drive was for games. I used the external to mainly backup the personal files, but managed to fill it up with things that aren’t super important. The new drive solves this problem, so I can have everything organized just the way I want it.

I had a feeling when I bought my PS4 that the 500 GB hard drive included with the system wasn’t going to be enough space. When I first picked up the console, it seemed that I’d be able to make due with the space for a while, until I started digitally purchasing AAA titles that are 50-60 GB a piece. At that point, it was clear that I was going to need an upgrade. After doing some research, I found that there were two options that would allow me to expand my storage space for the console. Option one involved removing the hard drive from the system and replacing it with a larger capacity one. This sounds good, until you do a little more research into option 2, and price differences. Option two involves buying a HDD Data Bank from a third party company called Nyko, which then allows you to use “nearly any” 3.5 inch hard drive. Further disclaimers state that the PS4 firmware only supports hard drives up to 2 TB. The difference here, is that the internally installed hard drive in the PS4 is a laptop hard drive, whereas with the data bank you basically install a pass-through that allows a standard PC sized hard drive to be mounted externally. Both options are equally viable, though a 2 TB 3.5 inch HDD will run you considerably less money than a 2 TB laptop drive. Particularly when you get said hard drive on sale.

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Having these thoughts for some time now, it came to a head earlier today when I finally decided to start doing the research to figure out what it was going to cost me and what sort of effort it was going to take to complete the project. It was also preferable to knock out two birds with one stone. Thankfully Fry’s was running a special on Western Digital Blue hard drives, and 2 TB models were going for $64 a piece. They were supposed to also have the Nyko Data Bank in stock as well, but that ended up being procured from Gamestop instead. I was lucky to even get the hard drives, as I managed to pick up the last two they had on the shelf. When all was said and done, the hard drives cost me $128 and the data bank was $40. Not bad for space upgrades, considering a single 2 TB black would have cost me $130 by itself, and a laptop hard drive that was 2 TB was going for around $150. Sure, Neo might be coming soon, but hopefully this will be compatible, and even if it isn’t, I can always throw the hard drive in my PC for further storage — which I wouldn’t be able to do with a laptop drive.

I chronicled the upgrade via pictures, in case any of you end up wanting to do the same with your console. The prep and installation was a breeze. The worst part is having to download all of the games over again, but that will happen over time and it’s not that big of a deal. The first thing you’re going to want to do is get a flash drive and plug it into the console. There is an option under settings>system that allows you to create a backup file of your saves, trophies, settings, and captures in one step. Once that’s completed, get on your PC and plug the same flash drive in. Head to Playstation support and download the latest firmware update. Throw it on the flash drive and shut down the console. Unplug the HDMI and power cables, and get it on a flat surface.

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From there, you’re going to want to remove the case from the smaller portion of the console (when facing the console, it’s the left side). You should also unpack the data bank so that you have everything ready to go.

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This is where the hard drive is installed. Removing a small screw that holds it in place with the provided screwdriver and sliding it out of the bay is easy-peasy.

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Next, you’ll slide the adapter into the hard drive bay. This looks just like a laptop hard drive, but has a plug on the top. Once in place you’ll secure it with a screw. Then, you take the new cover piece, that includes the new 3.5″ bay, and slide into place where the original cover once stood. A small connector will fit through a slot in the cover, and you’ll connect that to the adapter that you had just installed.

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After that, sliding the 3.5″ drive into place is a snap. The power for the hard drive plugs right into the back of the console, and creates another pass-through for the system’s power cord.

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Slide the plastic cover over the front end of the data bank, and we’re done! That wasn’t so hard was it?

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Plug the power cord and HDMI back into the back of the PS4, and make sure, BEFORE you power the system on, that you first plug in the USB cord to both the console and the controller, and also plug in your flash drive with the firmware and backups. Hold the power button for 7 seconds and the system will enter safe mode.

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You will be able to select “initialize PS4” and this will install the latest firmware (system software) update. Once the Playstation has done its thing, you can then get started with restoring your settings, and downloading all of your games. The remainder of my project is just that — downloading games, and re-organizing my PC hard drives as well. This wasn’t how I was expecting to end my weekend, but it was fun nonetheless!

Why the NES Classic is Perfect For Gamers Like Me

nes-classic-edition-in-handThis past week, there was an announcement made by Nintendo (no, this isn’t about Pokemon GO. You can’t even avoid that news) that they were bringing the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) back to retail. This isn’t the same NES that you had back in the 80’s though, no this NES Classic edition is a miniaturized version of the original. Small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, it’s a third or less the size of the 80’s version, but has been updated to output via a packed-in HDMI cable meaning that it is finally compatible with modern TVs and monitors. It features the classic controller design that we all knew and loved, and comes packed with 30 games out of the box. The best part is the price point: It’s only $60.

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There has been plenty of coverage of this announcement, and it has been met with both hype and disdain. People are excited to be able to hook up an NES to their modern TVs. They’re excited to be able to play the classic titles that are included. Some think it’s a great idea. Others are mad that you can’t use the cartridge slot — meaning you can’t use existing cartridges to play games that aren’t included on the system memory. They’re also upset that there isn’t an ethernet port or wi-fi capabilities to potentially download extra titles from the Nintendo digital store. Other complaints range from “I already have the OG system, why do I want this?” to “This is just another money grab.” Either way, Nintendo has brought their name to the forefront of the gaming community twice in two weeks, but for completely different reasons. Stocks are up. I’m sure the company feels good despite their shit sales on consoles and 1st party IPs as of late.

All of the commentary aside, I think this console was designed with people like me in mind. It’s been nearly 30 years since the NES released in the United States. Most of us that were born in the 70’s and 80’s played the shit out of this console, for many it was their first gaming experience. I know people who have original systems that still work, who still have original cartridges, and those that have taken it upon themselves to collect these games after the fact – retro gamers/collectors. But for people like me, who did own the system and owned most of the games included in this bundle, who have subsequently had their system take a shit or ended up getting rid of it and the cartridges, this is the perfect solution.

A few years back, I picked up the Sega Genesis collection that released on then-current-gen consoles in an effort to recap a large portion of my collection of Sega Genesis games. If this would have released in a similar fashion where I could get these 30 games on a disc for PS4 or via Steam, I would still pay the $60 asking price just to have this excellent collection of titles. Getting the mini-console and the OG controller to boot is just icing on the cake! For posterity, let’s look at the list of included games:

  • Balloon Fight™
  • BUBBLE BOBBLE
  • Castlevania™
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest™
  • Donkey Kong™
  • Donkey Kong Jr. ™
  • DOUBLE DRAGON II: THE REVENGE
  • Dr. Mario™
  • Excitebike™
  • FINAL FANTASY®
  • Galaga™
  • GHOSTS’N GOBLINS®
  • GRADIUS™
  • Ice Climber™
  • Kid Icarus™
  • Kirby’s Adventure™
  • Mario Bros. ™
  • MEGA MAN® 2
  • Metroid™
  • NINJA GAIDEN
  • PAC-MAN™
  • Punch-Out!! ™ Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics™
  • SUPER C™
  • Super Mario Bros.™
  • Super Mario Bros. ™ 2
  • Super Mario Bros. ™ 3
  • TECMO BOWL
  • The Legend of Zelda™
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link™

I don’t care who you are, that’s a great list of games there. Mostly first party, but some third party back when Nintendo still had some exclusive licensing deals. Many of the greatest IPs got their start on the NES, and many of my favorites from that era are included. This is when Nintendo was still good, and when I still felt they were the best video game company in the world. My opinion of them has changed greatly over the years, but I can’t deny the nostalgia factor presented here. Not only did I own a large portion of these games, but there are some popular titles that I missed out on playing as well as a few that I didn’t give a proper chance to (I’m looking at you, Super Mario Bros 2, Zelda II, and Punch Out). I look forward to getting my hands on this collection for the retro nostalgia feels, but also to have some new experiences with old gems.

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It’s likely I’ll have to pick up a second controller too, just so I have the ability to play some 2-player when I have friends around. For only $10 it’s a really reasonable add on as well. For those of us who miss having these games in their life, it’s a fantastic buy. From the little bit of research I’ve done, it doesn’t seem that pre-orders are available just yet, but it is releasing just a few days before my birthday in November (the 11th) just in time for the holiday season. I know I’m going to pull the trigger on a pre-order as soon as they become available, because I don’t want to miss out on the first wave.

What do you all think? Are you excited for this new (old) offering?

Couch Podtatoes Episode 94: Regional Considerations

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We’re back at it again, this time we’re joined one more time by Tacktix, and we’re covering a new issue that plagues the gaming industry. Well, it’s not really a plague, that just sounded good. We talk about regions, regional servers, language barriers, cultural differences, and the global gaming community. It’s a shorter discussion because we only had so many points to make, but overall we agree that the global gaming community is a fantastic thing and helps bring mankind one step closer to starship federations and world peace. Or something like that. Anyway, enjoy the show, and we’ll see you in a week!

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 94: Regional Considerations (runtime: 44:11)

What are we playing? (starts at 00:53)
Discussion: Regions (starts at 12:02)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Eri
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Tacktix
Blog: Tough Love Critic
Twitter: @TaCktiX

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“Vlad, Son of Dragon” by The Black Dahlia Murder (from the album Abysmal)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page. Or, view it here:

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!