August 2016 Newsletter

 

      Thamyris (Michael Herndon) - The NeoJabez Theme Song

Thamyris – NeoJabez Theme Song
 

[Oh, the nostalgia!]

Photo by NeoJabez

We’re back! And just in time for back to school!

Thanks for waiting everyone, but finally the newsletter is back!

Hope everyone finds something interesting in this edition!

Thanks to our new contributors, and special thanks to those that allowed interviews! (You know who you are!)

-NeoJabez: Editor

Game Review: Galak-Z
By Hudbus

I’ve found myself playing roguelikes quite a bit lately. Namely Crypt of the Necrodancer, But, I want to talk about a different one today.

   GALAK-Z. Think a modern version of Atari’s classic Asteroids but with AI controlled enemies, voice acting and all wrapped up into a set of fictional 80’s/90’s action anime VHS tapes.

   It’s definitely something you don’t see every day, and that’s why it caught my attention when I saw it in a gaming magazine years ago. After reading that article, I figured it’d be a nice game to try out at some point. And years later, I got a copy of it for free through Reddit user munki17. Thanks again! So, now that I’ve played it for over 10 hours, is it Good, a Fad or just plain Ugly?

   I’ll be straightforward and say some aspects of this game work, while others, not so much. The game itself is structured very much like a 2D Free-roaming Shmup like Asteroids from ages ago, but is mixed with a few other things. Such as AI controlled enemies and voice acting. It’s also advertised as a “Roguelike” as it has a permadeath mechanic in some modes, but I myself don’t believe it fits into that category. I’d call it an Action/Adventure title with Permadeath. To me, a roguelike has short, randomly generated stages, which this game does not have. On average one single stage will take five to ten minutes. This makes the Rogue mode, or the “Original” version of the game incredibly long by roguelike standards. It also kills off that “One more run” feeling that other titles, such as NecroDancer give. (Even though full four-zone runs there can be half an hour sometimes.)

   The game is divided into four “Seasons” of five stages. If you die anywhere within these stages, it’s back to the beginning of the season for you unless you have a few “Crash Coins” which can be exchanged for an extra life. The only problem with this is what it does to your upgrades. They’re all removed and placed into one large container. Said container is usually guarded by high-level enemies. Granted, these situations have yet to end well for me. There is some “random” generation, but that comes in different levels being chosen for each stage. It’s entirely possible to run into the same stage again on repeat runs.

   Arcade mode, added in a somewhat recent (5/6/16) patch, negates this restarting business with checkpoints after every level. Although, this isn’t free from problems either. As in Rogue, the first four stages of every season have several possible missions to cycle through, bringing in some nice variety. However, the 5th Boss stage is always the same. Enemy placement might be different, but the level structure is the exact same every time. This can get old, real quick. Especially if it takes a few minutes in order to even reach the boss.

   The third gamemode, The Void, (Also added in the 5/6/16 patch) is actually my favorite way to play this game. It’s a go until you die kind of thing, with a true arcade scoring system, daily runs* and online leaderboards. It’s the kind of game one would pop in a quarter to play back in the day. There’s no end goal, other than to have the highest score overall. Although, said leaderboards are incredibly lackluster as of right now. This is the worst one I’ve seen so far.

   Enough about the gamemodes, I’d like to go into the gameplay itself. Just like piloting an actual plane, it takes practice. You’ll be balancing boosting, strafing, forward and reverse thrust along with a “Juke” (Jump out of the playing field for a moment to dodge fire.) and missiles.

  Also, did I mention you get to control a mech along with your fighter craft? This thing allows you to charge up a massive sword swing, grapple both environment items, (Such as explosives, containers and the like.) enemies and put up a front block shield that doesn’t count against your main shields. You can swap in between these forms at will, allowing for dynamic combat. This really is where the game shines, but in order to get all of these functions, you have to clear the first season. I understand why this was setup this way, but I feel that it takes just a little too long to get going. That, and the system does take a little to get down, the learning curve is rather high with this title, but is rewarding as well. Do yourself a favor and use a controller for this title.

   The voice acting is actually rather well done. Which I will admit took me by surprise, as the most comparable recent release I can think of; Nintendo’s StarFox Zero, retained the series’ famously campy style. That, and I’ve given a few other indie games with VO a shot, and some turned out rather laughable. (MST3K worthy stuff here.)

   The soundtrack screams the late 80’s/Early 90’s. It fits perfectly. Other small touches, such as the options screen being designed off of a VHS setup screen and the season intros looking as if they came off a 10 or so year old VHS tape take this even further.

   I’d say this is a good title, with a solid 8/10 on my scale. It has enough to keep you coming back with it’s voice acting, visual style, changing levels and a true arcade style mode. It does suffer from a high learning curve and repetition though.

*A few roguelikes have this, it’s a single set of levels that everyone gets. They are all the exact same and reset nightly.

Summer Rain

Summer rain is falling down
On the roads, the grass, the ground
Breath of chill in summer’s heat —
Puddles lie in glassy sheets.
Dancing pools on balconies
Coats of dew upon the leaves.
Showers fall from shaken branch
Cool and liquid avalanche.
The sun returns; his light is strong
Summer rain has come and gone.

-Kesarahk

Member of the Month!
Interview Series by NeoJabez

This month’s Member of the Month Interview is with Cpt-Suicide! He’s been with the CC for quite a few years, and we hope this interview helps you get to know him better!

How did you find the CC originally? Who introduced you to it?

 I joined CC back in 2006. I just bought CS:Source and wanted a place where people didn’t yell and cuss all the time. I googled Christian Counter Strike clan and this is what came up. The rest as they say, is history.

What is something about you that it’s possible nobody in the CC actually knows about you? Perhaps something about you in real life that would surprise your friends in CC to learn?

 I’m generally a pretty open person, so this is a little difficult… I would say for most people it would be that I was the frontman for a metal band(screaming) that almost got signed. (Editor’s Note: Cpt is singing/screaming in the photo!)

Who has had the greatest impact on your time in CC?

All the old school CC guys who made me feel like I never left after two years of military stuff. (Editor’s Note: Cpt is a United States Marine!)

If you could introduce a CC Division of any game, and everyone would play it, what game would it be?

Guild Wars 2 without a doubt(F2P NOW!). I have an almost unhealthy love for this game. I play the tar out of it and I’m always looking for people to play with

So you’re looking at a CC yearbook, near the back it has a list, how would you fill out this list?

Most likely to succeed: Oxy
Class Clown: Ffootballl
Most likely to be President of the United States of America: Elvis
Most likely to be Canadian: Global
Needs their own reality show: Crosser

Have anything to add? Testimony, thoughts on grain prices and the speculation thereof? Want to share your alien manifesto with us humans, O Overlord from the Virgo Star Cluster?

Premier league is going to be awesome this year. Go Chelsea! …. 01010100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01101111 01110110 01100101 01110010 01101100 01101111 01110010 01100100 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110011 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110100 01101000 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100001 01100100 01100100 00100000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110100 01101001 01101101 01100101 00101110 00101110 00101110 00100000 01000011 01100001 01110010 01110010 01111001 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110000 01100101 01110010 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101100 01110010 01100101 01100001 01100100 01111001 00100000 01100100 01101001 01110011 01110000 01100001 01110100 01100011 01101000 01100101 01100100 00100000 01101111 01110010 01100100 01100101 01110010 01110011 00101110 …

Uh, thanks, Cpt, I think. I hope someone deciphers your binary code and answers. In the meantime though, thank you for submitting to an interview for the sake of fellowship! After all, it’s what CC does best!

Christian Crew Gaming Youtube Channel

Did you know that CCGaming has it’s own Youtube channel? There are currently 58(!) videos there, which include Bible Study and Meeting Recordings, Member Slideshows, and even Twitch.tv gameplay!

Please visit and check it out soon!

The Christian Crew means something to me, how about you?

   When I was a young boy, as young as 6-8, I wanted to be many things, an astronaut, a police officer, a firefighter, and more. But I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday, and I loved everyone in that church like family. The other kids my age were my best friends, and when I came home from being at church, I wanted to grow up to be a pastor, or someone important who helped in the church functions. (I found out as an adult that the church I went to was actually founded by my grandmother’s grandfather!)

   I would sometimes fall asleep putting together sermons in my head.

   My life turned out very different than I originally planned, but I think that core of wanting to be fruitful on God’s behalf stuck with me. I will admit that I was growing pretty stagnant in worship and belief a little over 10 years ago…and then I found something that many of us have found in our internet searches…

   A home.

   The CC was everything I’d ever been interested in on the internet, playing games, learning about graphics, building and developing web pages and forums, and lots more. And it was CHRISTIAN! I can’t tell you what this did for my fire and passion for Christ! I found true friends just like I had as a young boy in my family’s church, friends I could count on to be there when I needed them most…I felt our communities’ losses just like I would feel losses in my own family…

   So…I took the little bit of management and communication skills I had been taught at previous jobs, and applied them when given the chance by my brothers and sisters in the Christian Crew. My life has had it’s ups and down, and thus, so has my time at CC…there have been periods where I was only able to be on the forums, and times when I was on TS so much I was driving people crazy. I haven’t always been able to give financially to CC, but I’ve given hours and hours and hours of my time and energy.

   But through it all, I have maintained a fire for the Lord, and I’ve felt like I have become the man that little 7 year old boy hoped to be. Someone indispensable to a Christian organization. I’m sure the CC would function just fine without me…but I know I function better with the CC.

   Thank you, Lord, for letting me find and be a part of this wonderful community in your Holy Name. It has made the difference for me so many times. I Pray it continues producing fruit for many years to come, Lord, and you will continue to bless it’s leaders and members with a continuing fellowship, giving to their lives what it has given to mine. Amen.

-NeoJabez

Christian Crew Gaming
A Faith-Based Gaming Community
www.ccgaming.com
neo@ccgaming.com

If you are a registered forum user of CCGaming.com, you have received the link for this newsletter as part of being registered. We are considering sending these newsletters out in email, we’ll keep you posted.

©2016 Christian Crew Gaming.com All rights reserved.

 

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