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  1. WoodyREC

    It Goes Beyond Gaming

    Now what do I mean by this? This article is going to be memories or instances where as much as the gaming is a vital point to the story, it transcends the computer screen; it could be my first game played and the memory of it, bonding with a family member over a game or just something that had impact on me outside of the game. So here are some special gaming related moments for me, and I would love to see yours in the comments... Resident Evil 3: Nemesis I had been playing video games a long time at this point, not to give away my age, but this is the first game I have memory of playing from start to finish. I definitely wouldn't have been old enough to play the game at the time, but I have the most vivid memory of sitting down a few times a week for a couple of hours with my uncle to play through it. Taking turns, mainly him, as it was so hard to navigate the game for little old me. I could list so many titles we played through, Shadow of Memories was another favourite, such a unique storyline and gameplay. World of Warcraft I had just started my first job, and I remember Wrath of the Lich King was just coming out. I was so nervous heading into work, wondering how I'd get on with work colleagues, and then one of them asked me what games I play and when I said WoW there jaw dropped. Turns out a lot of them were massively into it, and we became instant friends. They invited me onto their server, their guild etc and not only did I feel right at home on WoW I did at work too. WoW in general is one of those games you make lifelong friends on, and you can end up speaking to them as much as family or friends - it truly is a unique experience. Heroclix This one is a tabletop game, but I think it still fits the article loosely. I have travelled the UK playing this game, winning sealed events at Nationals, playing friendlies in comic book shops and meeting and creating friendships all over. I've made countless good friends and acquaintances from this game that I would have never met if not for this, and I think that's the beauty of competitive miniature, card or tabletop games. Pokemon Go This was my final choice, partially for the fact I had so many friends and family join in something I've always been a massive fan of, partially how it made me get out and continue to be more active. For me, this game epitomised the title of this article. For a few months, a year, a couple of years some people were able to forget their restraints and the stigma and just have fun. It took over the world, everyone was playing it, and it was an incredible time. This was a game that did this, a game. Thank you if you've made it this far, and like I said at the start, I'd love to give your special gaming stories a read so drop them below!
  2. This Tuesday, 13th August, for the first time ever I started to stream. I’ve grown up watching people on Youtube and Twitch, and genuinely spend more of my time watching people on these websites than I do TV or maybe even play games myself, maybe… So what made me take that leap? My favourite streamer is Nickmercs, not because of the games he plays because quite frankly I can’t stand Fortnite or the crazy building coordination it takes, but because of who he is and the attitude and enjoyment he brings to his viewers. It’s insane the impact someone like that can have on you without realising. Probably around 4-5 years ago now I was 4 stone heavier. I’d just got out a pretty toxic relationship and was pretty low. I spent so much time watching people like Nick, and one thing about his streams is his fitness. Now it wasn’t an overnight thing for me, I didn’t suddenly drop all that weight or go out the same day and start working out, but I would watch him and slowly built up a drive to do so from what I was seeing from him. I was going to the gym, eventually Pokemon Go would come out and I’d be walking for hours at a time playing games and making friends and honestly between getting that push from him, without him realising, and through Pokemon Go I was in a different mindset, became a lot healthier and happier. So that was a big reason for me, pay it forward. If I could have one viewer who watched me, and I cheered him up, that would make it all worthwhile. And with that in mind, I loaded up without a second thought and played some Apex Legends, chatting along to my 3 or so viewers. I got a couple of new followers and that’s just the beginning! I’ve made content for Youtube, and built up somewhat of a following (currently stuck around 1477 subscribers), so I’ve seen those comments before ‘Thank you for helping me..’ etc which for me, is the reason I do any of this. I love playing games and joking around with friends and the thought that can impact other people is amazing. For me though, Twitch trumps Youtube in every way. The recording process feels so much more natural and responsive with the live aspect, and I just enjoyed it so much more - which is why I intend on doing it on Twitch now instead, whether it be messing around with friends on games or a podcast. So that’s my story of how or why I wanted to start streaming and why I continue to do so, what’s yours? Drop them in the comments below because I would LOVE to hear them.
  3. I've been at this whole streaming thing for a couple of years now. I feel like it's time to reflect on the journey so far... Humble Beginnings I originally started streaming as a distraction from my anxiety and other issues in my life. Things were pretty bad for me, personally, and instead of moping around all the time, I thought I'd give streaming a shot in my spare time. A friend gave me a push in the right direction and I started streaming in August 2017. I had streamed before, but it was more for messing around with friends whilst doing some Dark Souls co-op than actually making an effort to put on a decent show. But I digress... I started off with single-player games. I did a pretty big Fallout 4 run where I tested a few mods and did my first run through the game's various DLCs. Aside from a couple of friends who were only around every now and then, my streams were pretty slow, as you might expect. I was just having some fun playing a game, and never really thought much of it all. That was until someone popped into my chat and said they were really enjoying the stream. I'll never forget that feeling of accomplishment. It felt like I was doing something right, y'know? A few months of my incredibly inconsistent schedule later, and I'd found a few regular viewers, moved on to a full run through The Witcher series, and had felt like I was making some genuine connections on Twitch. Then I got my first big raid whilst testing out a Dark Souls mod, which pushed me over the 50 follower requirement for Twitch affiliate. I got an e-mail on Christmas Eve about joining the affiliate program and was over the moon. This was where I thought I should try and make a regular schedule and see just how far I can take this. Just over a year and a half later, here we are. I'm pulling in a fairly consistent viewership, I have a core group of pretty dedicated regulars, my channel's growing at a good pace, I've made some great friends, and I even joined the Forge Discord community (back before it was even called that) and have made it to admin! Ups and Downs As with life in general, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. The highs are great, but the lows can be pretty terrible. I've had some bad experiences in my time on Twitch. I've learned that some people thrive on conflict and drama, whether it's someone having a personal problem with me or a group of people jumping on the hate bandwagon for other streamers. It's childish, it's unnecessary, and to the types of people who can't get enough drama, I must ask - why? Do you genuinely have nothing better to do with your lives? When something bad goes off, I pick myself up and get on with life. There's absolutely no point dwelling on things. I've had friends fall out with me before and not let it go. It's in the past. It certainly doesn't bother me, and I don't let it get on top of me. And you know what? I'm happier for it! It amazes me as to how long someone can hold a grudge, and with how much overlap there is in a lot of Twitch communities, it's all the more present in our lives. And it is completely unnecessary. Moving on from such silliness, I will say that the majority of my experiences with Twitch have been positive: I remember getting raided by a partnered streamer, and being able to send that love on to someone else which gave them that push they needed to make affiliate. It felt like I'd come full circle. I was the one helping someone else reach their goals. That feeling is unlike any other. I've had a clip of mine featured in a montage on TwitchCon. Not only that, but it was singled out at the end by the panel. Of all the clips, they sat and talked about mine. It absolutely blew my mind. I've had to stop playing what I was playing on-stream because chat was so active that I didn't even need to be playing a game. We'd just sit there with me on the pause menu, simply chatting away. The time flies by so fast when this happens, and I love every second of it. I've had people come in and drop hundreds of dollars' worth of bits, or a bunch of gifted subscriptions, or even donations. People have gifted me games. They've even bought mugs and t-shirts with my artwork on them! That is all insanely humbling. There are people out there who are willing to spend money on me just for sitting here in front of a camera & playing videogames. And I swear I'll never get used to it! I am eternally grateful for everyone who has supported me like this. Lessons learned Standing out on Twitch is incredibly difficult these days. The platform is oversaturated, to say the least. Views can be extremely inconsistent on not only a game-by-game basis, but a day-by-day basis as well. There's no real formula for success. I've tried variety, I've tried sticking to a single game, I've tried sticking to similar games, I've tried MMOs, single-player games, multi-player games, just chatting, you name it. I will say that the bigger MMOs and multi-player games are definitely less viable for smaller streamers - you'll just get lost in the long list of streamers, which are always sorted by number of viewers. Twitch has taken steps to help smaller creators stand out, but also some missteps. The loss of Twitch communities was a big one. The tags they introduced to replace communities are mostly awful. A large percentage of viewers don't even read titles or tags. The "no spoilers" tag encourages viewers to spoil games. The LGBTQIA+ tag attracts far too many trolls, but I will say I've had a lot of positive interactions from using it as an ally (give us an ally tag, dammit!). Communities were a great way to find like-minded people. On a more positive note, the Discover page (basically the front page) now highlights smaller creators in a "recommended" section. I've met a few great streamers through that. It always feels like Twitch could be doing more to help, though. Better sorting options, perhaps? More diverse tags? More prominent titles & tags displayed on channels? I'm just throwing ideas out here. Either way, I think discoverability is an absolute nightmare as a smaller streamer, and it's 90% due to the oversaturation of Twitch. Putting your name out there outside of Twitch seems like the best way to go. It shouldn't be, but here we are. The Future Well, this is my first entry into writer's blocks here on Ember. It's been rambly as can be, but that's just how I write things - they're just my thoughts typed out as I... think them, I guess! Regarding my future as a content creator, I've made the decision to try out streaming on Mixer, which I'll be starting in September. I also aim to create Youtube content, and potentially more. I'm pushing to diversify the content I create, spread it out over multiple platforms, and really get my name out there. Twitch has been fantastic for me, my mental health, and even my social life. I'll not be leaving any time soon, but now more than ever is the time for me to really knuckle down and create as much content as I can, of as high quality as I can. Every time someone tries to kick me down, it lights a fire under me that motivates me to keep doing better. And I will do better. Watch this space.
  4. Tabby

    Welcome to The Cartridge

    Hello everyone, my name is Amy, and this is The Cartridge! You may be asking yourself, what does this entail? What is the cartridge? Well, let me tell you all about it. The Cartridge is going to be my little place to write about games that I love, games that I don't love, and everything in between. Reviews, I guess you could say. It might take me a little while to figure this whole thing out. I feel like a bit of a granny, trying to know what to write about, and what the people will enjoy. But, I guess we can go on this awesome journey together! Let's just talk a little bit about the writer for a second, get to know the lady behind the keyboard. So, my name is Amy. I'm 21 years old at the time of writing this. (Ew) I am a student at university, studying Journalism and Creative Writing. I have a passion for gaming, fantasy novels, and gaming journalism. (Does that surprise you? It shouldn't.) Hence why I'm here! I am also a streamer. Quite irregular, but I do my best to try to hold up my end when possible. You can find me on Twitch, in case you're interested. My favourite games include: Bioshock 2, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Sims 4 and Slime Rancher, just to name a few. On stream, I often play Binding of Issac, or League of Legends. I have a very hefty steam library, so I'm slowly crawling my way through it. I'm currently playing Dark Souls Remastered for the first time ever. (No one told me it was gonna be this difficult...) So, maybe you'll see an upcoming review for that! If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope you enjoy my upcoming articles! Thanks a lot guys, Amy.
  5. This weekend I attended the Heroclix Nationals 2019 (a superhero tabletop game I play) for a couple of days of play. It's always super fun to play in and nice to catch up with everyone and play the game we love. Saturday consisted of a constructed and sealed qualifier which proved a long day! We arrived around 10AM and probably left around 9PM. Now I've done this before, and as long as you stay hydrated, eat when you can and take it in steps it can be done. One big problem this time was I'd forgot my glasses. They were prescribed for when I do tasks that require concentration, and this game in particular that's crucial. By the time 12-1PM rolled around and I'd been playing without my glasses I had a headache. I was running off 5ish hours sleeps and I felt awful. By the time the second tournament started I was sat there holding my head in pain. So as the title says, always prepare. That should've been the first thing I packed, but I was so focused on the game I ended up getting there and not really being able to play. I still got to see friends and enjoyed the Sunday a lot more - but never underestimate the importance of preparation and health. Thanks for stopping by for my first article, make sure you're followed for a couple of posts a week. I'll be touching on my first EVER streaming experience later this week so hang around.
  6. Oh man - do we have a monstrously good competition for you! Today we launch 'The Great Ember Profile Giveaway' - your opportunity to win a copy of Cyberpunk 2077! The competition is simple - three steps! 1. Sign up to an EmberGN account at https://emberapp.gg 2. Complete your EmberGN profile! 3. Follow the EmberGN Twitter account - https://twitter.com/ember_gn - and RT the competition tweet! We're looking for big, beautiful, colourful banners; profile pictures; long bios; short bios; favourite games; Twitch/Youtube/Twitter integrations if you have them - just be as creative as possible! The profiles feature an incredible amount of customization, so make the most of it! You can then go on to set your country; your social media links and share your online presence with the rest of the Ember Users! You can even use gifs for banners and profile pictures! Looking for somewhere to start? Check out this instructional on setting up your profile: Profile Basics Entry will be open to all Ember profiles, with the competition closing on the 30th August 2019. The Admin team will then select 12-15 finalists to be shared on social media - with the most popular profile taking the top prize! Preorder keys will be issued at time of selecting winner. Winner to advise on preferred platform.
  7. During a bit of research, I recently stumbled across the fact that Ken Rolston, one of the lead designers on both Morrowind and Oblivion, cut his teeth working on the Stormbringer pen & paper RPG. I wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t mean anything to you, but that’s exactly why I’m writing these words right now. The more you look into the most celebrated works of fantasy gaming over the years, the more you hear the name of author Michael Moorcock and his criminally underappreciated protagonist, Elric of Melniboné. Elric VIII, 428th Emperor of Melniboné, might sound like the most clichéd paperback name you’ve ever read, but nothing could be further from the truth. Elric was first introduced to the world in June of 1961, via a novella titled The Dreaming City. At that time, most fantasy fiction was either pulpy stuff like Conan the Barbarian or the high, complex fantasy of writers such as Tolkien. These stories told tales of unlikely heroes, slaves, hobbits and downtrodden humans, who sacrificed everything for the good of their people. Elric, on the other hand, was an irredeemable asshole. While Frodo was busy traumatising himself for the good of Middle Earth, Elric was off betraying his own people to a bunch of pirates, accidentally killing his lover, and spending the entire journey home contemplating his own suicide, and that’s just the plot of the first story. However, it wasn’t just in its rejection of Tolkienesque tropes that Moorcock’s work was innovative, many concepts which are really key to modern gaming were forged by the pen of this criminally overlooked writer. He was the first fantasy author to really explore the concept of order vs chaos, especially in relation to a pantheon of Gods. This would later become a staple of fantasy RPGs like D&D and Warhammer, the latter of which pretty much copied everything, right down to the symbol. The concept of a vorpal blade, a term first penned by Lewis Carrol, was really only solidified by Moorcock in the form of Elric’s sword, Stormbringer. A demon which transformed itself into a sword, Stormbringer is capable of devouring the soul of anyone it cuts. Elric both loves and hates the sword, as it is the source of all his power, yet it frequently causes him to slay friends and lovers. This exact archetype would later appear in pretty much every fantasy universe going, from Nethack, to D&D, to the DC comic book universe. I could go on and write a full essay about why the Elric saga is such an important piece of historical geek culture, but I’d prefer you to discover it for yourself. The legacy of Moorcock’s work is far-reaching, from Hawkwind’s 1985 album, Chronicle of the Black Sword, to Vampire: The Masquerade creators, White Wolf, naming their entire company after one of Elric’s titles. Stick some heavy metal on, pick up The Dreaming City, and soak up the doom-drenched atmosphere. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
  8. Today we meet Forge regular ShinobiNando and talk unboxing games, being a Youtube creator and cosplay! Hey ShinobiNando! How's it going? Tell us a bit about yourself! My name is Fernando but most people would know me as ShinobiNando, Shino or Nando. I am a Canadian living in the UK, and started content creation about 2 years ago! I started on YouTube where I unbox many of the Collector's Editions I'm addicted to buying and then started streaming 6 months after that! Check out that Resident Evil 2 loot! Shino it is! So, as I understand it - you're a cross between a Youtube content creator and a streamer? I'm actually a horrible streamer when it comes to knowing the who's who of Twitch! I only found out about Dr. DisRespect and Ninja AFTER I started streaming myself! I never really watched or enjoyed streams before I started to do it. A few friends suggested doing it because I was such an achievement collector. Luckily, I'm a chatter box, I auditioned to stream for Xbox UK's stream team GameMasters and I got a slot! Our local Microsoft rep gave me the good news (I knew him from working at GAME!) It was a joint project between the 2 - The rest as they say is history! Which do you prefer doing? How come you chose to stream on Twitch, after starting out on Youtube - which also has a streaming platform? While streaming is easier than creating videos, I prefer doing content for YouTube. It's amazing what you can do from a home editing software and I like the fact that the videos are there so your audience doesn't really miss out! I did in fact stream on YouTube for a year before going to Twitch. The main reason was it can really clog your channel. Where I did edited videos as well as streaming, it made the channel look really messy and hurt it overall. Did you have any role models on either platform to draw inspiration from? None for streaming strangely enough, I don't know or watch any partners or big affiliates. For YouTube oh yes plenty. An obvious one with the skits and effects is 'Angry Joe,' it's partially where the inspiration came from! 'Boogie' is a big inspiration especially as an overweight and older creator. Also 'Jim Sterling' and 'Jeremy Jahns' for reviews. If you had to choose only one medium to create content for, would stream or make videos? As much as a I come to really enjoy streaming I'd probably give up twitch first. Out of the two, YouTube has been the bigger platform, I'm currently at 1000 subs and over 205000 lifetime views. It would be, IMO, much harder to start over on YouTube. Also a LOT of effort and time went into my videos, where for me at least, twitch is something I chill out to do, hit live, post a link and talk to some cool people! Venturing into Reaction and Breakdown trailers From what I hear on the grapevine - you also like to do Cosplay? I always fancied cosplay. When I was younger and in shape I was too nervous to do it as I didn't have many friends that were as geeky as me. Now my weight holds me back, I'm annoyingly one of those that doesn't feel like I shouldn't cosplay a character I don't look like. I loved doing Nathan Drake, Mario and am looking to do more in the future. I would love to see a classic Dr Mario! ShinobiNando is a pretty unique brand name - how did you come up with it? Well I always play the stealthy rogue characters. If I can sneak around, back stab or avoid direct conflict that's the character or play-style I'll go for. What's more stealthy than a ninja? NinjaNando sounded too on the nose so I choose ShinobiNando. Plus it was a throwback to an MMO character from City Of Heroes. What about goals? What do you hope to achieve with the brand? I would love to get big enough to showcase more on my channel or get invited to events! I have worked behind the scenes when I use to do events at GAME and I liked the idea of showing a personal or another perceptive on them. MCM London was fun to vlog behind the scenes! While I'm not looking for fame or fortune, to turn this into at least a part time job would be amazing. Again more for the opportunities. If I can help my fellow Collectors avoid or find editions or collectables they would miss then I feel I have done my job. Same with my reviews. The best comments are the ones where people say they watched a movie for the first time in the cinema in ages, or bought/played a game they might have skipped and thank me for it as they really enjoyed it! Mmmm.... collectables.... Yeah I imagine that is a pretty awesome feeling! So how do you relax at the end of the day? I was a on and off martial artist for years, which probably also influenced the name. I practised Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Ninjutsu, Karate, Tae Kwon Do and even dabbled in Capoeria! I got injured a few years ago and now have a chronic infection that fatigues me, so unfortunately I've had to put it on hold. I really enjoy movies and the cinema experience! Especially super hero movies or horror films. I'm really looking forward to Burn Bright as it combines the two. It’s a classic desert island scenario - you can take only three items. What do you take? Oh god... I dunno! Everything I enjoy uses electricity... Umm a sword... A lot of rope ... And a bow with arrows? A...a sword?? Why not! Lots you can do with a sword! Ya never know when one might need a sword.... Ok! Rapid fire time. What's your all time favourite movie? My mind is a blank! TV Show? I dunno.... Game? Umm.... Book? Haven't read one in years! Food? Changes everyday? Haha great answers! Are you part of any teams/networks that you'd like to give a shout-out to? Not really, I float between a few including Forge! I use each Discord differently. Ember and the Forge, I find are great places to ask for creator help and opinions, or vent frustrations that only fellow streamers/YouTubers would understand! Promo time - where can our readers find ShinobiNando online? www.youtube.com/ShinobiNando www.twitch.tv/ShinobiNando @ShinobiNando on Instagram and Twitter!
  9. There was a lot of hype for The Division 2 within the Forge Community, from as early as December 2018... and boy, has the game lived up to expectations. Our Agents have spent the last three weeks, looting and shooting their way through DC (some of them almost daily), on a seemingly endless mission to clean the streets. No mean feat. For those of you that are yet to play, you take on the role of a Division Agent - a sleeper unit summoned into action after a deadly virus outbreak. Much of the US government and leadership is either dead or missing, whilst the capital itself is under the control of three warring factions; The Hyenas, The Outcasts and The True Sons. As a highly trained agent, you roam the streets running various errands, regaining control of Washington DC block by block, in pursuit of a possible 'Green Poison' cure. Once you complete the main storyline, you get to take on the endgame and earn some rare loot - which is where the fun really begins! Agents must ransack and clear enemy strongholds in order to increase their World Tier ranking - opening the door to better loot. Don''t forget - "It's dangerous to go alone!" Which is where The Forge comes in. From release date, we have been operating two clans - one on PC and one on PlayStation - with an aim to get as many Forge and Ember members in with us as possible! Both are very active, hold a good roster of players and are keen to help others reach the endgame content. At the time of writing, our PC clan (headed by Forge admin @wochinimen) is currently Level 15 and sits 18 members strong, many of whom are already farming towards World Tier 4 - in preparation for World Tier 5 and the next significant Stronghold - Tidal Basin. The PlayStation team, headed by @KayTMo, is up to Level 10 and boasts six Tier 4 characters! Dedication! Ready to answer the call Agent? Get in touch with either of the clan leaders, who will be able to talk you through getting started and signing up to the clan. We have dedicated chat and voice channels within the Forge Discord server - just type !division to access them!
  10. Hey all! If we were to implement some Forge Game nights - what would you guys like to play? And on which platforms? Post your answers below!
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