Sunday, December 11, 2016

Video Game Review: DOOM (2016)

So, first person shooters (FPS) really aren't my thing without a damn good reason. (Destiny has a pretty good story, Turok had dinosaurs!) The 2016 reboot of DOOM, though, just begged to be picked up as a Horror game and something that I always wanted to play when I was younger but never had the opportunity.

So, the basic story is pretty simple. You play as "DoomGuy", you're immortal, super-human, and are perpetually super-angry. When Hell invades Mars, you're awoken and you pretty much take it upon yourself to fist all the demons you find to death, smashing your way through the complex and stopping the attack of Hell.

Seriously. I mean that when I say "fist". One of the most entertaining things about this game is weakening enemies with firepower before running up to them to finish them in a gory "glory-kill", where you punch through their chests, rip out their spines, tear off limbs, and other cinematic ways to defile your enemies. That's pretty much the main appeal of the game; killing monsters in bloody ways, either through your fists or any of the multitude of weapons you pick up throughout the game. Which does include a chainsaw.

The controls are pretty standard for FPS games, and are pretty clean and bug-free. I haven't had any problems with the graphics as far as bugs go. Granted, this is really a pretty simple game, so there's not much to screw up.

The graphics are great. About as one would expect with the current technology level of systems. Levels are detailed, backgrounds are cinematic, and enemies are complete. Even the glory kills are thought out and detail oriented, most of them having just the right about of splatter and viscera depending on what angle you hit the enemies from. For all the blood and violence, it really is a visually appealing game.

As far as gameplay though, be prepared. Despite not being my preference, I'm not a FPS noob. I've played my fair share, so when I started up DOOM, I figured I didn't have to go the baby route of the easiest difficulty. I was wrong. This isn't just a FPS. It's very fast paced. You have to keep track of your health, your ammo, your enemies, and your environment, all while constantly moving to avoid being shot, burned, slashed at, and managing to return fire so you don't get overwhelmed by numbers.

The game also includes a multi-player mode, but it's honestly a bit lackluster compared to the rest of the game, likely added in to give the game a little more longevity and for the players who live for player-on-player action (PVP). There is talk of some downloadable content coming for it, but I'm not sure if that'll be more levels or PVP stuff.

Overall, this game appeals to fans of the originals, Horror fans, and will serve as a good, quick distraction for PVP players who burn out on the latest COD or Battlefield. If it sounds like fun to you, don't hesitate to grab it if you can get it used or on sale. Definitely a fun shock to the system, especially for a game you're really only likely to play through once.

~ Shaun

Monday, December 5, 2016

Facebook for Authors: Optimizing your page

Back to Facebook, once again. This should be the last one for a while though, so buckle in, and for everyone else, I hope to have something more literary/horror related next week.

So you have your page, you have followers, now what?

To start with, Post. Post daily. The more often, the better. Reviews, genre news, funny (but RELEVANT) pictures and meme's. Just remember to stay on target for your page. If you're running an author page for your books in the romance genre, don't blindly share stories of zombies, or news of the latest celebrity meltdown. That's why I prefer the author page over a book page. 

As an author page, I have my entire genre open to discussion. Books, movies, video games, discussions of the genre in general, in addition to the specific themes of my latest book or piece. Since my main bread and butter is Horror, I can touch on all of it. Action-Horror, Romantic Horror, Gothic, Paranormal. 

That being said, coming up with two or three posts a day is not easy, even for me. As hard as it is, though, you don't want to spend an hour or two a day sitting there looking for stuff to post when you could (and should) be writing. 

My answer to that, and one of the ways you can optimize your page AND your time, is to devote just one day a week to posts on your Facebook. Use the option to schedule your posts, so they pop up throughout the week. 

This way, you can also organize your posts a lot better, like if you have a specific order you want to post things in, or have some posts that actually refer or respond to previous ones. 

Scheduling your posts ahead of time ensures you have stuff to go up, without having to worry about finding stuff the day of, and if you can just devote a couple hours a week to that, it will save you a lot of time as well.

What else can you do with your posts? Hashtags. Or pound signs, whichever you grew up calling them. True, they are mainly a Twitter thing these days, but Facebook actually makes use of them as well! You can add them to the end of your post so that it will crop up when people go searching for those subjects. Use them for promotional tools, for example, when the post for this blog entry goes up on my Facebook page, I might add on #Blogging, #Marketing, #SocialMedia hashtags. Don't go too crazy though. The consensus seems to be that hashtags on Facebook have a "sweet spot" where too many of them actually seems to drive people away, even if they searched for one of the words you used. Maybe it comes across as desperate? I'm not sure, I'm simply helping to share what I've learned in my time around the internet. I'm not a marketing guru.

However, one thing I do know is that constant experimentation, education, and work are the keys to the kingdom of being a success in any kind of business, and whether you're an author, an artist, a craft-maker, or just silly; if you have a Facebook page to promote yourself, that's what you need to do.

One last piece of advice, connect your Facebook to your other social media. You can set it up so that when you post on your blog, it automatically uploads to your page, and when you post to your page, it automatically posts to your Twitter, or Instagram, or whichever. Take advantage of that! Especially if you have scheduled posts. Because then you're keeping all your accounts busy and active, with the time investment of just one. Just make sure you check those other outlets from time to time to make sure things are posting correctly.

Hope this little series was helpful to you all. We'll be back next week with something more writing/Horror related. I promise. Have a good week!

~ Shaun