Friday, November 8, 2013

The Gamestick Review

   Being pretty busy I do not have the time I would like to get into games the way I used to.  For that reason I have a huge back log list of games I would like to play.  The next-gen console wars are going full blast and are about to be released so I have decided to remove myself from that since I am so behind.  But, I can't not get anything either so...I went with the cheapest alternative, The Gamestick.

Packaging was really well done.

I had first heard about the Gamestick through its Kickstarter campaign and it is one of three things I backed just to see what it was like to fund something that you would hope could be potentially successful.  I received my Kickstarter edition Gamestick just this week and so far...I have yet to play a game as I type this.
Fully charged!!!

With your Gamestick console you get a lot of accessories, for set up, storage options, and charging.  Let me tell you, it has to be charged 100% and then some if you want to save some time pairing your controller.

Controller, power adapter, Y cable for set-up, and HDMI extension.
"searching for update"...

Set up, was the most difficult I have ever experienced for any console.  The controller took forever to pair, then there was an update that seemed to have trouble getting out to everyone.  I guess that is an acceptable practice now, to get your customers money and THEN...update the software later like Microsoft is doing.   Other reviews describe the setup as, "GameStick’s biggest advantage is the ease with which you can set it up and navigate the menu." Like this review here, but I know I was not the only one having problems because people that got the game stick were responding to Gamestick on twitter and the problem seemed like it was not unique to me.  They posted the following on twitter in regards to the update issue:

  The other review also noted, "The GameStick controllers sync through Bluetooth, but in my experience they sometimes don’t want to recognize the console unless you’re standing right beside your television. Oftentimes I would have to either reset the console or repeatedly turn the controller on and off to get it to pair correctly".   This was definitely the case for me as well.

 Eventually the update installed and I was able to get going, so I installed Shadowgun, a third person shooter that they used a lot of video of to show how the game would work on some of their Kickstarter project videos.  It took a little while to install, and when it did all I could do was maneuver around the menu screen...that's it.  Rebooted again and it worked but before that I got to the menu screen and could navigate the options but I could not select any of them. It did work (3rd time is always the charm I guess), and I played until I died in the game.  It wasn't a bad experience, for the most part I got to play and see some of the story sequence but the cut to black did get a little annoying.

I couldn't get past this screen for a while.
Very "Gears of War"-ish, that's  a good thing.
The next game I tried was the only other free one on the marketplace called Smash Cops, this is just an overhead view driving game where you crash your car into other cars to arrest them.  It was not as much fun as Shadowgun and the black screen kept popping up for me again.

For what it is the visuals are decent.
The overhead view of Smash Cops
After a few reboots it finally got working, this is not only a new console but a new take on the home console business.  The concept is nice, a controller that plugs into a TV that has an HDMI port pretty much ensures you won't be bored at Thanksgiving visiting relatives.  For that reason the concept of The Gamestick is still awesome, it's portable, affordable, the games are cheap and you can expand storage with a 32GB MicroSD card to carry your whole gaming library with you.  The other review makes it seem like it's a good idea for kids, and it is but there are some older genre games for the adult gamers as well,  I know more are on the way too.  Like all new consoles, it has it's problem so I'm not giving it a thumbs down but I would say wait before you grab one since it seems they have a lot to work on still.  They keep updating their Kickstarter page and have been good about that since they were seeking funding, they address the drop out issues most recently and say," If you continue to have issues, in addition to posting on the boards, please do log them via our support tab on our website as they can be properly logged and distributed internally."

 I guess, the other review is more spot on when calling it, "The cheaper Android console that's great for kids".  It is, kids are not as critical as we grown folks are, but they are being transparent enough to address the issues and that's not bad.

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