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Chad Concelmo

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Goodbye, Destructoid


<3
Nov 10
// Chad Concelmo
As some of you may or may not have heard, this is officially my last day with Destructoid. Man ... I can barely type that without getting upset. I am starting a new job next week at GolinHarris as a writer for Nintendo. It is...

How Final Fantasy VI saved my life

Nov 08 // Chad Concelmo
It is hard to believe given my ridiculously optimistic personality, but I used to be an unbelievably shy child. I had some friends when I was very young, but when I got into junior high and high school, I was a loner. I would hang out in my room and do two things: draw pictures of roller coasters and play videogames. Those are the two activities that made me the happiest. I didn’t have a particularly sad childhood or anything. There are a lot of kids out there that really go through some hard times. I had great parents, went to a good school, and got really good grades. I was just very quiet and didn’t really have any friends. But on top of all of this I knew something else was going on with me. There was something I was confused about that I just didn’t really understand. After getting through high school, I started college. I really wanted to be a roller coaster designer, so I went to a major, fairly prestigious university in my home state of North Carolina. I was nervous to start college like everyone else, but I figured if I had my sketchbook and Super Nintendo, I would be just fine. College was a completely different world for me. It was hard for me to just seclude myself in the world of videogames and corkscrew loops. I had to be more social. I had to interact with a giant group of people I had never met on a level I was not comfortable with. But I got by. I did what I had to. I attended my lectures, took notes, and hung out with a small group of very nice people while at lunch or between classes. When I was in my dorm room, I would curl up in my bed, hook up my Super Nintendo, and just play videogames. That is what I looked forward to the most each and every day. That time in my room when it was just me and my games. Then things started to happen. My college roommate was someone I was randomly selected to be with. He was not very nice. He used to constantly make fun of me for playing videogames and mock me for not wanting to go outside and hang out with people. I was fine with ignoring him, but things just got worse. After a while, my roommate and his friends on the same floor would gang up on me and continue to make fun of my lifestyle. On top of all this, they would start teasing me for being gay. I’m not gay, I would think to myself. I’m not gay. Why are they making fun of me for something that is not true? But maybe it was true? I mean, I was confused about a lot of things, and I think being gay may have been one of them. To make myself feel better, I would just play more videogames. I stopped concentrating on my roller coaster designs since I didn’t even have the energy to leave my bed. The taunting continued, eventually getting physical. It was awful. I was scared to even leave my dorm, and even more scared to talk to anyone about what was going on. I was afraid to even mention the word “gay” in the same breath as my name. To this day, that first year at college was the lowest point of my life. Going through such a personal struggle about whether I was comfortable with being gay was hard enough alone. Having guys make fun of you by posting mocking signs all over the dorm and punching you when they incorrectly thought you were looking at them in the showers made it even more brutal. I couldn’t take it. Now, I never considered doing what some people may think I would have considered. I never got to that place. But I was sad. I was sad and confused. Enough to actually make me leave school. I went home one weekend and never went back. I told my family that I just didn’t want to go back to college. Understandably, they were confused. They had no idea what had been happening with me, so they just thought I was randomly giving up. I refused to tell them what I had gone through, out of fear that they might ask me if I was gay. I lived in my room for a while after all this. I lived in my room and dove into my videogames. At one point I decided to replay Final Fantasy VI. It was one of my favorite videogames and I knew the length of the game alone would give me an excuse to just separate myself from everything that was going on in the world. I had no idea how much the game would change my life. I became obsessed with playing. Every single part of the game meant something to me. When Terra and her companions marched towards Narshe at the start of the game, I was entranced. I became enraptured with certain characters in the game. Terra, Celes, Locke, Sabin, Cyan, Setzer, Relm. Each one of these characters became almost like friends as I watched their sad and sometimes very tragic storylines unfold on the glowing screen in front of me. Their stories became my story. While the entire game hypnotized me, there were particular scenes that really affected me on a very deep, personal level. The opera house. When Celes sung her aria it was hard for me to hold back tears. The  ghost train. I was unimaginably moved when Cyan said a final goodbye to his deceased wife and child. The Solitary Island. Watching Celes struggle with being alone and losing someone she loved really hit home. When she tried to commit suicide in the game by jumping off the cliff, I almost couldn’t bear watching. It all just felt so real to me. Each one of these moments had a profound effect on me. I wasn’t just playing a simple videogame anymore. I was experiencing a piece of art that was slowly changing my life for the better. Each time I played Final Fantasy VI I felt better about who I was and the situation I was in. I started to emerge from my depression as I lost myself in the world of the game. I would smile every time I saw a sequence with gorgeous graphics. I would close my eyes and feel my heart beat to the game’s gorgeous soundtrack. As each new sequence introduced itself, I would think about my future and the person I wanted to be. There have been many videogames that have made me happy over the years -- that’s why I love playing games! -- but Final Fantasy VI was different. The game was perfect for me at that point in my life. I don’t think it is crazy to say it genuinely saved me. After playing Final Fantasy VI, I started to become the person I am today. I thought about the people who tormented me in college. The more I thought about how much Final Fantasy VI meant to me -- and the more I thought about how great things can be in this world -- the less I cared about all the things they did to me. Why would they make fun of me for playing videogames? Videogames were fantastic! Why would they physically abuse me for being gay? Being gay was even better! Eff those guys! I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that changed me into this person, but I know the game helped me get there. Maybe it was when Edgar and Sabin flipped a coin for control of their father’s kingdom. Maybe it was when I first discovered I could wait for Shadow and save him from death on the Floating Continent. Maybe it was when Setzer mourned the loss of his beloved Daryl. Maybe there wasn’t even a specific moment at all! Most likely, it was a combination of every brilliant moment in the game and my willingness to let it grab hold of me and open my eyes to everything awesome in the world. All I know is: when I was finished playing Final Fantasy VI, I was happy again. I was confident. I was not afraid to be myself. I enrolled in a new school with a new focus: writing. I made tons of friends. I started to tell people I was gay. I WAS OUT OF CONTROL! AND IT WAS AMAZING! Final Fantasy VI had such a positive impact on my life, that every time I hear a note of music from the game or even see a familiar sprite, I think about the powerful effect it had on me. I will never forget the game as long as I live. This is why I love videogames as much as I do. They are not just pieces of entertainment to me. They have helped mold me into the person I am today. They had a hand in getting me through the hardest and most confusing time of my life. When I eventually went back to school, my transformation was finally complete. I was the happiest I had ever been. All these years later, I am still going strong. And videogames are just as an important part of my life. I am still just as happy, just as confident, and not just comfortable with, but proud of the person I am. Would I have changed this much as a person despite Final Fantasy VI? Maybe. Is there a chance this is all just a coincidence? Could Final Fantasy VI have been replaced by anything that I happened to dive into at the time? A good book? An amazing movie? Perhaps. But I am not sure it would have been the same. I believe there was something magical about Final Fantasy VI that saved my life. I still think there is something magical about the game every time I sit down to play it. It is truly something special.
Final Fantasy VI photo
Oh my hero
This is the most personal post I have ever written for Destructoid. At first, I was nervous about sharing this much about my life. But then I realized this is a story I really wanted to tell. I thought that if this very perso...

Movies vs. videogames: Which did it better?

Nov 07 // Chad Concelmo
  Believe it or not, there are two scenes in a movie and a videogame that feature main characters climbing into refrigerators right before they are shot into the air over a very long distance. Seriously. The more famous of these dual scenes is in the fourth Indiana Jones movie (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). In this scene, Indiana Jones is trapped in an abandoned nuclear test city right before an atomic bomb is about to be detonated. To escape, he climbs in a refrigerator to protect himself from the deadly blast. When the bomb explodes, Indy and the refrigerator are blown to safety. This scene has become legendary, mostly because people think it is when the Indiana Jones movies officially jumped the shark. (Or, in this case, "nuked the fridge.") Many fans use this scene as an example of why they didn't like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. [embed]237926:45683:0[/embed] Strangely enough, a similar refrigerator scene is also found in classic role-playing game Mother 3 (released a couple years earlier). As they are leaving Snowcap Mountain, main character Lucas and friends hop into a refrigerator at the top of the highest peak, ride it down the side of the mountain, and launch themselves into the air like a ski jumper before safely landing in the middle of a graveyard. [embed]237926:45684:0[/embed] The winner: Mother 3. While I am one of the few people that doesn't hate the refrigerator scene in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I still have to give the nod to Mother 3 on this one. First off, it's Mother 3, so it wins by default alone for being one of the greatest videogames ever made. But looking past that, the refrigerator sequence is just so awesome ... and weird ... and random! WHY IS THAT REFRIGERATOR EVEN UP THERE?! I love you, Mother 3. Movies: 0Videogames: 1   Critically-acclaimed 1995 film Apollo 13 and original PlayStation masterpiece Final Fantasy VII both feature epic rocket launches as major story points. In Apollo 13, this is an obvious inclusion, as the movie would never be able to happen if the astronauts featured in this harrowing true story did not journey to space in the first place. I mean, how else are they going to get there? Catapult? (Okay, that needs to happen in a Director's Cut.) The movie scene truly is a master class in great editing, awesome special effects, and stellar direction (under the detailed eye of Ron Howard). As the scene plays out, you really feel like you are there watching it happen. You can almost feel the heat from the fire as the rocket launches into space. [embed]237926:45686:0[/embed] The rocket launch in Final Fantasy VII is surprisingly similar in the way it is shot -- the camera angles and editing share much in common. The main difference is, as the rocket launch of Apollo 13 supports its main story, the rocket in Final Fantasy VII is part of a smaller story that doesn’t have as much to do with the main narrative. [embed]237926:45687:0[/embed] The winner: Apollo 13. As much as I love the unexpected space sequence in Final Fantasy VII, the rocket launch feels dated all these years later. The graphics are a little past their prime, and the actual launch doesn’t feel very intense. The rocket launch in Apollo 13, on the other hand, still holds up after all these years. It is exhilarating, exciting, and expertly put together. While there are many other classic scenes in Final Fantasy VII that overshadow the rocket launch, the launch is the centerpiece of Apollo 13. And rightfully so! Movies: 1Videogames: 1   One of my favorite boss battles of all time is with The End in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It is an epic sniper battle, set in a lush jungle, that can potentially last for hours, depending on how you choose to play. When I saw the Oscar-winning 2009 film The Hurt Locker, I was equally blown away by one of the movie's featured set pieces: a sniper standoff that bares many similarities to the one in Metal Gear Solid 3. But which one is better? On the one hand, you have this scene from The Hurt Locker -- an emotionally gripping sequence that is unnerving in its intensity. [embed]237926:45688:0[/embed] On the other hand, you have the boss battle with The End. Both share one main thing in common: they involve people stalking each other with deadly and precise sniper rifles. In both clips, the high-energy action is replaced with eerily quiet and focused standoffs, resulting in only one side making it out alive. Crazy stuff! For comparison, here is the sniper battle in Metal Gear Solid 3. [embed]237926:45689:0[/embed] The winner: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The sniper scene in The Hurt Locker is great (really great!), but it had some tough competition. Nothing -- and I mean nothing -- can beat the sniper battle with The End in Metal Gear Solid 3. Having full control of what is happening makes everything that much more effective. It is one of my favorite sequences in entertainment history. Movies: 1Videogames: 2   There have been a lot of train crashes in both movies and videogames over the years. But two in particular are extremely memorable, both in their magnitude and in their execution. One is in the 1993 chase film The Fugitive, and involves Harrison Ford's character Richard Kimble as he tries to escape from the bus that is taking him to prison. After being (spoiler: falsely) accused of murdering his wife, Kimble is placed on a bus to transport him to jail. Needless to say, things go wrong. The bus rolls off the edge of a cliff, lands on its side on a train track, and a train just so happens to be approaching ... and fast. Will Richard Kimble make it off the bus in time? Take a look! [embed]237926:45690:0[/embed] Intense, right? Just as intense is another classic train crash. This one occurs in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the PlayStation 3. Main character Nathan Drake, shot by an enemy and trapped in the passenger car of a fast moving train, shoots a group of explosive barrels as a last resort. The explosion causes the giant train to derail, sending Nathan and the crumbling cars rolling down the side of a snowy mountain [embed]237926:45691:0[/embed] The winner: The Fugitive. This one is really close. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of best produced videogames ever made, and each set piece in the game -- including the train crash -- is remarkable. Had this been about the entire train scene, Uncharted 2 would most definitely win. The entire sequence -- from riding and shooting on the back of the train, to climbing it as it hangs over a cliff -- is exhilarating. But this is about the train crash specifically, and, for that, The Fugitive is a little bit better. When I saw The Fugitive in the theater when it was first released, I almost jumped out of my seat as the train was headed towards the crashed bus. I was screaming for Harrison Ford to just “JUMP!” and get out of the way of the oncoming train. It was ridiculously suspenseful. Watching the movie again all these years later, the train crash sequence still gives me that same nail-biting feeling of exhilaration. Movies: 2Videogames: 2   Trying to portray flashbacks in a movie or videogame is tough. You can usually go the easy route and just cut to a new scene with the typical "Ten years ago" subtitle on the bottom of the screen, but what if the story presents more of a challenge than that? This is the case with both Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Final Fantasy VII. Both stories call for multiple flashback scenes, but ask for much more than a simple cut and subtitle combo. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -- in both the book and movie it was based on -- Harry and his wizard mentor Dumbledore must travel through a pensieve together, a magical device used to visit old memories. Because of this, the filmmakers had to seamlessly transition from the real world to the memories of the past by way of the pensieve. They do so brilliantly. [embed]237926:45692:0[/embed] Similarly with Final Fantasy VII, when Cloud is trying to regain consciousness after submerging himself in the Lifestream, his ally Tifa must journey into his mind and find a way to bring him back. Instead of just showing a traditional flashback (as the game does earlier in locations like Nibelheim), this sequence has Tifa exploring different parts of Cloud's life, doing whatever she can to help him find out who he really is. Just like the pensieve scenes in Half-Blood Prince, the characters in Final Fantasy VII physically journey in and out of memories in creative and visually striking ways. [embed]237926:45693:0[/embed] The winner: Final Fantasy VII. While I still don't think I have seen flashbacks handled with more style than in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, having control of Tifa as she wanders the memories in Cloud's mind in Final Fantasy VII is a much more powerful experience. Also, I really love Tifa. Movies: 2Videogames: 3   I have never been in a sandstorm (fingers crossed!), but there is nothing more terrifying than a giant wall of death sand approaching from miles away. I mean, has there even been a sandstorm that isn't hundreds of feet tall and looks exactly like the Nothing in The NeverEnding Story? YOU SAW WHAT THE NOTHING DID TO POOR FANTASIA, RIGHT?! Anyway, sorry. I am just as surprised by my sudden, crippling fear of sandstorms as you. While scary (SEE ABOVE!), there have been two sandstorms featured in movies and videogames that are pretty darn impressive. First up is last year's Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, in a scene that finds Tom Cruise chasing an enemy through a whirling, violent sandstorm in Dubai. It's pretty rad. [embed]237926:45694:0[/embed] We also have another sequence set in a sandstorm, this one during the “Return to Sender” mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. After arriving at an enemy compound, playable character Yuri is engulfed by a giant sandstorm. Once the sandstorm fully hits, the rest of the level must be played with almost zero visibility. [embed]237926:45695:0[/embed] The Winner: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. You look great Modern Warfare 3, and your lovely set pieces will always be appreciated. But you had no chance against the awesome Ghost Protocol. I seriously love every second of that movie. One of the best action films of the last few years. No contest. Brad Bird 4 life! Movies: 3Videogames: 3   Here we have two scenes that are similar in description, but could not be more different in execution. They both involve two men riding under moving missiles. In one corner you have James Cameron's amazing True Lies. At the end of the over-the-top, action-filled film, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s main character Harry Tasker fights with bad guy Salim Abu Aziz on a hovering Harrier jet. At one point, Aziz is knocked off and his backpack gets caught on one of the Harrier’s missile. And then this happens: In one of the best/worst movie lines in history, Schwarzenegger puts his thumb on the missile-firing trigger and says the phrase “You’re fired” before shooting the missile into an enemy helicopter. It is beyond amazing. In the other corner is Super Nintendo classic Contra III: The Alien Wars. During the boss battle of Stage 4, players are tasked with fighting a giant flying fortress, all the while hanging on the bottom of a series of missiles being shot from a friendly helicopter. The entire boss fight is completely unique ... and completely out of control. It really is one of the best boss battle ever featured in a videogame. I know I am always overdramatic about things like this, but this boss fight is seriously good. See for yourself! [embed]237926:45696:0[/embed] The winner: Contra III: The Alien Wars. This one should have been an easy choice, as Contra III is one of my favorite action games ever. But the missile scene in True Lies grows on me every time I see it. It is so unapologetically ridiculous that I can't help but love it. I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger says "You're fired" before firing a missile with an enemy attached to it. If that isn't amazing, I don't know what is. But Contra III is the better scene in the end. Fighting the boss while leaping from one moving missile to another is creative, fun, and surprisingly easy to control! Movies: 3Videogames: 4   ----- What do you think? Do you think that the right picks won? Are there any choices that you think should have gone the other way? What other similar scenes exist between both movies and videogames? And which ones do you like better? Sound off in the comments!
Movies vs. videogames photo
A battle for the ages
The relationship between movies and videogames is quite the interesting one. Although they are separate entities, both movies and videogames have profoundly influenced each other over the years. Outside of the obvious adaptat...

Learning to love the Assassin's Creed series

Oct 29 // Chad Concelmo
Where it all started As I mentioned, I was not a fan of the original Assassin’s Creed. Outside of being ridiculously repetitive -- seriously, you perform the same missions over and over again -- there was something about the game that just didn’t click with me. It was ambitious, but I wasn’t invested in anything I was doing. The first time I climbed a tall tower and looked over the city was exciting, but after doing this more than a dozen times I lost interest. I liked the story of Assassin’s Creed and was intrigued about the parallel Desmond story, but even that confused me. It got to the point where I was questioning small details about the game instead of just enjoying it. How the heck does the Animus even work? When Altair assassinates someone, what strange world do he and his victim travel to? And why does time stop? And why does it take the targets minutes (and minutes of dramatic dialogue) to die? THEY JUST GOT STABBED IN THE NECK! I love world history, though, so was invested enough in the time period and architecture that I forced myself to play through the entire experience. It was tough to get through the repetitive missions, but I wanted to see what would happen and what places Altair and Desmond would go. Sadly, when the game finally ended, I didn’t describe my experience as “fun.” And, even worse, I had no idea what was going on. Who is Abstergo again? Do they have something to do with the Templars? Someone help me understand! The sequel By the time my experience with the original game was over, Assassin’s Creed II was already out. Although we gave it a harsh review on Destructoid, I heard better things about the sequel and was curious to see how different the game was. Because I am one of those people that always has to finish what he starts, I begrudgingly decided to give Assassin’s Creed II a chance. Before the tutorial was even over something funny happened: I was really enjoying what I was playing. Okay, I thought to myself: maybe this was just because I really love the Renaissance. Maybe I was so excited to play a game during such an influential and beautiful time period that I was looking past the gameplay and focusing on the art direction and basic aesthetics. But that wasn’t it. I was actually enjoying the game, gameplay and all. And I liked it a lot! Improvements To this day, I still consider Assassin’s Creed II one of the most improved sequels in videogame history. Technically, it shouldn’t really feel that improved at all. The game is still oddly broken up into alternating Desmond and assassin sequences, the main character is still tasked with going on various missions, and the locations -- while geographically different -- are similar to the ones found in the first game (cities with tall buildings, hooray!). But everything is just so much better in Assassin’s Creed II. Controlling main character Ezio is more fluid. The missions have so much more variety. The collectibles are more enticing. The story has better pacing. The Desmond sequences are more involving. The voice acting is improved. And, most importantly, the entire game just feels more robust and polished. The list truly goes on and on. Ubisoft set an interesting stage with the original Assassin’s Creed, but, for me, it was more of a test run. With Assassin’s Creed II, things started to fall into place. Everything the designers wanted to accomplish in the first game really came together in the sequel. I was going to be the first person to write the game off, but ended up falling in love! A surprising turn of events. The saga continues ... and continues ... and continues ... After the high of Assassin’s Creed II, two more sequels were released, both continuing the story of Ezio and Desmond (with a little Altair thrown in). While entertaining, these sequels felt exactly like Assassin’s Creed II, with some new locations and gameplay elements thrown in. At this point -- especially after not being a fan of the repetition of the first game -- I should have walked away. But I didn’t. And I haven’t! In fact, I loved Brotherhood and Revelations just as much as I loved Assassin’s Creed II. I loved the new locations, but that was a given -- again, I love world history and geography. Even though the mini-sequels were modeled exactly like Assassin’s Creed II, the games still felt fresh and new to me. True, I may have been tricked by all the pretty colors and period garb, but I guess I didn’t care. I was having fun! In Brotherhood, I loved the assassin side-missions you could partake in (sending your assassin army to perform tasks in faraway locations). In Revelations, I even loved the unjustly hated tower defense sections. No matter what the series tried, I was onboard. I SHOULDN’T LOVE THESE GAMES! The more I think about it, the more I realize that I really shouldn’t love these games as much as I do. Despite their flashy appearances and addictive gameplay, there are some pretty major problems. The game glitches on occasion, the story is still super confusing to me (after four games!), and, my God, I don’t think I have ever cursed more than when I accidentally jump off the top of a building and die when I just wanted to jump down a couple of feet to a new platform. (Ugh.) On the surface, these are games that I can understand liking, but not loving. But there is something special about these Assassin’s Creed games. The unique premise combined with the genuinely interesting locales and time periods just tickle my fancy. Yes, they tickle my fancy! I still love hearing that eagle’s cry when I synchronize a new location from the top of a high tower. I love upgrading all of Ezio’s weapons and armors. I love buying new buildings and making money every 20 minutes. (No joke, I get really excited when that deposit sound effect plays and I know a huge chunk of change is waiting for me in the bank.) Heck, I love just sitting back and watching the beautifully animated in-game cutscenes unfold in front me. I may not be able to pinpoint exactly why I now love the series so much, but I do. I really do. There is a reason I was giddy with excitement when they announced the setting for Assassin’s Creed III. I am now emotionally invested in a series that I never thought would ever win me over.   ----- What do you think? Do you have a similar feeling about the Assassin’s Creed series? Have you always loved it since the beginning? Always disliked it? If not the Assassin’s Creed games, are there any other videogame series that you did not like at first but then learned to love? Are you excited about tomorrow’s release of Assassin’s Creed III?
Assassin's Creed series photo
It's an acquired taste
It took me a while to play the original Assassin’s Creed after the game released. The good-but-not-great reviews coupled with gameplay that didn’t look interesting to my Super Mario Galaxy-obsessed self just made ...


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Super Hexagon sells 45,000 copies


Sep 22
// Chad Concelmo
Destructoid's new obsession Super Hexagon has been downloaded approximately 45,000 times, according to creator Terry Cavanagh. This is encouraging news, as not only is Mr. Cavanagh a talented designer, Super Hexagon itself is...
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Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time release date announced!


Sep 21
// Chad Concelmo
And that release date is ... February 5, 2013! Well, at least in North America. A European release is set for March. If you are a fan of the series (I am!), mark your calendars! Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time will be released on...
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As most of you know, Borderlands 2 released earlier this week. Heck, you are probably playing it right now! Look out! A Skag! Whew, that was close. Nice shot! We wrote a ton of great features to celebrate this big, exciting r...

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TGS: Ace Attorney 5 trailer is ... OBJECTION!


Sep 19
// Chad Concelmo
Okay, that headline made no sense, but an interrupting "OBJECTION!" joke has to appear somewhere in a post about Ace Attorney, right? This hot trailer from the new 3DS Ace Attorney game just came out of TGS, and, boy, does i...
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TGS: New trailer for Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney


Sep 19
// Chad Concelmo
Direct from TGS 2012 comes this new trailer for upcoming 3DS game Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney! And it has actual gameplay! When I first heard Capcom and Level 5 were teaming up to make this game, I thought I was dreami...
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Beautiful RPG To the Moon on sale today on GOG.com


Sep 19
// Chad Concelmo
If you have not yet played last year's gorgeous indie RPG To the Moon, today is your chance! For one day only, the game is on sale at GOG for only $3.99 (that's six dollars off the original price!). I don't want to say too mu...
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New Rayman Legends videos show off GamePad features


Sep 13
// Chad Concelmo
Nintendo just released a pair of new videos for upcoming Wii U exclusive Rayman Legends and they look fiiiiiiiine (I said that while holding my hand on my mouth and leaning back all cool like). The main gameplay video above ...
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Call of Duty: Black Ops II coming to Wii U on November 13


Sep 13
// Chad Concelmo
If you have been dying to play a new HD Call of Duty game on a Nintendo system, your dream has finally come true! Black Ops II is officially coming to the Wii U. Black Ops II will feature second-screen gameplay, where player ...
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Nintendo announces Nintendo TVii service for Wii U


Sep 13
// Chad Concelmo
[Update: Trailer for Nintendo TVii has been added.] At its Wii U press event this morning. Nintendo announced "Nintendo TVii," an interactive way of watching T.V. on your Wii U GamePad. In the demo, the Nintendo representati...
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What are your predictions for Nintendo's Wii U event?


Sep 12
// Chad Concelmo
Tomorrow morning at 10AM EDT (7AM PDT), Nintendo is hosting a preview event in New York City and is expected to make a huge announcement (or most likely announcements) regarding the Wii U. It is pretty obvious that it will be...

The ten best videogame detectives EVER!

Sep 12 // Chad Concelmo
There are two things I love in this world: dolphins and menu-based point-and-click adventure games on the NES. And the movie Babe. Oh, and Souplantation. Okay, there are many things I love in this world. But one of these things is definitely menu-based point-and-click adventure games on the NES. There may be only a few in existence, but they are all grand. One of the best in the bunch is Déjà Vu, a surprisingly dark and challenging adventure that follows around Ace Harding as he tries to solve the mystery of who he is and why he is being accused of murder. Players never get to see the main character since the game is entirely in first-person, but if the box art is any indication, Ace is one slick (and narcissistic!) detective. Trench coat review: Very Carman Sandiego-esque. Love the bright color and sharp fedora! Grade: B+   One of the most underrated and sadly forgotten PC games of all time is Blade Runner. The game is gorgeous, moody, and a perfect extension of Ridley Scott's original science fiction universe. In the graphic adventure game, you play as Roy McCoy, a gritty, hardened detective who, like Deckard in the film, is assigned to track down a group of potentially dangerous replicants. If you haven't played Blade Runner, track it down. It's a real gem. Trench coat review: Disappointing. You would think a trench coat from the future would have some glowing TRON lights on it or something. Or at least a less frumpy silhouette. Grade: C   Sissel is not technically a detective, as much as a [SPOILER] coming back to [SPOILER] his [SPOILER]. But I love him (and Ghost Trick!) so much that he had to make this list. Plus, he is a phantom detective, which is inherently cooler than a regular detective. Trench coat review: The stark red is unconventional and super fashion-forward. Grade: A   I love Hotel Dusk on the Nintendo DS. I really do. It is one of the most interesting and original games on the handheld. But, man, is it depressing. The sad story, gloomy environments, and morose characters, combined with the black and white art, make for one downer of an adventure. A pretty great adventure, don’t get me wrong, but one that takes itself very seriously. Main character Kyle Hyde is just as serious. But he has a right to be! When he was a child, his father was killed. Years later, when he became a detective, his partner betrayed him and sold inside information to some bad people. So Kyle shot him. And then the body disappeared, leading Kyle to the mysterious Hotel Dusk, where some really crazy things happen. He’s had a tough life. Time for someone to get a puppy! Trench coat review: As disjointed and messy as the inner-workings of Kyle’s tormented mind. Grade: C+   Sonny Bonds, main character from the classic Police Quest series, starts off as a simple traffic cop, but eventually (and rather quickly) works his way up to narcotics detective,  tracking down a homicidal drug dealer and saving his girlfriend's life in the process. He is also constantly ridiculed in the game by his superiors, called a "pig" by every rowdy citizen he meets, and dies -- yes, actually dies -- if he tries to walk out of the police station locker room naked. Not that I tried that or anything. Trench coat review: What Sonny Bonds lacks in trench coat, he makes up for in one beautiful head of hair. Grade: N/A   Oh, Inspector Chelmey, you are such a bumbling, endearing detective. While you are trying to solve mysteries, Layton and Luke are rearranging matchsticks, sliding around blocks, untangling rope, and still end up beating you to the end goal. PULL IT TOGETHER, CHELMEY! Trench coat review: Surprisingly dapper. Also, bonus points for that bold purple tie! Grade: B+   Tex Murphy is a private investigator and star of a series of adventure games in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Well, “interactive movies” would be the better way to describe them, as they feature real-life actors playing the parts of all the characters. In fact, Chris Jones, the actual designer of the game, plays Tex Murphy himself. How awesome is that?! I think this whole concept needs to make a comeback. Can you imagine Cliff Bleszinski as the star of Gears of War? Or Miyamoto with a flower on his head as the mysterious and feared Pikmin King? Classic. If you are wondering why Tex Murphy is so great, just watch this hardboiled trailer for The Pandora Directive and bask in all its glory. “Where the line blurs between loyalty ... and desire.” Trench coat review: Well, it’s a trench coat! It also looks like something my dad wore to a Halloween party when I was a kid. Grade: D   If my parents named me Dick Gumshoe, I would ... well, first thing I would do would be to hug them for naming me something as awesome as Dick Gumshoe. But after that I would become a detective. I mean, what else is there to do with a name like Dick Gumshoe? Porn star? Candy store owner? Porn star/candy store owner? Nah, detective is the best option. Fan favorite detective Dick Gumshoe from the Phoenix Wright games may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he is such a loyal and lovable guy that you can't help but love him. Trench coat review: Popped collar? Check. Loose fitting tie? Check. Is Dick Gumshoe a bro? Grade: C-   Pennington is a penguin detective from awesome GameCube RPG Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. And he has a magnifying glass and a cute little hat. Now, I am often accused of overusing hyperbolic, all-caps statements, but, seriously, HE IS A PENGUIN DETECTIVE! LOOK HOW ADORABLE HE IS! Calm down, Chad. Breathe. Trench coat review: His flippers wouldn’t fit through a trench coat, but look at that bow tie. And his little messenger bag! AND THAT HAT! MY GOD HERE I GO AGAIN! Grade: A+   To not put Sam and Max as the number one detectives on a list dedicated to them would just be cruel. Luckily, they actually earn this spot by being two of the most memorable videogame characters of all time. Sam may be the one that does all the crime-solving, but Max is there to ... well, Max just likes to do terrible things to everyone he meets. But he is hilarious. And that makes everything okay. Trench coat review: Simple, clean, and stylish. I also love the ... OMG MAX IS NAKED! Grade: (Sam) A-; (Max) N/A   ----- Since there are so many great videogame detectives (and almost all from adventure games, weirdly enough), here is a list of characters that almost made the final cut.   ----- What do you think? Do you agree with my picks for the best videogame detectives of all time? Are you a fan of the Sam & Max adventure games? And, seriously, what is up with all the trench coats? I understand they are detectives, but sheesh!
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Trench coats!
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Sam & Max series. It was 1987 when the very first Sam & Max comic was released, inspiring one of the greatest and most charming adventure game series ever. Everyone is celeb...

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PAX: Guacamelee! is like a co-op Super Metroid


Sep 03
// Chad Concelmo
If someone came up to me and said: "Chad, I have a game for you that is like a mixture of Super Metroid, Emperor's New Groove, Ikaruga, and Final Fight!" I would probably punch them in the face, flail my arms in the air, and ...
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And the breakout videogame character of PAX is ...


Sep 02
// Chad Concelmo
Zackasaurus! I am a little in love with Super Time Force here at PAX. The game is a retro-looking shooter in the same vein as Contra, with a great twist involving time travel. You can read all about how much we all love the s...
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PAX: Warren Spector compares Epic Mickey to Deus Ex


Sep 02
// Chad Concelmo
Okay? That was my first reaction when Warren Spector compared his upcoming Epic Mickey 2 to his legendary masterpiece Deus Ex in a PAX sit down I had with him earlier today. Actually, it was more of a huh? But then the outspo...
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PAX: New screens from Epic Mickey 2 show off new area


Sep 02
// Chad Concelmo
While here at PAX, I had a chance to sit down with a new section of upcoming platformer Epic Mickey 2. These just released screens show off the new section of the game that I got to play. Based on Frontier Land in Disneyland,...

PAX: Hands-on with Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Aug 31 // Chad Concelmo
If you are familiar with the Professor Layton games, you know how things work. Professor Layton and Luke (as well as some other members of the main party), explore various locations and meet an eclectic cast of some of the best supporting characters to ever grace a videogame in order to solve a series of mysteries. Along the way, the player must help them complete hundreds of progressively more difficult puzzles until all mysteries are complete ... and I am sobbing uncontrollably in front of my Nintendo handheld (seriously, the stories in the Layton games are genuinely heartbreaking!). With Miracle Mask, things start off on a similar note, but you will quickly realize how much things have changed. First, and most obvious, is the addition of 3D. Good news for people nervous about the sloppy use of 3D: the 3D effects in Miracle Mask are beautiful. The classic Professor Layton cinematics come even more to life and are stunning to watch with the added layers and depth the 3D effect creates. In addition to the cutscenes, the 3D works great in the actual game. After solving a puzzle correctly, when Layton approaches the screen and points at you with a congratulatory exclamation, he is really pointing at you. His finger comes right out of the screen! It is really cool and a nice touch. The benefits of the 3D are actually evident everywhere in the game. One major change to the game is the disappearance of static dialogue sequences. Replacing those beautifully rendered images are actual moving, fully polygonal characters. The change was jarring at first, and I kind of missed the old dialogue displays, but once things get going, you will love the new look. With this new style, everything feels more alive, as the camera can move around and every part of the character animates, as opposed to just their mouths. Also, again, the 3D looks great. This same style also moves into the actual locations. Instead of static images, the world is fully animated. You can't walk through it like you can in a normal 3D action/adventure game, but, when exploring, the camera moves ever so slightly and makes you feel like you are much more part of the environment ... rather than just looking at a beautiful painting of it from afar. These exploring sections also have another big change. The tap-tap-tap-tap-tap gameplay is gone! No need to tap everything with the touch screen to find a hot spot or hidden coin. Now, you drag a magnifying glass around the screen, looking for areas where the object "lights up," indicating there is something of note there (whether it be a puzzle, hint coin, or interactive item). Before you cry foul, this new technique works great. And it looks fantastic! As you slide the magnifying glass along the touch screen, a mirrored version of it appears on the top, 3D screen. The way important text is displayed closer to the screen and small pieces of the environment like rooms in windows are more pushed back in the 3D space is eye-popping and very polished. The demo was short, but one more difference that stood out was the inclusion of almost action-like sequences. One puzzle in particular wasn't even a puzzle at all! Professor Layton hops on a horse and chases a mysterious character. Instead of this being a traditional puzzle like you would normally see, the camera moved behind Layton as he chased the character through a vibrant village. Players are tasked with controlling Layton's horse to dodge barrels and navigate the maze-like streets. It was an interesting sequence and unlike anything that has been in the series before. All in all, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is looking great. As a giant fan of the series, this looks to be shaping into one of the best games yet. It looks beautiful, the 3D is surprisingly effective, and the puzzles are more challenging than ever. I can't wait to pick up the game when it releases for the Nintendo 3DS on October 28.
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As great as the Professor Layton games are (they are really great!), the last four released on the Nintendo DS have been very similar. While the art direction, puzzle-solving gameplay, and surprisingly emotional stories have ...

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PAX: My favorite cosplay of the show ... so far


Aug 31
// Chad Concelmo
There is a surprising amount of great cosplay at PAX. People walk around in some pretty elaborate and sometimes beautiful outfits. While all impressive, most of it is the same thing you normally see: a Lara Croft here, a Mast...
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Experiencing the Art of the Assassin


Aug 24
// Chad Concelmo
Last night, a downtown Los Angeles gallery hosted Art of the Assassin, a collection of art pieces inspired by Ubisoft's upcoming Assassin's Creed III. I was lucky enough to attend, and had a really great time! I got to play a...

How I learned to love the videogame flamethrower

Aug 23 // Chad Concelmo
Let’s start with the earlier years. Or, as I like to call them, the days I despised the videogame flamethrower. Dramatic, I know. While not actual flamethrowers, there were many games on the NES that had flame-based weapons that behaved much like the modern flamethrowers of today. In Ghosts ‘n Goblins there was the fireball weapon. In Castlevania there was the holy water. In the original Contra there was the dreaded fire-gun power-up. All of these weapons had one major thing in common: They were terrible. Well, more specifically, they were either short range, slow, or, even worse, both. This seemed to be a theme with all fire-based weapons leading up to the introduction of the actual videogame flamethrowers. They all focused on the burning part of the weapon, and not on the things that could potentially make them useful in a fast-paced action game: mainly range and speed. Yeah, if you happened to catch an enemy in the perfect position, a fire-based weapon was great. Should a flying devil be right in front of you and not moving in Ghosts ‘n Goblins, sure, the fireball would work wonders. It not only would hit them directly, but the burning fire left behind would deal even more damage. But that never happened! EVER! This same concept applied to almost all the games I used to play with flamethrowers. In Contra III, if my friend had the spread gun while I had the flamethrower, they would be leaping around the screen killing everything, while I would be struggling to even stay alive. The fire, while cool-looking, would not reach far enough to do any significant damage to the enemies constantly filling the screen. The weapon did not mesh with the frenetic gameplay. After years and years of playing videogames, I was finished with flamethrowers. If there was one as an option in the game, I would avoid it like the plague. As cool as I thought the firebats in StarCraft were, I would never manage very many of them. I was more addicted to the far more effective marines and their long-ranged guns. Same goes for the fire flower in Super Smash Bros. or the various flamethrowers in the Ratchet & Clank games. Sure, Peach burning Pikachu in the face with a giant flame makes for a great screenshot, but I never liked the way the weapon handled. I like attacking my enemies from a distance if given the option. I don’t mind standing in front of them to do damage, but give me something that will knock my enemy back or feel more impactful. With a flamethrower, you have to use the “burn and run technique.” Basically, burn them with a few sprays of fire, let the flames do damage while you run away and avoid retaliation, and repeat until the enemy is dead. This is not my preferred fighting method. But then something funny happened. As I started playing more and more games, the flamethrower started to feel more effective. Eventually, I started to love it. Now, I even make a point of using the weapon as much as possible! So what happened? I think this dramatic change occurred when I played games that used the flamethrower in the best way possible. Not just as a random weapon selection, but as part of the strategic gameplay. A very recent example is stellar XBLA game Bastion. In that game, the flamethrower handles like it does in most games. It doesn’t have a long range, drains power when used, and requires the main playable character to be very close to the target to hit them. What Bastion does differently is implement some actual benefits for using this very specific weapon. Breakable objects are all over the world of Bastion -- breakable objects with tons of loot hidden inside -- and breaking them can take some time. With the flamethrower, everything can be destroyed much quicker and easier with a giant wave of flames. Because of this, I started to love using the flamethrower in the game. True, it can be argued that the flamethrower has always had specific uses in every game it is featured in, but I don’t think that is always the case. This may be accurate for certain games -- I think the firebat balance in StarCraft is genius, but it is just not my preferred unit -- but in most games, I think the flamethrower is added because the designers thought it would add more variety and, frankly, just be really cool to look at. How else to explain why a short range flamethrower is featured in a chaotic action game like Contra.  It makes no sense! That’s why I never liked the flamethrower. It just never had a practical use in the games I played. But, lately, that has changed. Outside of Bastion, there have been many other videogame flamethrowers that I love. While hard to get excited about due to the dark subject matter, I respected and enjoyed the flamethrower levels in Call of Duty: Black Ops. The weapon felt like part of the story when used and really helped up the tension and realism of the awful, heart-wrenching scenarios. Games like Singularity, Scribblenauts, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Team Fortress 2 have also used flamethrowers in clever, much more user-friendly ways. Heck, even though it was wielded by a boss, I even loved the badass flamethrower in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Years ago, after grabbing an “F” power-up and begging my friend to help save me while playing Contra III, I would have never thought I would learn to love the videogame flamethrower. It left just as bad a taste in my mouth as the Top Spin from Mega Man 3 (Don’t even get me started on the damn Top Spin in Mega Man 3!) But now I have come around. I love the videogame flamethrower and genuinely get excited when it makes a surprise appearance in games. Swinging a giant wall of flames back and forth may not be the most effective way to get the job done, but, man, if it isn’t the most satisfying.   ----- What do you think? Do you have a similar relationship with the videogame flamethrower? Are there any other videogame weapons that you were once cold on, but have since come around? Or are there certain videogame weapons that you hate and will always hate?
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I was never a fan of flamethrowers in videogames. I am not sure exactly where this started, but I have a pretty good idea: When I used to play Contra III: The Alien Wars with friends, I would do anything to avoid getting the ...

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gamescom: Play as a puppet in pretty platformer Puppeteer


Aug 14
// Chad Concelmo
This post brought to you by the letter "P." During their press conference, Sony just revealed a brand new platformer for the PlayStation 3 called Puppeteer. Looking very similar in style to LittleBigPlanet, the game is a ver...
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gamescom: Sony announces Killzone Mercenary for PS Vita


Aug 14
// Chad Concelmo
Not much has been revealed yet, but Sony just announced a new game in the Killzone franchise -- Killzone Mercenary -- during their gamescom press conference. It will be exclusive to the PS Vita. More details promised on the PS Blog later today. Excited?
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gamescom: AC3 naval warfare trailer is wet and wonderful


Aug 14
// Chad Concelmo
We have already seen some of the absolutely gorgeous Assassin's Creed III naval warfare gameplay footage at this past E3, but this newly released trailer makes everything look even more fancy and glorious. As a fan of the As...

What's the most addictive videogame you have ever played?

Aug 02 // Chad Concelmo
I adore videogames, so it is easy for me to say I am addicted to them. But when I usually say this, I don't think I ever really mean "addicted" in the clinical sense of the word. I just mean I love playing certain games and think about them a lot when I am not playing them. The Legend of Zelda, Super Metroid, Uncharted 2, Portal, Final Fantasy VI, Contra III. I love all of these games, but I don't think my body has even been physically addicted to them. I have been able to stop playing when I was ready to stop playing. I never hit a save point in Final Fantasy VI after planning to quit and then just kept going in fear that I would get the shakes if I stopped. But there have been certain games over the years that have put me in some kind of hypnotic trance, taking control of my body and truly making it almost impossible to stop playing. In addition to Spelunky, this has happened with older titles like Tetris Attack and Uniracers, to more recent games such as Pinball FX2 and Shatter. (My God, I love Shatter.) These games are not just fun, they are physical addictions. When I start, I have a lot of trouble stopping. Physical trouble. The common "Just one more game!" turns into a legitimately scary "You must play just one more game!" (In my head, this is also in a super intimidating robot voice.) Nothing bad has come of this (yet?) -- all these addictions are mostly harmless -- but I would be lying if I told you there haven't been some pretty crazy moments. Moments when I can almost hear my mind saying to my body: "Um, shit is getting serious. You really have to stop playing after this next round. I am not kidding." But these moments usually result in me not stopping after the next round. These moments result in me staying up all night and eventually having to slowly put down the controller as the newly risen sun starts to creep through my window -- the only sound a whispered "Dag!" as I slowly tiptoe away as if trying to hide my shame from some invisible person judging me from across the room. I am not a doctor, but all of this sounds like an honest-to-God addiction. Which, honestly, I am okay with. It's only a handful of games, and I have a fun time playing them. Where's the harm in that? ... says the heroin addict. Now it's your turn. What is the most addictive videogame you have ever played? Is there a specific game (or games) that you can't physically put down? Is there a specific game (or games) that you can't physically ... oh man, I already typed that. Sorry. I was thinking about Spelunky.
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The other day I was playing my new obsession Spelunky and, of course, died while trying to complete the dreaded ice caves. It was late and I really needed to go to bed. Instead of turning off the game -- or even thinking abou...

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With recent news that the leaked "Xbox 720" dev kit pictures and specs may actually be -- gasp! -- genuine, what are your thoughts? Here are the facts: The console is codenamed "Durango," the dev kit allegedly has 8 GB of mem...

It's time to compete in the Destructoid Retrolympics!

Jul 27 // Chad Concelmo
Here is how this is going to work. This quiz covers 25 questions about retro games, each falling under a different category, or “event,” based on the Olympics. Once you reach the end of the quiz, add up all the correct answers and see if you have a high enough score for a life-changing .JPG medal! Go for the gold! You can click here for all the answers and just leave the window open as you progress through the challenge. Now, it is obviously very possible to look up all these answers on this magical thing called the Internet ... but try not to do that. Just take the quiz and see how well you do based off your memory of these classic retro games. You could look everything up, but where is the fun in that? Once you are finished, share your score in the comments. Let’s get started!   Easy warm-up question! What button do you hold down to run in the original Super Mario Bros.?Click here for the correct answer.   You are competing in the High Jump in the upcoming Olympics. (Congrats!) To give yourself the best shot at winning a medal, which of the below playable characters from Super Mario Bros. 2 should you select to be your coach?Click here for the correct answer. Which of these Final Fantasy IV characters would easily win in a "let's see who can jump the highest and attack with a badass spear" contest?Click here for the correct answer.   Which robot master is most vulnerable to Mega Man’s Knight Crush?a. Blizzard Manb. Flame Manc. Centaur Mand. Tomahawk ManClick here for the correct answer.   Oh no! Donkey Kong has created three fake hammers to confuse Mario! Help Mario find the real one by locating which hammer is in the correct place!Click here for the correct answer.   Choose wisely! In Ghosts ‘n Goblins, which has the quicker rate of fire?Click here for the correct answer.   When E.T. extends his neck in the infamous Atari game E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, what happens?a. He regains his energyb. He levitates in the airc. He sends out a radar signald. The game buries itself in the desertClick here for the correct answer. Which of the below creatures teaches Samus how to wall jump in Super Metroid?Click here for the correct answer.   Which business donates the bicycle to Ness in legendary Super Nintendo RPG EarthBound?a. Mach Pizzab. Fourside Department Storec. Punk-Sured. Onett DrugstoreClick here for the correct answer.   Which of the following Fire Emblem characters is the most vulnerable to an attack by arrows?Click here for the correct answer. In which dungeon does Link find the bow in the original Legend of Zelda (first quest)?a. 1st dungeonb. 2nd dungeonc. 3rd dungeond. 4th dungeonClick here for the correct answer.   Classic arcade game 720° is based on what popular, extreeeeeme sport?a. Freestyle BMXb. Skateboardingc. Surfingd. SnowboardingClick here for the correct answer.   What weapon does the scuba diving main character use to attack the lethal jellyfish and stingrays in NES game Jaws?Click here for the correct answer. What mystical creature is discovered after diving to the bottom of the well in the original King’s Quest?a. Trollb. Unicornc. Mermaidd. DragonClick here for the correct answer.   Which of the following political figures is not a playable character in arcade basketball game NBA Jam?Click here for the correct answer.   How many minutes can Guybrush Threepwood hold his breath underwater in The Secret of Monkey Island?a. Oneb. Fivec. Tend. FifteenClick here for the correct answer.   On their way to Narshe, which Final Fantasy VI party member jumps off the raft at the end of their wild river adventure?Click here for the correct answer.   Which of the following items can you not lift up and throw in Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers?Click here for the correct answer.   Mike Haggar wants to teach a class on fighting. Based on his available moves in Final Fight, which of these wrestling techniques could he not teach?a. Suplexb. Headbuttc. Piledriverd. ClotheslineClick here for the correct answer.   Which version of Aladdin equips main character Aladdin with a sword?Click here for the correct answer. Analogy fun! Excalibur : King Arthur :: Masamune : __________Click here for the correct answer.   You really want a homing gun. (Who doesn't?!) Which of these Contra games will help make your wish come true?a. Contrab. Super Contrac. Contra III: The Alien Warsd. Contra ForceClick here for the correct answer. Arkanoid alert! Which of the below capsules rewards players with the laser upgrade?Click here for the correct answer.   How many maximum carrots appear above Link when riding Epona in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?a. 4b. 5c. 6d. 7Click here for the correct answer. The below horse racing minigame is featured in what Super Nintendo videogame?a. Pocky & Rockyb. Vegas Stakesc. Harvest Moond. The Legend of the Mystical NinjaClick here for the correct answer.   ----- Now that you are finished, add up all your correct answers and see how you did! Here is the scoring guide: Did you earn a medal? If you won a gold, congratulations, you are now officially a gold medal winner in the Retrolympics. When you tell people this exciting news, just mumble the "Retr" part and say the rest really loud. People will think you said "Olympics" and be really impressed. Trust me on this one.
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I can’t throw a javelin. Well, I guess I technically can. But I can’t throw a javelin very well. Not even close to the level of one of the incredible athletes in the Olympic Games. In fact, I can’t do anythi...

The ten most annoying flying enemies in videogames

Jul 10 // Chad Concelmo
I will never forget the first time I encountered Lakitu in the original Super Mario Bros. I remember thinking to myself: Oh look! That guy is flying in a ridiculously cute cloud! It's smiling! How cute! This warm first impression was quickly shattered when Lakitu starting throwing spike-covered Spinies down upon Mario's head. And then he continued to throw more. And more. And more! The rain of Spiny destruction never stopped until poor Mario ran away, ducked down a pipe, or made it to the end of the level. Why would you corrupt that poor cloud like that, Lakitu? He is so cute! So cute ...   Yeah, Rippers are near-invulnerable and can only be killed with the Screw Attack and other late-in-the-game Samus power-ups. But that is not what makes them really annoying. What makes them so frustrating is their placement in the Metroid games. The Rippers move back and forth in small, hard to navigate areas, making them tough to avoid. In addition, they are almost always found in tall, vertical shafts, causing Samus to fall all the way to the bottom if hit by them. It is super irritating and seems to always happen right before you make it to the safety of an elevator. Riiiiippeeeeeers! <shakes fist in air>   Even if you have never played The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, you may have heard tales about the dreaded Cliff Racers. These flying prehistoric creatures like to constantly swoop down and attack helpless players in giant swarms. And to make matters worse, since Morrowind is primarily a first-person game, you can rarely see them coming, resulting in a constant barrage of unexpected attacks. The Cliff Racers are so notoriously awful, that the designers themselves even admitted their inclusion may have been a mistake. THE DESIGNERS EVEN HATE THEM! It is no coincidence that the winged creatures have not appeared in any Elder Scrolls game since. And the sound they make. Oh, man, that sound ...   The original Legend of Zelda is a top-down, 2D game, so trying to include flying enemies must have been a tough design decision. How do you make something fly out of reach when Link can technically still hit it with his sword because of the perspective? Oh, I will tell you how. You make the Peahats spin their propellers, simulating flight and making them impossible to hit until they are motionless and back on the ground. Now, how do you make them super annoying? You allow the Peahats to hit Link at all times, even when he can't strike them. That'll do the trick. To this day, I still avoid fighting Peahats. It is too much of a hassle to bother with them.   When you are standing on the ground, the birds in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time are not that tough to defeat. Sure, they make quick jabs towards you, but their attacks can be easily blocked and immediately countered. Not too tricky. The birds become annoying when the Prince is balancing on a skinny ledge -- which, of course, happens throughout the entire game. When balancing, the Prince can’t block, forcing you to have to swing your sword at the exact right moment. There really is only a split second window when the bird is in striking range. Delay for even a moment, and the Prince is knocked off the ledge. It is beyond annoying.   I refuse to speak ill of Phanto in the fear that he will find me and kill me.   The Moas are flying eyeballs that, at first glance, don’t seem like they would pose too much of a challenge. Most of them can be killed with one sword slash, and they don’t have any armor to protect them. But encountering them is the worst. In the already-challenging-enough Zelda II, the Moas fly back and forth in strange, irregular patterns, making them very hard to connect with. In addition, some of the Moas drop fire, while others drain precious experience points when they hit you. There are even some -- the rare blue variety -- that are invisible unless Link possesses a certain item. When fighting in groups, this enemy will drive you insane. The only redeeming factor of the Moas is the satisfaction you get when attacking them with a perfectly timed down- or jump-thrust. It feels so good to connect with one of these moves, and almost makes fighting them worth it. Almost.   UUUGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH! That was the exact sound I made as a child when I used to run into the Red Devil in Ghosts 'n Goblins for the NES. Actually, that is the noise I still make when a run into this flying red jerk. He is that annoying. The Red Devil swoops down on the helpless Arthur and is a huge nuisance to kill. For those of you that don't know (and have been spared the game's torturous difficulty level), main character Arthur is killed with only two hits in Ghosts 'n Goblins. Two hits. That's it! One sheds his armor; the other hit turns him into bones. When fighting a Red Devil, the flying demon is constantly hovering high on the screen so Arthur cannot hit him. When he does swoop down, it is very fast,  forcing the player to have to jump over him at the last possible second and then quickly turn around to attack. (Good luck if you accidentally get stuck with the fireball as a weapon.) The process is insanely difficult, made near-impossible by the brutal two-hit death rule. And don't even get me started on later in the game, when two Red Devils attack Arthur at the same time. Yeah, that actually happens.   I am laughing to myself as I type this because the eagles in the original Ninja Gaiden drive me so insane that I can't help but chuckle like a madman when I think about them. Ninja Gaiden is one of my favorite games of all time. I absolutely adore it and make a point to play it at least once a month. But every time I pick it up, I am still blown away by how frustrating the eagles are. The main reason the eagles are so infuriating is actually a fault in the design of the game. Throughout the entirety of Ninja Gaiden, if you move even one pixel in the opposite direction after killing an enemy, that enemy will immediately respawn. This is manageable for most of the enemies, since you are constantly moving forward, but the eagles always (always!) appear right before you jump over a pit. After killing them it is only natural to want to back up a bit to make the tough jump. By doing this, though, the eagles just keep reappearing. Over and over and over again. <sigh>   I am sure all of you know about the Medusa heads in the original Castlevania. I am sure you have all even experienced the Medusa heads in the original Castlevania. They are infamous for a reason. The Medusa heads are never-ending spawning enemies that approach Simon Belmont from both sides in a hard-to-hit wave pattern. This by itself is annoying, but what makes these enemies so awful is the fact that they knock Simon back when they hit him. This jarring knockback usually results in Simon being thrown back into a pit -- especially on the clock tower level. And these sadistic Medusa heads never stop, no matter how long you sit there and attack them. THEY JUST KEEP COMING! On the rare occasion that the Medusa heads drop a reward for your patience and skill (a heart or maybe a money bag), you can't even retrieve it on the very likely chance another head will appear and knock you back -- you guessed it -- into a pit. Eff the Medusa heads. And eff pits!   ----- I am sure there are many other annoying flying enemies in videogames, but these are the ones that have always bothered me the most. What are your picks for the most irritating enemies that just can't stay on the goddamn ground?
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It's a known fact that the most annoying enemies in videogames are the flying kind. They are the worst. When you are about to jump over a bottomless pit, they are always there to hit you right in the face. When you are equipp...


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