hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


A New Challenger's blog

9:14 PM on 01.12.2009

Christmas, Chozo, Chipettes, Panama

I participated in a Secret Santa event on another videogame message board for the second time this past Christmas, and decided to make the little guy above as part of my gift. Glue, cardboard, some scrap mat board my sister had left over, glitter glue, paint, marker, colored pencil, etc. I made the box and lid, and the hat came from a cheap stuffed animal. But what was in the box?

I had the ghost mushroom ball in the gift box, and sent the others along in another parcel in the shipping box. My giftee was pleased. I think he's using the Chozo to hold condoms now.

As for the gifts I received, one of them was The Chipmunk Adventure on DVD, chosen right off my Amazon wishlist. I finally got around to watching it last week and oh my God I felt like I was 3 again. It was the first movie I ever saw in a theater, and probably that I ever saw period. I don't think there's any single thing that takes me back as vividly as this movie, not even a videogame (although there is a fake videogame in the movie that I've always wanted to play.) Anyway, it had been somewhere around 7-10 years since I'd last seen it on TV on the Disney Channel, and I'd forgotten a few things, most notably a song the Chipettes sing to a bunch of snakes they need to get past to recover their stolen dolls...


Um, wow. I was a bit taken aback. It's a catchy song, but I never picked up on the lyrics when I watched it before.* I thought to myself that this would never, ever fly in a cartoon made today, but then I remembered Bratz. So much for that theory! What probably wouldn't make the cut is a mildly un-PC depiction of some unnamed South Pacific/Amazonian tribe that captures the Chipmunks, leading to the famous "Wooly Bully" sequence.

In a move that can only be called "fucking wonderful," the DVD comes with the soundtrack. If you haven't seen this movie or heard the songs from it and you are Chad Concelmo, please, by all means, do it. And show it to the children in your family, too.

*No wonder my generation is so fucked up, our first crushes were Jeanette and Gadget.


So hey, hi there, I'm going to make a sincere attempt to write more this year. After starting at the end of 2007 and then making the front page I kind of.... stopped, with a few BS updates throughout 2008. I have no good excuse for this, and resolved to pick it back up after meeting a few Dtoiders at Comic Con and seeing just how awesome everyone is in person. Then I failed. Then Y0jimb0 wrote a lamentation about people failing and complaining that everyone was failing. Then something happened last week, and there was some more failure. Then Necros wrote an impassioned battlecry to combat the failure. And so it goes.

Point being, I now feel sufficiently guilty about being one of the people who sort of dropped out of things after a short period of fervent activity. It's like I was playing an RPG, then put it down at some point, and the longer I was away the harder I felt it was to come back and do anything. Or maybe I was just lazy. I've gotten a lot out of this place and it's fun to participate. There seemed to be a number of people who actually enjoyed what I wrote and I feel like a douche for leaving them hanging. Anyway, this is getting to be too much of a sappy-explanatory-compliment-fishing-whatever post, but I just wanted to say I'm going to really try to pick up where I left off a year ago. Destructoid's been good to me. Also, cocks.   read

3:47 AM on 01.12.2009

A Time To Destroy: Substance

It all started with Dig Dug.

The primary goal of Dig Dug is to clear the screen of all the enemies, dispatching them with your air pump in a manner that makes the loins of certain people on deviantART quiver at the thought, or via the slightly more cerebral method of dropping boulders upon them. This is how you move from level to level and score the most points, and this progression provides ample feedback to point out the primary goal to the player even in the absence of proper documentation.

The secondary goal is to clear as much dirt from the screen as possible.


A minimal amount of points are awarded for digging through a section of dirt. There's no special reward for clearing a lot of dirt other than the marginal point award for clearing yet another section. It's comparable to playing pinball and caroming a ball off of some otherwise barren surface that still rewards the player with the chime of a bell and some paltry amount of points: a slight nod to an incidental action that serves doubly as a minor reward and as negative feedback, telling the player "Yes, good, you're doing something necessary, but don't expect to get anywhere on that alone." My comparison starts to fall apart here, though, for while I haven't ever played a game of pinball and attempted to shoot the ball repeatedly off of surfaces with no targets upon them, I've played at least a few games of Dig Dug where I largely ignored the main goal in favor of digging up the screen as much as possible. I haven't done a scientific study, or even an unscientific one, but I wager that a lot of gamers have done the same thing.

As I mentioned, the game doesn't do much to prompt you to do this by design. In fact it slightly discourages it, as in addition to the low points awarded you also waste a lot of time if you dig around and ignore the enemies as they tend to surround you and (if I recall correctly) get faster as time wears on. So I suppose I lied when I said this was the secondary goal, as the game itself could scarcely be less concerned with it. Again, though, I'd wager you didn't disagree with me when I said it was a goal. Why?

To me, it seems there's just something inherently compelling about seeing this wall of stuff and tearing through as much of it as possible and beyond what is strictly necessary, regardless of whether the game provides a clear incentive to do so or not. (My sister refers to this feeling as "yumminess.") And there are numerous examples in games of an environment filled with some substance just begging to be cleared:

The Super Mario Bros. series

Oh, how I love to smash bricks! Super Mario World sort of took the piss out of things a bit by making a hit from below simply cause the ubiquitous fodder blocks to spin momentarily, but spin jumps still destroyed them, and the designers gave us a whole level dedicated to smashing them. Super Mario Bros. 2's sand-digging sections are a mixed bag, being incredibly fun when one is playing as Toad and a godawful chore as Toadstool. Choose wisely.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

Yoshi's Island gets a special nod because my sister particularly enjoys smashing through the soft dirt with eggs and jumps and buttstomps in a quest to obliterate it all. There's also a spikey material that can be destroyed with eggs, though rather than travel through the stuff unabated the eggs ricochet off of this substance.

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers

I seem to remember that cement wall in Level E being longer. Regardless, this is another game I played early on where I recognized the enjoyment I got from simply tearing down that wall with the hammer.


I'm slightly dismayed no one wrote about this game in December. Since I'm already terribly late in writing this post, maybe I'll go ahead and write another after I'm finished. Anyway, Level 19 of Bangai-O is entirely devoted to plowing through a giant, contiguous mass of stuff. I would like to thank Treasure for all but conclusively demonstrating with this level what I'm trying to get at and confirming that my sister and I are not weird, or at least are not alone in our weird compulsiveness.

Plenty more examples exist, but you get the idea by now. There are some games that have destruction of massive amounts of enemies or even the environment as their entire theme, but apart from that this special microcosm of obsessive annihilation can be found in many games, to the point that it's obvious designers recognize and exploit it, often by providing other rewards such has hidden power-ups to the thorough player or building a level around the concept. But, as in Dig Dug, the compulsion to destroy these masses of substance is often enough its own reward, and a pretty satisfying one.   read

10:33 PM on 10.31.2008


So I didn't really get into the Halloween mood early this year, but just before nightfall I carved a quick pumpkin. Then inspiration struck and I came up with a last-minute costume:

Pulled it off in time to answer the door for a few groups of kids anyway. OH YEAH!

Happy Halloween, Destructoid!   read

4:38 PM on 08.23.2008

What did I get this week? A lot.

This can't wait for Nihon's post.

From back, left to right:
-Super Scope in box with Super Scope 6 (no manuals)
-Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
-Kirby Super Star
-Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose (with box)
-Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge
-Gradius III & IV
-Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World
-Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition
-Tinstar [flashed]
-Space Megaforce
-Mega Man V (Game Boy)
-Mega Man Xtreme (Game Boy Color)
-Mega Man & Bass [flashed]
-G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor
-T&C Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project
-Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA (with manual)
-Garou: Mark of the Wolves

I averaged about 8-9 bucks per game, including the Super Scope. My jaw dropped when I saw Mega Man V for $10 and Space Megaforce for $5, and Subsistence at $15 was a must buy. It should be noted that roughly half of these came from someone else's collection on a forum I frequent, as he was getting rid of practically everything for older systems for a pittance. The other half were found at the same place I got a Dreamcast arcade stick for $20 in the box and Super Street Fighter II X for Matching Service for $10.   read

12:13 AM on 08.03.2008

Review: Toki Tori (Wii)

Released two months ago on WiiWare, Toki Tori is a remake of a Game Boy Color game that came out late in the system's lifespan. As was the situation with system stablemate Shantae, also published by Capcom at the time, the game was largely ignored as everyone's attention had shifted by then to the shiny new Game Boy Advance. I was among those who had little clue of the game's existence, which would have been a shame if not for this excellent remake.

Toki Tori is a puzzle-action game, much in the same vein as the Adventures of Lolo/Eggerland series, or Lode Runner. The eponymous player character is a fuzzy yellow chick who must traverse more than 70 stages spread across 4 themed worlds with the goal of rescuing his still egg-encased siblings. Each stage has a number of eggs, all of which must be collected, and collection of the final egg completes the stage. There are a number of obstacles in the way, including enemies and the layout of a stage initially rendering certain eggs inaccessible. To deal with these challenges, Toki Tori is given certain tools. These vary from level to level, both in which tools are available and how many times each may be used, but unlike in Adventures of Lolo all tools are given to the player at the beginning of a stage. The first tool encountered is the bridge, which allows Toki to place a small section of bridge across a gap while standing next to it, thus allowing Toki to cross without falling. Other tools introduced later include the stone that Toki can use to create a large immovable stone block, a limited teleport that can transport Toki in one of four directions at a set distance, and the freeze gun that stops enemies in place and turns them into ice blocks. The tools are introduced one at a time in simple tutorial levels just before the first level in which they are used, preceded by brief instructions on how to use the tool, and they can be replayed at any time. While most tools appear throughout the game, each of the four worlds also has it's own unique tool.

The core of the gameplay is figuring out how to use the tools to collect all of the eggs. At first this is relatively simple, with a small number of tools in small stages with limited opportunities to use them, but as the completed stages pile up things naturally get more complicated. Level design quickly becomes quite clever, forcing the player to think quite a bit about how to use the tools, both when and where, and in what order to collect the eggs; poor planning will often leave Toki stuck with no way to continue the puzzle, and force the player to restart the level. Each world has a unique enemy, but all behave in exactly the same way, walking left and right, only stopping and turning when there's a wall or an egg in their way. In general, there aren't very many stages where dealing with enemies is a frantic affair (contrast once again with Adventures of Lolo or Lode Runner,) though there are a couple that put enemy management in the spotlight for a change of pace. Indeed, Toki Tori on WiiWare is a pretty laid back, leisurely puzzle game, perhaps moreso than the Game Boy Color original, which apparently had a time limit on each stage that has been eliminated for the remake, and for the better. By pressing the minus button, the player can pause the action a view the stage as a whole to plan a route, but the relative complexity of later stages makes trial and error almost imperative, and this is where much of the challenge and addictive satisfaction in solving the puzzles lies. A strict time limit would potentially serve only to make stages more frustrating- imagine a situation where you make it about halfway through the puzzle, but come to a point where you need to assess the situation, but time runs out. Now you have to complete the early part of the puzzle again, and when you reach the point where you were stuck you've forgotten what you considered previously. Perhaps this happens a few times, with each attempt giving you a bit more time to think before the timer kills you again, until you finally complete the puzzle. I can see merit in requiring the player to think quickly, but the reward to the player is far outweighed by potential frustration. In the end, a timer would serve as an artificial way to lengthen a stage without really changing the dynamic of the puzzle solving, an unnecessary roadblock to the primary joy of solving the puzzles.

I just spent an awful lot of time talking about a mechanic that isn't in the game, which seems kind of stupid for a review, but I want to emphasize the ways in which Toki Tori serves to reduce frustration. One nice thing that wouldn't be noticed unless it wasn't there is the painlessness of restarting a puzzle when you know you're stuck, or get killed by an enemy or obstacle. A quick trip to the pause menu and selecting "restart" quickly resets the level to the beginning with no penalty and no insufferable loading or unskippable cutscene that's cute the first time you see it but grows tiresome almost immediately. Another good addition is the Wild Card. The main stages progress in a linear fashion, and must be completed in order. However, if the player is stuck on one puzzle and tired of trying to figure it out, the Wild Card can be played on that stage to skip it and allow the player to attempt the next level. There's only one Wild Card, but it can be reobtained by going back to the level it was used on and clearing the puzzle normally, at which point it can be used again. There are some stages that the Wild Card cannot be used on, and these are the "Hard" stages in each world, but this fact doesn't serve to undermine the whole point of the Wild Card. As I said, the main stages progress linearly, with about 7-10 of these in each world. Upon clearing all the stages in a world, the next world is unlocked, along with the hard stages in the previous world. These are available to play in any order and do not need to be completed to unlock any more stages, effectively making them bonus levels. It's a fantastic method of structuring the game, providing a nice sense of progression and leaving the more difficult, potentially game-stopping frustrating sections as secondary content that can be accessed at will. All of these things together serve to highlight the game's best points without anything getting in the way.

Speaking of good points, Toki Tori's presentation is very nice. Visually, there's nothing spectacular, but nothing needs to be. The graphics are crisp, colorful, and clean, with each world having its own visual theme. Aside from Toki and the enemies, there's not a lot of animation, but Toki has a lot of frames for his movements, and both he and the enemies move quite smoothly. The high point of the game is probably the music, with an appropriately bouncy main theme on the main screen and menu, and unique pieces for each of the four worlds that fits them nicely, the castle and underwater themes being highlights. As for controls, the game provides two options, either the remote and nunchuk or remote only. Using the remote only, movement is handled by pointing at a spot on the screen and pressing A, switching between tools by pressing left and right on the D-pad, and using items with the B trigger. I tend to play with the nunchuk, which leaves all the remote functions intact but allows you to move using the control stick, cycle through the tools by pressing C, and using them with Z. The only minor annoyances with the controls are a lack of Classic Controller/Gamecube controller support, and the need to point at the screen to handle menu choices.

My only real substantial criticism of Toki Tori is that it screams for a level editor and yet has none. A solid number of great levels are in the game, enough that I haven't yet finished it; however, I know the day will come when I'll crave more, with no way of satisfying my urge. I remain hopeful, though, as being a downloadable game the potential to patch in a level editor, for free or otherwise, is there, along with the possibility of downloadable levels. Should those dreams be dashed, I suppose that's what sequels are for. This one disappointment aside, Toki Tori is a wonderful game worthy of your 1000 Wii points (or 9000, for Europeans.) If you've already downloaded both Adventures of Lolo games on the Virtual Console and are suffering withdrawals while waiting for the third game to finally make an appearance, download posthaste. Those looking for unequivocally the best game on WiiWare right now, get it.

Screenshots courtesy of the official site,   read

4:55 PM on 07.31.2008

Video Games In Real Life photomanipulations

Some weeks ago Hamza linked to a couple of YTMNDs in his weekly feature that had images of real life scenes manipulated to include sprites of video game characters, as if they had leaped from the games into real environments similar to the ones they called home in their game worlds. On another forum I visit, someone started a thread off with a link to a blog post containing these images, and challenged people to make images of their own (wallpaper sized, if possible.) So far, I've made three images, and while they aren't standard wallpaper sizes they're close enough that you can make your own from them. I have the Super Metroid one as my wallpaper currently on a 1280x800 laptop display, and it isn't horribly distorted. I didn't do anything too fancy, as I'm still learning the ropes of Paint.NET, but I was reasonably happy with the results and my fellow forum dwellers seemed to enjoy them. I hope you will, too.

I think I'll do a StarTropics one next, but I can't find the sprites I want. Looks like I might have to not download not a ROM of the game and not take screenshots to not get what I don't want.   read

3:30 AM on 07.31.2008

A Cast Of Thousands: Michael Edwards

When this month's topic was initially announced, I went quickly through an informal list of characters in the games I have played, trying to recall one that particularly struck a chord with me; or, failing that, a semi-obscure character from a game I rented once that I could BS about for a few paragraphs. Due to laziness, I didn't try very hard, and all that came to mind were Mario, Link, Sonic, and the other usual suspects that I was certain would receive ample coverage. Fine choices, all of them, but I wasn't going to rouse myself from my de facto hiatus on substantial blog posts unless I felt I had something moderately interesting to present.

And then, last week, inspiration found me. I happened upon GamesRadar's "Top 7 Lazy Character Clichés" article, part of their tongue-in-cheek, post-E3 "7/10 Week" focusing on mediocrity in video games and the industry that surrounds them. Along with each of the clichés, they presented an antidote character, one who embodies some of the attributes of the other characters but fails to be a cookie-cutter counterpart. Number Five on the list was "The Stereotypical Black Guy," and to their own embarassed admission the best antidote they could come up with was Carl Johnson from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I laughed at this, but they had a few good reasons, and the choice served to highlight what is perhaps an even greater plight of one-dimensionality than that of the half-naked woman.

I couldn't help thinking, however, that they must not have thought long enough if CJ was the most believable black male video game character they could scrape up, for within a few seconds I recalled a much better example. Those of you wondering when I would get around to starting this article can start reading now.

Michael Edwards, as narrator Edward Roivas informs us in the penultimate chapter of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem for the Gamecube, is a Canadian industrial firefighter. He's in Kuwait at the end of the Gulf War, helping to put out the huge oil well fires set by the Iraqi soldiers as they make their retreat from the country. Suddenly one of the explosives being used to cap the wells goes off early, taking the lives of a few of Michael's colleagues and plunging him and the bodies into the ancient ruins just below the surface. Stunned, Michael laments the loss of the people he knew, but his time for bereavement is short-lived, as a ghost appears to hand him an ancient relic and task him with its delivery to a house in Rhode Island. He soon also learns that he must destroy these ruins and the evil that flows from within them, which he manages by planting magically enchanted C-4 explosives [Side note: I love the phrase magically enchanted explosives] at a weak point in the underground structure. He then runs like hell as the timer counts down, and escapes the ruins before the explosion. Some time later in a cutscene, he hurriedly hands over the relic to Edward Roivas under cover of darkness, fearful that the evil he fought in the ruins is about to catch up with him, and takes off after completing this important task. This is all the game tells us of Michael Edwards.

Truth be told, there isn't a lot presented to characterize Michael in the relatively short time the player has control of him in Eternal Darkness, even compared to some of the other playercharacters. We can, however, determine a few things. For one, he's Canadian. Outside of Bear Hugger from Super Punch-Out!! on the SNES, I can't recall very many Canadian characters in games, and even fewer black Canadians. I'm not sure I even realized there were black Canadians before I played Eternal Darkness, as my perception of Canada growing up was shaped by The Kids In The Hall, Dudley Do-Right, and the Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen episode of Ren & Stimpy. While his nationality is a minor detail with very little effect on the game, it's one that stuck with me when I played. From the moment he's introduced, Michael avoids cliché by being black and yet not hailing from the streets of Los Angeles or New York, or somewhere in the southern United States.

Michael's other major character detail is that he's a firefighter. What does this say about him? First, that he carries a kickass molybdenum axe that's a lot of fun to use in the liberation of heads from walking corpses. Beyond that, what qualities are commonly attributed to firefighters? Bravery, certainly. Dedication to the job. Taking this further, consider the context in which the player meets Michael. He's an industrial firefighter, a civilian, and presumably a volunteer, thousands of miles from home in a war-torn area, doing a dangerous job necessary for reconstruction. A firefighter exists to help others and has compassion for other people. For Michael this comes to the forefront when his colleagues die in the accident. As he comes out of the shock of the explosion, he mentions them by name, and while the moment is cut short by the sudden appearance of the ghost of Roberto Bianchi, he's visibly and audibly upset by the loss of people he knew. Even in the short introduction to the chapter the player can readily infer that Michael possesses several admirable qualities and values.

As you'll recall, I chose to write about Michael as an antidote to the stereotypical black man cliché character in games. While he has muscles and wears a sleeveless shirt, these are attributable to his role as a firefighter, and he avoids or outright contradicts the other characterisitics of the trash-talking tough guy spotlighted in the GamesRadar piece. Not only that, he (easily) avoids other common black character clichés, such as the afro-wearing wisecracker, or the smooth-talking pimp.

Paradoxically, Michael is a remarkable character precisely because he isn't all that remarkable, in a sense. He's a positive human being rather than a cartoon character, which, damningly, is enough to distinguish him from almost any other black video game character I know.   read

2:55 AM on 07.30.2008

Comic Con 2008. Also, Cocks.

There's a guy in a robot helmet in this photo and yet I'm the one who looks like a retard. It's a gift.

I want to thank aborto the fetus for setting up the Dtoid meetup at this year's San Diego Comic Con. It was a blast to meet and hang out with complete strangers from the Internet for a few hours each day and not end up raped and murdered. Not like that last time. That bar we randomly selected was awesome, even though I didn't eat or drink anything. I knew it would be great when we walked in and Cartoon Network was on the TV.

I'd also like to thank Niero and Colette for their generosity, though I didn't take advantage of it. You guys are awesome. It truly was a highlight of my Con experience to get to hang out with everyone, and I hope to do it again some time.

Meanwhile, I posted pictures from the madhouse that was SDCC 2008 on my Flickr. I haven't taken detailed pictures of all the swag I got from the convention just yet, but I intend to highlight the more notable items in the near future. For now, here's the whole mountain of crap, minus a few crappy fliers and bags:


2:44 AM on 04.15.2008

My Capcom Fighter Collection

Inspired by LongDeth, I decided to photograph most of my Capcom fighting games (and a few related pieces.) There are some other bits, but this is what I could find at hand after midnight without digging through a bunch of crap in my room. On with it!

Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start):

The various editions of Street Fighter II- World Warrior, Turbo, and Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1 (which contains The World Warrior, Champion Edition, and Hyper Fighting.)

Super Street Fighter II Turbo (X) three different times, including two copies on the 3DO. Not shown: the special Capcom controllers for the 3DO that make the game bearable to play on that system.

Alpha and III.

The Vs. games.


Not fighting games, but related. Not shown: Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo for GBA.

Ah, dammit, I should have put Saturday Night Slammasters in there somewhere. Oh well, maybe if I take photos of the rest of the crap I didn't feel like digging up tonight I'll slip that in there.

Oh fuck I forgot Tech Romancer too! Dammit! I even had it out with the others but forgot to put it in the last photo! Next time, Gadget.   read

10:34 PM on 04.06.2008

Not My Turning Point Gaming Rig

Coming in at the last minute!

My mom recently got a Toshiba Satellite laptop, so now I hijack it to play games that have been released in the last five years, as our desktop is a bit old (and my brother is always playing WoW on it anyway.) Here I am playing OutRun 2006, a pretty damn fun game.

I forget the exact specs, but it has 2 GB of RAM, AMD Turion 64X2... I think 1.8 GHz, and an ATI Radeon PCI card (128 or 256 MB, I forget.) The three main games I've played on it are OutRun, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Portal.

But I do most of my gaming here:

All 5 Nintendo consoles (with a Game Boy Player,) a black Sega Sports Dreamcast, and the white SingStar PS2. The Gamecube is also a Pokmon XD limited edition. I didn't set out to own special versions of any consoles, they just happened to be available when I was in the market for them. Note the "Touching is Good" promotional mannequin hand, and the talking Tails I found at Goodwill. Also, I use a cassette adapter from the switchbox to the boom box when I want to play games in stereo, as the 13" Montgomery Ward that's been with us for some 20 years and now sits in my room is mono. Except for the sound of the tape reels turning, it works out beautifully.

I need a bigger shelf. And a place to hang that Phoenix Wright poster.   read

4:31 PM on 01.25.2008

Arcades? In my mall?

It's more likely than you think.

While accompanying my sister to a job interview yesterday, we decided to stop by the mall, as we'd arrived in the area early. As we walked into the entrance nearest the empty shell formerly known as Robinson's May, a glorious sight leapt out at me from my peripheral vision, a particular type of business establishment unseen in this shopping plaza for a decade or more, certainly before it became a Westfield.

"Um.... wow," I understatedly exclaimed to myself. Seeing the machines as I approached had left me in a momentary state of shock. Now, arcades aren't all that rare in the area, all things considered--there's a Boomer's even closer to my house than the mall, the bowling alley still has a few machines, and Nickel City and Dave & Buster's are a half hour down the freeway or so--but seeing one here, in this place, among the other shops (although at a currently dead end of the building) filled me with excitement. As we were drawn inside the establishment, my bristling expectations turned to "no fucking way!" ecstasy, as right inside the entrance, beckoning to be played, was a pinball machine. And not just any pinball machine, at that:


To understand why I was so excited, you need to know something about my previous experience with this machine. In 2000, when my family got our first real computer (I don't count the DOS machine handed down by our uncle in 1993) one of the first games we got for it, and one of the few worth a damn that would run on that old eMachines box, was Microsoft's Pinball Arcade. It was kind of novel for a PC pinball game, being a collection of recreations of actual pinball machines rather than some made-up garbage for a generic budget title. One of the games in this collection, and the most modern represented, was Cue Ball Wizard.

I never played this particular Gottlieb cabinet in real life--I'd venture to say the number of actual pinball machines I'd played in my entire life at that point was around 5--but I played quite a bit of it on the PC. To have the physical box greeting me on this random sojourn was incredible. I pulled the single one dollar bill I had in my pocket, and found the change machine.

Someone playing Cue Ball Wizard

Aside from some dirt and a few of the lights not working, the machine played damn fine, especially considering its age. 50 cents for 3 balls, more than a fair price given inflation since the last pinball renaissance of the early 90s, the era to which this machine belonged. I somewhat surprised myself by hitting the 49 million points required to earn a free game on my first play, reached after my last ball had tumbled between the flippers and the bonus points collected for that round were added to the total.

In a typical display of the fickle favor of the pinball gods, my free game lasted all of a minute or so, 1-2-3 right through the gap. So it goes.*

Two more pinball machines graced the premises, Sega's Frankenstein from the same era and the more recent Sopranos game. Three pinball machines in one place, two of them relative oldies. I have a good feeling about this place. With the last-chance score matching failing to earn me another free game, I said goodbye to cowboys playing pool and cased the rest of the joint.

That good feeling? It wasn't misplaced. A brief rundown of what I can remember:

-TWO Samba De Amigo 2000 machines!
-TWO Keyboard Manias!
-Guitar Freaks
-Gunbalina (Point Blank)
-Gun Survivor 2: Biohazard Code: Veronica
-Final Furlong
-Rave Racer
-Operation Wolf 3
-Dance Maniax
-Star Wars Episode I: Racer Arcade
-What appeared to be a Japanese Silent Scope game
-A bunch of stuff I can't remember right now

As I moved around, tears of joy welling up in the corners of my eyes, a thought occurred: The only thing this place is missing is a fighting game. Five seconds later, Ryu's silhouette appears next to the Capcom logo just off to my right. A generic sit-down cabinet tucked away in the corner. The attract mode begins as I stand still, now looking straight at the screen.... I catch a glimpse of Cyber Akuma, and I smile. The title screen appears: Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter. The Japanese version- I didn't even think about this last point until we were leaving the mall, but this means (probably) Norimaro is in the game!

By now I'm convinced this place has everything but the kitchen sink. Oh wait, no, it's occupying a space that recently belonged to a failed eatery, so there's still one of those tucked behind a corner, too.

Having looked around, and out of changeable dollars, we departed, vowing to return to this magical place some day. I feel there is only one way I can end this tale:

It's the best week ever.

*Poo-tee-weet?   read

2:47 PM on 01.07.2008

Street Fighter: Eternal Challenge artbook back in stock at Capcom! But for how long??


A couple years ago Capcom had the guys at UDON bring the previously Japan-only Street Fighter: Eternal Challenge art book to the English-speaking masses. The paperback version went for around $20-25, and for some reason I didn't pick it up when I had the chance. Then one day I was browsing my favorite online retail sites, and it was gone.

I looked around again today, and aside from some schmuck on Amazon selling the Japanese paperback version for 300 smackers, nothing. Then I checked Capcom's site, and lo and behold, they somehow found a few more copies of one of the limited edition hardbacks.

So I sucked it up and finally bought one. And, if you like Street Fighter and have any plans of ever owning or simply perusing this art book but haven't picked it up yet, then now's the fucking time!

Unless UDON has saved some more of these or decides to print another limited edition with another cover for the convention circuit, I really doubt you'll have another opportunity to get this book for less than the $75 (+shipping and sales tax) Capcom is asking. I can't find any of the editions on eBay currently, not even the Japanese one.

I know I sound like a corporate shill, but that's because I SUPER SERIOUSLY BELIEVE that this book is only going to get harder to find from now on based on my searches online (that, and Capcom's scary urgency speak on the site worked on me.) Search elsewhere online for yourself, I'm not shitting you. As a Nintendo DS owner, I've been seriously burned by waiting to buy things and then having them go out of print (sorry, eBay sellers, Warioware isn't worth $50 used cart only) (goddamn you, Electroplankton) (Tetris DS? How the fuck is that out of print?) (Picross DS? Now you're just shitting me) (you see what I mean by now.)

So click the link below if you're a dumbass SF fan like me that waited this long to purchase this art book! Come on, you still have Christmas money, right?


Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -