The following blog is set for One Fall! Introducing first, he is the Hylian Champion! Winner of the Seven-Year Slam, making the Hylian Ring safer, one Powerbomb of Courage at a time!
Started gaming on an Atari 2600, grew into the gamer I am now with Nintendo, playing on an NES and SNES. Became more aware of the wider scope of gaming through the Playstation and Xbox. Now I'm loving the PC gaming life.
My favorite games include A Link to the Past, Terranigma, Guilty Gear X2, Viewtiful Joe, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and DotA 2.
Huge comic book reader, and currently keeping up with Saga and Hawkeye.
My favorites are The Sandman Vol 4, Batman - Court of Owls, and V for Vendetta.
Lover of wrestling, although not so much of the infamous Attitude Era. Much of more a CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler kinda guy.
Life-long reader of books of the fictional and non-fictional variety. Love Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Wendig and Haruki Murakami.
My biggest dream is that one day Quintet returns and makes a current generation Terranigma.
I finally have my Hunter's License Card! Okay, it might not really be the card I've wanted since the early 2000s, but it's close enough. My Hunter Rank right now is only a lowly 1, but that's sure to change in the coming months. Since buying it about two weeks ago, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate managed to sink its teeth in me and isn't letting go. I've already spent over 70 hours on the game, and I'm nowhere near done with it yet.
Sounds crazy, but I almost didn't buy the game thanks to the bad first impression the demo gave me. Not just the demo on the 3DS either, that was the third demo of a game in this franchise that I've had a hard time with over the course of the last 10 years or so.
The first demo I played was for the original game.Devil May Cry 3 came with a demo disc for it, and I tried that demo for about 10 minutes before going back to slashing some more demons to pieces with Dante. Looking back, a game like Monster Hunter is a bad fit with Devil May Cry, in a lot of ways both games are on the opposite side of the action genre. Monster Hunter is slow and delibirate, mostly about preperation, commiting to your actions, and endlessly farming as you slowly improve both your equipment and your ability to use it. Devil May Cry's a fast-paced, style/score-focused series where it's less about planning and more about quick and precise movement. Packing Monster Hunter with Devil May Cry made me expect a game like it, so when I was slowly swinging a greatsword around in a large empty map, I got bored without giving it a fair chance.
The second demo was on the PSP. I think it was Monster Hunter Freedom, or Tri, I'm not sure what game it was at the time. Before downloading it, I'd seen my Japanese roommate play the game on her PSP online with friends. She was far into the game and understood everything it was throwing at her, so watching her play opened my eyes a bit as to what the series was about. It reminded me of playing Phantasy Star Online with friends, when the game became less about progressing through new areas and beating bosses, and more about the post-game farming for items. I was sold on the idea, but still wanted to try out the demo first. The demo pitted me against a monster without telling me how anything worked. I got frustrated with it and decided against buying the full version.
In comes the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo on the 3DS. Same thing happened again, giant monster straight from the start. No clue what anything is or does. After two attemps at killing the Lagombi, I gave up.
A couple of days later I was looking up YouTube videos of games I was interested in buying. Just to see how they actually play, so I'd have a better idea of what I actually want to buy. Or with games that I was going to buy anyway, which ones I'd get first. After watching a one hour Let's Play of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, forever losing my right to say I don't get how people watch Let's Plays of Minecraft (it's so relaxing, seriously), I remembered that Capcom Unity had some videos up of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on their account because two people from my favorite podcast, Lasertime, are involved in making those. Watching them play the game online to help others gave me the same feeling I had when I watched my old roommate play the game. Plus they were giving so many tips to people that made a lot of the baisc concepts and nuances comprehensible to me.
After watching a few of their videos I decided to try the demo again. This time I knew what was going on. Not only did I kill the Lagombi, I killed him with every weapon available in the demo. Now I was sure, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was going to be the next game I'd pick up. Especially if anyting I heard about the length was true, It'd be the perfect game to get early on.
Now that I own the game and am about 70 hours into it, I'm still amazed at how different my experience with the game is now compared to when I tried those demos. They're a horrible representation of what Monster Hunter is like for new players. Sure, the game is about hunting large monsters, hell it's in the title, but there's a lot more going in that is not shown in the demo. At the same time, I can understand why those elements are all missing. Usually a demo is a short experience that tries to give a quick experience to give you an idea of what you'll be doing in the game. Monster Hunter's a very slow-paced franchise where the reward is the slow but sure sense of progression it gives you.
When I started playing, I paid attention to how far into the game the demo's content actually is. The Lagombi didn't appear until somewhere between 6-8 hours into the game. Which isn't too surprising considering the tutorial is already close to a good 5 hours or so. It takes hours before you see your first giant monster, the Lagiacrus, and it takes even longer before you get to fight one, in the form of a Great Jaggi. Before that, you have to learn to collect materials from the wild, carve materials from monsters you've killed, combine items, craft weapons and armor, how the different weapons work, how to sharpen your sword, dealing with the way your stamina permanently decreases over time, food buffs, cultivating herbs, mushrooms, and bugs on your farm, getting items from your fleet, using your storage box, armor skills... There's a lot to learn, and the game takes its time setting you on the path towards learning them. It only gives you just enough to go buy to learn the rest of it by yourself.
I can understand why the demo works the way it does. Monster Hunter is a deep franchise, one that doesn't make any sacrifices to appeal to a larger audiences because it understands that there is an audience out there for it already. In more than one way, Monster Hunter is unforgiving and requires the player to commit to it on more than one level. All of the weapons in the game are slow, often a lot slower than the monsters can move. If you swing your sword, You won't be able to move or dodge for a while. You can't change your equipment during a Quest either, so if you're halfway through your items when you realize that maybe the armor you're wearing is terrible for this fight, then tough luck, you're stuck wearing it for until the Quest ends.
It takes hours before you even get to your first proper monster hunt, and it takes even longer before the game consistently throws challenging monster hunting quests at you. If you want to improve your weapons or armor, you'll have to carve certain monsters repeatedly to get all the materials for them. Everything in this game takes a lot of time and effort to get to. And that also includes fighting the monsters, the game gives you close to an hour to finish up your Quest, and in a lot of cases it will take between 15 to 30 minutes. That said, you can easily play the game in half hour chunks if you feel like it, since all the Quests are chosen from a menu and can be repeated whenever you feel like it.
Translating the actual fun of something like this is nearly impossible to do in a demo. The real enjoyment of Monster Hunter is the slow but consistent progression, as you slowly work your way through larger and tougher monsters. Often returning to previous monsters for materials, realizing how much easier they've become now, even if you haven't improved your armor or weapons since the last time you fought.
Sure, they could have made the demo stupidly long like the fantastic Bravely Default demo, and maybe add in the ability to continue from where you left off like the Etrian Odyssey IV demo, but I still don't think that would have been a great solution. Bravely Default worked because the content was seperate from the real game, and Etrian Odyssey IV's demo was very straightforward, just like the game itself is at first.
Monster Hunter knows that it has an audience out there for it, and doesn't go out of its way to appeal to a broader audience. Because of that, the demo suffers, at least in the eyes of new players. Presented to Monster Hunter veterans, the demo is perfect. It lets you test out all the new weapons, but also shows off how the game works on this hardware. If you already know what you're getting yourself into, that's enough to decide if this iteration of Monster Hunter has added or changed enough to get into it all over again. Normally a demo is designed to give new players a taste of what to come, but the Monster Hunter doesn't bother explaining anything to them. It's a franchise that you either works for you, or it doesn't.
That's actually the best thing about Monster Hunter since it allows the devs to delve further into what fans of the franchise enjoy about playing it without sacrificing anything for a different, larger audience. In turn, that brings the fans deeper into the franchise because it feels like the game respects you as a player in the same way games like Dark Souls or Spelunky respect you.
To make up for the game being hard to get into initially, fans of the series working at Capcom Unity do live streams and videos of the game as an external way to make it easier to get into the series. While they're doing this, they promote the idea of spending time helping other people online, while most of their own stream is spent on playing quests with people from the chat room to help them hunt the monsters they're having trouble with. It helps set the tone for a lot of people, so the community stays active and friendly for a longer time.
This blog has been brought to you by ConorElsea.com. The anime images are from a currently ongoing series called Hunter x Hunter, which isn't connected to Monster Hunter in any way at all.
When I was a kid, I spent countless hours inside various gaming worlds. A lot of that time was spent without any gaming systems of any kind. My backyard was Hyryle. The streets were the Mushroom Kingdom. The worlds I explored were as real to me in the same way the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were my invisible friends. Despite that, it wasn't until much later that the actual content of the games were what stuck with me. When a game could give me an image, or a story that'd stick with me forever.
Twice now I asked you guys to send me some of your favorite game covers drawn up in MS Paint, and bothtimes you have delivered some fantastic work! Seriously, I'm amazed at some of the stuff you guys keep sending in!
Now that we've got game covers out of the way, it's time to change things up a bit. This month's MS Paint challenge is to draw an iconic or memorable moment from a game. This can be anything, from a story event unfolding that has left it's impression on you as a kid, to that overwhelming boss battle you survived. Hell, draw something recognizable that would happen in multiplayer games. So long as you think you can present it in a recognizable way, go for it. Everything gets posted.
You have until the 26th of March to send in your drawings.
The new post goes live then. If you're late, post your work in the comments, everyone's been good about upvoting the art posted there to the top.
If you're new to to Destructoid MS Paint Edition and want to join in, here's a few guidelines:
1. You don't have to be able to draw to join. I can't draw at all, and I don't care. Chances are you can make something recognizable in 10 minutes anyway.
2. To join in, send your drawing to me as in a message on here or post a link here in the comments section.
3. Have fun! This isn't a contest, there's no prizes beyond getting other people to appreciate what you've made and being a part of something.
They all sent me drawings since the last post went up, and they were too good not to use at some point.
Unless you've been trapped under a Snorlax on Route 12 for the past month, chances are you've at least heard of Twitch Plays Pokemon, Nintendo's first majorly successful online game. In it, thousands of players banded together to simultaneously play a single game of Pokemon Red. It's insane, it's undeniably something stupid that could have only happened on the internet, and yet it's strangely inspiring.
Twitch Plays Pokemon is a livestream on Twitch where players control the main character through chat commands. Saying Up, down, left, right, b, a, or start in the channel's chat room automatically feeds the command input to the game, a hacked ROM of Pokemon Red that includes all 151 original Pokemon that is running in Visualboy Advance.
At most points during the playthrough there were at least 50.000 people watching and sending in commands. Doing a playthrough of any RPG would be hard enough to coordinate with ten people simultaneously, let alone thousands of them. So when Red has to take a single step to the right to position himself in front of a door, all the helpful players would of course spam right, causing the character to walk right past the door. Other helpful players would anticipate that, and throw in a bunch of commands to walk left ahead of time to counteract this.
I'm intentionally marking these players as the helpful ones, because like with anything on the internet, Twitch Plays Pokemon had an absurd amount of detractors. In a way, they helped make it a lot more interesting, because they added to the underlying narrative that, at least to me, started rising out of the pure chaos after they got halfway through the game.
Normally on the internet, when something becomes popular, people feel the need to remind you of how much they hate this concept, find it stupid, don't understand why it exists, and that it needs to stop. Preferably now. Bringing Twitch Plays Pokemon up anywhere would result in a lot of these reactions, often from the same people. Which is as to be expected, because that's the reaction you get to anything Pokemon regardless of what is happening with the franchise.
The same way nothing is ever changing in the franchise and Nintendo is milking the everloving fuck out of it despite literally everything about the franchise having been tooled and tinkered with since the start, barring the main premise of catching them all and being the very best, like no one ever was.
Twitch Plays Pokemon's biggest detractors were the trolls trying to put a stop to the progress and make the game unplayable for others. As you'd expect in a game with over 50k players, not everyone is trying to be helpful. A lot of people would spam start to send the game into the menu and get it stuck there for a while. Any time there was a ledge, it was sure the direction that would lead the player over it, forcing everyone to get around it again, would get spammed in chat.
You'd think something like that would make people quit playing after a while, especially since the troll inputs were a constant. And when you consider how badly those inputs could get people stuck for hours on something as minor as a staircase, a door, or a ledge, just think of how the more complicated aspects of the game worked in an environment like that.
At several points in the game you need to have a Pokemon that can use a special ability to progress. For instance, a tree needs to get cut down.
To get past the tree, you need to get a Pokemon who can use Cut and teach it to him. Normally you'd have to go to to the inventory and select the right item, confirm you want to use it, choose the correct Pokemon from the menu, confirm you want to teach it to him, select one of the four moves he should forget to make room for it, and then confirm that it's okay to delete that move.
But before you even get that far, you'll need to catch a Pokemon in the wild. To do that, you'd have to buy Pokeballs from a shop with money. Money that can obviously run out. Then you need to find some tall grass and start a battle, weaken the enemy Pokemon without killing it, go to your inventory, pick the Pokeball, confirm you want to use it, and hope you've actually caught it because otherwise you'll have to waste another Pokeball. Granting that you're even catching a Pokemon that can learn Cut, because not all of them can.
After catching more than six Pokemon, your newly caught ones are sent to the PC storage. You'll have to access that from a Pokemon Center. Before being allowed to withdraw your Pokemon, you have to first deposit one from your party. Also, the option to release your Pokemon and lose it forever is right next to the option of withdrawing one.
Now imagine going through all of these motions with the previously mentioned problems of helpful people getting in their own way and trolls trying to ruin the experience for others.
It certainly gives you some extra appreciation for all the complexities of a game that you'd normally take for granted. Struggling with every single step really makes you realize how much is constantly going on in these games.
Players would repeatedly get stuck in the menus of the game, more often than not the inventory. Accidentally using items at the wrong time, or throwing them away when possible. It got so bad that one of the key items in the game quickly rose to fame. The Helix Fossil. Introduced early in the game, it's one of the two fossilized items you keep on you until near the end of the game where you revive an extinct Pokemon. After being used at all the wrong times throughout the entire game, the item started becoming its own religion. A story was built around the trainer being on a journey to revive his lord and savior, Lord Helix.
After a while a new system was added to the experience, Democracy. A voting system where instead of raw input, the game would pause until enough votes were cast and then feed the most voted input into the game. At first it seemed like Democracy was going to give us slow but steady progress, as the helpful part of the playerbase stopped tripping over each other. After a while it became clear that the system was fundamentally broken because the trolls realized they had a louder voice if they spammed their commands enough.
The introduction of Democracy caused the game to nearly come to a standstill, as players got frustrated in their inability to get through a simple maze in Team Rocket's hideout and the constant Democracy and Anarchy voting in the chat. Democracy saw them through the maze after almost a full day only to send them right back into it. Anarchy got them through the maze a second time, this time only taking two minutes. After a while players started figuring out how to coordinate a bit more, even with the trolls, detractors, anarchy/democracy votes, and stupidly large amount of players.
Somehow they even managed to capture a legendary Pokemon in Zapdos, and made their way through Victory Road, a long road full of various obstacles that requires the use of almost all the HM abilities in less than a day.
As much as I find the story surrounding the stream and the idea of it happening interesting, watching it is the most excruciating and painful experiences it could possibly be. Although every time they made the tiniest step forward, it felt like all the previous struggles were worth it.
The biggest draw for me towards Twitch Plays Pokemon was the fact that on paper, it sounds impossible. Not only are you dealing with well-intended players who keep tripping over each other, you have your typical constant internet bitterness looming over it deriding how worthless, futile, and dumb it is. And then you've got all the trolls trying to end the stream, send the players off ledges, get them stuck in menus, release their best Pokemon into the wild, and finding all sorts of weird ways to ruin the experience for others.
Yet in spite of all of that, they made it. Against all odds the players overcame all the constant detractors, stuck to what they were doing, and ultimately, they succeeded. It's the single most inspiring online event that I have been allowed to be a part of, and a large part of this is why so many people cared so much about it.
Yes, other streams started popping up. A lot of them also played Pokemon and had a smaller viewerbase that managed to progress through the game faster. But somehow without the negative attention, it didn't feel as much as a journey as the original stream did.
Currently Twitch Plays Pokemon has moved on to Pokemon Crystal, the later released third game of Pokemon's second generation.
So I got myself a 3DS over the weekend. I've been wanting to get my hands on one for a while now, and every time I nearly left a store with one in my hands, I chickened out of the purchase because it somehow wasn't the right time. Last Saturday turned out to be just the right time. No special reason, outside of getting a decent deal on a regular 3DS.
First thing I did was download a bunch of demos. I figured they would last me at least a week or so and give me a better idea of what games to buy. So I started off with Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies and Bravely Default.
Let's start with the longer one of the two, Bravely Default. Yes, it's kinda shitty you get limited uses with demos. Something that I'd honestly not even consider a problem if it wasn't for a demo like this. I don't think I've ever come across a demo that lasted me this long. For the better part of the weekend, Bravely Default was my main game to play. As I'm writing this now, I still haven't beaten the demo. I'm at the first major boss battle, after flooring all the mini-bosses. There are still 20 uses left on my demo and my town is fully restored.
This game will be a sure purchase for me in the future. It's interesting to see a demo really do something special like this. Giving you different content tailored to giving players a good understanding of what the full game will be like without having them play the exact same thing again when they pick up the full game. The last time a demo left that strong an impression on me was the excellent Bioshock demo back on the Xbox 360, which in the end, I'd rate as a better experience than the full game. Let's hope this won't be the case with Bravely Default.
The other major demo I picked up was Ace Attorney Dual Destinies. My experiences with the Ace Attorney defined the DS for me. When I played the first one it was an eye-opener on all the different kind of games the DS could really offer. If it wasn't for that, I'd likely have never sought out games like Hotel Dusk, 999, or even Henry Hatsworth and SMT: Devil Survivor. So naturally I had to at least try the new game in the franchise. I enjoyed the demo quite a bit. So much in fact, that after putting some digital currency on my device, I bought the full version of the game.
It's so good to see Phoenix Wright back in the courtroom, fully animated in 3D instead of represented by GBA sprites.
I haven't played much of the full version yet, most of my playtime's still gone towards Bravely Default. Man, that demo is surprisingly long.
There's a few other demos that I picked up that I'll run through real quick:
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Eh. Not impressed. The old DS ones seem like they're much better games. Maybe if this ever drops under 15 euros it'll be a decent game for that price range. But otherwise I am really not interested in it
I love Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! and I love Final Fantasy music. These two are going hand in hand very well, and I can see myself picking this up in the near future.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance
The fun thing about a Kingdom Hearts demo is that it starts at the typical Kingdom Hearts"Wait. What? Why am I here. What is going on? Why. What. How. No. Stop. Give me a second. What?" and stops before giving any answers. Not that the regular Kingdom Hearts titles were really adept at giving answers either, it seems the longer that franchise goes on the more convoluted and hard to follow it gets. Not fond of how Neku was represented in those three seconds you see him either. He seems to be turned into that same Squall template they like turning Cloud into whenever they use him now.
Monster Hunter 3D Ultimate
I really want to play a proper Monster Hunter game, and I likely will in the future. But the demos are really great at scaring people away. You get to pick a weapon without any idea of how they play and then have to fight a giant monster for 20 minutes without any clue as to what anything whatsoever is. Not a good way to introduce people to a game.
Having tried all those demos, I felt like I'd had a good enough idea to plan ahead in terms of what games I do and do not want. Like I mentioned earlier, I picked up the new Ace Attorney on the virtue of it being Ace Attorney. I figured an Ace Attorney game's likely not going to last very long, they never do, so I picked up the old GBC Mario Tennis game in case I ever need a long void to fill. I love me some Tennis RPG. After that I picked up Gunman Clive, because everything about it appeals to me and it's pretty damn cheap. I still have some money left on my account, which is just going to sit there unless something really shiny goes on sale, or until I add more funding for the next big purchases next month.
The biggest surprise for me so far has been Street Passes. I did not expect to get any on my 3DS because of all the bad experiences with finding people to link non-Pokemon games with on all of the old Nintendo handhelds. For the first three days or so, I did not get a single Street Pass. When it rains, it pours seems to be a good way to describe my experience with Street Passes, because yesterday I suddenly got 10 of them. Today, right before writing this, I got another 8.
So far I've played some Streetpass Quest, and I've really enjoyed it. Very cool to have something like that for free on the system.
If anyone wants to be my 3DS friend, please leave your Friend Code here in the comments! I'll happily accept any D-toid people who want to be my friend. My Friend Code is: 1134-9024-0665.
I haven't really been active on this side of Destructoid lately. Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't. I don't know how much attention people pay to me on here. Either way, I've been wanting to post more, but life's been rough the past month or so.
Yeah, this is going to be one of those posts. I have to write something in order to get the gears moving again, so it might as well be about this. Momentum's a big thing for me, when I let go of it, it's hard to get started up again. And right now, I'm at a dead stop with a lot of things. Forgive me if I'm rambling in this one, because I'm not going to do my typical write it one day, edit it the next, format and upload it the day after structure. This is all stream-of-thought, no-editing, right-in-the-browser blogging.
About a month ago, I got an e-mail saying I had to move out of my apartment in three weeks or I'd be homeless. This came out of nowhere. Especially considering what kind of apartment I'm living in. I've been homeless before. In fact, the place I'm living in now is for previously homeless people to build up again before they move to a real place of their own. When I moved in, I was promised they'd arrange a more permanent spot for me to avoid the typical form of house-searching in my city, which generally takes up to 2 years to rent a place of your own. The last conversation I had prior to being told I'd had to leave was about how I should just kick back, relax, and build up my life some more. That there's no need to stress about things, and that I'm guaranteed one of those houses they arrange for people. Then a few months later, I have to find something in three weeks of I'm homeless.
No special reasons. No rules broken. Nothing special that lead up to this. Just out of the blue from someone working within the organization that I'd never heard from.
Naturally, I stressed the fuck out. Three weeks to find a new place. Technically, one week. This was happening over the holiday period so supply is pretty much at its lowest. Real estate brokers closed down for a few weeks. Online sites had less than a page to offer, usually the same few places. Most of the supply that was there was incredibly overpriced for what they were offering, and without any time to prepare for moving financially, I didn't exactly have a lot to spend. Most of the rooms and houses that I normally would've been able to afford financially were completely out of my price range.
Thanks a lot, Gabe.
Still, there were two rooms that I could've had, and that I went to check out. I would've gotten the first one if the ad hadn't been posted before the current tenant left. He ended up deciding against moving out. The second ended up tripling the first month because both the person renting it out and the real estate broker wanted collateral, tripling the first month's rent.
After that I only had one week left to find a place. Even if I'd find something, no way in hell would all the arrangements be fully made in time to move, what with Christmas and New Year's Eve happening in that time. I moved most of my stuff to friends and mentally prepared myself to go back to the homeless hostel. I still replied to rooms and houses repeatedly, but all my free time became comfort time. And there was plenty of free time to spare, considering I wasn't sleeping at all anymore. So I got caught up with Kuroko no Basuke and watched Fairy Tale, Black Butler, and Persona 4 The Animation, along with all of the Fast and the Furious movies.
The day after New Year's eve, I got an e-mail from my old handler at the place I'm staying. Apparently the guy who told me I had three weeks is gone now, and that was complete bullshit. I should still continue finding a place on my own, but I'm not being kicked out anymore. Shortly after reading that, my legs gave out and I couldn't walk for a week. I probably had that coming either way, what with moving all my stuff out of my apartment to various friends and going to see those two rooms while still going to the library daily to abuse the free internet in search of other places to stay. Overdoing it and paying for it physically has been a running theme in my life. I never know my limits until I'm long past them.
In the meantime, I haven't really written anything for weeks. The last few posts I made here were all still part of my regular cycle, which tends to keep me a week ahead of the game. That way I never have to stress out running out of things to write about while keeping a good momentum going.
At least I can normally walk and sleep now. Things are starting to look normal again. At least, as far as normal goes for me. As hectic as and frustrating the past month has been, I'm still somewhat glad it all happened. I feel a lot more focused now. I feel as if I can make this coming year better than the last one, and last year's been very good to me. It got me into wrestling, comics, podcasts, and it got me to start interacting with people on Destructoid.
Things will work out. They always do. Even if it's not immediately clear to see the positive in something, there always is. Sometimes it's just not to do that ever again because it was stupid, or that you approached something wrongly. Everything applies to everything.