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Andy Basantes's blog

1:08 AM on 09.20.2010

Gaming: Sport or No?

Now I'm sure this has been an argument that has gone on for a long while. I'd be lying if I said I was aware a Major League of Gaming even existed. However, after it was brought to my attention that such a thing exists the answer wasn't so clear cut to me.

I've played more traditional sports like Baseball, and still take part in boxing and hockey. Both take a lot of physical training, but the key component in whatever sport you practice is hand-eye coordination. To me, it's the fine tuning of hand-eye coordination that determines a sport, not so much the physical strain on someone's body.

At least, that's the belief I've come to embrace after years of watching ESPN broadcast bowling, golf, and the world series of poker. Poker...for godsake. Why poker seems to get exposure on a "sports" network like espn, but events held by MLG don't, is beyond me.

Obviously ESPN for years has been trying to gain more and more popularity by catering to a younger, hipper example of this could be how their broadcasters are merely failed comedians instead of true sports analysts.

So, why not cater to the growing popularity of gaming?

I mean, you have games like Halo, Uncharted 2, and Call of Duty that open up bigger than most movie releases. Their red carpet events rival any summer blockbuster, and more and more the gaming community is becoming more mainstream and gaining popularity. Instead of being viewed as a hobby for people with social deficiencies. (a stigma I feel undeserving in most cases)

Now people may say, it doesn't take an athlete to be a gamer. I will often counter with, go to the bowling alley or driving range and find me an athlete.

What defines an "athlete" in his/her respective sport? Physical build? Because I've seen some horror stories bowling and on the golf course.

Gaming, I think above Bowling, Golf, and Poker (since ESPN seems to give it exposure as a sport), fine tunes hand-eye coordination. Memorization, Concentration, Reflexes, to be a major player in MLG you need to excel in all of the above.

So is Gaming a sport? Given the criteria most seem to consider what a "sport" is, and what is needed of an "athlete" to succeed in it?

Personally, I say why not?   read

4:24 AM on 08.20.2010

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days Review

Well, for the few fans of this franchise, it has been a LONG time coming...but alas we have our sequel to probably two of the most intriguing anti-heroes in gaming.

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days makes no apologies about what it stands for, what their characters stand for, and what the gamer can come to expect. It is dark, grimy, extremely violent, and gives you a dirty feeling inside like there is something morally wrong with you.

Now, if you're a rookie to the franchise this may be a problem for you. Gamers are usually used to playing as heroes or anti-heroes with redeeming qualities within them. It makes it easier to root for their story, and provides proper motivation to press on. I will say, flat-out there is NO redeeming quality about the characters Kane and Lynch.

They are criminals. Rabid animals that will do anything to survive, and what this game does is make you feel like exactly just that. There's a raw, visceral feel to the gunfights and surroundings. Mainly due to the absolutely brilliant camera work and presentation. Perfectly mimicking the appearance of raw web-cast footage you'd find in Youtube.

For those familiar with the franchise, who endured sluggish controls and idiot team A.I., and punishing difficulty for the sole purpose to see how the first story ended for these dirtbags turned brothers-in-arms...Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is the game we all expected its sequel to be.

First and most importantly, Online Co-op makes its debut. No more awkward split-screen (though it's still an option) that'll drop the framerate.

In terms of features, Army of Two: 40th Day is still the best overall co-op shoot 'em up (In My Opinion), however in raw, visceral action. I've seen few games that bring the tense, loud nature of actual shoot outs as accurately as Kane and Lynch 2.

While the story isn't as compelling as Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, it still carries its weight due to its strong voice acting.

With its dark characters, atmosphere, and violent shoot outs and actions (blowing the brains out of hostages, just to watch the splatter on the camera lens never gets old...ugh i feel dirty lol), this game won't be for everyone.

However, if you're a veteran of the franchise and can not get enough of this far from dynamic duo, you owe it to yourself to pick up this stellar sequel.

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is a wild, violent ride. Buckle up and enjoy.   read

11:44 AM on 05.13.2010

Kane and Lynch finally has their Lynch...and it's...Jamie Foxx?

Don't get me wrong, I love Jamie Foxx. I think he transitioned from comedian to an overall complete actor like few others have in the industry. However, if this isn't horrible casting I don't know what is. The dynamic that made the story for this ill-accepted game was Lynch. (most reviewers were unforgiving about the controls, but most agreed the story and the dynamic between the characters were what kept them playing. Me included)

This isn't Kane and Lynch, this is an ignorant Hollywood producer's vision on how to sell tickets. Simply make a Pulp Fiction-esque kind of film. Not only does the story of the film have absolutely nothing to do with the game, but the casting was horrible for one of the key characters to the story.

Lynch, like it or not, is a redneck psychopath with a trademark half-bald/half-mullet, thick goatee appearance. I'm not sure if they even approached him, but Billy Bob Thorton would've been absolutely perfect for the role, and I could imagine his chemistry with Willis would've made it that much better.

I can't imagine Jamie Foxx nailing the role. The look is wrong, though I'm sure he could pull off a southern accent to appear hick-ish. Everything about this film seems wrong, and just another example about how hollywood has no clue what they're doing out there. The mission is to sell tickets, not make movies. Based on the story and casting, could've easily given this film another name, probably wouldn't sell as well though.

I was really looking forward to this film as well. Had the chance to be one of the most violent, and enjoyable video game adaptations.   read

9:58 AM on 02.16.2010

Touch 'Em All: Sneak Preview at MLB 10: The Show

Latest blog is up at

It's a sneak peek at Sony's hit MLB franchise. 2K Games is going to have their hands full with this monster on the horizon, and I just don't think Million Dollar perfect game is going to be enough. Hope you guys enjoy. Later I'll be posting my top five sports games of all-time. Will be interested to see your take on it. Take Care Fellow Gamers!   read

6:08 PM on 02.10.2010

Top 10 Video Game Trailers

I won't waste the time explaining how impactful a video game trailer could be in getting you into purchase mode. These were the top 5 trailers that had the most effect on me...and are just flat-out enjoyable.

10) The Darkness

9) Mortal Kombat II

8) Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

7) Team Fortress 2 (Part of the Orange Box)

6) The Old Republic

5) God of War III

4) Gears of War

3) Killzone 2

2) Dragon Age: Origins

1) Mass Effect 2 (TV Spot)
[embed]163252:27309[/embed]   read

10:09 PM on 02.08.2010

Making a Career, Thanks to Destructoid Community Blogs

I'm certainly enjoying my time posting blogs here on It's been a great way to communicate with fellow gamers on various aspects of the world of gaming. It has also served as a way to gain some exposure as well in the field of journalism. While I will continue to post blogs here, I will also be posting links to my blogs on

My blogs there will be specifically for the sports gaming world. Since it is a website/webcast based in the sports world. I will be reviewing sports titles retro and new, as well as giving in depth previews of sports games on the horizon.

The first of my retro reviews is the classic NES baseball game, and in my opinion, still the best baseball game I ever played...Baseball Stars.

There is a link below to the Blog. Sign Up to keep updated and of course to leave feedback. It's been one of the many things I've enjoyed most about blogging here and would love to see it carry over to this great site as well. Hope you all enjoy, and look forward to hearing from you. Thanks Ahead of Time. :)

Andy   read

4:24 PM on 02.01.2010

UFC Undisputed 2010 vs. MMA 2010 Which Are You Looking Forward To MMA Fans?

In recent years Mixed Martial Arts has seen a boom. It has ultimately become the ultimate combat sport. Boxing's lackluster heavyweight division and fading stars are taking a back seat to the rising stars of MMA, stars like Anderson "Spider" Silva, Forrest Griffin, and Brock Lesnar.

Dana White and the UFC is leading the charge, with it's sister company WEC following closely behind, as well as Strikeforce. With the exception of a few fighters, boxing is seeing it's "sweet science" being eclipsed by a more visceral chess match which takes place in the octagon.

MMA is looking to get sanctioned this year in New York, and it has been rumored that the UFC would make their New York debut event at Madison Square Garden. Which, if you wanted to make a proper comparison, would be like the Red Sox calling Yankee Stadium home and selling out.

With such a potential big event, and two new MMA games coming our way 2010 looks to be a very good year for MMA fans everywhere. The interesting part between the two upcoming games is the storyline which has taken place behind the scenes.

EA Sports is set to release MMA 2010, which is headlined by appearances by Fedor Emelianenko and Nick Diaz. EA is certainly no stranger to the sports world...but their sudden interest in MMA certainly struck a nerve with the man at the helm of UFC, the always out-spoken Dana White.

"EA Sports told us, 'You're not a real sport,'" White said. "'We wouldn't touch this thing. We want nothing to do with this.' "

White also went as far as issuing and ultimatum to MMA fighters who are looking to break into the UFC somewhere down the road, that appear in EA's upcoming title. "You won't be in the UFC," White said.

"You know what the difference is," White asks. "I'm in the mixed martial arts business. EA isn't.

"EA doesn't give a [expletive] about mixed martial arts. They made that very clear."

Aside from a monster line up of premier fights coming our way for the spring, UFC is also preparing for their sequel to the THQ game, UFC: Undisputed.

UFC: Undisputed 2010 looks to refine the grappling dynamic which was implemented in the first game, as well as improve the ground and submission controls.

Both MMA games look promising in the early trailers but EA will have a lot of pressure to try and show up the company they believed to be more "disgusting" and "not a real sport", according to White.

Personally, EA has a lot more to prove. To snub what has become the premier combat sport organization only to try and make a game of your own, in a sport you didn't take seriously, with a less star-studded all-star'll be an understatement to say the pressure is on EA to make a high quality MMA game.

The submission and grappling was a little cumbersome for THQ's first attempt at an MMA game, if they managed to flesh out all the tweaks that seemed to be needed, UFC: Undisputed 2010 will have my pick for the MMA crown in 2010.

Trailer for MMA 2010

UFC: Undisputed 2010

( Excerpts taken from Dana White interview on )   read

12:18 AM on 01.13.2010

Random Video Game Reviews #1: Fire Pro Wrestling D (Sega Dreamcast)

I loved my Sega Dreamcast...I still love it in fact. I still find myself being drawn to it more so than most of my other next-gen systems. Why you ask? Well it's not because of big name franchises like Sonic, or obscure masterpieces like Jet Grind Radio.'s for the imports. One import in particular actually.

Fire Pro Wrestling, to me, is the greatest wrestling game franchise of all-time. It's simple 2D graphics mask the complexities that dwell beneath. Like watching wrestling in japan, or old-school tapes of the AWA days, the art of wrestling in the Fire Pro series is a sweet science.

Ultimately, it's an advanced game of rocks,papers,scissors. That's the easiest and best way to describe it. I first got my taste of the series with my Sega Saturn, where I got a hold of Fire Pro Wrestling: 6-Man Scramble.

The features for my young mind were mind blowing. Faction creations, wrestler creations, move list creations, referee creations, belt and ring creations. 6-man battle royals where the only way to win is by pinfall or submission.

It was a masterpiece that couldn't have been made any better...or so I thought. This is where Fire Pro Wrestling D came in. All features were retained, just made better. Others, like the exploding deathmatch, were added as sheer icing on the cake.

Where to start...first, the absolute endless supply of wrestlers from all over the world, from every federation known to man. Want Hayabusa vs. Rob Van Damn vs. The Rock vs. Vader? Go right ahead. Want Stan Hanson vs. Tazz vs. Terry Funk? Be my guest. Wrestlers from WCW,WWE,ECW, and various other Japanese and Mexican federations all bundled into this one disc of wrestling goodness. Not to mention a plethora of slots for your own created wrestlers.

Next, the A.I. I have yet to encounter AI in any smackdown game that matches that which is found here. You will feel like you were in a real pro wrestling match after you are done. After I say this, people ask me if the game is hard. I always say no, it isn't hard. It's exciting. It's everything a wrestling match should be.

Near falls, last minute counters, finishers pulled out of nowhere...the game is as exciting to watch as it is to play. That's not an exaggeration. You will be sweating and cheering until you hear that 3 count. One thing I will guarantee, you won't be upset or feel cheated if you lose a fight. It's one of those rare games, that are just so much fun to watch and play that you just simply tip your cap to the computer for a fight well fought and than just come back for seconds.

As far as features go, there is no story mode ala Smackdown vs Raw. Honestly, this game doesn't need it. If the Smackdown vs. Raw series ditched the story mode to adopt Fire Pro Wrestling D's gameplay, I could live with fact I'd prefer it.

I don't care about cheesey stories, with terrible voice work. Give me exciting, splash mountain off the top rope matches filled with counters, near falls, and high risk moves that'll make Jeff Hardy blush.

Instead of terrible story modes, Fire Pro Wrestling gives you 4 titles to fight for. Cruiserweight, Heavyweight, Tag-Team, and 6-Man Tag Team belts.

There is also the battle royal mode which has been upped to 8-man battle royals, as compared to the previous 6-man in prior versions.

Also included is the exploding, electrified steel cage mages, and the barbed-wire exploding table matches. There is no shortage of blood in these brutal matches. In fact, at any given time you could just start bleeding in any match. There's no greater feeling than being in an 8-man battle royal and getting cut early in the fight only to outlast everyone and be the last, bloodied and exhausted wrestler in the ring.

That's another thing, there's no health bar or momentum meter, or even a finisher icon. You have to work for every finishing move or powerful move you want to land. The toll the match takes on your wrestler is visible by watching your wrestler or opponent. If you work on the legs the wrestler will limp, neck and he'll grasp his neck in agony and roll around the ring with the next DDT or piledriver you perform. Exhausted? He'll start gasping for air and take longer to get up to his feet after performing a move.
So spammers need nod apply to this game.

The graphics, while simple in both texture and animation play second fiddle. This game is all about the gameplay and no other wrestling game on the planet does it better. Til this day I'm still discovering moves I never knew existed. Every single wrestler in this game has their own distinctive move set.

No other wrestling game matches its gameplay, I don't care how pretty they make the graphics or dumb bra and panty gimmicks they add. The greatest wrestling game of all-time has been out for quite a while, and if you are a hardcore wrestling fan I'd suggest doing everything you can to get it. If you own a Sega Dreamcast already...than you're halfway there.   read

11:42 PM on 01.08.2010

Top 10 Holy Sh*T!!! Moments In Gaming (May Have Spoilers)

Every now and then, during our gaming journey we find moments which are etched into our memory. Moments that for some reason or another, make us literally call out "Holy Sh*t!!!"

These, are MY Top 10 Holy Sh*t!!! Moments

10) "Jackie's Girl Gets Whacked" (The Darkness)

The darkness is a (pun intended) Dark storyline. There's no way around that. However, one of the few tender moments in a game that you don't expect to have one, is when Jackie goes into his apartment and the player is introduced to his girlfriend, Jenny.

She surprises him with a birthday cake, they sit down and watch a movie, you are made to have a sense of warmth and security and it's played to perfection. Flash forward toward the end of the beginning of the game, where the darkness is beginning to take control and torment Jackie, and you are brought to one of the most disturbing and helpless moments in gaming. The darkness restrains Jackie and you are forced to watch as your uncle blows the brains out of the woman you love.

9) First Time Using the "BFG" (Doom)

Doom can be a very challenging game. It's a hell of a lot of fun...but it could still be a pain in the ass. Endless swarms of demons who increase in equalizer is needed. Meet the BFG. It's a god amongst weapons and the first time I fired it at a horde of Imps and Pinkies, you could not wipe that deviously satisfied smile off my face. There are no such things as odds as long as you have this bad boy loaded and ready to go.

8) Opening Moments (God of War)

Most games give you a gradual tutorial to get you into the swing of things. God of War figures the only way you'll get a feel for Kratos is to witness from the beginning what an utter badass he is. How to do tracking down and defeating a 3-headed hydra. Watching the final moments of the battle, as you wrestle with the last hydra head until it finally impales right through its eyes...AND you travel in its mouth to remove a key from a man's neck as you kick him into the stomach...that's a stand out "Holy shit this is one badass motherf**er" moment.

7) Chainsaw=Who needs ammo? (Gears of War)

Ran out of ammo? Need to make a final push but no guns seem to be in range? Are you worried...? No. You laugh in the face of your enemies. Why? Sneak up on them and rip that unsuspecting shmuck to shreds with that lovely little device attached to your standard issue assault rifle. Few moments in gaming are as satisfying.

6) End Sequence (Mark of Kri)

Sword? Check. Axe? Check. Bow and Arrow? Check. Warpaint for your face? Check. In one of the most underrated games to be released for the PS2 The Mark of Kri itself has many holy sh*t moments. Whether you're impaling someone into the wall, or jamming the blade of your sword through someone's head as they wrestle and eventually lay helpless on the floor...brutal is a kind word to describe this game.

However, as brutal as this game is...nothing could prepare you for the end sequence. It alone solidified Kri as the most underrated badass in gaming for me. Just as you believe the villain would live to fight another day, assume your hero will take the righteous high road...Kri turns and launches his massive axe at the villain splitting his skull and impaling him into the back of his throan chair with a frozen look of horror etched in a sketch drawing. Credits rolled. Great moment indeed.

5) Killer 7

I'd love to say one moment stands out above all of the rest...but I'd simply be lying to you. This entire game had me saying "Holy sh*t!!!" for so many reasons I could not even fathom. Its a work of art and a disturbing trip into the human psyche. No one moment claims this spot. Its a holy sh*t moment in itself. Certainly a game you should try at least once, just to say you went down that rabbit hole.

4) Realizing You Could Go Absolutely Psycho (GTA 3)

GTA 3 introduced the sanbox-style game to us, and also reminded us how twisted we could be. Going psycho enough to summon the U.S. army? A truly satisfying holy sh*t moment.

3) Witnessing Your First Fatality (Mortal Kombat)

Parents said Holy Sh*t!!! because it offended them. Kids said Holy Sh*t!!! because it made their parents say Holy Sh*t!!!...and it was just awesome when you were finally able to pull it off.

2) The Nuke (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare)

One of your boys has gone down and its up to you to retrieve him and bring him home. Its an epic moment when you feel the rescue is complete...than in the distance you see the boom and a horrifying ride through a nuclear attack begins. You watch through the point of view of your dying soldier as he crawls out his crashed helicopter, hearing his last breaths before the horrific scene finally fades to black.

1) Death of an Angel (FFVII)

No moment in gaming shocked me more than the somber scene of Aeris' death in the RPG classic Final Fantasy VII. Its a sentiment shared by most gamers who had played through this tragic scene. Very few times has a game gotten me emotionally involved. I could count less than a handful of times, til this day this one remains the king of them all. A holy sh*t moment to rule them all.   read

8:58 PM on 01.07.2010

Top Ten Games of the Decade

This will be a much debated topic i'm sure. Here are the rules, only one game per franchise (can't put an original and sequel together in the same list, so choose wisely.) Also, give a reason as to why you feel the game chosen deserves to be on the list. This is my personal list, would love to see yours. So by all means respond with them if you can.

1) God of War (PS2)

While the sequel is superior in every fashion, the original God of War was when the world was introduced to the tormented, badass soul of Kratos...and video game anti-heroes were never the same again. Whether he was jamming a blade down a minotaurs mouth, ripping medusa's head off, or being covered in the ashes of the wife and child he slayed, Kratos...unlike any video game character made you feel his pain, his torment, and his vengeance.

2) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Rebuplic (XBOX)

Flat out, the greatest star wars game of all-time, and my first dive into games developed by bioware. The choices to be jedi or sith, this was a true RPG experience where the choices you made literally altered the face of the universe you played in. Will your allies follow you to the dark side? Or will you turn your force against them? The choice was there. Music, gameplay, voice acting, it was all a recipe for one of the most immersive games I've ever played.

3) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PS2)

Challenging, whimsical, beautiful for its time. The Prince moved with the grace and fluidity that built the foundation for games like Assassin's Creed. Two other sequels were released but held a much darker tone than The Sands of Time. From the Prince's interactions with the gamer (When you die and start over the Prince says "Oh wait...that's not how it happened." Classic moment in itself), the ingenious addition of controlling the sands of time in order to correct mistakes which otherwise would've cost you your life...Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time offered one of the most memorable gaming experiences I've ever had.

4) Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2)

Grand Theft Auto III brought the sandbox gameplay to gamers when it debuted for the PS2. Vice City perfected it. Where Grand Theft Auto III failed was in its story telling. The supporting cast was memorable, but the main character had no voice, no persona. Vice City corrected this by not only giving you both, but having him played by Ray Liotta which took it to another level. A great supporting cast like Burt Reynolds, Luis Guzman, Dennis Hopper, Tom Sizemore, Gary Busy, Danny Trejo, and William Fichtner fleshed out, in my opinion...The Best of the Graft Theft Auto Series.

5) Racthet and Clank (PS2)

The benchmark for 3D action platforming. Weapons, endearing and hilarious cast, equally entertaining story. The greatest 3D action platformer I ever played, and it only got better with its sequels.

6) MLB The Show 2009 (PS3)

Greatest Baseball Game of All-Time. 'Nuff said. Gameplay, features, road to the show, presentation, downloadable updated rosters. Perfect.

7) Dragon Age: Origins (XBOX 360)

Bioware did it again taking the winning formula of Knights of the Old Republic, and tossed it into the realm of dungeons, dragons, orcs, and elves. A Tolkein dork's wettest dream.

8) X-Men Legends 2 (PS2)

Massive Cast. Putting a team of Wolverine, Rogue, Juggernaut, and Colossus makes you truly appreciate how powerful these characters are. Activision gave us what is still in my opinion, the greatest super hero game of all-time. (Also have to love how awesome they made Nightcrawler. Hey Kyra...BAMF!)

9) Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3)

At the time the greatest looking console game (its sequel seems to have taken that title again). The shortcomings in the gunplay are what dropped this game down to 9 on the list. Other than that, great voice acting, soundtrack, graphics, characters, story...Uncharted made you glad you owned a PS3 and remains one of the franchises which will drive this system forward.

10) Fatal Frame (PS2)

The slogging zombies of past Resident Evil games, the speedy zombies of Left 4 Dead, have nothing on the sheer horror and suspense which attacks your heart and your senses in Fatal Frame. You are armed with only a camera which forces you to face your fears. Silence was never so frightening. Play it alone, in the dark, with surround sound or volume lifted, and you will be driven into a true survival horror experience.

*Honorable Mentions: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare   read

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