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11:29 AM on 04.01.2009

April Fools "What if?"

In true internet fashion the gaming world made their annual April Fools Day headlines. Kotaku did something of a recap of them if you want to check that out. I woke up early for a change so I made my rounds, checking out what tom-foolery was taking place and what suckers were falling for it.

Cheap Ass Gamer had one that, while being pretty standard, offered a good satire of a company that lends itself so well to it. Apparently, the PS3 has actually undergone a price INcrease. This certainly hits the mark as being completely ridiculous, especially in all the calls for a price drop on the console, but wouldn't that just be something Sony would do? Maybe not, but there's just a glimpse of doubt there that makes you wonder.

According to Kotaku, some other website I've never heard of ran the same joke, and it got me thinking. What if several popular sites/blogs set aside their differences and all went in on one huge April Fools gag? Someone put together one phony press release, and you had Gamespot, Kotaku, 1Up, IGN, and others all citing the same thing, and all pointing fingers at each other as the point of origin. Suddenly that second of doubt about how dumb Sony really is gets some legs beneath it.

Obviously as a pretty anonymous internet persona, I have no sway on something like this....and there might be some ethical issues there anyway. But Destuctoid......maybe? It's only a year away!   read

12:19 PM on 03.30.2009

Want to know where to find Animal Crossing: City Folk friends? Go to the Animal Crossing: City Folk forums at Amazon!

If you're on the internet, you've probably used or at least heard of What you may not be aware of is that every product Amazon sells has it's own community forum. I'm not talking a reviews section here. If you scroll past the reviews, for every product there is a typically empty section called This Product's Forum. If you thought the Gamefaqs/Gamespot forums were massive, just try wrapping your head around that. Should you feel compelled to discuss the Designer Pet Saver Life Jacket, Small with someone, Amazon has a place to do it.

RE: Will my dog hate me for buying this?

What about this is game related? Well, in checking out Amazon's Video Game deal of the day (it's just some version of Bejeweled today :( ), I found myself at the bottom of the page, looking at this:

Inbetween Twilight and the PS3 sits Animal Crossing: City Folk, garnering the second most active discussion of ALL GODDAMN PRODUCTS on the site. Now my first thought about this was the recent idiocy from the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force. But no! There are people requesting friends, asking about turnip prices, and attempting to trade jack-in-the-boxes for a Master Sword. Go take a look for yourself.

Clearly the internet has spiraled out of control.   read

10:48 PM on 02.23.2009

Midgar forever! (Part 2)

In an effort to focus on something non-Street Fighter related, I thought I'd continue my FFVII adventures. If you're reading this you may want to check out the first leg of the story here.

After having seen the game breakingly epic Knights of the Round cast, it could not be soon enough that I found a copy of that game. Something like the third Best Buy I went to finally had it in stock and the game did not leave my hand until it was safely home with disc 1 in my PS2. Since anyone reading this has more than likely beaten the game a decade ago, I won't bore you with in game details, but I loved it. Coming from 8's patience testing draw system, materia quickly found it's way to my heart. The dialog and early storyline I ate up. I even managed to appreciate the ridiculously blocky character models.

However.....I was not very good at rpgs. Leveling? Multiple gear options? Limit Breaks? Yeah I didn't really grasp any of it. So when I finally reached Nibelheim (taking far longer than any reasonable person should), I found myself woefully underpowered going through Mount Nibel. And just barely scraping through them, the dreaded Materia Keeper smoked me time and again.

This thing gave me nightmares

Now a habit I've developed through games I've played reared its ugly head. Hitting a wall, then convincing myself the only option is to restart. Typically I reach a level I'm not prepared for, and all the secrets or items I've missed along the way start dancing around in my head insisting that I delete the old game and start fresh with what I've learned to that point. Saying that everything will be better then. They lie.

The thing these voices fail to mention in their save file purification is how much it can wear on a person to go back and do it all again. Soooo, I stopped playing. Cloud and the gang always hung in the back of my mind, but with school and the real PS2 library in full swing, it was just there that they stayed.

Until about two years later. Having moved from the dorms to an apartment, I now had the freedom of my own room and tv with which to catch up on games that weren't NCAA Football, NHL, or Mario Party (that's all that seemed to make it on the apartment tv). So there I was, past the Materia Keeper, through Rocket Town and the Gold Saucer, ready to finally set aside disc 1 with pride. Well, a little project a friend and I had our eyes on for a little while was finally arriving at its release date.

If you can hear the background music right now, then you know where this is going.

I've heard it said several times and it couldn't be more true.....if you play WoW, you don't really play anything else. Every other game just feels like filler when you could be hanging with your guild, improving your gear, or leveling that fourth 60. Throw in scheduled weekly raids and real life itself starts to get warped. But of course, that's another story.

I think I'm gonna stretch this out into one more part (trilogies are in these days right?). So....

12:38 AM on 02.22.2009

Nitpicking Street Fighter 4

Let me start this article by saying, "I am not qualified to judge this game." Now that that's out of the way, on to the judging! Really though, the last time I played Street Fighter was maybe 7 years ago renting SF3. My last significant time spent playing would have to be around 1996 on my Genesis. Of which, aside from among my small group of friends, I was not very good at it.

So I bought Street Fighter 4 today. I knew I would suck at it, but my fighting game hiatus has just been going on too long. I'm happy to say I remember most every SF2 character's special moves (save for Dhalsim's teleport which I could never really pull off), and the game feels very familiar. Having watched about every bit of media I could find on it, I found I even had a good grasp of the new special and ultra moves. I don't know about someone new to fighting games, but if you've ever played a Street Fighter before, the gameplay feels very intuitive. I like the game.

So what do I have to nitpick on? Wellllll, Zangief, Abel, and Seth. Possibly others too, but I'm only about 5 hours into the game. Zangief and Abel are very grapple heavy fighters. They're also fairly powerful. Coming up against them in arcade mode, I got my ass handed to me repeatedly. Playing Ken who has a somewhat limited normal attack range, it seemed like no matter what I tried, the two of them would pull me out of it and slam me down for a good fifth of my life bar....on Easy no less. Everything from a strong Shoryuken to a crouched light punch and they could just cancel it in an instant. I could come in by landing a jump kick and they would still recover and grab me in the middle of my second attack. I'd be just climbing up off the ground only to find myself in another pile driver before my punch could land. Needless to say, it was very frustrating.

It seems to me that there's two problems with this. First is that both of their grapples seem to counter everything. I'm alright with Abel's midair throw since it seems to actually make sense when he pulls it off, but the pile driver and tornado throw are like a rocket launcher in a game of paper/rock/scissors. Secondly, the time span that the computer can pull these moves off in is uncanny. I understand there are some pretty amazing players out there, but a full rotation on the d-pad takes SOME time. It doesn't seem like this was accounted for in the AI, still on Easy.

Somehow, this just seems fitting.

Now you may notice that I mentioned Seth up above, but neglected to include him in the griping. Well, another blog has done that better than I ever could.

A last couple issues from my first day in the game. The text in this game is TOO F***ING SMALL. I play on a 22" standard definition flat screen tv and I cannot read 80% of the menu text. And the move lists? Forget about it. Obviously not a game breaker here, but it's seriously annoying.

Lastly, internet play seems to be a bit....lacking. It might just be because of my bottom of the barrel skill ranking, but when I went to quick play, only 3 matches were listed at once. And the first 20 or so I entered either were already full or I was simply unable to join. I'm hoping to find some cool people to hone my skills with (If anyone wants a gracious punching bag on Xbox Live, let me know!), but I'm a little disappointed with waiting 10 minutes just to get into a "quick" match. Also, Capcom, I'm sure the world would really appreciate some sort of tournament options or something, so uh get on that, eh?

Ahhh, that feels better. Overall, I do really like the game. Just needed to vent a bit. Maybe it's just been too long since I've had to deal with the fighting game frustrations. Let's see how long my existing stock of controllers lasts.   read

7:25 PM on 02.11.2009

Midgar forever! (Part 1)

I just beat Final Fantasy 7 about a week ago. Now before you condemn me for playing it 12 years late, you're wrong. I was only 5 years late. That's right. I started playing this game in 2001.....7 years ago, and I just now vanquished Sephiroth. How does this happen you ask? (no one asked, but I'll pretend they did) Well let's start with my introduction to Midgar.

As a Nintendo faithful growing up, the N64 was my only option for that generation. It was also when I began to see more of the video game industry than what was on my local Blockbuster's shelves. And like nearly every gamer of the time, one commercial in particular absolutely blew me away.......

But it wasn't to be. The Playstation was a foreign creature. Cloud and the mysteriously robot-like Shinra building were mere fantasies percolating in my gaming subconscious. Fast-forward 5 years later to 2001 when I went away to college and blew a quarter of the spending money I'd saved from my crappy job at Panera Bread on a PS2 and none other than the ultimate epic......The Bouncer! Yeah yeah, so I was a sucker for pretty pretty cut scenes, but that's another story.

This being my first major gaming purchase with my own money, I felt seriously empowered. So much so that when I discovered my PS2 could actually play PS1 games, there was one game on my mind that I simply had to try......Final........Fantasy........8? Best Buy and their lovely Greatest Hits section failed me. Having felt that I NEEDED something walking out of there, I figured one Final Fantasy is as good as another, right? Yeahhhh. To be honest, I liked Squall, I'm still in love with Rinoa, and the way that all the characters were forced to deal with their own personal insecurities really clicked with me at the time. With that said, I was seriously embarrassed to play this game in front of my roommate. Endless text conversations (".....whatever"), hours of drawing magic, 5 minute long summons, yeah this game takes some patience, even for a Final Fantasy.

Despite my best efforts to keep my relationship with Squall a secret, a guy that lived across the hall from me found me playing it one day. Basically, his reaction was "8 is the worst one! Why are you playing that?" From there he proceeded to pull me away from the game, load up FF7 on his own PS2, and show me proof of how awesome it is by way of asking 12 knights he happens to know to dice a certain long white haired Yaoi to pieces........SOLD!

This is running quite a bit longer than I intended, so I've decided to call this part one and end it here.

Upcoming in Part 2!
How it took so fricking long to beat this game, what it meant to finally beat it, Dirge of Cerebrus: the unbeatable sequel, and more!   read

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