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2:24 PM on 05.08.2008

So I went to Chuck E. Cheese's last night.

Yes, last night, to celebrate a friend’s late birthday, we traveled to the magical place known as Chuck E. Cheese’s, home of giant rats, pizza, and arcade games. It was my first time in one of those places since I was like, 11, and it was surely a surreal feeling.

There was no guy in a rat suit, thankfully, but there was a giant animatronic Chuck E. who stood next to a little stage, randomly waving his arms, blinking, and trying to dance or talk. There were also three little screens up towards the ceiling where a weird, ATHF-style Flash cartoon played in between music videos of guys in animal costumes playing basketball with normal humans to the tune of “It’s A Beautiful Morning.” The employees there seemed pretty miserable, except for when they’d wander over and play the basketball game, in which case they’d come to life and actually speak and stuff, before eventually going back to vacuuming and being pissy.

The pizza was pretty good, as were the breadsticks, though a bit expensive. But that’s not the point of the blog. In the arcade, there were some particularly interesting games, but we only got the chance to play two.

The first being Mario Kart Arcade GP 2. Wait, what?

I knew they released a Mario Kart arcade game, our local theater had it a couple of years back, but a sequel? Really? I never heard of this.

Two-player racing didn’t work, as evidenced by the machine eating two tokens, so my friend did one race and I did another, both in a Waluigi circuit as Donkey Kong. The first thing we noticed was the announcer. I’ve never played a Mario Kart with an announcer, and it was TERRIBLE. “DONKEY KONG! Shot an ITEM! Did it MISS?!” “LUIGI! Is falling! BEHIND!” According to Wikipedia, it’s from some Japanese voice actor who is apparently quite popular. Well, I guess that kind of makes sense.

What also makes sense is the fact that one of the new playable characters is…A TAMAGOTCHI. Yes. Tamagotchi. It was interesting enough that this one and the last one had Pac Man characters in them, but why the fuck is there a Tamagotchi?

The other game, in my opinion, was far more entertaining, but just as effed up: Let’s Go Jungle!: Lost on the Island of Spice.

Our cabinet did not look like that, unfortunately. There was nothing to sit in. The game is a rail shooter from Sega, probably put together by the same guys responsible for the House of the Dead games and Ghost Squad. The guns were mounted to the front of the cabinet, fully automatic, with no need to reload. You play as those two ridiculously looking teenagers, the girl having a strange British accent that doesn’t fit at all and the guy having a true Pinocchio nose. The first level had us in the back of a mad Jeep being driven by uhh, no one, and we were shooting at giant insects. It was surprisingly a hell of a lot fun, and I’d love to check it out again, especially since we only made it five seconds into the second level before giant leeches killed us.

Really, that’s the reason I love arcades, is because you can walk in there and see a game cabinet that you’ve NEVER heard of before, and it happens far more often than just walking through Gamestop looking for something to buy. There was another lightgun game I wanted to try called Johnny Nero: Action Hero.

Looks sweet, eh? God I love arcades…   read

9:30 AM on 04.16.2008

Xyanide, or, why I hate myself and people who own Ikaruga

I almost wish I had an Xbox 360. I almost wish I didn’t buy a Wii. I REALLY wish I had a time machine. And it’s all because of Ikaruga.

See, I got the game the very week it came out on the Gamecube, as a birthday gift I specifically asked for. Around the same time, I also bought a beautiful, amazing, and VERY useful Airflow controller as well. Did anyone else have one of those? They were wonderful things, controllers with fans built into the holey handles designed to keep your hands from getting hopelessly sweaty during hardcore gaming sessions, and I got it SPECIFICALLY for Ikaruga. Okay, it was flawed, any time it rumbled, the fan would go off, so I eventually just turned that off and kept the fan on the highest setting at all times, but it was nice, and I can‘t find any pictures of them online, so you probably don‘t believe me. Dammit.

And then my Gamecube coughed up a lung and died. So I traded it in to Gamestop and got an Xbox, but, being a stupid 9th grader, I also got rid of all of my games, controllers, and memory cards. Even the Airflow. Everything went to Gamestop EXCEPT for Ikaruga, which I sold to a friend from school.

Here’s where I wish I could have a time machine, to stop myself. Oh, if only I had the foresight to know I’d be getting a completely backwards-compatible Wii!

In the years that passed, there’s been an Ikaruga-sized hole in my heart, a longing to go back and play that wonderful game. And then I see it’s been released on XBLA. I hate every single one of you who downloaded it, just so you know, because I CAN’T.

So I tried to fill that hole, and just the other day I went out and bought an Xbox game called Xyanide, 5 bucks at Blockbuster.

No, it’s not Ikaruga, but it’s still pretty good. It didn’t come with the instruction manual (damn you Blockbuster!), so I don’t really know anything about the subtleties of the weapons and such, but I can tell you that even on the second-lowest setting (because I refuse to play as Novice until I get the pride kicked out of me), it certainly provides its share of bullet hell moments.

Plus, it’s the first shmup I’ve ever played that has CINEMATICS. They’re not great, mind you, but they’re still pretty cool. The story is that your warship was supposed to be transporting this witch that just looks like a pale little girl to some…place that looks like a huge void. An asteroid made up of a substance called Xyanide crashes into the ship she’s on, and impales her, infusing her with the stuff, which happens to have the wonderful ability of materializing her thoughts. So she attempts a daring getaway, creating and sending lots of ships to destroy you.

While I’ve never played Geometry Wars, all the reviews I see compare it to that, since you control the ship with the left stick and shoot in all directions with the right stick. Things get freaking hectic and I die a lot.

As I said, it’s not Ikaruga, and I plan on calling up that friend I sold my Gamecube copy to in the hopes that after 5 years he still has it, so I can buy it back from him. But still, if you’re a fan of space shooters, you should at least give Xyanide a shot, especially since it’s pretty damn cheap.

Now excuse me while I go weep about the loss of my beautiful Airflow controller…but at least I know Treasure is developing two completely new 3D games for the Wii. Here’s hoping for a Sin & Punishment sequel, eh?   read

11:32 AM on 03.16.2008

Thanks Brawl, both my Gamecube controllers are messed up now!

Yes yes, another Brawl blog, I’m sorry. If it makes you angry then go read someone else’s C-blog, I won’t mind.

So, either thanks to Brawl, or thanks to my own idiocy, both of my Gamecube controllers are messed up. Granted, they’re both third-party, so I really shouldn’t be too terribly surprised, but I learned quickly after purchasing the game that the Gamestop-brand white piece of crap controller’s joystick was messed up. My cursor for the character/level select stuff always travels down screen on its own, and when I’m actually fighting, whoever I picked sometimes can’t decide whether they want to be standing or ducking, or I’ll just be standing still and tap A and they’ll do their down-A attack.

I cast it aside and switched to my Mad Catz controller, which I liked more to begin with, and it worked fine for days up until I was in the middle of going through Classic Mode on Hard with Sonic, when the A button started getting STUCK. So I paused the game, switched BACK to the white Gamestop controller, and stuck with it, even through 4 hours of online matches (Das Inchworm totally kicked my ass so hard I was wearing it for a hat) until it just got too bad yesterday.

So now, after wrestling for 15 minutes with the thing trying to come up with a working custom control setup, I’m using my Classic Controller, thus sapping the battery life from my Wii remote. But I can’t be the only one, can I? Are any other Dtoiders using something OTHER than the tried and true Gamecube controller?

Also, I’ve set up a Flickr folder for my Brawl Snapshots. Only 11 shots in there right now, but hey, I’m sure it’ll grow soon…   read

4:24 PM on 03.11.2008

Brawl Spectator Mode Shenanigans

So, like everyone else, I picked up Brawl on midnight Saturday night. Or Sunday morning. Whatever, time never made much sense to me. I’ve been playing the hell out of it and enjoying every moment of it.

I tried the online deal yesterday with my friend, and he and I had many epic brawls before tiring out and exchanging levels we’d made and pictures we took, which is incredibly fun and highly recommended.

After he logged off though, I decided to give Spectator mode a try. It’s actually kind of neat. I lost a lot of coins because no one knows how to play as Bowser or Falco it seems, but I also got lucky and managed to nab back most of my lost coins on a few close matches that were a lot of fun to watch.

And then the game offers me a “Bonus Chance,” that is, the opportunity to make a shit ton more coins than your normally would win upon placing a bet. So I agreed, the line up was Snake versus Snake versus Captain Falcon versus Falco. I put my coins on Captain Falcon.

…And then the battle began, and I wanted to hurl something at my TV.

The game didn’t mess up, it wasn’t lag or anything like that, but the fight was not a fight at all…it was 2 minutes of IDIOCY. I don’t think there were actual people playing, I think someone just handed 4 controllers over to some chimps that had been hit in the head a few times. All they did was jump up and down, taunt, jump some more, run around, and jump even more. And Captain Falcon broke his own shield, both Snakes killed themselves at one point, and I just wanted to cry. My “Bonus Chance” was wasted because some total retards got online to jump up and down on Final Destination and not actually, you know, FIGHT.

But then I wondered if any of mine and my friend’s fights were recorded, specifically the one where we both accidentally picked Snake and spent a good minute just getting in our boxes and shooting missiles at each other…

Regardless, I went into Spectator mode expecting to see wonderful examples of wanton douchebaggery and instead I got some cool matches and a shining example of what happens when the brain leaks out from your ears.

Hopefully it won’t happen again, but has anyone else encountered stuff like this?

Also, because I’m looking to play online with more people than just my one friend, and because the With Anyone function is currently broken, I offer you all my friend code, and should you decide to add me, leave yours in the comments I suppose:

Friend Code: 4811-6615-2769

I go by Edge on there. No, not like the wrestler. Be my friend, plz?   read

4:18 PM on 02.11.2008

My first Half-Life experience. God bless Gordon Freeman.

The Brawl delay is actually somewhat of a good thing: It forces me to go out with what little money I have and try to find some decent, cheap games that I otherwise wouldn’t really bother with under most other circumstances. This led me to making two purchases: P.N.03, and Half-Life 2.

As you can tell from the above picture and title of this C-blog, I will NOT be talking about P.N.03, though the delightful blandness, awkward controls, and lack of story warrant a completely different entry itself. But that’s for another day!

No, I’d like to admit that before today, I have never played a Half-Life game before, ever. Sure, one of my friends used to have both games, the PS2 port of the first game and Xbox port of HL2 (which is what I purchased today), but he never was too willing to show much to me. No, he’d play for about 10 minutes, get frustrated, and then put another game in, leaving me befuddled and curious as ever. I knew the games got rave reviews, but never really got WHY they were so great…

…That is, until I stumbled upon Destructoid and saw the love this community gives Valve and all their games. After some reading up and such, I decided I really wanted to try out one of the games, to see for one thing what all the fuss is about, and for another thing to play a game that’s actually GOOD science fiction and not some half-assed bullshit like Halo or the aforementioned P.N.03.

I’m only two hours into Half-Life 2 on the Xbox, but my God, it is the greatest two hours I’ve spent on anything in recent memory.

I’m sure most of you people were already fans of the first game when HL2 came out and started playing the game with a huge gleeful grin on your face, but probably for separate reasons than my own. Oh yes, I was smiling, but not from nostalgic memories like a real fan would’ve been doing. The game booted up, and some mysterious old man was talking to me, speaking cryptically, and I had no clue what he was rambling about. One line latched onto my brain though: “The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.” I knew I was in for an awesome experience.

Next thing I know I’m getting off a train in a place called City 17. A hovering little robot thing zips up to me, snaps a picture, then flies off as I turn towards a huge screen overhead where a man (apparently a face familiar to those who played the first game) welcomes me to the city in a strange, haunting voice. Thoughts of the novel (and movie adaptation of) 1984 immediately spring to my mind as I stand in awe, watching and listening to this man before turning my attention to a guard with a gasmask and distorted voice harassing some poor guy. The thoughts continue lingering as I realize that everyone is in blue jumpsuits and the city certainly isn’t as wonderful as the man on the screen was saying. I was instantly sucked in.

After a bit of dicking around and pissing off the guards and running into an old friend named Barney, the game suddenly goes from one science fiction title to another: before long I’m running through a building being chased and shot at by those masked guys, being directed by citizens shouting “over here!” or “get to the roof!” That’s when I’m instantly hit with the same feelings I had when I watched one of the greatest movies of recent years: Children of Men.

If you haven’t seen Children of Men, get off your ass and grab the DVD. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

And then there’s the teleporter mishap somewhat later on. That’s pure classic science fiction, and one of the greatest examples of keeping the narrative as part of the gameplay as opposed to using a cutscene. I loved that.

To keep this blog from being too long, I’ll stop there. Just know that as a newcomer to this incredible science fiction universe, I now understand what all the hype is about and I am sucked in. Gah, if only I had a 360, PS3, or high-end PC so I could nab the Orange Box! And, you know, I’d like to somehow find the original as well…

And yes, I’m aware the other versions of Half-Life 2 are superior to the Xbox version, since this one is crammed with a lot of load times, but honestly? It doesn’t bother me. Those moments give me time to actually BREATHE and think back on what I had just accomplished and wonder just what the hell will be coming next!

(Gordon Freeman should’ve totally been in Brawl, crowbarring people left and right!)

-Brett   read

2:21 PM on 02.06.2008

The Trouble with Fire Pokémon

(NOTE: This only applies to Red/Blue/Green. I have not played the future games, so you'll have to educate me on how things are in them, as I am an idiot.)

I do not like Fire Pokémon. I never really have one on my team, and I've figured out specifically WHY.

And it's not just because picking Charmander at the beginning of the game makes the game itself slightly tougher, no. That's a pointless argument, because I ALWAYS pick Squirtle. ALWAYS.

The problem with Fire-type Pokémon is this:

While they do have a slightly higher attack stat than most other Pokémon it seems, there's just not a large number of Fire-types, at least in Red and Blue/Green. There may be more of them in the later games, but I know next to nothing about them and therefore am not an expert with those.
But seriously, in Fire Red, if you do not pick Charmander, like I didn't, and you want a Fire-type Pokémon, there's not a lot to choose from. There's Growlithe, Ponyta, and Moltres. And Flareon, should you choose to give your Eevee the Fire Stone (I didn't). That's four, count'em, FOUR Pokémon to choose from, not including the evolutions of Growlithe and Ponyta, since Arcanine requires a Fire Stone and I can't remember whether or not you can actually catch a Rapidash. If you have Blue/Leaf Green, Growlithe/Arcanine is replaced by Vulpix/Ninetales, and you have one extra choice, the immensely goofy-looking (but admittedly loveable) Magmar. So, including Charmander and everyone's evolutions, that gives you a whopping...ELEVEN fire-types. Eleven out of one hundred and fifty Pokémon. Laym.

Compare that the much larger number of Water and Grass-type Pokémon. No, I'm not going to count those, you can do that yourselves. Our firey friends are quite outnumbered.

And even if you do have one or two Fire-types on your team, that doesn't necessarily put you at a huge advantage...unless you have Moltres, but having ANY Legendary bird will put you at a nice advantage, and the same goes for Charizard if you did pick Charmander in the beginning.
Fire is only Super Effective against three other types: Bug, Grass, and Ice. Now granted, no single element dominates over all other elements, but of the three that Fire can destroy, it's kind of screwed.

For one thing, with only a few exceptions, none of the higher-level trainers actually use Bug-type Pokémon. They're like a novelty for kids. Once you pass about halfway through the game, the number of Bug Catchers just drops significantly you hardly trouble yourself with insects ever again, aside from the few exceptions. And, you know, while fighting a Weedle or Caterpie is like bullying a small child, fighting Kakuna and Metapod is like fighting a paraplegic with downs syndrome, there's nothing to brag about there, and I don't care what level it's at.

Now there ARE a lot of Grass-type Pokémon, but they are by no means helpless. Most of them, in fact, are dual-type, the majority of those paired up with Poison. And any seasoned trainer can tell you how quickly the Poison status ailment can seriously fuck you up. You also run across some Grass/Ground-types, like Venusaur. And hey look, Ground attacks are Super Effective against Fire! Unless, once again, you're using Moltres. And while I mentioned Poison, let us not forget the other status ailments that any good Grass-type loves to hit you with: Sleep and Paralysis! You're screwed if your Fire-type is slower than it's opponent, I'm afraid.

But wait, I hear some of you cry, what about the status ailment Burn? Well, we've already established that there aren't very many Fire-type Pokémon, so you're not at great risk. Honestly, I can count on one hand the number of times one of my Pokémon has burned, or been burned by, an enemy. I played a LOT of Pokémon as a kid, so out of possibly thousands of battles, a few occurances of a burn is pretty meek.

And Ice-types, well, there's a PRETTY GOOD chance that they also know at least one Water attack. And we all know what happens when water and fire meet, right kids? Exactly.

So there you have it: Fire-type Pokémon pretty much suck. Feel free to educate me if things are drastically different in the future titles, as I once owned Silver, but don't remember a single thing about it, and never really bothered after that...

-Brett   read

11:53 AM on 02.03.2008

Why No More Heroes kicks somuch ass and why Travis Touchdown should be in Brawl.

So my first entry went okay, though I realized my audience is much smarter than I am and that I do not have to fear losing people but actually fear getting lost myself. Or something like that. I don't know. Here we go again.

I am obviously a No More Heroes fan, as you can tell by my banner up on top of the blog that I slapped together in MS Paint in 2 minutes. I'll fix it eventually, I swear.

But no, seriously, I bought NMH when it came out (err, actually, the day after it was supposed to come out because no one had it until then) and now, two weeks later, I'm STILL hooked. I'm still in love with it. I haven't loved a game this much since Shadow of the Colossus. Games don't usually do this to me! It's weird! What is this feeling I'm experiencing? My pants grow tight!

I kid about that last part.

Reviews for the game are all over the place. IGN and Game Informer are just like "meh," while X-Play (Adam Sessler specifically) and Gamespot are wanking off with tears in their eyes at how marvelous the game is. It's kind of weird, almost polarizing, and from what I can tell, it's getting a bit overlooked for it's low-fi graphics, lack of multiplayer, and weirdness.

And that makes me sit up at night weeping. A game like this most certainly should NOT be ignored. It should be played and loved by the masses. But it never will be. I want you to play it and I will tell you why:

Because if you don't play this game, Travis Touchdown himself will break into your home, slice you in half with his beam katana, take a dump, AND LEAVE THE LID UP ON THE TOILET.

Well, maybe.

I just went into one or two of the reasons the game deserves love: Not since Resident Evil 4 has slaughtering masses of identical-looking enemies been so damn satisfying. Pop, off go their heads! It's impossible NOT to grin when an enemy, after being sliced in two, somehow still screams "MY SPLEEN!!" And while it is essentially a button-masher, where all you REALLY need to do is repeatedly tap the A button a lot and also dodge a lot of attacks, at least it's not a waggle-fest where you just swing your arm wildly in the hopes of hitting something. Because that's just annoying.

Also, how many other games let you slam an opponent to the ground in a tombstone piledriver before stabbing them dead? Yeah, I didn't think so. It could've been just an ordinary hack'n'slash, but seeing as how Suda51 is absatively OBSESSED with pro-wrestling, the addition of quick melee hits and wrestling throws is simply sweet and ridiculously fun. God I wish Travis would be in SSBB simply to see him throw down with Nintendo's finest. Sure, he'd have to clean up his language, but after that he'd fit right in perfectly, dammit.

And then there's the protagonist himself: Travis Touchdown is quite possibly one of my favorite videogame heroes ever now, simply because of who he is. The man goes back and forth between being a complete loser (constantly getting messages on his answering machine from Beef Head Videos concerning the colossal amount of porn he rents) and a total badass assassin ("Here's your ticket to paradise, old man") when he's living every otaku and videogamer's dream, getting a true kick out of killing.

And make no mistake, Travis is fully aware that his life is a videogame. The 8-bit pixelated menus and bleep-bloop oldschool arcade sound effects and such were not simply a great stylistic choice, they're an extension of Travis's personality and how he views the world around him. Not to mention the fact that he and a couple of other characters tend to break down the 4th wall, stomp all over it, set it on fire, and laugh maniacally as it burns.

"But what if the game gets delayed? You don't want this to become No More Heroes Forever, do you?!"

Yes, yes the game DOES take a stab at Duke Nukem Forever. In fact, it's full of pop culture jabs like that. The Star Wars references do not end with the beam katana, oh no, there's Star Wars crap EVERYWHERE. Not to mention DBZ, considering that when Travis goes into Darkside Mode, his hair goes blonde and spiky and he pretty much becomes Super-Saiyan.

And there are so many little things I love about the game too. Aside from the music itself kicking ass, there are also the several random little guitar riffs strewn about here and there that bring a smile to my face. Showing Travis's rank in the UAA as a High Score board from some top-down space shooter is wonderful. There's well over 100 shirts you can get and I want to personally own at least 50 of them. I love that Travis does mediocre jobs like lawn-mowing and rescuing kittens in between assassination gigs, I love his scream when you send him flying off a cliff on his bike, his apartment reminds me too much of my own room, and the game's dialogue is magnificently quirky and funny, especially as you approach the end and the game throws you for a loop.

I should probably slow down and try to end this thing now, I've been writing for God knows how long and I've probably bored a number of people or have just come across as a stupid fanboy wanker, so let's close this up.

No More Heroes is one of the reasons I wanted a Wii, and one of the main reasons I'm happy to own one. It was the number one game I was looking forward to even before I got my Wii, and it did not disappoint me one bit. Suda51 and Grasshopper's games deserve all the attention they can get, simply because of how unique they are. If you played Killer7 and at least thought it was different, then there's no excuse to not play No More Heroes. Aside from lack of a Wii, which could be a huge problem.

Dammit, if Suda's next game IS on the Xbox 360, as he's hinted at, I'm going to have to cough up the cash to get one. I'm a loyal follower of that man now.

Oh, and this song plays throughout the game too:


You can't deny the Jpop catchiness! You CAN'T!

All right, I'm done now. Commence to making fun of me.

-Brett   read

2:54 PM on 02.02.2008

Allow me to introduce myself.

Hi, my name is Brett, and I am a nerd and an artist. Mostly a nerd.

I'm going to be writing stuff here. All videogame related, obviously. Mostly my opinions on things, rants, and lists. I like lists. I do have a Myspace Blog that I write in all the time, but I want to try to keep it separate from this one and focus less on games there.

But before I start doing such things, I thought I'd share with you some things that I like, so you can get at least a vague idea of what kind of videogamer I am. If you don't like it, then you don't have to read what I write, because I'm warning you now: I WILL go into some obscure territory, maybe.

So, some things about me:

I do not have a very huge attention span, and not much patience either. Therefore, I am not suited for RPGs and you will rarely ever see me babbling mindlessly about them. I can count the number of RPGs I've beaten on one hand, and not a single one of them is a Final Fantasy game, though God knows I've tried multiple times. Sometimes that leaves me sitting up crying at night, sometimes I don't care.

Having this shortened attention span and a brain not very accustomed to anything really complex, I am more suited to arcade-style games. Fast action, short levels, simple gameplay. Games that can be beaten in 10 hours or less, with a lot of replayability. Most of my PS2 collection is made up of this kind of gameplay. Okay, so Ico is pretty slow, but it's still over before you realize it. Shadow of the Colossus, both God of War games, We <3 Katamari, Rez, Contra: Shattered Soldier, you get the idea?

Obviously, my tastes lean towards obscurity too. I know only a few other people who have played Psychonauts, I'm the only person I know of who owns Rez (though I wouldn't own it without help from a friend) and Killer7, my favorite RPG is the first Wild ARMs for the Playstation, and I worship just about anything that Treasure pumps out: Gunstar Heroes (and Gunstar Superheroes for the GBA), Ikaruga, and Sin & Punishment.

Sin & Punishment, by the way, is my favorite N64 game, though I never played it for the N64 since it was Japan-only, but I can still say this about the Virtual Console download of it, well worth my 12 bucks.

I cannot claim to be a huge fanboy of anything really, but Sega's got my back, even though they've been slipping downhill ever since having to go 3rd party. The Sonic games are my childhood favorites, Panzer Dragoon Orta and Jet Set Radio Future are the main reasons I still own my Xbox, they did the incredibly fast and cool F-Zero GX, Rez, Virtual get the idea. I grew up with the Genesis and gave the Dreamcast a lot of love when no one else would.

I claim Sonic first thing when Super Smash Bros. Brawl comes out in March.

So, hopefully you've sort of got an idea now of just what kind of gamer I am. I'm going to be talking about some weird things, but don't worry, I'll try not to leave you too lost. I mean, I DO enjoy Guitar Hero, and EVERYONE loves Guitar Hero, right?

[Brett]   read

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