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3:07 PM on 06.29.2011

Castle & Star Ocean 2's Complicated Relationship

Star Ocean: The Second Story is one of those games I have a love/hate relationship with. It’s like being in a romantic relationship with an idiot that gives you great sex, and it took me nearly a decade to actually realize how much of a ditz Star Ocean 2 really was. Why, the realization hit me while I was playing it a few days ago, actually.

When I fired up the ol’ PSX and popped the game in, all I could think of was how much fun I was going to have. I remembered spending hours upon hours grinding for levels, Skill Points, and Proficiency for my Killer Moves. Star Ocean 2’s combat system is extensive, and does a great job at keeping you entertained throughout the many battles you’ll have. Not to mention the “Skills” feature, which is unnecessary, but fun to tinker with. This is tri-Ace’s specialty, after all. However, once I started getting into the story its stupidity started coming at me en masse.

I’m playing as the Earthling Claude, just arriving on an alien planet called Expel (through some means that is never really explained) in time to save Rena – the co-protagonist – from a monster. After slaying the creature, Claude and Rena begin talking. I don’t think you read me. I said that Claude, the Earthling, and Rena, the Expelian start having a comprehensive conversation. How? Fuck how. It’s never explained. Does Claude possess some sort of translator? If so it’s never mentioned, and the gamer is left wondering. It bothered me, but I decided to ignore it. Adult Castle wasn’t going to ruin Teen Castle’s memories, god damn it.

I soon learned that the nonexistent language barrier wasn’t the only hole though. There’s a crap load more where that came from, and the game’s writer and director don’t seem to fucking care. Another example, Energy Nede is a 700 Million year old civilization that uses endangered animals to travel by sea and air. This civilization had ruled the galaxy once upon a time, and they don’t have airships or boats or submarines? What the hell?

The dialogue is horrendous. I mean, even by Shonen standards it’s bad. Aside from typical cornballery, the characters have this terrible habit of echoing whatever an NPC tells them while the NPC is trying to explain something, ruining the pace of the scene and making you wish you could enter the game and summon the Knights of the Round. Don’t get me started on when the characters try to get philosophical. It’s fucking laughable.

Not to mention the characters just aren’t worth caring for. Their actions and the things they say are fucking absurd most of the time. New characters join your party with unclear or nonexistent motiviations. One character abandoned his wife and business to join Claude and Rena simply because he wanted to have an adventure. How did his wife take it? Pretty fucking well. She was upset, sure, but she knew that he wouldn’t just abandon her out of the blue unless he was “serious” (I shit you not). That, and he porked her before he left.

Private Actions are there to flesh out the characters a bit; however, they don’t do much for characterization except make you hate the characters more. And, as I’ve mentioned before, the dialogue is horrible, and that’s all Private Actions are. Every time the option for a Private Action appears, it feels like the “Does this make me look fat?” question that will bring me pain no matter what kind of answer I provide.

The plot gets weaker as the game carries on. I won’t spoil, but this game has a habit of causing the characters intense pain and suffering, only to cop out at the last minute. It’s fucking irritating.

Still... I have spent 22 hours on that game. Yes, 22 fucking hours, because the “sex” is sooo good. I had told my cousin that I “probably hate Star Ocean 2,” and he replied, “Dude, you hated it way back then. You had like 80-plus hours invested, and you were complaining the entire time.” And he was fucking right. 15-year-old Castle was in an abusive relationship with Star Ocean 2, but the sex was awesome, so he pocketed all the pain the game had caused him in the recesses of his mind.

*Sniff* Fuck Star Ocean: The Second Story. While I’m at it, fuck Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, too (that’s a whole ‘nother blog, man).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go back to grinding in the Minhe Cavern so Claude and his party can finally reach level 90.   read

6:22 PM on 05.19.2011

I've Returned... Again.

Some of you that follow this sorry excuse for a blog may wonder where I keep heading off. Others could give two shits. Well, to the curious, I've been off working on my music career, as well as a comic series (two, actually). Life has been pretty busy, so bear with me friends.

I don't have much to say today other than that. No gaming news to grace with my orgasm-inducing commentary or gushing (are those two one in the same?), so...I think this will be it for now. I should be getting back into the groove of writing, soon. I just need to find something to inspire me is all.

Well, with that, talk to you later, guys.

- CASTLE.   read

9:25 AM on 04.26.2011

MVC3: What Do You Want?

Since the release of Capcom's Marvel vs. Capcom 3, there's been a bit of backlash from the franchise's dedicated fanbase, saying that the game is too easy, and offers very little to set it apart from the rest of the series. Well, quite frankly, I'm a little bit confused.

This game is motherflippin' awesome.

As one of the members of aforementioned dedicated fanbase, I can honestly say that MVC3 is pretty much the game I'd hoped it would be. It's great looking, there's a great character selection (smaller than MVC2, and larger than MVC1), and the gameplay has been re-done while still maintaining the familiarity of the previous games. So, when I'd finally picked up the game after hearing so much crap from like-minded gamers, I was baffled beyond all reason. What more do fans want?

The "Versus" series, on the Capcom side, has never been exactly a technical game like, say, the Street Fighter games. Attacks can link seamlessly with others, creating MARVELOUS!, devastating combos that will make you feel like a gaming god, and your opponent like a lowly peasant with a bum leg screaming, "but I was blocking! That's bullshit!" There, there, asshole. You just suck. Anyway.

Is that the problem? For me, executing a regular 10 hit combo in MVC3 is just as easy pulling off one in MVC2. You might have to put a little more effort into pulling one off in MVC1, but the difficulty is essentially the same. I used to get so angry when some ten year old would fuckbeat me by mashing buttons in X-Men vs. Street Fighter. I'd get even angrier, though, when some other guy pops in and floors the button-masher like an insect, because that guy knows what the fuck they're doing.

Difficulty and button-mashing aren't the problem, so what is? Did my fellow gamers want another MVC2 with 3D graphics and different characters? Well, that would have been just silly. Especially since we've been waiting for the third game for, like, fifty years. Perhaps it's--*GASP* I think I know what it is!

It's the fucking music.

It's this weak ass techno/metal soundtrack that makes you want to cringe and slap small children in the teeth. For example, as I write this the Hero Select screen is idle with that horrendous music playing in the background. What makes it worse is they tossed in that unforgettable "I wanna take you for a ride!" lyric from the previous game, but it only makes you want to kick a hole in your television.

What Marvel vs. Capcom 3 needs is what Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had--motherfucking Jazz.

That's right. That's why no one can really concentrate like they need to, because there's not a single Jazz fusion song on its soundtrack. You know what, I take this entire article back. I'm sorry for questioning you guys. Carry on.


Sorry I couldn't post a neat little header like I usually do. I'm currently not at home with Photoshop and, well, yeah.   read

6:34 PM on 04.04.2011

I Want to Want Max Payne 3

Just like any gamer, I want every game I hear about to be good. I want that game to make love to my brain. I want to feel like the dough I coughed up was well spent. The last thing I need is for games to suck.

The media on Max Payne 3 makes me queasy, though. Remedy selling the Intellectual Property to Rockstar Games, for instance. Sure, Rockstar makes great games, but the narrative of their games tend to be muted. I'm not confident they will aim for the pulp noir atmosphere of the two games preceding it, either. Which is fine, but that's what I want from a game called Max Payne.

This is just speculation. I know nothing about the game, aside from it being set in Brazil. I have no clue how cleverly they've connected it to the previous games, or how well they've translated Remedy's game play style into their own. I suppose I'll have to reserve judgment.

Still, it fucking scares me.

To illustrate another example that inspired my irritable bowel syndrome, Kotaku reported that the Max Payne 3 devs were sent to Brazil to soak up the vibe. Ha. It's an effective method, I suppose, but I can't help but wonder if Brazil is the primary reason for the drastic setting change.

Dev One: “Alright, Max Payne 3 setting. Where do we want to snort blow off a skank's ass?”
Dev Two: “France?”
Dev Three: “No, Brazil. They got fuckin' trannies there.”
Dev One: “It's decided!”

Jokes aside, I really want this game to be good, but I won't get my hopes up. You probably shouldn't either.

Fingers crossed.

- CASTLE   read

2:19 PM on 04.02.2011

Ragin': Hey, screw you, Professor X!

Hi. Fuck that arcade X-Men game on PSN and XBL. There, I said it.

Oh, don't give me that look. You know it had to be said. Hell, I'm willing to bet you're thinking the exact same thing. Remember when you bought it—no, remember when you saw it? That nice, polished Ad that popped up in the PlayStation Store or X-Box Live? Yeah ... you creamed your pants, too. Sucker.

So you paid the "measley" ten bucks for it because, well, you want to support the culture, and you also want to relive your childhood memories on the awesomeness that is your elaborate gaming setup. Sure, you could have just as easily downloaded the game for free and played it on a MAME emulator, but you're too good for that. So you bought the damn game.

You were excited. You even called up a few dudes. "Hey, remember that X-Men game we used to play at Putt-Putt? Dude, I know, it was awesome! I have it! Come on over!"

Your friends came over with Funyuns and Four Lokos. You even cracked a Loko open for yourself, because you enjoy punishing your body as well as your self-esteem. Then you and your pals picked up your controllers and fired the game up. It's time, baby. Fuckin' X-Men.

You noticed that the only thing in "High-definition" were the goddamn life bars, and that the screen wasn't even fullscreen, but you disregarded that and fell back into the game. You remembered this game being awesome, after all. Man, it sure does feel good seeing Nightcrawler teleport all over the screen, right? Haha!

You conquered that bitch in ten minutes, and you and your friends just stared at each other, lost.

"You, uh ... you feel like playing again?" You asked.

"What the fuck was that, man?" Your chubby friend said.

The rest of your friends joined in on Tubby's "WTFs," and then you felt like an idiot for spending ten bucks to relive ten minutes of nostalgia. So now the game sits on your console's harddrive, taking up space, because you refuse to delete it on the principle that you fucking paid for it. It sits in your games folder, and when you highlight it you find all of the X-Men there with sardonic expressions.

Then you notice the blond-haired Dazzler in the front, her arms folded, smiling, staring back at you as if to say, "I just got the test results back, and I'm pregnant. You'll never get rid of me. We're having hooker babies."

You snap yourself out of your schizophrenic trance, then you pop in Red Dead Redemption and utter—

"Fuck that game."

- CASTLE   read

9:34 AM on 03.24.2011

A Role-Player's Lament

You know, I play a crap load of video role-playing games, of all types, from Final Fantasy to Elder Scrolls. I don't discriminate. I frickin' love 'em, and probably always will. However, while playing through some RPGs recently, I realized that there was something missing. Something that my geeky little heart ached for—the goddamn role-play.

The thing that attracted me to video game RPGs in the first place was the inclination of role-play. I was so amped at the thought of assuming a character in a virtual world, and playing through a story that could be shaped through my actions. So, imagine Young Castle's surprise when he picked up Chrono Trigger for the first time and realized that instances of actual role-play were infrequent, and on such a bantam scale.

Don't misunderstand. Young Castle loved the hell out of Chrono Trigger, but what he really wanted to do was get an in-depth role-playing experience. Instead, he got a (somewhat) linear plot-driven game that merely used D&D as the foundation of its combat system.

Where is the role-play in the role-playing game? Why are there so few role-playing games that grant me the power to shape my character's physical appearance, personality, and quite possibly the outcome of the plot?

Where is the immersion?

I suppose it's why I am so attracted to franchises like Mass Effect that place an emphasis on role-playing, and less emphasis on a complex combat system. Hell, as far as I'm concerned Mass Effect is one of the few video games that live up to the “RPG” name, which really frickin' sucks.

What sucks even more is seeing games practically made for actual role-playing, like WoW or FFXI, contain very little role-play. The “RP” groups are terribly small, and are often ridiculed for doing what the developers intended for them to do.

It's not surprising, though. The primary focus in most video games is the system, after all. Gamers (not excluding pen-and-paper gamers) go nuts at the prospect of creating a powerful character and dominating their environment. You would be astounded by the amount of time and energy I poured into making my Tabletop RPG character, simply to make him a FORCE in the world he lived in.

Still, I want to role-play. Pen-and-paper games are awesome and fun and exciting, but I am a video gamer as well, and I'd like to see awesomeness of pen-and-paper games work harmoniously with the virtual world. I could be asking for too much, though.

Here's an interesting question: should games that feature little to no role-play be called “RPGs”? For example: are the DragonQuest and Diablo games role-playing games, or simply dungeon crawlers?

While you answer that, I'm going to play Tales of Destiny. =Þ

Don't be put off by the Jim Sterling joke. I think he's awesome.   read

11:21 AM on 03.22.2011

Too Young to Appreciate Final Fantasy?

Out of the twenty-six years I've been on this planet, I have been gaming for about twenty-two of them, and I still cannot stomach an entire playthrough of the first Final Fantasy game. I know, I know! No one's more disappointed about that fact than myself, but it's a truth I just can't avoid.

At first, I thought there was something wrong with me. Certainly I must not have been the huge FF fan I thought I was if I couldn't sit through the game that freakin' started it all for more than a few hours. Was it the graphics? Nah. I'm a retro gamer, after all. Was it the gameplay? Nope. The system is solid. In fact, the system is something I cream over as a retro gamer.

Then it hit me: it was the story. It's so...bland. By no fault of its own, of course.

See, back in the '80s a game that actually featured storytelling was, for the most part, uncommon. One of the reasons for this was the technology developers had at their disposal at the time. So when it came to developing a game like, say, Final Fantasy, the developers had to decide how much "power" was going toward telling the story, and how much of it was going toward actual gameplay.

Well, firstly, these were video games, so gameplay obviously took precedence—which is great.

However, I grew up in a time (hooray '90s!) when storytelling in RPGs was a bit more complex. Plots put on more weight, and characters were actually given personalities, and, sometimes—*GASP!*—talked. Sure, developers were working with much better equipment around this time, but the fact remains: RPGs had gotten better. Much better.

What frustrates me most about FF1 is that it's been remade about 3 million times, and every single one maintains the original's bland, 4th grader level storytelling. None of them hold up! Sure, the ports have fleshed out the dialog a tad, and added these great looking FMVs, but it's still the same old game. You'd think since Square is so quick to pour money into these remakes and compilations or whatever, they would retell the story that got 'em started[*] in richer detail.

Perhaps if I had gotten my hands on the game way back in 1990 I would be singing a different tune. Or perhaps my six-year-old self, who was more interested in platformers than anything else, simply wouldn't give a shit and continue playing Mario 3.

I think I am old enough to understand how technically important Final Fantasy was in practically setting the standard for how most RPGs are made today; however, I think I'm too young to appreciate the actual game itself.

A question for my fellow retro gamers: are there games out there that are "too old" for you to get into?

[*] I am well aware that Square Co. was around before the FF franchise.   read

8:54 PM on 07.31.2009

Who saw Jaffe's response coming a mile away? I did!

I had no idea that it would be Dave Jaffe, but I knew about thirty seconds into Burch's latest Rev Rant that someone from the industry was going to respond, and that the response wasn't going to be particularly pleasant, either. And let me tell you, it was hilarious.

Not because he was going after Burch, mind you. I agree with most of what Anthony Burch said in his latest video despite my stance on the "Games Are Art" debate. I thought it was hilarious because I don't think Jaffe watched the entire video. To me, it seemed like he might have watched the first thirty seconds of it, paused it, and said "One of these guys again, huh?"

And if he did watch the entire Rev Rant, I'm guessing that he kind of tuned it out and heard some of what Anthony said in spurts, bringing about some kind of misunderstanding. Because like Anthony said in his response, it looked like they were agreeing on everything, and disagreeing on everything not discussed in the Rant.

Also, I'm willing to bet that the majority of the people that disagree with the Rant are focusing on Anthony's use of the word "fun." I don't think Burch is suggesting that creating a game isn't fun, but rather a game that doesn't focus on a specific kind of fun. Because I'm sure Burch himself wouldn't fucking bother playing a game that he didn't find at least entertaining, which is the point of a game in the first place.

I think if Jaffe didn't shut his brain down thirty seconds into the video and listened to what Burch had to say, he wouldn't make comments like "simply a poser" on his Twitter.

And yes, I views on games being an artistic medium still stands. I still don't buy it, kind of. I'm still on the "self expression" definition of it all. But then, people's interpretation of art is different, and who am I to say what is art and what isn't, right? (RAMBLE ALERT).

Anyway. I'm siding with Anthony on this one.

Also, kudos to Anthony for not making his response an inflammatory one.



Sidenote: Since Jaffe keeps screaming "Show me! Show me!" on his Twitter, I urge developers to fucking show Jaffe. Present an idea to him that shows him that it's possible. Try it, I say! Or the terrorists win!   read

11:02 PM on 07.17.2009

Don't take us seriously. See if I care.

For as long as I can remember, I have read and heard gaming journalists and designers or what-have-you talk about how they strive to make it so the world takes the gaming community seriously. They want to let the world know that the world of games isn't just for nine-year-old little Timmy, but for people of all ages. They want to show that games can be considered works of art, and not just mindless, life-wasting entertainment.Well, you know what I say?

[Takes a manly swig of Barq's root beer.] Who fucking gives a shit?

Who gives a damn whether or not the rest of the world takes the culture seriously? I think the true question is: why should the rest of the world take us serious in the first place? I personally don't care if someone thinks me "immature" or "uneducated" for playing video games. That person is usually an uptight douchebag not worth associating with in the first place. Those assholes can kiss the fattest part of my ass.

I guess another question is: what do these "culture champions" want everyone to take seriously? Do they wish everyone to take games as serious works of art? Or do they want people to stop calling them losers for spending the better part of the day fragging newbs or leveling up their Blood Elf? Or both? I'm inclined to think that it's both, but my common sense tells me that it may be the former. Which... I can understand, I guess. But it's like Hideo Kojima said:

"The thing is, art is something that radiates the artist, the person who creates that piece of art. If one hundred people walk by and a single person is captivated by whatever that piece radiates, it's art. But videogames aren't trying to capture one person. A videogame should make sure that all one hundred people that play that game should enjoy the service provided by that videogame. It's something of a service. It's not art. But I guess the way of providing service with that videogame is an artistic style, a form of art."

Simple and plain. When was the last time you heard a developer say some shit like "Yeah, this game is my vision. I don't care if no one plays it. I essentially made it for myself." You could argue a few Indie developers possess that mentality, but I am willing to bet that any Indie developer you know, from Pixel to Johnathan Blow, creates their games with the intention of making it enjoyable for anyone that plays it, and that the only element of their game that will radiate their artistry is the visual. (I could go on about art being what you make it, but that's what this month's Monthly Musing is for).

And sure, great, unique art and thought provoking narrative is fine and dandy. I encourage it. But it comes secondary. If I'm not having fun playing the game, it's not worth sitting in my collection.

So, enough with all the "people need to take the culture seriously," and boasting about how much money the industry is making over others. None of that bullshit matters, and no one outside of developers and publishers and fanboys in search of validation cares about that bullshit. Sit down, pop in your game, have fun, and shut the hell up.

- Castle   read

2:42 PM on 07.16.2009

I, the Author: Albion's Dark Ruler

He killed my dog—Fenris, I named him. He killed Fenris. And I couldn't do a damn thing except watch him die, with wide, angry eyes. I kind of knew it was going to happen, to be honest. One way or another. A friendly and loyal canine companion? How could they not kill him, right? But my attachment to Fenris had let my guard down. So when I watched Fenris leap in front of Lucien's gun in an attempt to save his master, it kind of took me by surprise.

When it came time to throw down with Lucien for the first and final time, I had newfound purpose. I was no longer playing to simply beat the game and sit through a potentially underwhelming ending. I no longer played to avenge Sparrow's sibling that I barely knew and barely cared for. I played to make Lucien pay for killing my dog. Not Sparrow's dog. My dog. My love for Fenris went beyond his ability to sniff out treasure chests or bark to tell me when he'd found something of worth buried in the soil.

Fuck that. Fenris and I were a team. We were best friends. If he was scared, I cheered him up. When he found me treasure, I fed him a treat. When he mauled the hell out of a highwayman while I tended to a slew of other enemies, I told him what a good boy he was. Hell, we even entertained the people of Albion together with dancing and victory arm pumps and farting. Yes, god damn it. Farting.

And now he was dead? Lucien had to fucking pay.

Crossbow loaded and aimed for his chest, I pulled the trigger and let an arrow fly, lodging itself into Lucien's heart before he could monologue a single, meaningless word. And I watched him fall from the platform and into the abyss of The Spire with only slim satisfaction. Slim, because I didn't—couldn't end him in the fashion I truly desired. I wanted to destroy him. I wanted slice him, maim him, set him on fire. I wanted his pain to last more than the few moments he endured before his body reached the bottom of The Spire.

When Theresa presented me with a choice to ressurect those who died constructing the Spire, to ressurect my beloved Fenris, or to take vast riches as my reward, I did what any "truehero" would have done, and opted for the first choice. It was the hero thing to do... the 'right' thing to do.

When I reappeared in Oakfield, Fenris not by my side, I felt naked... incomplete... angry. I'd saved the world, ressurected millions and reunited them with their loved ones, and all I had to show for it was a "Thank You" letter. If there had been a way to trash that damned letter, I would have. My dog was dead. My best friend was dead. And since I felt robbed of my vengeance during my 'fight' with Lucien, Albion would receive punishment in his stead. Did I go around slaughtering innocent people all willy nilly? No... that would have been too easy. The people of Albion were to live under the dark, oppressive cloud that I was forced to live under since the death of my partner.

I took up a bartending job in Bloodstone. Did an excellent job. Got promoted four times, and made an exceptional amount of money. 300,000 gold pieces, in fact. I took that money, and bought every property in Bloodstone. But that wasn't enough. I didn't just want Bloodstone. I wanted Albion. I spent the next few days earning money and buying up businesses and housing, increasing rent by as much as 70%, and marking up stall merchandise as far up as 80%. And the people hated me for it, but could do a damn thing about it. If they had something negative to say, they were killed. I was their hero, God damn it. Soon to be their King. There was no way I was going to allow such ungratefulness. Especially in my face.

Before long, my actions... my corruption... it began shifting my appearance. Gradually, my stark, blue eyes began to take on a hellish, crimson glow, my skin faded into a sickening hue. I'd even begun forming horns. But I didn't care. I was acting like a monster, so it was only suitable that I looked like one, perhaps.

Soon enough, I had enough money to purchase the castle in which my sister and I had been murdered. Fairfax Castle. My new butler greeted me, amazingly unphased by my horrific appearance. I gave myself a tour of the place. Roamed the halls. Meandered in the room in which Lucien had thought he'd killed me. And finally, the throne room. I walked slowly, silently along the stretch of royal red carpet that led up to my throne, the new symbol of my iron clasp tyranny, and stopped half-way.

I had infinite wealth. Had killed countless. Was feared by all.

But Fenris was still dead.

And suddenly... it all meant nothing.

It's funny. Because when I first popped in Fable II, I expected it to suck like an eager collegiate whore. And to be frank, I really wasn't all that engaged with the game's story until my—Sparrow's dog was killed. In that moment, the game suddenly came to life. The world became tangible. The people I killed suddenly had feelings, memories. The hatred they showed me as I walked the streets felt real and offensive. Cliché, I know, but the game kind of made me feel like a kid again. I hadn't immersed myself like that within a game in a long, long time.

Games are pretty amazing, huh?   read

8:27 AM on 07.16.2009

Left 4 Racism

If you follow Left 4 Dead news like I do, you know about douchebag blogger Willie Jefferson, who apparently has nothing of real interest or merit write about in order to generate page views, and his recent douchebag article on racism in video games. In the article, he criticizes forthcoming Valve title Left 4 Dead 2 for its racism, due to having 'several black zombies'. Because, apparently, there are no black people in New Orleans. Go figure. Guess Hurricane Katrina wiped 'em all out, huh? But hey, enough digression.

While I believe that Left 4 Dead does contain racism, it is not for the same reasons Jefferson noted in his blog. The racism in the Left 4 Dead games lies not within its gameplay or story, but within some of its players. Its crackbrained, ignorant, insecure players. With headsets.

When it comes to L4D 2, I am one of the minority that got excited about it (I'm black, too, so that makes me a double minority... or Minority Prime). But I have to keep it 100 with you guys; discovering that the game would take place in New Orleans made me a little queasy. Why? Well, for one, black folks make up a large part of New Orleans' population, which leads me to my second point. The racism that I encounter in the current Left 4 Dead is already ridiculous (I have seen people kill Louis just so that there "wouldn't be a n***er on their team"), and I knew full well that giving these idiots the chance to kill a bunch of black folks was going to make it even worse on my ears. So you know I almost had an ulcer when I heard about two of the four playable characters being black. You should have heard some of the comments I've heard people say about it while playing a L4D campaign. "I wanna buy L4D 2, but it's full of n***ers." But hey, now that I think about it, it might keep those kinds of idiots offended by an abundance of dark skinned people at bay.

But even if it doesn't... should I get mad and never play again? No. I'm the kind of guy that believes that going up in arms over someone calling me something disrespectful means letting the terrorists win (take that Osama). That, and the fact that if Left 4 Dead, 1 or 2, had zero black folks in it, the racism would still be there. I'd still hear the N-word getting spammed every ten seconds by a fourteen year old sore loser. I'd still get kicked out of games due to the color of my avatar's skin—strange, I know. Especially in 2009. But it happens. As a black gamer—as a black MAN—I have come to grips with the fact that racism is just a part of certain people. And always will be. So, I either suck it up and perhaps do something about it, or whine every time I see a confederate flag or a couple of black people get killed in a video game.

Jefferson needs to be thankful for Left 4 Dead to be honest. Valve could have portrayed us as really bad stereotypes in their new playable characters, but they haven't from what I've seen. They could have had black zombies swaggering down the street with 40s in their hands instead of attacking the Survivors like everyone else. And what the hell is he doing playing Call of Juarez anyway? The game sucks.

Also, an interesting sidenote. When I first played L4D, one of the first things I said was: "Oh, so there ain't no black zombies in this city?"   read

5:40 PM on 06.01.2009

A New Effin' Metal Gear Solid Game?!

Didya miss me? Huh, bitch? Well, I missed you, too. Been a little busy with... life. But I am back, now. So you all can rejoice and revel in my awesomeness. Finished? Okay, let's get on with it. The topic at hand? The new Metal Gear Solid game revealed just recently at E3, Metal Gear Solid: Rising.

I am a huge Hideo Kojima fan. I love that guy. I love his games. I believe he's a genius as far as game designing goes, and that no one else in the world trumps him in that field.* I've never been disappointed in his work. From Snatcher to Zone of the Enders to Metal Gear. I think his games are just that awesome. So naturally I became giddy as a school girl once I saw countdown on the Konami website for a mysterious game that was to be revealed at E3. And then the giddiness game to a halt once I saw Big Boss' stern visage appear on the screen...

"Great," I thought, "another Metal Gear game." I consider myself to be a massive Metal Gear fanboy, but... I was under the impression that Metal Gear Solid 4 would be the last Metal Gear game (produced by him, anyway), and so that countdown had me revved up for something else. Somthing other than Metal Gear. Maybe a new Zone of the Enders game. Or hell, a new game entirely. One of the things that attracted me to Kojima's games is his innovation and style. He had me at Metal Gear, but he stole my soul with Zone of the Enders. That game was fantastic. Short, but fantastic. And it made me wonder just what other kind of games Kojima could create if he were given the opportunity.

I'm still going to pick this game up, though. I mean, it's going to feature my second favorite character in the series, Raiden (that's right, I was a fuckin' Raiden fan before the cyborg bullshit. Hell, I haven't even played MGS4 yet). I know the game is going to be good. I know it's going to make my peepee harder than solving chinese trigonometry with an abacus. But I was hoping for something different. Something outside of what I was used to.

I'm sure a lot of Kojima fans (the fans that didn't send Kojima death threats that is) feel the same as I do. But hey... maybe something else is happening with the franchise. The new tagline for the game is "Lightning Bolt Action." Now, that means either they're yanking the game out of its stealth roots and taking an action/adventure approach (a la Devil May Cry or something of the like), or it's just a neat tagline for a new game. *Shrug* Who knows, right? We'll see when we actually get some more news on it.

* Note: this is just an opinion of mine. So please, don't bite my head off in the comments talking about how much of an asshole I am. This means you Miyamoto fanboys. Hope you've enjoyed reading. Peace.

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