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Like any other week for me, this past week has seen a distinct lack of sleep, time, and general free time. So now in addition to work and school, I now have a compulsion as cblog co-manager to pick out good stuff for FP. Mind you, it's not as if I have some quote to fill. Still, if I see good stuff and it's not as if everyday is a busy news day. And I still want to post as myself as a community member. Plus with Dtoid's 9th anniversary coming up I now have another project I need to work on too. And believe me I have a lot of projects and not nearly enough time but hey, its all about time management.
I finally started playing Punch-Out!! from the Wii thanks to the Wii VC sale they had last month. It took me a while to find time and motivation to play it but I finally got a chance to play it while at my girlfriend's place and man is that game such a well made piece of work. It made me realize that Punch-Out!! did boss fighting games a thing long before the likes of Shadow of the Colossus. If SotC is about slaying giant rock monster bosses in succession, then Punch-Out!! is about knocking out several giant man-boxers who are standing in your way of the world champeenchip belt. But seeing experts play this game on Youtube is amazing. Boxers like Don Flamenco and Mr. Sandman are big tests of reaction and speed that it is a legitimate challenge on reaction. I've already completed a run through the regular championchip with title defense mode waiting but I want to play through it again to use the strategies and weaknesses I've learned through playing it and watching it. I feel conditioned to play the game by dodging and weaving around several boxing patterns. It was only from my fifth try at Mr. Sandman did I realize that it's actually better to take an aggressive stance against him and counter-punch him rather than focus on dodging his extremely fast and un-telegraphed attacks. You're better off trying to stop his punches cold and losing stamina off a mistimed punch then trying to focus on dodging attacks and losing health off a bad dodge. Not to mention Don Flamenco's inexplicable habit of getting juggled.
It' hard to enjoy this and not play Little Mac on Smash 4. Punch-Out!! is so much fun but Mac himself as a character is a divisive choice. You either see him as a scrubby choice due to his ridiculous power on the ground or you see him as a joke for someone who can legitimately lose a stock at 30%. Mac is the only character besides Duck Hunt Dog that elicits such big strategic reactions. I normally play Greninja or even Jiggs but picking Mac is such a commitment sometimes.
I'm also working on picking up the Nintendo FNF though there are a couple of snags along the way. Hopefully though we can start bringing Nintendo back into the limelight where we can start complaining about how hard it is to join so-called lobbies and the lack of communication. My first entry into the arena will be Smash 4, like there'd be any other. But this should be a good time to see a resurgence as there should be quite a bit of new content to enjoy multiplayer-wise. There's the imminent arrival of Mewtwo sometime this year, there's the second DLC pack to Mario Kart 8, then of course there's Splatoon of course, bringing a colorful third-person-shooter to the Wii U for once. WHATEVER CONDUIT.
Greetings, dear readers. How did you enjoy your holidays?
Here in Brazil we didn’t commemorate Valentine’s Day (that’s on June) or Presidents Day, but Carnival. It’s a big tradition in my country that is celebrated differently in each region, most famously in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. I’m not the biggest fan of Carnival, and thus I spent no time watching the parade on TV. Watching naked women dance just bores me to tears.
Instead, I went to the beach and spent my time lazily relaxing there. This time I managed to put just the right amount of sunscreen to not turn red like a lobster and still get a tan. I ate shrimps and lots of other food. There’s not much more I can share. I didn’t have the time to play lots of videogame this week.
Forgive me but I will have to cut my isms short this week. This is the way my isms end. Not with a bang, but with a Mario Kart 64 song.
A - Gray Times tackles the sixty dollars question – how short is ‘too short’ for a game? I think length, replayability, fun factor and other elements all should be considered when evaluating the price of a game, but all those aspects can be subjective and are open for debate. I would rather have 5 hours of great gameplay than 20 hours of filler, but that does not mean I would pay full price for it. Quality AND quantity is what I expect from expensive games.
A - Many Nintendo fans have been feeling frustrated with the actions of the beloved videogame company these past few months. Joe Jurado is one those fans, and he explains in this blog what is making him upset.
No stereotypical characters in this fighting game. Nope. No siree.
R - The “Hoffmanntoid” reviews Japan-exclusive Sengoku Basara 4. It’s a shame this game will never be localized, Sengoku Basara 3: Samurai Heroes 3 is one of favorite Musou games and I think it was very overlooked in favor of the more popular Dynasty Warriors series.
C - Now this looks and reads more like a proper blog. The only thing you have to do now is improve your writing – pay attention to your grammar and to how you structure sentences. Also, please remove the spam from your “About” section. Talk about yourself instead.
No bikinis were accidentally dropped this week.
What's up you beautiful bastards? It's been a long time since I sat in the recap chair, let's see if I can still remember how to do this.
First up, MEGA CONGRATS to Strider for his recent promotion. Game recognizes game. Strider has been doing a ton of work for the community lately and it gives me hope for this cold bleak world to see that effort being recognized and appreciated.
What have I been up to lately? Well, last week was mostly spent on a giant-ass two-part review of Evolve! Lots of people seemed to really like it! A few people seemed to REALLY hate it! This has been my experience with almost all of my reviews so far, so I can't say I'm surprised. I understand the impulse to stick up for a game you love that is being slammed (I've been doing it for Zelda 2 for almost 28 years now), but always remember – what someone else thinks of a game has NO impact on your personal enjoyment of it. If you love a game that is pulling in low scores or getting a lot of snipey comments, more power to you. If you don't care for a title that is being praised as the second coming of videogames, more power to you. We all pilot our lives from inside our own skull cages, and nobody can climb in that seat and steer you around unless you let them.
In NVGR news, I recently got way into DnD 5th edition! Yup, in my advanced age I've finally given up on all pretense and took the final, irreversible, plunge into the depths of nerdom. I'm DMing a game for my brother and our respective girlfriends and so far it has been an absolute blast. For as maligned and socially-suicidal as DnD has always been made out to be, now that I'm playing it I regret all the years I ignored it. It combines almost everything I love - - cracking wise with friends and family, the friction of stats and random chance rubbing up against each other, and mad scrambling improvisation when the party decides to tackle something in a way I never imagined. Plus, I get to make funny voices for all the NPCs, and that just tickles my heart.
For our first adventure, I bought a small pre-made scenario for lv 1 characters to ease us into the game, The Fey Sisters' Fate. It is a pretty simple adventure (mostly an A-to-B-to-C through a thorny forest while fighting off bullywug frogfolk and trying to track down a missing crew of guards and villagers from the nearby town) so we wouldn't get too lost, but I threw a lot of my own flavor into the mix and rewrote large chunks of it. The Hamadryad spirit of goodness you are ostensibly there to save in the book became a glib, careless, manipulator in our game. The super-heroic town champion with a magical cloak and rapier you rescue became a vainglorious braggart with somewhat doubtful actual skills.
I was blown away by how creative the party was. I kind of expected some awkwardness since NONE of us have played DnD before and anticipated them treating it like an oldschool dungeon crawl where you stab and bludgeon anything that looks at you sideways. Instead, they were all thoughtful and imaginative about the challenges in front of them. Lots of using the environment to their advantage, seeking out alternative routes, clever trickery, and fire. Fire everywhere. Fire for all.
To my unimaginable glee, the breakout NPC of the night was Piss-Pot, a bullywug the party got the drop on to squeeze for information. I really hammed it up for Piss-Pot, playing him somewhere between Steve Buscemi and Jerry Lewis. I fully expected the team to just slit his throat and leave him in the dirt the moment he outlived his usefulness (ADVENTURE!), but instead they ended up treating him with (relative) kindness and pretty much brought him into the party. Cue me having to draw up a character sheet for an NPC tag-along in the next game. That's fun for me because A) I still get to write lines and improv as Piss-Pot. B) A three-man party is a little on the small side. Most DnD encounters seem to assume you have a crew of four or five people. I don't want some NPC to distract from the heroic player characters, but it's nice to have another dude on the field if only as a distraction to draw fire.
Without being too pretentious, it's also taught me a bit about game design. I've always understood how hard a team like Bioware works trying to create an even somewhat open-ended story, but actually having to sit down and pen out various contingencies depending on what the party does or doesn't do, who they side with and who they piss off, really puts it into perspective. I would like to start putting the crew through adventures spun out of whole-cloth-Wrench-brain, but the amount of work is staggering. I might just drop them into a heavily modified version of Hoard of the Dragon Queen next and put my own spin on it as time goes on.
If you have any inkling or curiosity towards DnD, or just like to laugh, I highly recommend you check out The Adventure Zone podcast, headed up by the McElroy brothers (who you may know from the My Brother, My Brother, and Me advice podcast, or through Justin and Griffin's work at Polygon) and their dad. It's what finally convinced us to give DnD a shot and has helped fill some long car rides with laughter.
* - The burnout is real. I combat it on the larger scale by seeking out new genres and experiences. I never even played roguelikes until a few years ago (trying to think of the first one to get it's hooks in me, and I think it might have actually been Isaac) and now they're my #1 jam. Also, on a unrelated note, I watch a lot of YouTube these days too.
L - Chist, don't use us as enablers. We don't want to see you hurt yourself, and we certainly don't want you subjecting yourself to dreck like 50 Shades just so you can give us the skinny on it. C'mon here bro, let's watch Pacific Rim and forget all about it.
- They wouldn't be Wrench-caps without gratuitous robots.
Since I still live in North Carolina, I know the supposed "threat" of snow is pretty much on par with the promises of Peter Molyneux - most of the time, Old Man Winter just doesn't make with the goods. When it does happen, though, people react to snow here like people in southern California react to rain - they freak out and drive crazy. Here they wll also clean out all the good stuff from the grocery store because they actually believe they'll be stranded at home or something - over two inches of snow.
Suprisingly, it actually fell today. Snow is a thing that's happening.
I was born in Canada and love the mountains, so I guess I'm just conditioned to deal with cold weather really well. It's not really a big deal to me when snow falls and I think it is lovely - at least until it's plowed and collects dirt up on the side of the road and the city won't salt the sidewalks but they will heap additional snow and ice all over it.
I hole up indoors during the snow mostly just because of the threat of other people driving and being dumb while doing so. Up north or in my college town this would be just another day and people would still go to work, still go to class and deal with it. Here it is the apocalypse and the media calls it a "winter storm" even when we get much, much less snow than other regions. .
Anyway, not much to do today besides browse the internet, play video games, have weird or sexy thoughts and blog stuff... which doesn't seem any different than any other day for me, really. Oh, what ever shall I do?
Probably cook that frozen chicken my roommate abandoned when he moved out. He still hasn't come back for the rest of his stuff, but I think after three weeks abandoned frozen food and ice cream are fair game and likely forgotten. It is my refrigerator, after all, not his personal frozen food storage. I'm going to put that chicken in the oven right now and he's going to deal with it. He also left mini perch and tofu in there. Never tried either. Any suggestions what thosee are good with?
Gaming-wise, I'm still all about MGS3D and Majora's Mask 3D. I still have a lot of thoughts on those. After a couple of blogs about it, one might think I had nothing left to say about Majora’s Mask, but suprisingly there's a lot in there I could still write about and probably will.
I'm pretty pleased with the changes to Majora's Mask 3D overall. Much like MGS3D, a lot of changes were made to suit the handheld version. I think the only change I'm not overly fond of is that the game doesn't auto-save when you play the Song of Time. and restart the cycle. In fact, I'd prefer it if Nintendo added a Hero Mode where you had that and fewer save points.
The quill-based save points are helpful, but I think it may have compromised the design a little too much.
I do iike most of the other changes, though. The banker being right behind the Clock Tower and adjacent to a save point was a smart choice. The Bomber's Notebook seems rigged to goad people into achievements to finish every quest, which is a cute tweak. Giving the Ocarina and Camera their own touchscreen buttons was smart, too. I do miss the analog clock they had at the bottom of the screen in the original game, but the digital bar does suit the portable format better.
I also tried out a New 3DS at Gamestop when I picked the game up. I actually like the head tracking, though it can be laggy at times. It still works better than the original model. The depth of the 3D also felt improved compared to the previous 3DS XL which never felt as deep as my standard launch model.
I also liked the new analog nub, It didn't feel too far to reach and while it doesn't budge it also doesn't slip. It does what it needs to do. When Xenoblade is out, I'll certainly get a New 3DS but until then I'm fine with what I have. If I can beat MGS3D without a second stick, its not an urgent purchase - just a nice one.
Its Reyncap Time!
Where there was fail, it was eaten by Andy, Occams or Strider. Pray for their stomachs, for those posts were made of botspam.
The loft that I live in is going to the dogs, and even though that's nothing new, allegedly this time it's a little more serious. See we got blasted with a pretty windy Winter this year, the wind has been much stronger and frequent than any of the snow - do you realize how hard that makes it to go skating, snow aside, with wind speeds averaging 20mph a day I'm like a human sail boat out there.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah this building sucks. The fucking door that goes out to the roof is broken, or our landlords are lazy or people are just jerks and keep cutting the ropes. But basically the door just swings open freely in the wind. Which means there is a day in day out constant banging coming from the roof. A loud bang that could be either every hour or every thirty seconds, depending on the wind, all day long and all night long. It's really annoying and at night it makes it feel like I'm living in a horror movie.
But more urgent than that is that this building is old, maybe about 40 years old? It's seen its fair share of wear and tear, so this kind of constant event, which causes a vibration to go through the building, is probably doing tons of damage to bricks, the cement that holds them together, ceilings, other problems like leaks or holes that the management has failed to address over the years. Basically things are not going to end well at this rate. I think the owner of this building has basically completely stopped giving a fuck as if he's anticipating something bad happening and refuses to invest some money to fix these problems. The world's not ending tomorrow, fix the damn building dude.
Speaking of worlds ending. I've been consumed almost entirely, swallowed whole, infiltrated, whatever you wanna call it. I bought Diablo III for the PS4 awhile back on a pretty sweet deal but because I was busier only just got around to playing it and damn is it good.
Side note, holy crap I got to that part of the game and the whole time I thought to myself "Jeez, wtf did I just walk into. WHAT AM I PLAYING?" It was hilarious. Though I stopped laughing when I actually died there. How pathetic.
Diablo on console is a game that thankfully took a detour, avoiding all the controversy with DRM and auction houses, and then rerouted onto a traffic and bullshit free road that's just "play this game". And that game happens to be very good. Most importantly, you can play by your lonesome - the ideal way imo despite what people will tell you about couch coop - and disconnected from the wild wide web. My first experience with the game was popping it in fresh out the shrink wrap for a FNF sess. with Defenestrator, CornflakeJ and Clockwork. It was really fun, but here's the thing. We were already neck deep in Act 2 so I had missed a big chunk of the game and that pissed me off. So an hour into the FNF when I retired for the night I decided to make the conscious choice that I won't be playing the game anymore in Coop till I finish the main game by myself. Just so I can experience the story and so forth for the first time. Though admittedly I don't care as much about this rule now, I don't have anyone to coop the rest of the game with from my point forward so I'm just going to finish it there. Though in the long term, I don't think I'd be interested in continuing to play the game after I beat the main story line. It's complicated, I'm a strange, picky, stubborn gamer.
That being said, the game seems to be not at all as scary as I remember it. Could be that I've had another npc with me for the majority of the game or the fact that Act 2 (one of the longer acts, in this game that is already chock full of game length) takes place in a brightly lit desert. But I remember the little I played of Diablo II as a kid to have been absolutely terrifying. At least the beginning of this game has that atmosphere of terror, in a dark village where the people are slaughtered and towns set on fire whilst the dead rise from the ground. It doesn't matter, it's a moot point now that I play all sorts of other horror games.
And without further ado, here are your recaps:
A - Dreamweaver talks about the latest episode of the Walking Dead, I didn't read this one because it's plump full of spoilers after a few paragraphs seeing as I'm about to start reading the comics
S - Street Fighter IV was apparently, totally freaking ripped off by a random shoddy arcade machine, according to Luna Sy. Careful kids putting quarters into that machine, it might try to steal your soul
No fails this week WOOO!!
I failed as a gamer this Friday: I had a bit of money, so I went to Best Buy to buy something. As we know, this week saw the release of two amazing Nintendo 3DS titles: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4. Although I only had enough to buy one of them, you would think that no matter which one I chose, I wouldn't lose: I never played Majora's Mask before, so experiencing it for the first time would've been awesome with all the streamlining, and while I never played a Monster Hunter title either, I felt more willing to jump in with online play. However, guess which game I ended up with? Neither: I spent the money on the Season 4 Blu-Ray of The Walking Dead. While I wouldn't say that it was a bad choice (I watched half the season while working on Comments of the Week and relived some of the intense moments), I felt like I failed as a gamer because not only did I choose to purchase a Blu-Ray instead of a game, but it was the fact that these were two (supposefully) great games that would've been interesting additions to my library. What I'm trying to get at is that I felt like I played it too safe there, and I kind of regret it because, as much as I love The Walking Dead (and I do so love it), I also could've experienced something new and unique, something out of my usual comfort zone.
Maybe next time.
So, Valentine's Day was on Saturday, and, well, as clich'e as it sounds, I was feeling pretty crummy. Normally, I don't usually let Valentine's Day get to me: if anything, I enjoy the whole "romance is in the air" type of atmosphere... well, as much as you can for a commericialized holiday anyway. I even spent a couple of hours watching romance episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball! However, every blue moon, like I'm talking maybe less than 5 times a year, I get struck with this overwhelming sense of intimate loneliness, and it just happened to be during this week that it happened. I know it's extremely silly for me to ache, considering I have already told you guys my personal life so you know I clearly have much bigger things to worry about, but as many excuses as I can make, it just hurts being alone sometimes. It usually passes within a week or two, so I'm not too entirely bothered by it knowing that it'll end soon, but right now, it's still another thorn in my side: it feels like something's injecting depressants right into my heart, and from there it travels through the blood stream and spreads throughout the rest of the body. It's really hard to keep myself motivated when it strikes, and it's feels like nothing I can do to ease the pain. It's kinda like food poisoning: all you can do is just ride it out.
When I'm not feeling depressed, I'm still playing Fallout 3 for the Band of Bloggers topic we got going on, and I hope I'm not the only one! Even though I haven't really thrown myself into it, I still get absorbed running through the Capital Wastelands with a 10mm Pistol on my side, trying to loot as many things as possible. I doubt I'll be completing it, since it is, of course, a rather massive game... but I have played enough to earn a few Achievements, and definitely enough to got some stories to share! I hope to be writing and posting it soon, but I wanna take advantage that there's still a week or two left in the month to see what else I wanna do in Fallout 3 before we switch on over to the next prompt! It was also nice to play Fallout 3 in the same month that AMC's The Walking Dead and since it gives me the "surviving in the apocalypse" feel.
In case you missed it, didn't want to get spoiled, or simply chose not to read it, I wrote a blog about last week's AMC's The Walking Dead episode, namely "What Happened and What's Going on?" I won't spoil it here, but I consider it to be one of the best episodes of the series... which may or may not mean much to you if you're not a fan of the show in general. All I can say is, although it's pretty lean on the action compared to other episodes, it was the story, visual style, and awesome cameos as well as a depressingly bittersweet ending that really hits me with feels. I can't stop thinking about it, and I hope to catch the rerun when it airs tonight!
I also did try drawing again, twice actually, so I got two images that I'm kinda, sorta proud of. I mean, don't get me wrong, they still suck, but I'd be lying if I say I didn't think I'm getting better at it. For the first time, I tried doing a side-view image of a character, and after struggling to learn the tutorials, I liked the end result! I colored it in and I was going to post it up here, but I figured I'll try to draw more images, then post them all in a blog idea I have: ideally, I want to have at least 5 images and the blog done by the end of the month to keep with the theme of love, but we'll see where I go from here. Also, I ask that anyone who is an artist themselves if they can direct me to some sites that can teach me how to shade better: my coloring is rather bland, being only one solid shade, so while a colored image looks decent, I think with a little knowledge in shading and gradient tools, I might be able to make something really pop. I'm also curious about making a GIF animation: I know it's somewhat possible with the use of Photoshop Elements 11 (rather than the easier, much more convenient Adobe Flash), but I don't know much about the process: I mean, I know how to make an animation using Youtube videos, but not how to actually save it. I plan to start simple.
Well, that's pretty much it. I actually wrote a lot more because my cousin bought Evolve on his PS4 and let me play it, but as I was writing my impressions down for the recap blog, it became too long, and I think I could just move it to a blog on my own personal account so I could go more in-depth rather than condensing it to fit. How do I do it all?
* - Up late in the night, deep in thoughts, StriderHoang announces that there's a new ninja in town: turns out, he has evolved into a community manager assistant! Read how thoughts about how he came to be into his new position, how he feels about it, and what that hopefully means for the community!
* - Uh, again, not sure if I'm supposed to recap a recap, but since there's no harm in doing so, Recapper reservist Nanashi takes it upon himself to collect the best Podcasts you folks have made into one convenient location!
* - GlowBear has to wonder, with all the innovations of gaming, why there hasn't been videogames with a wheelchair bound playable character? GlowBear also offers some suggestions as to how it could be done with both an action game example or merely a story-driven narrative like Gone Home.
* - Everyone might know Silent Hill 2 for the signature Pyramid Head, but Forgetton Bastion hasn't forgotten about the Abstract Daddy: he writes a summary of the creepy creature and its disturbing implications, and it's quite a read! Spoilers for Silent Hill 2 follows, so continue at your own risk.
A - Titannel writes up a retrospective of the Sega Saturn, detailing a bit about the beef between Sega of Japan and Sega of America, the history of the console and how it came to be, and a couple of tidbits about some of the great games!
A - The Drunken Crow manages to snag a New 3DS XL, and has a few things to say after playing with it for a bit. Read what his impressions are, and his opinion on whether or not you should spring for the new model, here!
A - FourFingerFreddy writes an article about four (guess he couldn't keep count higher than that with his hands) examples portraying relationships, and how lesbians seems to better believable than straight ones.
A - N0signal is clearly a fan of the The Legend of Zelda series, and in honor of the new Majora's Mask 3D release, he has brought back a rather lengthy blog about a couple titles that he really likes, like Wind Waker HD, Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time 3D, and more!
C - Jed Whitaker, formerly known as DimmuJed, talks about his birthday celebration with his buddies like going bowling and arcade games, how he's now officially part of the Dtoid crew with his "Beard View" videos, and whether or not he got a Majora's Mask 3DS!
C - It's been a while since LegendPenguin has been around these parts, so he decides to come back in style: first he talks a bit about what's been doing on with his life, and then shows off a new tattoo he's got!
P - Kooram played Darkest Dungeon due to being an Early Access adopter, and so far, he's digging it! While he doesn't like his run-in with bugs or repetitive content, read about the things he does enjoy, such as its difficulty, interesting micro-managing of party members, and its aesthetics!
T - Hoeyboey, after reading about Patrick Lindsey's article on the videogame Disorder, has his own things to say, such as how the game isn't about depression, but rather, disorders, and offers an explanation as to why he believes so. This post contains spoilers for the game.
V - Johnny Burnes shoots another UnPro Session of the anime-as-fuck Otomedius Excellent, a side-scrolling shoot-em-up with underaged girls with oversized airbags. I guess that's what keeps them floating.
F - Chist is willing to watch the move adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey and tell us all about it! He talks about its origins as a Twilight fan fiction, so you know that it's gonna be cringeworthy. Unfortunately, a snow storm has twarted his attempts, but maybe it's for the better.