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Mondays - smurfee mcgee
Tuesdays - Wrenchfarm
Wednesdays - StriderHoang
Thursdays - ShadeOfLight
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I've been enjoying this new laptop of mine for the past half year. I'm tempted to ask them if I can keep it and I might as well hope because I've got student loans out the wazoo for coming here and the laptop must've been included in the tuition. But everytime I get a nice new piece of hardware, I'm confronted by its limitations. My old laptop could barely render videos captured from my console PVR, let alone play PC games past the year 2002 (when it was 2006). Now I can play a vast array of, well, indie games I guess I should qualify it with, so I really want to pin my hopes of doing something visually creative again, if at least if I'm limited to little indie diddies.

So this may be a plug. But it's an important plug for the sake of improvement. Here is my twitch channel. If you've got a second, browse my past broadcasts (if you can stomach them. I'm rusty when it comes to voicing over) and tell me what you think of the quality. If I'm looking at the specs correctly, the recorded broadcasts retain parity for what it should've looked like live. My Spelunky test, recorded with Xsplit at minimal settings, looks like it chugs. My latest test with Papers, Please ran at a modified 24 FPS and though PP is obviously a low grade game, every second of it ran fine according to the archive (I also exported it to YouTube cause I felt it was good enough to at least send it there). There's a lot of variable I have to keeping a closer eye on that I should. Spelunky is obviously a fast game; too fast for the reserved specs I need to keep in mind. Volgarr is probably a fine example but I have yet to attempt it on the same specs I ran Papers, Please, which seems respectable but performed on a game that should do well on just about any set up short of one that has a two-tone screen display. I really want to get back into the video medium of creativity and joining Streamtoid would give me some juice into adding streams to my creative portfolio with a serious mind set.

So indie games? Speaking of which, Steam has a big Japanese indie game sale going on to celebrate Comiket, basically the Comic-Con of Japan with less industry flash and more community drive and support. I picked up basically all the games I've been wanting but didn't know I could find on Steam: top-down shooters reminiscent of the old-arcade classic Raiden, side-scrolling shooters that are basically Gradius, and involving combo-centric beat'em ups. And it looks like I'm 3 for 4 on what I picked up. Satazius is basically Gradius. There's nothing else to be said. Gradius isn't on Steam as far as I know so Satazius is the next best thing if the next best thing is practically that thing. Oh sure, there are some different weapon mechanics and the sprite for your fighter is huge and the art is obviously kind of low-grade (or indie if you want to call it that) but all the mechanations of Gradius are here: progressive weapon upgrades, bullet hell, very specific hitbox, the speed upgrade you'll only take twice or thrice.

Reflex on the other hand, I have yet to boot up. But the trailer is basically the same principle as Satazius. Raiden isn't on Steam, so here's Basically-Raiden.


I will crush you

Freesia Fairy Bloom looks like a cutesy, kawaii uguuu animu game. Then you start playing it and it turns out it's Devil May Cry in 2D. The combos can be as complex as you want them to be as you perform flip kicks, flying kicks, wind slashes, and other awesome tricks that a fairy has no business being able to do. But hey, this cutesy fairy is the guardian of a forest, so I guess she has to pulverize golems into mush. This one is my favorite.

* - Glowbear both attempts to raise charity and contact her spirit animal in a fasting nature hike charity cause

* - It ain't Avengers 2. It ain't even close to Marvel 3. But it was a spectacle of a bad game thanks to Kiel

M - Red Heddy argues for good QTEs

A - I don't understand the cause for Dig-Duggy Freshness appeal but all I know is that I'm playing a game a fairy who punches things in the face

A - Gray brings up a good point. Most memorable parents are terrible at parenting. Lee is probably the best parent but he's not even related to Clem!

S - Nintendette props up the Mario RPG easter egg of transforming into 8-bit Mario in Booster Tower. One I personally loved.







T - It's hard for me to relate to depression but people diagnosed with depression routinely explain how its difficulty to explain to an outsider. Ooktar sheds some light on a little Steam game called Depression Quest to give us another insight

T - Terry hopes for Valk Prof 3 and of course spoilers are inherent to the predictions




V - Wrench is off his foot and in a chair and can't help but load up tons of YouTube to compensate his lack of human interaction

C - PixelatedCloud does a top 10 whatever





~Striderhoang

FPotD
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In every home a heartache.

In what no doubt is the coolest piece of news to come out of Gamescom so far, Silent Hill is back. Back with frayed nerves, sharp corners, and a sadness you can't touch.

In what they're dubbing the worlds first “Playable Teaser”, PS4 owners around the world were able to download their own little slice of misery. A tense first person “locked room-esq” puzzle game that has you picking through the pieces of some shattered lives. The story reveals itself slowly through repetition and investigation as you explore the closed loop of a single hallway again and again, scrutinizing the remains for slight variations, hidden clues, and darker things.

The result is wonderfully tense. Silent Hills takes vicious advantage of the prehistoric part of our brain that fears the dark, that won't let us go poking through the forest at night lest we become a velicoraptor snack. The darkness closes and shrinks as you repeat the area, casting shadows and playing on your imagination. Advancing the plots means closely examining the hall and bathroom for small subtle clues, directly challenging you to peer into that darkness again and again until your a mess of raw and tattered nerves. The jumps scares are carefully rationed out to keep you in a state of perpetual discomfort, not so many that you get used to them, and not to few that you don't respect them.

It seems like it could be on it's way to being the darkest Silent Hill game yet. The series has never shied from diving into the abyss of real adult fear (madness, loneliness, regret, sexual vulnerability, human frailty, etc), but this demo was absolutely chilling. The themes of domestic abuse in this one strike a little too close to home, a little too real. There are few things more terrifying when someone who is suppose to love and protect you turns into a monster. If I'm interpreting the events correctly, the kind of damage wrought upon this family and in particular the wife is almost too much for me to handle.

That goddamn fridge. You'll know what I'm talking about it.



Latent trauma and PTSD aside, it is fantastic to see Konami actually put some effort and cash behind the series gain. Regain some much needed swagger in its spooky step. There are big names attached to this one, some that I'm ecstatic to see, others that come with strings attached.

Guillermo del Toro is top fucking notch. He's one of my favorite directors, and the man knows the squirming mass that lives in the heart of horror. Pan's Labyrinth is still one of the most beautiful/unsettling films I've ever seen, and knowing that Guillermo himself is a huge gamer (his whole family plays together and he's pals with Ken Levine and Gabe Newell to boot) gives me a tremendous amount of confidence in his ability to shape this into an incredible game. Maybe even an important game. I think he's the kind of guy who could make horror games matter again, who could rebuild the entire Silent Hill franchise.

Kojima on the other hand, maybe not so much. I love Metal Gear Solid and Snake Eater, they are a pair of my favorite games. But not everything he touches turns to gold. Obscure nonsensical plots, a narcissistic love with his own work, and some questionable choices of taste, I like Kojima games, I'm just not sure I like the idea of him working on Silent Hill. Although to be fair, he is brining the incredible FOX Engine with him, and it looks gorgeous.



The (spoilers) last second reveal at the end of the trailer that the main character will be played by a startlingly life like (go Fox Engine!) Norman Reedus is slightly disappointing. Given the themes the game was building up to, it seemed like it might be interesting to go back to a female protagonist for the series (have they done one since Heather?) rather than another scruffy leather jacketed dude. I also find the whole movement towards getting REAL FAMOUS MOVIE PEOPLE in games somewhat dubious. It isn't a draw to me, I don't care that Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe are in Beyond: Two Souls, or that Battlefield Hardline has an all B-star cast ready to go, or that Jack Bauer is speaking for Snake now. It seems like another symptom of the games industry's need to be taken seriously by the mainstream. Personally, I'd rather just have original characters and not pay some actor big bucks to “slum it” for a game.

None of that is here nor there though, what really matter is if they can deliver on the full game. As amazing and effective as the demo was, I wonder what the real game will be like. If they can capture that kind of tension and fear and spread it out over an entire city, that will be something to see. I'm ready to be scared by games again.

* - You know a port is going to be bad when they get the catchphrase wrong. “Avengers, unite!” c'mon guys, really?

* - So long Robin.

* - I love examining art styles in games, Fenriff's blog strikes close to my heart.

A - Speaking of getting catchphrases wrong, resident dictator R. Hoffmann bizarrely flubs Bison's most famous line in the title of this retrospective blog. Don't worry, he makes it up to everyone with Cammy cosplay booty.

A - TheDustinThomas lists his top 5 games from the last generation. From what I can gather he mostly likes setting people on fire and jumping on Goombas.

A - El Dango hates DLC! Actually, from the examples he lists, I think he hates pre-order incentives and retailer bonuses more than post-release DLC, but whatever! HATE HATE HATE.

A - OpiumHerz on the other hand plays the Devil's advocate and vouches for DLC. He's dumping some buckets of cold reality in this blog, so don't bother reading it if you can't handle getting your assumptions a little damp.

A - I think a lot of us “older” gamers have had to deal with this in one way or another. There is less and less time to go around for things like games and more and more games begging for attention. It pays to be a little be selective about how you spend that precious commodity.



L - Doh ho ho, you cheeky fucker. Nicely done.

L - The Pokemon devs are also pretty damn cheeky it seems. Cute Easter egg.




- Wrenchfarm


FPotD
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Monday was not a great day for a lot of people. One of the reasons is the death of a hilarious, inspiring person named Robin Williams. So many of us have been affected in one way or another by him. I loved his movies and stand-up, and he's one of the first people to make me love comedy as more than just something that could make me laugh.
He'll be sorely missed.

It's such a sad story. If you're having trouble, try and reach out.
If you think someone else needs help, reach out. That's what we're here for. Friends, family, therapists, etc. You're not alone even though it feels that way.
Wanna talk about your favorite Robin Williams things in the comments? I do.


* - SeymourDuncan17 gets in on the fetish blog trend, and lists his 10 favorite characters to looooooove. Rouge the Bat is on this list. She's on every list.

S - OpiumHerz has a short story about a German fellow who took exception to the uncensored version of Turning Point: Fall of Liberty.

A - Does the Wii U deserve it's status as a punching bag? Gamingnerd15 weighs in, and forgets to add his uploaded pictures :P

A - The Nintendette thinks Pokemon spinoffs are awesome, and chooses Pokemon Colosseum as her example.





T - Despite some problems, emuishere still enjoyed the heck out of Anna.

D - mbuma gives a short rundown of the playable character types in Heav Metal Death Pirate. The blog itself could use better formatting, but hey.

T - Hyrule Warriors' pre-order DLC is all split up amongst retailers, and able to think suggests those who buy the game complain about it.

T - Terry 309 couldn't finish Odin Sphere. Did you?









-smurfee mcgee

FPotD
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Hello everyone! I've been playing some really weird games this week. 



I heard about this old Playstation game called Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman, which looked quirky and fun, with an interesting mix of western and eastern themes. So of course I bought it, and beat it, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Basically, you're this Wild West gunman who travels to Japan to learn how to become a samurai, and then travels back to his home town to defeat the bad guys and save his town. You're equipped with both a revolver and a katana, and can pull off special moves and combos to shoot and slice your way through the enemies. The controls were a little wonky, especially the camera, but it's a PS1 game, so I cut it some slack. The bad guys are all these really bizarre, Japanese-themed enemies, like geishas, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, daruma dolls, etc. And they all speak by repeating a different Japanese word over and over (for example, the geisha says, "Kimono kimono kimono!"). It's really strange, but also hilarious. Plus you can rescue hostages, which happen to be cowboys stripped down to their boxers and calling for help. I thought that was entertaining :)



I also just started playing Digital Devil Saga a few days ago. It's a game from the Shin Megami Tensei series, about a group of gangs who get turned into demons and start eating each other. It's a really bizarre concept, but every Shin Megami Tensei game is pretty bizarre, so it works. There's the whole morality aspect, in which one character thinks it's gross and wrong to eat other demons (they are technically other people, after all), while another character is totally gung-ho about the idea, saying it's the new way of life. I kind of wish the main protagonist that you control would have a choice of whether or not to devour enemies, because I would probably avoid doing it as long as possible, but he just goes ahead and eats 'em anyway. I'm just happy to be playing another JRPG though, especially one as stylish as Digital Devil Saga.



Lastly, I played a bit of Lovely Planet on Steam. I bought it because of the graphics, which look as though they were heavily inspired by Noby Noby Boy; very simple and cute and aesthetically pleasing. I sort of expected a whimsical little adventure through a cute world, where I could take my time and look around at everything. But in reality, the game is like this super-intense precision FPS/Platformer, where you have to be as accurate and quick as possible to make it through some of the levels. Which is fine, it sounds like most people are really enjoying it, but it's just not really what I was hoping the game would be. I'm only on the second world, and I'm already stuck because I'm horrible at precision aiming in FPS games. So aside from the graphics and music, which I absolutely LOVE, I don't think this game is really for me. I suck at it immensely! I wish there were difficulty settings or something, because I really want to play through the game still, just to look at all the levels and enemies. Oh well...



* - Strider loves grapplers, the up-close-and-personal manhandlers of the fighting genre! I think Grapplers are just misunderstood; all they wanna do is give you a hug!

* - Dreamweaver loves Resident Evil 6, the most reviled entry to the Resident Evil series!



A - Derek Pietras finally tracked down a copy of one of his childhood favorites, Skies of Arcadia: Legends, after many years wanting to own it!

A - Glowbear is worried that publishers are spending more time working on pre-orders and special editions than focusing on the actual games themselves.

A - The Nintendette takes a leaf out of Anita Sarkeesian's book, by giving good and bad examples of leading ladies in video games.

S - Kinda creepy easter egg from Animal Crossing.

P - Episode 43 of Radio Destructoid is out now and wants to be heard!

P - Epsiode 3 of PStoid is also out and ready to be listened to!







F - Friday Night Fights on Xbox + Share a Coke with Scield!

F - Friday Night Fights on Playstation + Cheating giraffes!

F - Friday Night Fights on Nintendo + Rollin' rollin' rollin'!



T - touchofkiel played through Castlevania for the very first time!

R - Lord Spencer reviews Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.

$ - August 8th UK releases and bargains!



F - Ninjamoose really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy! I still need to see this.



L - If you ever wanted to know too much information about Dreamweaver, here's his list of top ten fetishes!

R - achan05 needs some help with a research project, so go fill out her survey if you have the time!



No fails today! Huzzah!



- bbain

FPotD
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"If I take one more step, I'll be the furthest away from home I've ever been."

Well, tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow at about 4:20 PM my plane is leaving from Amsterdam towards London, after which I will be getting on a plane to DC itself. I won't actually go into DC proper yet because I'll be arriving at Dulles Airport at about 9 PM East Coast time, which I find to be just a little too late to be strutting through an unfamiliar city with some expensive stuff on my back.

Instead, I'll take a taxi on Sunday morning, which will take me to a hostel downtown, where I'll be spending a few days. The first thing I'm going to do once I'm nice and settled though is take a stroll through town to go see the White House and the university campus. And after that, Orientation week starts on Monday, so the time really does fly by like a motherfucker.

I wish I could tell you that I didn't feel any stress about going, but that wouldn't be entirely honest. The thing is, I don't have any stress about going per se. Flying, staying in the big city, all of that is fine with me. It's the little things that get to me. "Will I make my plane in time? How do plane transfers go? Didn't I forget any important documents? Isn't my luggage a tiny bit too heavy?" All of the stuff that shouldn't cause any trouble at all and are supposedly designed to be as hassle-free as possible (does anyone actually buy that load of crap?) is exactly what gets to me the most. It doesn't help that just this week, only days before leaving, I received an e-mail from the university that there was some sort of problem with my vaccinations which had to be fixed right away. It's all the bureaucracy surrounding the trip that's so annoying, not the trip itself. Not by a long shot.

But at any rate, I'm leaving anyway, and I'm not about to let myself be stopped by anyone. Least of all bureaucrats.
United States? I am coming in you.

So it begins.



* - Uhm, guys? Why aren't you fapping and commenting on this blog? It's a very good look into what makes The Walking Dead work and what doesn't, by consistently good blogger ccesarano. .

A - Gamingnerd liked video games last generation. Isn't that just swell?

M - Naveen loves Assassin's Creed. That is to say, the original.

S - Now that Nintendette informed me that Portal actually has the cake recipe in the game, I can't think of anything else than wanting to bake one.

A - When was the last time a game honestly had a really good villain? Maybe a bit too long ago.





I - TouchofKiel is going to be blogging for us, and if this introduction is to be believed it's going to be good stuff.

S - I'm so sorry for you, Caim. I hope you'll get your spot of good luck soon, and we're here if there's anything we can do.









C - There's a clever little blog topic in here, but it needs more work put into it.

V - For all the great indie games out there, there's some fundamentally shitty ones as well.








- ShadeOfLight
May you always find water and shade

FPotD
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First of all, I'm going to go ahead and openly acknowledge that the Recaps team is shuffling around and that's why your precious days aren't getting recapped. As much as I love you guys, I'm only a purveyor of Wednesdays, so I went ahead and tried kicking the other recappers in the pants to ask what's going on and hopefully we'll be on track to getting the days filled.

Second of all, Papers, Please.



I played this a bit last year and could not deal with it. All the numbers and letters I had to cross-reference did a number on my skull. How was this fun?

I tried it again this past week and I'm committed to showing this game who's boss.

After a while the game just gets its hooks into you. There's a false sense of security in the beginning when you're just looking to see if the passport has expired or not and if applicants have given you everything. It's day 15 and now I'm cross-referencing weight and height from the scales to an id ticket, making sure the stamp on the foreign entry pass isn't a forgery, making sure workers have a work pass, the passport is from the correct city, and sometimes I still make a mistake as simple as double-checking if this gross but obvious man is actually the F his passport says he is.

I've realized the apprehension previous players talked about. About how inspectors are anxious to see if the applicants they've passed cross a certain point and whether or not that dreaded dot-matrix print out pops out to tell you that you've overlooked a simple mistake like the passport expired or that person was actually on your crudely drawn wanted list. Add to the option of the revolutionary undertones and deciding to takes sides while undermining someone during screening and the game gets stressful fast and I'm only halfway through the story mode. I'm getting hand outs from bored soldiers for people I detain, bonuses for handing out business cards to prospective job seekers, and keeping an eye out for agents of revolution and whether or not I'll help them at my expense (for agents of a revolution, you'd think they'd prepare a little more to make their insertion a little more convincing and legit).

Last year I thought the game was impossible. Now, I liken it to Spelunky's learning curve. Your first time playing it can be jarring and you'll screw up a lot of simple mistakes. Later on though, you'll become proficient in the earlier stage's tasks, to the point where you'll want to start a fresh game to farm money off of the earlier stages easier difficulty. In Spelunky, this means having more money or items to make future variables and problems easier to handle. In Papers Please, this means having more savings set aside for sudden onsets of sickness amongst your family, which you must keep alive with food and heating bills in addition to rent. Letting all three of your family die means you'll be thrown into hard labor because your fascist government expects government employees to create an image of a perfect family for spectators. If you let your whole family die, you're worthless to the regime and might as well work the rest of your days in some god forsaken coal mine.



I also caught Guardians of the Galaxy and man was that a 180 from the naysayers. A year ago people thought a movie out of nowhere based on one of Marvel's most obscure cosmic properties was a shifty move (there's nothing more risky than a combo of obscure and cosmic. Marvel's cosmic stuff is universally veiled and obscure). Turns out, Vin Diesel playing a man tree with a collective vocabulary of three words really can sell a movie, let alone the rest of the space-bound menagerie including an anthromorphic racoon, a green assassin lady, a warmongering avenger, and a puckish space rogue. Guardians was truly an example of a great ensemble cast with relatable characters. Yes, I called Vin Diesel a relatable person. But a crowd of space mercenaries who are also damaged don't stay that way forever and they believably grow to become the misfit group known as the Guardians of the Galaxy.

The movie is chock full of nostalgic music thanks to Peter Quill acting as our anchor as a human insertion. Classic tunes abound in what is oftentimes a great intergalactic and foreign romp.Easily my favorite thing about the movie is the consistency in understanding that aliens millions of lightyears away of course have no understanding of even the most common human idioms and gestures we use now. Commander Shepard had a very select range of motions and planned dialogue so perhaps he never found himself in a position for human anecdotes should fall flat on alien ears (except if I'm remembering correctly he may have told aliens to go to hell before to which the only response should be where is that?). But Quill is an emotive outlaw who continues to use the Earth speech patterns we'd continue to use to, even if we should realize that aliens would believe us literally if we were to describe mean spirited people as having sticks up their butts.



Something cosmic clicked too. Groot was easily my girlfriend's favorite character to which I say, how can you not like a bad mannered space racoon who loves big guns and taking things apart. We both got our respective characters in lame internet personality quizzes though, which is only a further sign of our compatibility. I also greatly enjoyed Bradly Cooper's Rocket voice, since my initial exposure to Rocket was a cockneyed accent from Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. Good on Cooper for making his Rocket uniquely his.

* - Fulldamage is back to report to us about Storium, for story nerds and role-playing fanatics

* - Visit scenic The Citadel! Interact with haughty intergalactic species! Get lost!

P - Leave questions for PStoid to win a prize! Or just call them Psi-toid.They're psionic!

S - Creepy Sonic eggs to get you through your day maybe

A - Randy Bullseye played games and had small words

E - Sephzilla antes up to play MGR on Revegenance mode on Streamtoid. Get ready to die!

R - Terry's Tales of Abyss Tale review











~Striderhoang

FPotD
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