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9:26 AM on 04.09.2015

LOVE/HATE: Mario Kart 8

Let’s get it out of the way quick: Mario Kart 8 is great.

I bought a Wii U just for the game and never suffered any buyer’s remorse like I have with many new consoles. That’s not to say the game is perfect but it does a lot right. So in honour of the soon-to-be-released second DLC pack and 200cc mode, I thought I’d take a look back and share my detailed thoughts on the game.

LOVE pretty graphics

The first thing you notice playing Mario Kart 8 is that it’s pretty. Super pretty. The colours are bright and pop, the locales are highly detailed and the motion is buttery smooth. It is such a gorgeous-looking game and I’m still in awe all these months after its release. It is also amazing seeing tracks like Donut Plains 3 (SNES) not only in 3D but high definition. Feels familiar but completely new.

One of my favourite touches is just how animated and expressive the drivers are. Their heads are on swivels, always surveying the track. They show excitement and disappointment as they pass or get passed. Drifting, tricking, boosting, hitting…..just about everything draws an emotion out of the characters which adds life to the game.

HATE missing features

There are a few features that seem to be missing from Mario Kart 8 that don’t really make sense. The biggest omission to me is the lack of race timer. Unless you’re doing time trials, the game doesn’t display your lap times or final time. It bothers me that I don’t get to see how close photo finishes are. I like numbers!

I had thought the onscreen map was still missing but it turns out you need to hit the (–) button to display it. Took me long enough to figure that out! They probably could have explained stuff like that a little more clearly because I know I’m not the only one who had beaten multiple cups before realizing you can display your vehicle’s stats on the selection screen.

I’m not sure if the last couple Mario Karts have had it but I really liked the Mission Mode on the DS version. It gave single-player a bit more life. Would have also liked a bit more control over custom matches (I’m thinking Smash Bros level of control) since they’re kind of barebones.

LOVE mechanics

Pretty graphics only gets you so far. Fortunately even all these months later, Mario Kart 8 feels incredible! The controls are responsive for a tight driving experience and fluid drifting. It almost feels more like you’re flowing along with a rushing river than driving at times.  This might be my favourite Mario Kart for the feel alone. The sense of speed is also great with the game never feeling too sluggish. 200cc may be terrifying! Between mushrooms, tricking, drifting, drafting, and boost pads, you’re constantly moving forward quickly.

The control scheme is as simple as ever. Gas, drift/hop, item/horn. Only three buttons you need to remember. There’s also a brake if you’re planning on losing the race. I’m not a fan of motion-controlled steering but it is there if you want it. The Pro controller is perfect for the game and there’s nothing wrong with the Wiimote + nunchuk combo. Pretty comfortable actually. The gamepad feels a tad bulky but I really only use it if I’m playing splitscreen and need a controller or playing offscreen while watching TV in the background.

I was annoyed when I heard Mario Kart 7 would have “gliders”. Even more so when I read about the “anti-gravity sections” in Mario Kart 8. Why mess with what works!? Fortunately both mesh incredibly well with the core gameplay, including the underwater sections. Gliding gave the track designers more freedom with their track layouts, connecting to distant spots or acting as a giant pitfall for unlucky racers. The anti-gravity portions work even better in my opinion. It allows for tracks to invert or go along at odd angle, often with spectacular views. A cool mechanic along these sections is that bumping opponents causes both racers to get a speed boost. This can also backfire as an unexpected collision can cause you to rocket off the track if you weren’t prepared. Speaking of which, Lakitu quickly retrieves you when you fall off the course, getting you back into the action faster than past Mario Kart games which is much welcomed.

HATE battle mode

If you’ve ever read a Mario Kart article on the front page over the past year, chances are you’ve seen me complaining about battle mode. So honestly, what the fuck Nintendo!? Whether it was playing 1 vs 1 on the SNES, battling for YEARS on the N64, teaming up in 2 vs 2 on the GC or mixing it up with bots & human game-sharers for maximum chaos on the DS, battle mode has always been a staple of the series. It was a lock to provide some of the most fun and best gaming memories every console generation. Oh right, the problems….

First of all, there’s no battle arenas. Crazy, right? Instead you battle it out on the regular race tracks. The problem with this is that many of the tracks are massive and you can go significant time without seeing another player. Or you see them, miss with a shell, and they’re gone leaving you to search out someone again. Nintendo tried to pull the “Please understand” and “Give it a chance” bullshit but no. It is an embarrassment they pulled this off.

Another problem using tracks is there’s no verticality. You can’t drop down on someone from above and you’re basically moving in one of two directions. While there are some open areas or wider tracks, most are fairly narrow and slow you down too much trying to escape by going off-road.

The pop-up map would be much more useful if it was placed in the middle of the screen while playing splitscreen. As it is each person gets a super mini map and it’s difficult to quickly glance at it and make any sense of it. Having it in the middle wouldn’t eat too much real-estate from everyone’s screen and would allow it to be bigger.

Battle mode is also severely lacking in modes. There’s a balloon-type mode….and that’s it. No shine-thief, shine-runner, coin-runner or Bob-omb blast. While I’ve never had any problem with just balloon-popping, in a game already lacking battle content it makes it feel even more like an after-thought than anything.

Nintendo, I will pay money, more money into something I already bought, for at least ONE(!) true battle course. Please, I’m begging at this point.

LOVE balanced gameplay

As far as I can tell, Mario Kart 8 is fairly balanced. It continues the tradition from the past few games of allowing you to customize your kart along with stats, but nothing feels too dominate. I never played Mario Kart Wii but I heard that the motorbikes were over-powered and weapon-spamming was a problem. While they’re generally still faster than karts, there’s no more wheelie-boosts and it’s much harder to generate drift-boosts with them.

Snaking that ruined Mario Kart DS’ online mode is also still gone. No more need to wiggle the stick to generate sparks. Just hold the drift button and lean into the corner. The sharper the drift, the faster the stronger boost is reached.

Weapon-spamming also seems to be gone (was it ever really that bad?). One of the things that took me aback the first time I played was that priming/holding your weapon no longer allows you to pick up a second item. I felt a little exposed. I quickly appreciated this though as it means races are determined more by your actual driving skills than luck. In past games being in first was almost like a death kiss, you were going to get messed up and it was going to cost you dearly. In Mario Kart 8 though, it might just be the safest position. Positions 2 to 4 aren’t getting anything much more dangerous than green shells and no one is launching anything back from in front of you. Can’t worry about the odd blue shell since it’ll take out anyone behind you and catch anyone unlucky enough to be in the blast radius. Plus there’s a shockwave weapon that you can even use to repel it. The poor racers in the middle and back of the pack are in thunderdome though. They all get heavy fire power and they’re mostly using it on each other, shooting it both forwards and backwards. Get up and in front as quickly as you can and laugh all the way to the finish line.

HATE missing characters

Incoming #FirstWorldProblem: while Mario Kart 8 has the largest roster of characters in the series so far, I’m disappointed with some of the inclusions and replacements. I like the Koopa Kids. They all feel like their own characters and fit in nicely. I’m not that crazy about all the baby characters but I get that this is a family game and kids might like to play as them. Adults too I guess. Now there’s something called a Pink Gold Peach? Sure, okay. What I don’t understand is why characters like Bowser Jr, Diddy, Boo, Birdo and Petey were axed. Those seem like weird omissions.

There were some weapons that I was sad to see go too. The fake weapon box is the big one. It was always such an asshole-item but that’s what made it awesome. The rage it produced was palatable. The lack of the Boo item is also unfortunate. No more turning invisible and stealing an item from someone else. I’m not a fan of the boomerang but Crazy 8 at least lives up to its name.

LOVE dlc

One of the biggest surprises about Mario Kart 8 was the fact that there would be DLC. It just seemed like something Nintendo would never do for one of their main franchises. Even more surprising was that it added a ton of content at a fair price. We gamers aren’t used to not getting gouged these days. The first pack that dropped brought three new characters, new vehicles & parts, and two new cups (8 tracks in total). That will double with the second pack, along with the new Yoshi & Shy Guy colours if you preordered both packs.

The Mercedes karts are a little jarring. Seeing realistic-looking vehicles in a cartoony game feels a little out of place but at least it was free. Can’t complain about that!

It’s almost a given that when you buy a Nintendo product, you’re getting a ton of heart and soul poured into it (battle mode aside). That wasn’t more evident than with the addition of Link to the cast alongside his motorbike inspired by Epona. The Hyrule course is impressive for how faithfully they kept to the Zelda universe, from collecting rupees instead of coins to the classic chest-opening jingle when collecting items. Same thing with the Mute City track from F-Zero.

On the immediate horizon is the second DLC pack that will add Animal Crossing characters and tracks. It looks to be keeping faith to both it and the Mario Kart series. Along with it will be the free upgrade with the fastest Mario Kart mode ever: 200cc. Buckle up kids!

LOVE online racing

Sometimes I forget I’m playing actual people online.

It is incredibly simple to play online. You log on, join a race and you’re in a match. Very easy to play a handful of races or go all afternoon. The weirdest thing is that since there’s only minimal communication that is performed via Miis, it makes each online experience feel cheerful and supportive. It’s the antithesis of local multiplayer. I know a lot of people complain about Nintendo’s lack of voice chat in their games but I’m starting to think they’re on to something here. It’s nice hoping on for a quick race and not having to mentally prepare for verbal abuse. Makes me less worried about a game like Splatoon. If you create a custom game you can use voice chat with friends though. It wasn’t completely banished.

Also nice is that it’s one of the few online games that runs relatively smoothly for me. Living way out in a rural area using satellite internet, lag is such a common issue that I’ve more or less stopped online gaming. It’s probably been years since I’ve consistently participated in Friday Night Fights! Somehow though, Mario Kart 8 doesn’t give me that many problems. There’s the occasional race where I finish in front of someone only to be pushed back a spot or two (why I mostly want the race timer) but it’s never enough to ruin my night.

While I haven’t taken part in many tournaments, the cool thing about them is that it many races can be held at once with the points being compared against everyone. You can even set it so that every couple of races the matchups will be shuffled to make it fairer.

HATE online options

Ok, maybe the main online portion can be a little too simple.

One problem is that once you select a character and kart, you can’t change without exiting the server you’re in. So in a way, this kind of prevents you from experimenting with a combination of karts and parts since you’ll stick with what works for you. Not a big deal.

More of an issue is that you can’t access your home screen while online. Even worse, there’s no system or menu in place that lets you see if any of your friends have launched the game either. From the other end, if you go online and see someone is racing, you can easily join their match. They won’t know you’ve joined unless they recognize your Mii so I’ve chased a few friends from match to match trying to get a few matches in against them. This. Is. Annoying!

LOVE replays

One of the coolest features in the game is the replay, mostly because it’s incredibly simple to use. You can save an entire match or just snippets (30/45/60seconds) and make it focus on certain aspects like hits, drifting or everything. You can also follow up to 4 players to get a varied look. Not only does it give you a chance to admire your awesome driving skills, it lets you see stuff you would have normally overlooked during a race. Also the camera does a great job of making the action look epic. You can also upload your replays to YouTube or the Miiverse with a click of the share button.

The Wii U will store the replays of your last handful of races so you don’t need to be on top of them all the time if there’s something you want to save. Hitting the – button after a race will allow you to quickly save the current one though.

Mario Kart TV is the portal that lets you view the videos of other racers. For the most part I don’t care what the general public posts but hidden towards the back, there’s a folder for your friends’ videos. Those are the ones I want! There’s also another folder for videos from tournaments you’ve joined.


What is exciting about this entry in the racing franchise is that Nintendo has shown they’re willing to expand on the base product. The new characters, karts and courses were all greatly appreciated. 200cc was completely unexpected. So maybe, hopefully, Nintendo will have more surprises in store for Mario Kart 8 throughout the year. E3 is still months away but it’s never too early to start coming up with a wish list.

Battle Arenas

This is a must. They have to. There is literally no issue in gaming bigger to me than correcting this hellish mistake. Maybe they needed the game out ASAP to help sell Wii Us. Maybe they thought people didn’t care. Now is the time to fix it! I would be more than happy with the four courses from Mario Kart 64 and nothing else. Throw in another mode or two and I’d be over the moon. Just do something, Nintendo. Anything! Please!

Double Dash Mode

When Nintendo revealed that Smash Bros would have an 8-player mode, my mind could only think of one thing: DOUBLE DASH!! Mario Kart Double Dash was an underplayed but far from underappreciated game on the GameCube. It may not have been what we wanted from a new Mario Kart when it was released but man was it good! It was a bold experiment that they actually pulled off successfully. As the name vaguely suggests, the game involves racing karts piloted by two characters. One person drives, the other throws weapons and helps to drift. The coolest thing was that if you had a LAN adapter for your GC, you could theoretically play with up to 16 players. Eight teams of two. While I’ve never experienced this true vision of the game, I can only imagine how fun it would be. I weep for my ignorance.

The biggest hurdle for this idea is that 1) Nintendo would have to actually make the GameCube controller adapter for Wii U available to more than just scalpers, and 2) would have to set aside resources to actually make the game. It just might be too much work for DLC. Framing it as an expansion or companion game might make more sense, similar to Super Luigi U.

And I mean, c’mon! Mario Kart 8….8-player mode…it speaks for itself! Having 4 teams of 2 could easily be pulled off on the Wii U. This will be the biggest missed opportunity of the generation if it doesn’t happen. I’ll complain about it for years!

Party Features

In a different spectrum of extreme multiplayer ideas, something I recently realized the game really needs is a true “Party Mode”. I had family over for Easter and of course Mario Kart was played since everyone can play it (not that everyone does). There were about ten of us huddled around the TV and we play the two winners go on, the two losers swap out. The first problem is that people like playing as different characters with different karts and playing styles. Another problem is keeping track of whose turn it is (we’re all adults but we’re still the assholes we were a decade or two ago). Having a mode where you pick your Mii then select your character and kart, letting the game decides who races who (maybe only one person gets swapped out, maybe everyone does, maybe the two people who stayed on have to switch screens/controllers) would help to keep things moving. This way a scoring system could also be constructed to include everyone instead of just having it be mostly ignored. Sort of similar to the online tournaments I guess. Even more extreme, having this party mode include both racing and battle mode (once it’s fixed) for a multi-event competition.

Sit down and listen to this. The most extreme of the extreme is taking that idea, combining it with the double dash mode along with constantly swapping partners, and living with the fact that the absolute perfect party game has now been made. Imagine the money, Nintendo. Imagine it all!

Wrapping Up

Alright, thanks for reading my thoughts! It’s been a few years since I’ve done this whole blogging thing. If anyone still has yet to add me on the Wii U, my NNID is CelicaCrazed.


9:44 AM on 03.22.2012

An Open Market: PSN Restrictions Removed

The other day Elsa made a blog post about the PS3 shooter Dust 514 and explained why we should be excited. The gist of the game is that it is a class-based, first-person shooter based on the EVE Online universe with some interconnectivity with people playing the real-time strategy game on their computers. More importantly, itís free-to-play. No ifs, ands or buts. Thereís no subscription fee, no activation cost or unfair advantages to paying. How is this even feasible? Well it turns out CCP worked with Sony to remove PSN restrictions in regards to updating games. The key point was that it wasnít ďrelaxedĒ but ďremovedĒ. They no longer have to pay or be approved by Sony to apply patches. This turns out to be a pretty big deal.

In a recent interview with Hook Shot Inc., Tim Schafer revealed that his Kickstarter game wonít be found on the PS3 or 360. Part of this reason is because the price to update games costs developers $40,000 on these networks. For indie and small developers, thatís a huge financial burden if a game requires several patches and especially so if theyíre trying to push the game out for $5 or less. Now some gamers may say that games shouldnít be released until theyíre finished and thoroughly checked like ďin the good old daysĒ but business is conducted differently now, for better or worse. The $40,000 required is likely why many developers only intermittently update their games, and why developers such as LightBox and Naughty Dog have to go out of their way to create an infrastructure that allows them to apply a hotfix to their game and bypass Sonyís quality assurance.

From the interview with Eurogamer, we learn that this deal isnít exclusively for Dust 514 either and other developers will be able to take advantage of these new policies. This couldnít come at a more opportune time. Recently we found out that Valve was dropping PC-vs-PS3 cross-platform support on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive because of the hurdles preventing them from updating the game as often and fast as they wanted. Instead of pushing updates through for the PC and PS3 at the same time, Iím assuming updates on the PS3 would have had to gone through Sonyís QA first, which takes up both time and money. Now Iím not sure if this news has changed Valveís decision but it will definitely be enticing for other developers. Is it too late for me to ask for a legitimate version of Team Fortress 2 on the console? Hats for all??

In another Eurogamer interview, we learn that these new policies also stretch across the PlayStation brand, covering the PS3, Vita and PS Suite. Sony is attempting to attract developers away from the more open networks of Steam and mobile markets. Theyíre taking a more hands-off approach with developers allowing them to have greater control over their games. We have already seen how horribly PS Minis have failed so these new policies should help to make the Vita in particular even more competitive. This may be speculation on my part but we could see developers selling games at the prices they want, instead of the tiered system Sony seems to use, and decide when they want their game to go on sale. This could also be another strong push to get developers to start thinking about bringing their next ideas to the eventual PlayStation 4.

Now Iím sure it wonít all be clear sailing. If developers are free to update their games as much as they want, Iím sure we can expect more than a few patches that cause gameplay to become unbalanced or even completely broken. On the other hand, it also lifts any excuses that developers may have such as Zipper when it comes to balancing their goddamn MAG maps in a reasonable amount of time or EA fixing voice-chat in most of their new releases. Thereís more pressure, but also more opportunity, for developers to provide us with the best possible game. Hell this may be a naive thought but we may even start to see the occasional added content for free again. Hello Burnout motorbikes!!

These new policies should provide us with some exciting news come E3. Can we expect some more MMOs on the PS3 now that thereís an environment that should allow them to succeed? Will indie developers see the Vita as a legitimate platform for their brainchild? Is it too late for Sony to challenge Apple in the tablet market? The lead-up to the conference should definitely be eventful.   read

10:29 AM on 01.10.2012

Predictions, Anticipations, Resolutions: The 2012 Edition

It wouldnít be the start of a new year without baseless speculation, hopeless dreaming and unattainable goals. With 2011 all but forgotten already, itís time to look forward towards the next 12 months and decide RIGHT NOW whether 2012 will be awesome or not. Since I canít keep up with the ďBloggers WantedĒ topics, Iím here to provide my own better hybrid. PREDICTIONS! ANTICIPATED GAMES! RESOLUTIONS!!

Iím an no fortune-teller. Hell, I have enough trouble deciding what Iíll be doing in the next five-minutes let alone knowing what will happen in five months!! Still, that doesnít stop me from entering a hypno-toad trance and becoming one with the cosmos where I DEFINITELY can see the future. If I can make drunk girls believe that theyíll end up sleeping with me on that night, how hard can it be to convince gamers to believe Iím psychic? Letís find out!! Oh and um...can you guys take a few shots before you start reading?? Thanks!

- Every single one of my resolutions, both of the personal and gamer variety, will fail

- Wii-U will be a hard sell for Nintendo; ďhardĒ in that this is the last generation we buy physical games.

- Xbox Live and PlayStation Network will break down at the same time; there becomes so much impotent rage on the internet that fanboys literally start hunting each other down to stab each other in the face.

- The 3DS will be redesigned; 2 slider pads will be included, also in 4D.

- A Microsoft handheld!? Nope.

- OnLive will provide legitimate competition for Steam; LOLOLOLOLOrigin.

- Nintendo finally releases the timeline for Super Mario Brothers

- No new Legend of Zelda: Four Swords game will be announced; Iíll take this terrible oversight way too personally.

- Pikmin 4 will be announced, still no mention of Pikmin 3.

- The PlayStation 3 finally gets a game.

- Call of Duty and Battlefield will get drunk at a party and then totally make out together; they spend the rest of the year pretending theyíre not gay for each other.

- Final Fantasy-branded (re)hash browns revitalize the Japanese breakfast industry

- The PlayStation Vita will get a Pokemon-like game in which you must collect all the kills by battling with weapons like guns, knives and grenades. Itíll be an FPS and actually nothing like Pokemon.

- Sega will be fire-bombed if they donít release another Jet Grind Radio. More of a threat than a prediction.

- Shigeru MiyamotoĎs new game turns out to be horribly racist; despite the feelings of the Irish, people still consider it less offensive than Wii Music.

- Sonic the Hedgehog arrested on prostitution charges; his pimp, ďSonic TeamĒ, is still at large

- After nearly a decade of speculation, the Phantom finally releases; now just an exclusive fart app on Android.

- I will run out of predictions


No matter how much I donít want to accept it, weíre heading towards the end of this generation. With the Wii-U set to hit shelves later this year and the successor to both the 360 and PS3 expected to be revealed at some point over the next 12 months, developers are winding down development on the consoles we come to love over the last six years. Scary! Itís not over yet though and we still have many games to be excited for. Here are some of my most anticipated games for 2012:

With the innovative ďBuild & BattleĒ system that allows you to call down structures from the sky, this third person shooter-turned-tower defence game has long been on my radar. A spiritual successor to the reason I bought my PlayStation 3 in the first place, Warhawk, the game seamlessly combines troop warfare, vehicular combat and aerial dogfighting to create an action-packed experience. While thereís still much work needed, the beta for Starhawk assured me that this may be the only multiplayer shooter I need in 2012. Grab a jetpack and see why I love them.

The original Borderlands was one of those rare games which was much more addictive than it had any right being. It was almost as addictive as the drugs it seems to frequently reference (read this awesome cblog by nekobun for just how frequent). Iíve put in a couple hundred hours between the PC and PS3 versions, and Iím once again trying to convince my roommates to do another round of it. Borderlands had a ton of room for improvement but itís synergistic quality just makes me salivate for the sequel. I cannot wait to play it!

Back in the day, vehicular combat games were my favourite type of games. While I didnít play much from the Twisted Metal series since I never owned a PlayStation or PS2, Iíve sunk countless hours into games like San Fransisco Rush 2049, Vigilante 8, Toy Commander and Mario Kart. This generation has been severely lacking in the genre so the new Twisted Metal is high on my anticipation list. So far the game sounds like it may be a bit complicated but the gameplay itself should be solid. Much of the old Incognito Entertainment team has moved on to Eat Sleep Play and I enjoyed enough of Warhawk to give them the benefit of the doubt. With vehicles, mechs, helicopters, destructible environments and 4 player splitscreen, I hope this game findings a footing in online communities.

I can blame all of YOU for having this game on my list. Mass Effect is a series with critical acclaim...that I have yet to play yet. Wait, Iím not done!! Peopleís excitement for ME3 has rubbed off on me and has given me the desire to play through the first two games. So basically Iím anticipating playing this series. That counts, right? Actually the same could be said for Bioshock and Dead Space which I hope to play through at some time this year. Now I just need to decide if I should start this series before getting to Dark Souls.

Life is the ultimate RPG and we should always try to max out our stats. While Iím happy with who I am, thereís always room for improvement in various areas of my character. Pushing yourself outside your boundaries allows you to gain experience points in aspects that may be underdeveloped or rarely used, helping to flesh out your persona. Anyways, here are some ways I would like to grow as a gamer:

- Play more games!
I know I technically should be cutting back on my gaming time but I donít play enough games for the amount of time I play. Too often I say Iíll be getting a game and then never do. I just need to start opening my wallet a bit and expand my library. I should probably try and get multiplayer games around the time they release too instead of waiting until everyoneís moved on already.

- Use voice chat!
You may have picked up on it already but Iím a pretty boring guy. Iím socially awkward at all times. Itís probably the main reason I never use a headset. Well when Iím back home itís difficult to use chat since I tend to play at night when everyone goes to bed and blah blah blah blah blah. I say it all the time but Iíll try and use my headset more often. Iíll try and be less self-conscious and more outgoing, stepping outside my comfort zone. I guess It is also dependent on whether my roommates are playing or watching.

- Force myself to play single player games!
I know I should only play games I enjoy, or thatís what I say all the time anyways, but too often I give up on a game because I rather be playing in a multiplayer match. I can already feel it happening between Deadly Premonition and Reach. That adrenaline rush you get while competing against other people is like a drug to me. I donít really get the same satisfaction beating up on bots, though itíll be a good skill to have whenever the robot uprising happens. Even still, I want to play single player games from time to time. Mass Effect is probably the game I want to play most right now, and I still want to get into the Metal Gear Solid, Dead Space and Bioshock series. I havenít forgotten about you either, Dark Souls!!

- Host some game nights!
This is another thing I say pretty often but I really do want to host more gaming nights. Friday nights are usually an inconvenient time for me to game, something Iím sure other Dtoiders feel the same way about. Iím not sure what games would attract a crowd but I think hosting it early on a weekday night/late evening could accommodate both East & West coasters. Unless everyone is going to be playing Team Fortress 2 on the Dtoid server because Iíd be totally fine with that too!!

- Blog more!
While Iíve never been much of a blogger on here, or more importantly interesting, I feel like I should be contributing some sort of amusement for those who want something to read. I only published one blog all of last year which was just sad. Iím just saying it now though, Iím not paying for your psychiatrist bills when I eventually say too much and scar you mentally O__O

Have a great year, Ďtoiders!!   read

8:50 AM on 10.31.2011

LOVE/HATE Session: NHL 12

*blows dust off blog*


*cracks knuckles*

Give me a second here while I remember how to do this olí bloggy-thingy....alright....chairís is filled....candles are litÖ.aaaaaaand GO!!

If youíve ever had the misfortune of reading my thoughts either here on Destructoid or out in the Twitterverse, you may have at one time come across the fact that I have a slight appreciation for the sport of hockey. Save the gasps for later, please. Being both a gamer and a hockey fan means that I am cursed with a terrible affliction where I give Electronic Arts $59.99 plus tax every year in exchange for an NHL game I basically bought the previous year. It is number 10 on my ďTop 10 Disgraces as a GamerĒ list. Iím not here to talk to you about my inadequacies at this time (Iíll save that for my ex-girlfriends HEY-O!...oh wait no), Iím here to tell you about how one of my most anticipated games this year and every year, NHL 12, has caused a bit of a conundrum for me.

The biggest gripe that most gamers have with sports games is that they see them as nothing more than ďroster updatesĒ, bringing minimal changes that wouldnít require the full-priced purchase every year. Maybe theyíre right in a sense, but over the last half-decade I feel that this would be particularly untrue of EAís NHL franchise. Just like with the actual sport of hockey, some minor changes wonít be very noticeable but they may make a world of difference. NHL 12 is brimming with these small upgrades. So in lieu of an actual review (I did one for NHL 09, what the H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS do you want more from me!?) I am going to break down what I liked from the game and what I found to be annoying. Since Iím a gamer and a sports fan, this is going to be nauseatingly overdramatic. Get ready for a LOVE/HATE Session!!

The first time you fire up NHL 12, you are dropped into a tutorial. While I found it hilarious that fighting is the first thing the game teaches you after you learn how to shoot (this HAD to be done on purpose to screw with mainstream hockey writers), the new faceoff mechanics you get taught dropped my jaw. Forehand and backhand grips, stick lifts, tie ups and draw dekes, this is a fully fleshed out faceoff system. Just like how the Leafs are discovering this year with David ďStar DestroyerĒ Steckel, faceoffs are now more than just squaring up in the circle and whacking at the puck. It feels like skill and timing play a more important role. Itís not a huge deal but it does help to immerse you into the game and get the puck where or to who you want.

Speaking of immersion, the physics for the checking system in NHL 12 knocks you out of the moment worse than a stanchion to the face. EA upgraded the hitting mechanics and seemed to have left a few kinks in it. Players fall in the wrong direction, go down with injures from non-contact andÖ.huh, whatís that? Yes this happens to more than just the Vancouver Canucks! It is game wide and not because the virtual players are trying to draw Shanabans! It doesnít ruin the game, but it is pretty wonky and you will notice it. Same goes with the puck physics, where itíll occasionally jump into hyper-drive across the rink. The game also suffers from the occasional freeze, and Iím not talking about the playing surface here. Itís most noticeable for me in Be A GM mode, where the game will get held up on the loading screen or stop in the middle of a match. Also, itíll sometimes revert back to the default music even after I set the game to play a custom playlist. This is probably the first time in a long time that I donít care for an EA soundtrack. Itís about as disappointing as the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs.

Sometimes youíll play a game and see something so unexpected, something so realistic, that it just amazes you with what they can do in video games these days (LEAFS IN THE PLAYOFFS!?!?). NHL 12 is chalk full of these moments. In the first game I was playing, I skated up into the offensive zone and took a wrister that was blocked by the defenderís stick which exploded on contact, leaving me with a smirk on my face as I prepared to abuse this helpless player. Except that this did not happen! Before I could reach the loose puck, the defender dropped to a knee and batted the puck out of the zone with his hand. I didnít even know they could do that!! I then paused the game and went to explain to my father the awesome display that I had just witnessed. He was not as excited as I was. In another game, I had been checked hard in the offensive zone. Not as bad as Stephane De Costa was hit by Neon Dion I might add. In the impact of the hit, I had dropped my stick and was racing to backcheck the opposing player empty-handed. Thatís when I notice something poking out from my teamís bench. They were holding out a spare stick for me to use back on defense!! There seem to be countless amounts of these small details that just amaze me, stuff that makes me squeal with glee like Kyle Wellwood at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

NHL 12 is the ďJason AllisonĒ of video games. What I mean by that is that yes, the game is very good, but it is just so goddamn slow!! Do you want to play a game? Gotta wait to load the match. Do you want to play Be A Pro Mode? Gotta wait to load your save. Do you want to edit your character?? Gotta wait to load the data. Do you want to play your next game?? Gotta wait to simulate to the date. Do you want to play a different mode?? Gotta wait to save. Iím not sure if itís just the PlayStation 3 that itís like this but the game is just so freaking slow and it gets to be pretty annoying after a while.

Some gamers dislike sports games because theyíre ďtoo realĒ, that thereís not enough fantasy or imagination to them. It should come to a shock to these people then that NHL 12 is actually a pretty deep role-playing game. SAY WHAT!? Thatís right, youíre reality has been shattered like a Leafs fanís hope for the playoffs in early November. Whether it is creating yourself in the game to play as, gaining experience to upgrade your character, unlocking new equipment or stat boosts via side tasks/missions, NHL 12 could best be described as what Iíll coin an RPS, a Role-Playing Sport game. You can even play as a past legend such as Stevie Yzerman, Borje Salming & Patrick Roy (yes, I thoroughly enjoyed researching this part). Then there is the EASHL24/7, a mode where you build your own team using hockey cards, earning pucks/currency from games. You can buy or trade cards, juggle lines for best chemistry, enter different tournaments, and play against either a live opponent or just go up against the CPU-controlled team. Then there is the team I created for Be A GM mode, using the now-defunct Thrashers jersey to recreate my schoolís hockey team in the game (WLU Golden Hawks). The bright gold and purple can be a little obnoxious but I like it. I can even set custom music, either by song, artist or playlists, for specific events for my team such as for the intro and goals. And only in NHL 12 can the Ottawa Senators think that they are an actual NHL team. ROLE PLAYING, BITCHES!!

EASHL24/7 is one of the more interesting modes in NHL 12. The problem is that it needs to be connected to the EA Sports servers at ALL TIMES! Even if youíre just playing against a CPU-controlled team, whether itís another userís team or one of the opponents included in the game, you have to be online. The problem is that if you lose that connection for even just a split second, the game will boot you and youíll be given a loss. Kind of like Montreal Canadiens fans and reality this year, a loss is always a given. This isnít seen in the other modes, like online Be A Pro mode, just EASHL24/7 for some reason. I could be up 7-0 at the start of the 2nd period and end up with a loss. Itís pretty annoying and a mode I wonít play anymore until I get better internet (thatís the Toronto FC fan in me speaking up). Iím not going to turn this into a rant about Rogers or Bell (yeahÖ.I had to delete a few paragraphs here), but satellite internet is killing me! Plus if someone uses the wireless phone in the house then we get kicked off the internet because apparently we have dial-up again. It is just one of the many reasons why Iíve been missing out on Friday Night Fights lately. So my team, the Inuvik Deltas, shall be temporarily under suspended operations for the time being.

One of the less talked about, but pretty awesome, selling points for the game is that you can create women in NHL 12. The story goes that a 14 year old girl named Lexi Peters wrote a letter to EA asking for female players to be included in the game but she was told it wasnít possible. Then EA thought about it and realized they would be able to do it for Be A Pro mode, though why they canít at least include womenís national teams is beyond me. While it shouldnít be that celebrated since NHL Hitz allowed you to do this a decade ago, and the Sedin twins have been in the league for years, it is smart that EA is improving the game to be more accommodating to more people. Being able to put yourself into a game really helps to immerse you into it so it must suck not being able to do that. Your move, first-person shooters!

Yeah, you know how I just mentioned that you can create female skaters?? Well it comes as a huge disappointment then that you can only use two models, a brunette (made after Lexi) or a blonde (modeled after a girl who looks like the one from Radio Free Roscoe but with braids). Outside of height and weight, the only real customization you have is the eye colour. Iím sure there are non-white women that would like to play hockey. Hell, EA even neglected to include red heads!! Those bastards!! I really donít know what their development team was thinking. As a whole, the entire character customization could use a bit of an improvement, even for men. That old feature where you could upload pictures of yourself to use in game never really took off after the start of this generation. In the end I was able to create Amanda Kessel, younger sister to the NHL leading scorer Phil ďThe ThrillĒ Kessel, so she is my new sniper. If only she could have been made a red headÖ..

If you havenít noticed from me talking yet, NHL 12 is filled to the brim with different modes with each one being different enough that youíll one to invest time into them. EASHL24/7 would probably be my favourite mode if I could play it since it ties online play with team-building. Be A Pro mode is pretty fun and intense online, where you can either be the hero or the goat for your team. Since the easiest way to level up is by winning, you really have to swallow your pride and do whatís best for the team such as making the pass instead of trying to score all on your own. Also, just back out if you have a player-controlled goalie on your team. Chances are youíll be playing with Vesa Toskala and heís just as bad in video games as he is in real life. Then there is Be A GM mode where you build your team and perform task while trying to ensure both your NHL and AHL-affiliate win. Completing one week within this mode instantly makes you more qualified for an actual NHL GM job than John Ferguson Jr. I remember in past years when this was entirely a simulation mode so itís nice that you can actually play as your team now.

As much as I love all of these modes, the time required to invest into them is huge! The biggest problem is that I havenít found a way to shorten the season other than by just simulating games or playing as the Columbus Bluejackets. Each season is 82 games long, on top of a few preseason games, and playoff games if you make it. Playoffs are a best of 7 series, four rounds long (*insert your own Leafs joke here*). Many of the requirements to unlock new stat boosts are to play upwards of 3 seasons with a Be A Pro character, some of which must be done as a specific player type (sniper, power forward, playmaker, defensive defenseman, two way defenseman, etc.). NHL 12 is a game designed for people like my cousin, a person who enjoys the occasional video game but lives and breathes hockey. Iím pretty good at video games but Iíve only managed to beat him THREE TIMES at NHL over the last four years! Iím actually pretty decent despite what my record says about me, something Iím sure Jonas Gustavsson would relate with. Itís a fun game, donít get me wrong, but I also like to play other games on top of actually watching the sport. So yes, I am hating on the game because it is too awesome.

Itís hockey ^__^   read

12:40 PM on 11.16.2010

Getting PSYCHED for Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Today is a release of a very special game. ďSpecialĒ in the sense that Iím actually willing to pay full price for it and buy it at launch. This game I speak of is not Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood, though I am interested in the multiplayer. It is none other than Electronic Artsí Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. I am very excited for this game. Actually ďexcitedĒ probably doesnít do justice for what I feel. Drawing inspiration from mrandydixon, I have at least five boners for this game. At once. Anyways what better way to celebrate the release of Hot Pursuit than share why I am psyched for this game.


1) It is made by Criterion Games.

There is an exclusive club of developers that literally can do no wrong in the eyes of their fans. One of the developers that falls in this category so happens to be Criterion and they are fully deserving of this honour. Makers of the critically-acclaimed Burnnout franchise, EA gave them the task of rebuilding their flagship racer back to its former glory. So far so good as the game has amassed a 90% rating on Metacritic for the PS3 version. Our very own Nick ďwait this isnít Rock BandĒ Chester gave the game 9.5 out of 10, Editorís Choice Award. Of course the review felt a little off due to the lack of serious butthurt in the comments section but we can excuse Nick this time.

1.5) I really, really liked Criterionís last game, Burnout Paradise.

Sure it may look terrible, partly due to being unfinished and partly due to the crappiness of glue sticks, but it was something I needed to put up on my wall. The boxart for Burnout Paradise is one of my favourites of all time. I always wanted a poster of it but could never find one anywhere so I just made my own. I often use the bike version, with inverted colours to give a midnight look, as my laptopís background. This is a game that I love dearly. Whether it was the competitive racing or cooperative Free Burning, this was a game where you could go from relaxed to hell-possessed on the turn of a dime. It was beautiful, it was fun and it kept you busy for hours. On top of that, Criterion was doing what was unheard of at the time and releasing post-release content for free! New free burn and timed challenges, day and night cycles, crotch-rockets, trophies (remember when that was an issue??), new features....all for free! Eventually they did start providing paid content, though while a little pricey, was definitely worth the cost of admission for fans. Big Surf Island is still one of the best pieces of DLC on the market. This was a developer who knew how to do things right.

2) Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit has gone back to its roots.

Need For Speed hit it big with the Underground series. These were the games that really brought the racing franchise to the mainstream. While I had fallen out of the loop long ago, it seemed as if the games were becoming bland, though Shift was another step in the right direction. Now itís looking like there will be a second step as well. For me, Need For Speed was remembered for Hot Pursuit and High Stakes back on the computer long ago. Already the updated game sounds like it does the name proud.


Bringing back Racers and Coppers, one team races while the other cops. You know what I mean. As a racer, you most compete with other drivers to post the fastest time. As a cop, it is your job to make sure that those ďstreet-punksĒ are shutdown and thrown in the slammer. Further pushing the game into the much-adored realm of ďarcade racerĒ is the use of items by both sides. The cops can employ such weapons as spike strips, road blocks, EMPs and helicopters. The racers get an assortment of offensive and defensive weapons like the radar jammer, turbo, spike strips and EMPs.

3) Hot Pursuit is doing everything it can to one-up Burnout Paradise.

Well this could go without saying. It would be expected that Criterion would want to make their new game better than what they previously developed so it really isnít that big of a surprise. But letís humour me so we can move on in this article. Seacrest County, the location that all this street racing occurs, is massive. Paradise City was a pretty big metropolis so it is both amazing and intimidating to hear that Seacrest County is at least 4x bigger. While it doesnít have the density of city roads, the locations in Hot Pursuit appear to be much more varied. There is the Mediterranean coast, the outback desert, evergreen forest and whitecapped mountains. Each area looks distinct enough from one another.

Also unlike Burnout is the presence of real-life cars. No more empty stares from people as you forget that a Hummer is not called Hunter Olympus. These are exotic-brand vehicles that you will be driving and crashing. Lamborghini, Porsche, BMW, Austin Martin, Maserati....many of the vehicles I get boners thinking about. While I am more than a little disappointed with the lack of a Toyota Celica in the mix, I think I can live with using cars several leagues out of my tax bracket.

If that wasnít enough for Criterion to top its older games, in comes Autolog to wreck everything I loved about Road Rules.

4) Road Rules + Facebook = Autolog

If you have me as a friend on the PS3 and own Burnout Paradise, chances are you have called me a dick on more than one occasion. Switch over to the bikes and the insults get dramatically nastier. Earlier this year I completed my goal of becoming ďThe Mayor of Paradise CityĒ. By that I mean I turned every street sign gold on the bikes and owned the majority with the cars, all with a friends list over 60 at the time. This is Road Rules, a seamless leaderboard system that compared times of all your online friends. Owning one record on a road gave you a silver sign. Own them both and you get the highly coveted gold sign. Criterion seems to have fleshed out this idea to another level.

Autolog is the new leaderboard system used in Hot Pursuit. It seems to be a bit of a mash-up between Road Rules and Facebook, meaning that there is increased competition with more social capabilities. Whereas on Burnout you could on see who owned the Road Rule and had to dig a bit deeper to find out who was also faster than you, here in Hot Pursuit it is laid out in plain view when you are NOT in first. It looks to give you motivation to not just get 1st Place but to also beat the person directly above you with a faster time. You can view it online on your PC as well at the Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit website.

I consider it a Facebook-hybrid because of the presence of a wall. As you can see, not only are race times posted but you can also leave messages for people. In this case, I am giving my trash-talking muscle some warm up.

The game also recommends times for you to beat and your time for others to beat. What this does is put a big bulls-eye on your back, essentially calling out the manhood of everybody and their mothers who canít beat their time. Up above is an example from linuxguy whose time Iím being challenged with.

5) As a pretty competitive person, sometimes people just give me a reason to get pumped up.

Isnít that right, Talia?? Also, I used New Dtoid. Suck it haters! :P

If what I wrote at all got you excited for the game, great!! I really do need more people to beat! Daxelman, I know you're a BP fanatic! If Criterion showed us anything with Burnout Paradise it is that they will continue to show their game some love long after its released. The game is lacking the coop-friendly Free Burn from Paradise City and it is something I would love to see transferred over to Seacrest County. Also bikes! OH GAWD DO I NEED BIKES!! I wouldnít be surprised to see vehicles in paid DLC for sure.

And now, I must head to the store and pick up a copy.....

*checks school schedule for next two weeks*


*sigh* Just a little stressed. Iíll live. Probably.   read

12:34 PM on 09.15.2010

The Value in Researching: A Story of Annelid Economics (Worms 2: Armageddon)

I am a very frugal person.

It is not often that I just spend my cash all willy-nilly. With a hobby such as video games, this means that I may miss out on some games. Uncharted 2, Bioshock, God of War 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Call of Duty, Bad Company 2, Grand Theft Auto IV....all examples of games I want to play but just havenít separated myself from my cash yet. Itís so bad that the last PlayStation 3 game I purchased was MAG back in March. And the PS3 is my main gaming console!! And yes, I am still a gamer. I can wait for games to come down in price before I buy them though usually by that point Iím no longer in a hurry to play them. Except for NHL, EA gets all my money.

Now that September has rolled along I am back at school, again (*sigh*), with a crapload of time. Itís what happens when you switch from biochemistry to geography I guess. Like last year, I have once again brought up my PS3 with me. The problem that my three roommates and I have run into is that with only two controllers, there is very few games that we can all play together at once. Over the weekend, the demo of Worms seemed to be the answer to our problems.

If your landlord leaves you an HDTV like this, you're basically required by law to hook up a PS3 to it.

Now Iíve had the demo for a while. I downloaded it last school year at sometime but we didnít really stick with it. But we got hooked on it over the weekend for some reason. Well, the reason being "fun" I guess. Even our new non-gamer roommate was having a blast. So on Monday night I decided to go out and buy a PSN Card to get the full version. We desperately needed the ability to play with 4 players.

Something wasnít sitting right with me though. While I wanted to buy Worms, there was a voice in the back of my head telling me to wait. I had a sneaking suspicion that maybe Worms would be featured on PlayStation Plus and that I should subscribe to the service. So I hit up the internet in search of what Tuesdayís update would bring. Unfortunately I couldnít find anything. Then I thought to myself, ďHmm, isnít there a new Worms game coming out sometime this year?? Naw probably not.Ē So I head upstairs, add funds to my virtual wallet and get downloading the $12.99 plus tax Worms.

Just a little vanilla.

The more we played the game, the more disappointed we became. We knew there was only 23 weapons but we figured it wouldnít matter too much. My one roommate and I are both veterans of the Worms franchise so we kept pointing out missing things. ďWhere are the longer girders??Ē ďNo custom maps??Ē ďIf only I had a parachute!Ē ďOh we canít set the number of worms per team??Ē While we were nitpicking, we were still having a blast, literally, and enjoying ourselves. Staying up till 3am on the first night of school when we had morning classes the next day was not a responsible start to the school year.

The next day we were getting pretty pumped for some more carnage. The lead up to our night-time death match was filled with bouts of smack-talk and ideas for new game types. As I sat down to eat dinner, I remembered that with it being Tuesday the PlayStation Blog would have a list of the weekís PSN update. Oh how angry I would become....


Worms 2: Armageddon!?!? What!? Not even 24 hours after I bought Worms, the sequel was released. At $14.99, it was like some sick, twisted joke being played on me. Perfect Wormsí humour actually. Being caught completely off-guard, I go in search of answers. Did it deserve my money?? Just looking at the reviews for the 360 version, which was released months earlier, showed that it was everything I wanted Worms to be and more. While I was planning on spending my remaining funds on Castle Crashers, 4-player hot-seat play took priority. Plus I mean itís Worms. Címon!!

Definitely has much more visual pop to it than its prequel.

After finishing the download, and being laughed at by my roommates, we booted the game up and continued on with our grudge match. Instantly we saw in improvement with almost every one of our gripes. While the entirety of Worms felt like a demo, Worms 2 feels like the definitive version. Everything from the presentation, to the weapons arsenal to just the personality, it felt like the Worms I know and love. The game made me laugh and not just in the situations we created for ourselves. Between the wormsí silly costumes, their accents and trash talk, and especially their high pitched screams after you drop a stick of dynamite on their heads, this game never ceases to put a smile on your face.

Of course, I havenít owned the game for 24 hours but I can already tell that there is a ton more to do in the game. There are more modes to play, more single-player missions and many things to unlock. The online mode even has full voice-chat support though I havenít tested it yet. Worms 2: Armageddon also has a Platinum Trophy, which not many PSN games have, though it wonít come easy.

Anti-air defence at its finest.

So should you be buying Worms 2: Armageddon?? If you are a fan of Worms, strategy games, 4-player couch play, or just general fun, then yes you should purchase this game. This is my favourite version of Worms since Worms Armageddon on my Dreamcast. While I resent the fact that I wasted almost $15 on a game I probably wonít ever touch again, Worms 2 more than makes up for it. This will definitely be in heavy rotation over the coming months. The only way I could be disappointed with this game is if they were to release Worms 3: Armageddon next Tuesday.

Sony and Team 17, for the sake of my sanity and my wallet, please PLEASE donít.   read

11:54 AM on 07.06.2010

Impressions: PS3 Updated Photo Gallery & PSN Facebook App

Dear America,
please take back this hot, humid air mass. My supple Canadian body cannot tolerate this sticky 42 degree Celsius weather. Not cool. Literally. I have to play ultimate frisbee later today and I will definitely die. Letís knock out one last blog before I croak.

Impression time starts now. And I apologize in advanced for the image quality. My cellphone's camera was all I could find at the time.

Updated PS3 Photo Gallery

Impressions of an image viewer?? Really?? Sure why not.

Originally there was no picture gallery on the PS3. There was the photo column on the XMB which to me was more than adequate for viewing images. I mostly just have different backgrounds saved on my harddrive so I always found it functional enough. Apparently Sony did not. Trying to capture some of the Wiiís magic, since an image gallery was clearly the difference between the two consoles, they went about and created the Photo Gallery. It gave the user the ability to make fancy slideshows and that was literally it.

For some reason though, Sony decided to keep putting resources into the Gallery and the results are something that actually impressed me. Seriously. The recent update brought along Facebook and Picasa integration. Of course this update is practically meaningless if you do not have an account for either of the two but it will be cool for those that do. Ok maybe not cool but convenient nonetheless. Thatís the word Iím looking for.

There are three tabs to the Photo Gallery: your images saved to your PS3 (left tab), your slideshow playlists (middle tab) and your PSN photos (right tab). The image above is from the PSN tab. After logging into your Facebook and Picasa accounts, icons appear showing your photo albums. The pile of photos directly above my PSN avatar are my Facebook photo albums; above the Facebook icon are the photo albums of my friends.

The problem with looking at your friendsí Facebook photos on here is that they will come up in any order your PS3 chooses. I have 91 friends. It is annoying at worst for me. For people that have 300, 400, over 1000 friends....well you will be swimming through a lot of names. There is no search engine either so you better be hoping your internet is speedy. A nice touch though is the ďnewĒ icon which notifies you who recently added photos.

As for image quality, the Photo Gallery works amazingly well. Thatís right, the PS3 with all its Cell Processors and Blu-Rays displays still pictures really well on my HDTV. No stretching or blurring and whatnot. Does what itís supposed to do.

And yes, that is me.

On the PSN tab, your Picasa web albums are found under the lower of the two icons. It took me awhile to figure out that the top icon was for your Picasa friends. Since I do not have Picasa friends, I used one of my alt accounts to friend myself. I know, lame. What is interesting about this page though is that there is a ďFeatured PhotoĒ icon and a search icon. The featured photos are those chosen by the Picasa development team. Essentially, they are ďpromotedĒ pictures. Theyíre your typical artsy-fartsy type of photos though they do look pretty. The search icon on the other hand lets you search shared photos on the Picasa network. I decided to see what ďdtoidĒ would pop up. A little disappointing is that you can only have one search topic at a time. Looking up something else will get rid of your last item.

These are photos that have been tagged dtoid. I doubt that these are all of them but it did not give me an option to search more or anything. Also looking closer....

ZOMG!! I found Hamza and Samit!! Garison is lurking in the background too!! I feel like such an internet lurker now. I was going to leave a comment but I couldnít find a way to see whose photo it was. Even worse is the fact that the only way you can add Picasa friends is through the website. I couldnít do it on my PS3. Bummer.

The thing Iím probably most disappointed with the Photo Gallery is that Sony was saying that you could share photos with your PSN friends, which of course turned out more cumbersome than it needed to be. To let your PSN friends view your photos, you must select an album and manually share it. A PSN message will pop up allowing you to select who you want to send it to.

The album will appear at the bottom of the PSN tab. Iím not sure if it specifies which photos were from whom but with only one person, there is no name to differentiate. Iím not sure what happens when multiple people send you albums, if it just goes by album name or what. If you have multiple albums you want to share you must send them out individually.

Something that gives me hope is the empty space to the left of the Facebook icons. The PSN tab was clearly made three icons wide but only two columns are being used. Iím assuming/hoping that sharing among PSN friends is the next logical step. Right now the easiest way to share with everyone is to become Picasa friends and that is just annoying to do. Also spamming your friends list with albums probably isnít much better.

Commenting on photos is pretty easy. Just hit R3 and type away. Though watch what you say because only the owner of the photo can delete comments. Now that I remember, you canít save Facebook or Picasa pics to your PS3, nor turn them into wallpapers. Kind of a letdown though Iím sure that is more because of privacy issues or something. Also you need a Picasa account to comment on Picasa pics and a Facebook account to comment on Facebook pics. Otherwise you sit there typing a well thought out comment only for it to vanish into nothingness. Yeah, itís why I made the alt account to begin with.

Since I havenít mentioned it yet, you can upload photos from your PS3 to both your Picasa and Facebook accounts. It works likes youíd expect, which means great. You even get the added ďnerd credĒ on Facebook as it states that it was ďuploaded via PlayStation NetworkĒ. Sweet.

So is the new Photo Gallery worth your time?? If you have either Facebook or Picasa, or both, then definitely. Itís not something that youíll be loading up every night but it does give you a different way to lurk and share photos. It is much easier to crowd around the tv then the computer if you want to show off pics from your latest trip with house guests. While I have a few complaints, it doesnít seem like Sony will be stopping here. Anyways, itís free. WHAT MORE DO YOU PEOPLE WANT!?!?

PSN Facebook Application

Yes, Iím talking about more Facebook. Deal with it.

Along with the firmware update and Photo Gallery update, Sony also finally released an app on Facebook to post your PSN ID. Itís pretty bare bones though. It contains your PSN name, your trophy count and level, and the list of games you have earned trophies in.

For some reason, you cannot actually see trophies for specific games. You just get the overview. I thought it was supposed to show the PSN ID of my Facebook friends, though it could be because none of my friends have it to begin with. Oh well.

Not really much more to say. Is it worth a download?? No probably not. It has little functionality other than stating your name. If you like me have been wanting a way to put your PSN ID on your Facebook page though, then you probably already have this. If not, itís your call.

Also, this is the first Facebook application Iíve ever downloaded. I held out for so long but couldnít resist.

Also, also, I was planning on including my Medal of Honor beta impressions here but it was making this blog way too long. Since you are never supposed to serve the main course first, nor dessert, Iíll post it in a day or two. Hope you still have an appetite then.


And I made it through an entire blog without mentioning PlayStation Home once.....oh DAMMIT!!   read

1:56 AM on 05.15.2010

CelicaCrazed Goes (PlayStation) Home for the Weekend: WH, R2, PJ, R&C & EA

A million internet-years ago, I wrote a picture blog chronicling my adventures in PlayStation Home. I had part deux lined up but never got around to actually writing it. Chalk it up to laziness or some sickly disease. Well after getting frustrated trying to write several other blogs recently, I decided to go back to my specialty no matter how sad that specialty is.

Last time I gave you guys a tour of my apartment, we went shopping at the Mall, took a stroll through the Central Plaza and went to catch a flick at the Theatre. This time we'll check out some developer spaces. First up is from one of my favourite games this generation.


The Warhawk space has the same gritty, military aesthetics the game is known for. Taking place in a bunker, this space is primarily for 'Hawkers as it's intentions seem to be more on educating users than selling itself to idiots who don't already own the game. If you were offended just now, you totally deserved it.

Practice makes perfect. For people like me, that means a whole lot of practicing to become competent first. These computer displays hold sensitive intel that can help a person to become a better, more dangerous fighter. This was the thing that made me realize that Home was more than just an online dancing simulator. "You mean I can actually dodge missiles in open air while using Pro Flight controls!?"

My mind was blown.

While Sony recently released a Warhawk Apartment for users to buy, something I have sadly/happily not bought yet, these awesome holographs of the flying raptors are unfortunately not part of the deal. More on the Warhawk apartment can be found in my past blog.

The thing I don't understand about Warhawk is that I love the look of the actual Eucadian Warhawk much more than the Chernovan Nemesis, but for some reason I play much better in the "soaring stingray". Maybe it's because I spend less time looking at my own ship and instead watch what others are doing. I needed the pic of the deadly duo together.

Now for what I consider to be the main draw of this space: the Warhawk Sandtables. Basically you could pretend to be a military general, looking over the battlefield and devise strategies for victory. I really don't know how effective it is. I find them hard to use which isn't helped by the often unpredictable nature of the game. This table is included when you buy the Warhawk apartment by the way.

Some freaky zombie wanted me, presumably in her pants. I'm not sure if she was after me because of my good looks or for my brain but I tend to have that affect on women. If I had a weapon I could dispose of this zombie. Yes, I classify zombification as an STD, especially when contracted from a female host.

This place is metal as fuck. I just had to rock out.

Ooooooh what do we have here?? Flamethrower?? RPG?? Grenades?? Assault rifles??


Resistance 2

From the tingling sensation in my fingers, my standing hairs and the burn marks on my back, I think the bunker guards at the Warhawk Space tazed me and threw me out on my ass. So where do I go when one of my favourite games rejects me (and it wouldn't be the first time Warhawk did that to me either)?? Well I go to another of my favourite shooters. Here I am, Resistance 2!!

And yes, I am the annoying neighbour in the world of Home.

There's really not much to do in this space. It's an advertisement. There's video screens playing the trailer from the game and posters scattered around.

This thing you see I'm angry at is something I had a mild addiction to. It is a turret mini-game where you have to shoot Chimeran ships out of the air. If you get a high enough score you unlock a shirt with the SRPA logo on it. The thing I'm upset about is that for some reason the logo on my shirt disappeared and now I just have a plain white shirt. Balls.

The blank sign above the ticket booths shows the scores from the turret game. Like I said back in October, the screenshot tool doesn't capture things on video boards. If the results have not changed since 7 months ago, I have the highest score on my friends list. I also have no reason to believe those results have changed either.

Dear America, this Canuck tried to protect your homeland from the alien invasion and failed. I think. I really don't know, the end of R2 was pretty confusing. Seeing Hale that happy at the end gave me nightmares though.

"Brain eating zombies from space." That really is terrifying. Someone from this space needs to fax over that poster to those Warhawk bastards and tell them to share that flamethrower with me. For defensive purposes. Nothing else.

This here is the special meeting place of the SRPA. I wasn't allowed in there. The Resistance people are bastards too it seems. They at least let me pose for a picture in front of their door. Ok, they may have specifically told me to NOT take a picture of it but they didn't have to be so rough when they escorted me off the premises afterwards.


I figured you guys were getting tired of the dark greys and browns of the shooter worlds so I went to a place more stimulating for your optics: the Pixeljunk space!! The video screen was showing gameplay from Shooter. This space is definitely what I would consider to be an advertisement space, but it's been crafted so well that it is worth just seeing the design for yourself. The colour really pop in here.

The first section of the PJ space is Racers. Seeing their cars crafted in such detail makes me wish that they didn't make this game just a top-down racer.

Yeah bro, this is SO going to be my new Facebook profile pic. All the lay-deez will be beggin' for moi after seein' me wit deez large-ass rimz.

I actually have a friend who talks like that.

What the hell is this!? A racetrack for ants!? It has to be two...maybe three times bigger!!

Next up was Monsters, the one PSN game that I don't understand how I have yet to purchase. I definitely need to make amends soon!

This space is comprised of life-sized models of the towers that defend in the game. I really had no clue what they did. On the back wall were screenshots and videos from the game.

WHAT THE HELL!? I swear guys it's not what it looks like!! I...I...I'm really strapped for cash. This heroin addiction costs a lot *sob*.

Eden follows up in the rotation.

Like the game, I was thoroughly disappointed with this space. It looks cool but once you get to the back of the annoying glass "maze", all you are rewarded with is the chance to sit down on some uncomfortable chairs and sexual harassment. The music is good though.

Here is the shop where you can spend your money. My fists were clinching wads of cash but no sales clerk was present to take my money. Just joking, I'm poor and have no money. You just walk up and pay anyways. They do have some cool shirts for your Home persona on the cheap. Even the entire biohazard suits from the scientists you rescue in Shooter.

I am so awesome that Q Games dubbed me "King of Pixeljunk". Bow to me, peons!!

Like I was stating before, the aesthetic of this space are really well done. This is the type of architecture that Home needs, which the developers do seem to be now embracing.

Men at work. Why do my arms look so scrawny??

The Pixeljunk Crown!! I spent a good 15 minutes trying to take this pic because some douche wouldn't move out of the way. I eventually won out after he got bored and left. HA! I used to use this pic as my background on my laptop. It looks very good. Too much white ruins it as a PS3 background though.

Now originally when I took these photos 7 months ago, the Shooter space was not finished. But revisiting the space I found the finished product. Here it is. I have to say I love the look. And where exactly does that elevator go?? Well.....

TO FREAKIN' OUTER-SPACE!! I was clearly excited at seeing the sun that close up. I'm also now blind and have an advanced form of cancer. It was worth it though.

The personal spaceships from Shooter are also here. They are much bigger than what they seem like in the game. Some of those caverns must be huge in scale. Also, I call dibs on the green one!!

Admiral CelicaCrazed declares war on your homeworld. Doom is inevitable.

There is literally nothing to do is this subspace but I was still impressed nonetheless.

Ratchet & Clank

I decided space elevators were not as cool as space ships, so I hijacked one and crash landed into what turned out to be the Ratchet & Clank space. The hobo that claimed it after I got out will just have to take the fall for me I guess.

This space is designed mostly for entertainment it seems. The developers know what Home users like and even installed a disco ball in one of the corners. I try to get my groove on but fail miserably.

Underneath the centre stage is what seems to be a manufacturing line. They seem to be constructing crates to replace the ones Ratchet is so fond of breaking. That dude has some serious issues.

Here we have an overlook of the space. Behind me are videos from the game. Along the back wall where I'm facing are some holographs that give information on the weapons, gadgets and ammo from the Ratchet & Clank series. I don't really know what that tube on the right is for. Maybe for leaving to the Central Plaza or maybe to another subspace. We may never know.

This fellow here sends you on a search to find his lost sheep. You get a prize for finding them all. Alright I'll tell you what it is. It is a miniature space ship to decorate your apartment. There's a picture later on that will show it.

Finally we have the mini-game that mixes tower defence and turret shooting together. Seven months ago I had no clue what it actually was because there was so many people playing it and I didn't feel like waiting for a turn. Stupid instances. Now there is no one here. Well I'm in the future zone, which is the hardest zone and requires the second of two unlockings (Present is easiest with past the middle difficulty). It was also like 2 in the morning on a weekday night. Yay unemployment! The controls are somewhat annoying because up and down are inverted, but if you are used to that scheme you shouldn't have too much trouble. The coolest thing is that you can play with three other people. You also get a prize for beating the Future stage. This prize you'll have to earn yourself if you want to see it but it may be hidden in a future pic.

Alright let's move on!

EA Sports Poker Complex

Oh no! It's evil sports!! Yeah this place may scare away most gamers but EA has me in their back pocket. I find it funny that they are still using Blanco in a Chicago Fire jersey to advertise FIFA 09 when he doesn't even play in this league anymore. Major League Soccer if you wanted to know what I league I meant (Woo! TFC!).

This space has images and videos from different EA Sports games. When I went back in October, they should have been advertising the 2010 games but whatever. NHL 09 had Dion Phanuef on the cover who will definitely be named as the captain of my Toronto Maple Leafs so I'm not complaining. Seriously Calgary, what were you thinking?? AHAHA!!!

I personally think it's crazy to build so many sports fields/rinks/courts/rings on top of high-rise buildings but that's just me. Someone with an engineering degree could probably explain the benefits to you.

Now the really appeal of the EA Sports Poker Complex is in fact poker. Free poker that is. And as a card shark, I smell blood. Money blood of course.

Oooh these people are in for a good fleecing. They will not know what hit them!!

I....I lost everything. OH GOD HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN!! *sob* Where were all the colourful cards and the switches and the +4?? Huh?? What the hell is Uno!? We were playing a version of poker I've never seen. Texas Hold Them or something. Bawwwwwww!

My Apartment


Those bastards weren't kidding when they said they would take everything from me. It's gone. It's ALL gone.

Oh well. The most important thing is that they did not break my knees. The sun still shines brightly and there are more adventures to go on.

Here is the spaceship I won from the sheep finding game. Also with it is my PSPgo and my Mini-Destructoid Bot. Together we shall come back stronger and more powerful then ever before!!

Of course that will have to wait until next week when I go (PlayStation) Home for the weekend.

Sneak peak for whenever the next edition is:

LittleBigPlanet Custom Wallpapers from the LBP Space!! Woo!! The other one in the gallery works better on the PS3 though.   read

7:08 PM on 02.10.2010

PlayStation Home Just Got Relevant Again!!

Ok maybe not. It'd have to be relevant in the first place to be able to be relevant again. That's not the point!! Just...just watch this video...


That is freakin' right! Warhawk Apartments! It comes with the sand table to devise your plans and a multiplayer mini game! I'm guessing it will be the standard price of $6 or $7 or whatever it is they charge for apartments. And it's dropping tomorrow by the way.

While I've tried to use the tables in the past and they're not terribly useful, it is pretty cool being able to use this in your own personal space. It's something I've been asking for awhile now. All I need now is that giant hologram of the Warhawk. Anyways since Warhawk already has fully implemented game launching, these sand tables could be a great thing for heavy Warhawk users.

The turret mini game seems to be similar to the ones found in the Resistance and Infamous spaces. I actually won a shirt on the Resistance one but for some reason the SPRA logo doesn't show anymore. Now it's just a dull white shirt. Sad panda, indeed. I'm not sure if there is a leaderboard or anything but I at least hope you can win a prize on this. I've always wanted a small warhawk figurine for my apartment.

The gear looks pretty sweet too. It doesn't look like they have my Chernovan pilot helmet but now I'm just nitpicking. I'm a gamer though, it's what we're good at. And the mini-jeeps look adorable which is wrong since they are supposed to be tough and manly. ARRRR!!!

If you want more info on what is in this week's update, here is the link to the post from the PlayStation Blog:

Alright, I should stretch this out a bit longer.....

One thing I'm pretty disappointed about is the fact that Incognito/LightBox never released the single player missions as DLC. I know they said that the single player stuff they made wasn't too exciting but I would have enjoyed playing through it nonetheless. I guess it probably would have been a lot of work to get up to snuff. At the very least give us that E3 demo!!

I'm really hoping that the next Warhawk has squad implementation. One thing that I struggle with when playing Warhawk now is that I lose focus and direction. The battlefields are pretty big and you can get easily overmatched if you are soloing it. I guess it's more my fault for not playing with a mic but lets ignore that. Squads help you stick with a few teammates and keeps things a bit organized. Maybe if they had open-mic for talking with your squad and push-to-talk for your team, it could help with the overall communication as well. I don't know, I just noticed that most shooters have squads now. Makes me feel comfortable.

Again, I can't stress this enough.....BUY THE FALLEN STAR EXPANSION. I mean jet packs! Come on! Warhawk + Tau Crater = still cheaper than Dark Void. I'm not a rocket scientist (biologist, actually...uh for now T_T) but the math sounds right to me!

If we get word on the next Warhawk (Starhawk?) at E3, no game released until I play it will satisfy me. Kind of a scary thought if you think about it >_>

Is the shitstorm on the frontpage done yet?? I don't understand why people get so hurt over review scores. I know Jim likes to stir the pot every now and then but I didn't feel like this was one of those times.

Talking about Home made me realize that I forgot to finish my other "(PS)Home for the Weekend" blog. Gotta finish that up one of these days. A Monthly Musing is also in the works. I've been here for several years now and never published one yet. Figured I better start someday.

Alright, that should do it. Peace y'all!

Also, Warhawks!   read

1:51 PM on 02.01.2010

10 Reasons Why I'm a Disgrace to Gamers Everywhere

Every gamer has a list of accomplishments that they are proud of. It could be a high score they obtained on an arcade cabinet, beating a game on the hardest mode without losing a life, even earning a rather difficult Trophy or Achievement. Some people take pride in their kill-to-death ratio, finding an extremely rare game or completing a speed-run on their favourite title. These are things we are proud to tell other people about, even brag to see if anyone else can do the same. But for every medal we gamers like to wear on our chest, we also have a dark secret that we hope stays locked away forever.

With this key in my hand, I am unlocking the door to my "Room of Shame". It will be revealed why I am not a perfect gamer and probably a horrible person. These imperfections though make me who I am and possibly tell more about me than my successes. So with that said, I give you 10 reasons why I'm a disgrace to gamers everywhere.

10) I buy yearly updates of Electronic Arts' sports games

If there is one thing gamers hate, it is corrupted save files. Another is Activision. But before Activision became the big, bad villain of the video game industry, Electronic Arts held the title. Often accused of suppressing originality and creativity in favour of making an easy buck, gamers constantly looked down on EA and their annual "roster updates". They saw EA's sports games as the flavour of choice of fratboys and casuals, bemoaning the fact that Madden dominated the monthly sales charts yet again! I regret to inform everyone that I too am one of those idiots who buys the perennial releases.

Being Canadian, I am genetically predisposed to liking hockey and EA's NHL series has long filled this requirement for me. I have purchased every NHL game they've released since 2005, always looking forward to September for the next year's release. Sadly with my Toronto Maple Leafs going through one of their lowest points in their 90+ year history, video games will be the only escapism from another lost season, a place where I can see my Leafs raise another Stanley Cup and keep the depression down. So I'm sorry to all the gamers out there for being unable to stop giving EA my money. At least their NHL series is quality and always improving. They just need to ditch the camera system they have in place in Be A Pro mode.

Also, how we got Phanuef is beyond me.

9) I liked the Virtual Boy

Before the Wii, gamers felt that Nintendo could do no wrong. They were placed high up on a pedestal to be worshiped by all. "What about the Virtual Boy?" someone would ask. Turning to that person with eyes that could kill, gamers would reply, "Oh that. Just forget about that."

The Virtual Boy was considered Nintendo's big mistake. It gave people eye problems, it was monochrome and it wasn't very portable. There was always something that gamers could complain about, a skill that has only gotten sharper today. But you know what? I really liked the VB. Sure it hurt your eyes, it was only in red and it was clunky. That doesn't matter, it never matters. What counts is the games, and while there were only a few, they were all great. Nostalgia is a funny thing though. The VB still has my favourite version of Mario Tennis, a tennis game with actual visual depth. There was Galactic Pinball, possibly the only pinball game I've ever had fun playing. Teleboxer was pretty fun too with the fist flying around the screen. There was also a Starfox-like game, Wing Alert or something, that I enjoyed a lot as well. While the small library is something I dislike, the 3D gimmick is what made the Virtual Boy worth it for me. With that said, I look forward to the future of 3D gaming. It will happen, gamers will complain (they already are), and I will happily be enjoying the added dimension.

8) I enjoy Pokemon contests

Pokemon Contests are considered to be the epitome of what is wrong with the franchise. It is one of the inclusions to the series that gamers never asked for and cannot understand why it even exists. I too facepalmed a little when I first heard about them. I mean we already force these little pocket monsters to fight till they collapse, now we're going to dress them up with silly accessories and judge them on their dancing skills?? Cruel and unusual punishment never made more sense!!

Like all things I try though, I immediately got hooked. These contests demand more from both a Pokemon and its trainer. Even a Magikarp will win a battle once in awhile, but contests are on a whole other level. They require skill and persistence. A better strategy is needed considering you are up against 3 other trainers. I'll leave it at this since I have a blog on this topic already in the works. Though I guess I might as well turn in my pokeballs now, eh?

7) Single player games are all but dead to me

Ok, this one may be more of an exaggeration. Games such as Uncharted and Fallout 3 show that single player games can still be excellent and ones that I truly love. In the same breath though, I find myself playing less and less solo games every year and wishing those games were made co-op. There is just something about multiplayer that I find much more appealing. Maybe I just hate playing alone.

I probably realized this with Resistance 2. I was a fan of the campaign but was just so much more hooked to the co-op mode. It could have been the RPG-elements but the teamwork was something I really came to love. When I got New Super Mario Bros Wii for Christmas, I really only felt interested in playing it with someone else. I mean, half the reason I don't play my Wii as much as I should is because how isolated the console makes you feel without a friends list. The vast majority of games I play now have a multiplayer component to them. I just seem to enjoy myself a lot more, whether it is playing splitscreen in Borderlands, squading up in Battlefield or going head-to-head in NHL. There will always be a place for single player games, I just don't know if that includes a place on my shelf *makes space for God of War III anyways*. What is weird though is that this really only applies on consoles. It's like handhelds are immune to this disease I have.

Also weird is that I'm still uncomfortable using a headset. Really got to swallow that fear.

6) I like to play with my Wii

If you read the opinion of many "gamers", even here on Dtoid, they will say that the Wii is proof that Nintendo no longer cares about their fans. They will say that supporting the casual-friendly console is doing a disservice to gamers everywhere because it is showing publishers that crap sells money. There was a while when I even believed that. But I suddenly got stupider and decided I like my Wii again, so therefore I'm an embarrassment to gamers.

Now sane people would argue that if you like video games, you need a Wii. While that makes sense to the average person, many gamers don't see it that way. They don't see Tatsunoku vs Capcom, No More Heroes, Twilight Princess, Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros, Corruption, Zack & Wiki, World of Goo and others. What gamers see is mini-game crap, casual crap, "pretends to be for gamers" crap, "should have been on PS3 or 360" crap, and "don't know what it is but it's probably crap" crap. Also, do you like motion controls?? Well you better turn in your dualshocks now cause you are no longer a gamer.

So to "gamers" everywhere, I'm sorry for having little tastes and no sense.

5) Portal did not give me a boner

What!? How can I not love the darling of 2007!? Well it's not that I don't like it but I was pretty underwhelmed with the game. The portals were an interesting gimmick but I found the game to be way too easy and repetitive. Now it's not like I was wanting MENSA-level difficulty but the whole game just felt like a tech demo to me. Half the settings didn't even make sense. I mean I understand the "test facility" part but what the hell were all those giant pistons for in the service tunnels? Or having turrets guard empty, useless areas? Has Valve ever been in a manufacturing plant before? And what happened to all the people? I know there was the "neurotoxin" event but either their bodies would still be laying on the ground or the surviving members would be back to work after they installed the "sympathy" add-on. Why was it a ghost town? The way gamers were having orgasms over this game I was just expecting more.

The thing I liked most about the game was the humour. I still don't understand how "The cake is a lie" became the oh so hilarious meme that people made it out to be though. Actually I'm pretty annoyed about that. I really felt that they should have done more with the hidden plot, show a bit more of the Aperture vs Black Mesa rivalry. I liked the mechanic of using the portals to turn your enemies' weapons against them but that was only used twice. If they used the portal gun in another setting, with armed guards instead of stationary turrets, trying to break out of (or into) something other than a test facility, and more varying scenarios, the game could be great. I mean how did we not get the old "portal on a block, pushed in front of a piston, which breaks a locked door via the portal on the opposite wall" puzzle!? So many lost opportunities!! Hopefully we get the second chapter this year.

Also, Half-Life 2 has done little to hold my attention. I will save judgement till I beat it though.

4) I'm happy the Dreamcast died

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Easy now! Put down the pitchforks and let me explain myself! I love the Dreamcast. It is one of my favourite consoles of all time. I died a little inside the day that Sega pulled the plug on their hardware division. But it was because Sega did this that I was able to get the most out of my Dreamcast.

Being in my early teens, the only money I received was what I earned on my paper-route. Even the $50 I earned a month I had to split with my sister who helped me. There was no such thing as an allowance in my household. After Sega killed the Dreamcast, many retailers were trying to get rid of their stock of games. I hit the gaming jackpot when some of the stores were selling their remaining supply for $2 each. Games such as Fur Fighters, Toy Commander, Worms, San Fransisco Rush 2049, Unreal Tournament, Quake III, Powerstone 2, Blue Stinger, Virtual On, Daytona USA, Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2, Marvel vs Capcom, Sonic Shuffle, Evolution, Virtua Tennis, Vigilante 8, and the list goes on and on and on. I have a collection of over 60 DC titles and the vast majority I got for borderline-theft. So maybe I'm not exactly happy that the Dreamcast is dead. What I'm happy about was that I was able to celebrate its life after it past away.

3) I buy downloadable content

Well I guess this one isn't too much of a secret considering I already wrote a blog on it. Even still, downloadable content is probably the number one thing gamers hate the most this generation of gaming. "Why didn't they just put this in the game before releasing it?" or "They probably just cut this from the game to make an extra buck!" is what many people say. I'm different though. I'm a consumer whore.

Warhawk Booster packs, Killzone 2 map packs, LittleBigPlanet costumes, Resistance 2 skins, Home clothing, Big Surf Island, Heist pack for Crash Commando....quite a bit I've purchased. Still need to download songs for SingStar, buy the Fury pack for WipEout HD, Pixeljunk add-ons and lots more. Why do I gladly throw my money away while other gamers refuse to spend a dime on this stuff? Well mostly because I love the games I've played and I don't have a problem spending a few more dollars to get more out my purchases. This generation is great in that any game is capable of becoming a better product than when it was released. Burnout Paradise is the perfect example of this. Now I'm not saying that all DLC is good (I'm looking at you EA Sports), but if you enjoy a game you shouldn't hold out on principle alone. This stuff isn't going away any time soon.

Also, anyone who doesn't buy the Warhawk Booster Packs are really not getting their moneys worth and are horrible, horrible people.

2) I have yet to play Legend of Zelda: OoT/MM/WW......

This is something I'm pretty ashamed about. I have not played the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, either of the NES versions, Oracles of Seasons/Ages, Minish Cap and Spirit Tracks. I guess it would have been quicker to mention the Zelda games I have played, but I feel the impact is greater this way.

So yes, I have yet to play many of the games in one of the most respected, repetitive, franchises of all time. While I did not have an N64 growing up, my excuses no longer hold meaning since I could download them on my Wii. Probably the worst thing about all of this is that Four Swords Adventure, the multiplayer bastard-child of the series, is probably my favourite. Or at least it would be my favourite if it was at all feasible to get the 4 GBAs and link-cables to play with. But as I've said for years, the DS was practically built for this game. With Wii connectivity, this should have been made a good 3 years ago.

Also, I have yet to play any of the Final Fantasy games, except for Crystal Chronicles. Again, Wii Connectivity for the DS is a missed opportunity this generation.

1) My copy of Jet Grind Radio is a fake

This is the thing I am most ashamed about as a gamer. My copy of Jet Grind Radio, a game I love like no other, is being tainted by the CD-R it is burned to. It is a secret that I can keep no longer. Well to begin with, the game and I have always had a weird relationship. I remember the first time I saw a single screenshot of the game in the Official Dreamcast Magazine, for some reason I had it out for the game. To me at that time, it looked like a game that was trying too hard to be hip. Also worth mentioning was that I was like 12 at the time, just a naive little kid, and we had very little details on the gameplay. Then the previews started coming out and I started to hate it even more, mostly because it sounded so good. It wasn't until the October issue of ODCM got to my mailbox, wrapped with the demo disc containing an excerpt of the game, that my eyes were finally opened and I grew up as a gamer.

That demo changed me. The visuals, the music, the was like I had been living a lie up until that point, which in truth I had. I put countless hours into the demo, replaying the small snippet over and over again. This game had to be mine. The problem was that I was only 12 at the time, as mentioned before got no allowance and only had a paper-route. Before I was able to save up enough money though my cousins got a burnt copy from their friend. Needing to play the game at all cost, they then copied the game for me and the true love sessions would begin. Till this day, there is no game that I have beaten more times than Jet Grind Radio (Viewtiful Joe is pretty close though).

I fully intended to buy the game when I had a chance but just always ended up spending the money on games I didn't own. I still plan on purchasing it some day but I rarely come across Dreamcast games anymore, let alone good one. Until then though, it must remain as one of my greatest gaming shames and prove why I am a disgrace to gamers everywhere.

To redeem myself, I made Mr. Destructoid in the ModNation Racers beta.

This was about all I did, never actually participated in a race.   read

11:01 AM on 01.22.2010

From the Desk of Paradise City's Mayor....

Greetings Destructoid! It is I, CelicaCrazed, the tyrant of this glorious City!! When and why did the people vote me in you ask?? Oh....they didn't. Muhwahahahaha! But let us retrace the steps as YOU abandoned Paradise City and paved the way for MY reign of terror.

You see, almost 2 years ago from this date, the Criterion Construction Company finally finished building Paradise City. It was a diverse town with many tourist locations and a bright future. People from all over Destructoid and other places on my Friends List came to take in the sights and sounds, lay down a little rubber and rub some paint.

Paradise City was built different from other towns. It was created with thought, with an idea of expansion. It promoted cooperation and friendly competition. While the City was voted the #1 Worst Place to Live in America in 2008 (perennial winner, Animal Crossing, reclaimed the award in 2009), its focus around the automotive industry has kept its economy thriving. With the large number of drivers totaling their cars everyday, new ones need to be produced to keep the egotistic billionaires happy. Our low levels of unemployment baffle rocket scientists all around the world!!

Yes, the blood loss due to accidents was a problem at first. It has always been a problem. The last mayor had to bribe a blood bank in some third-world nation millions of dollars a year to keep the City from going dry. When I came to power I said nonsense to that! Using the taxpayers' money on bribes!? Despicable!! Instead I contracted a local cattle ranch to supply us with cheap, delicious cow blood. In Paradise City, we buy local!! The saving I pocketed helped pay for my diamond-encrusted spinners on my Carson Thunder Custom. Sure, my leading physician was calling me a "monster" and "disgrace to humanity" and some other gibberish. He eventually stopped saying that after one of the local gangs flattened him off the massive jump on South Mountain Drive. You know, cause he's now dead! Hahaha!! *sigh* Flattening, the most embarrassing way to go out of this world.

Criterion Co. were always on top of the City's problems. My top informational analysts Ms. Google (*growl* we'll talk later baby) and Mr. Wikipedia (*growl* we'll talk later too ba....wait, wut??) inform me that Project Bogart was the first to be completed, fixing traffic congestion and other infrastructure problems (just...just play along, ok?). A local car-club, Cagney, introduced new ideas to drivers cruising together, such as Stunt Runs, Marked Man and Road Rage games along with the fantastic Timed Challenges. Hilariously, several of their members died when one member thought they could barrel-roll over seven other drivers in a Hunter Olympus at Big Surf Beach. Those poor souls never stood a chance! Hahaha!! It wasn't until late summer in 2008 when the Davis Agreement was passed by city council, which allowed motorcycles to be driven on the City's streets. Also hidden in Davis was a small blurb that the council did not notice. The citizens, suffering from insomnia due to 24/7 sunlight, had devised a plan to get Paradise City moved from the North Pole to somewhere back on the American mainland. They succeeded and once again night returned to the land. Don't worry about the logistics of this, just know that it happened and it is all true. While the people were happy to not be paying the outrageous heating bills that were needed to sustain a subtropical climate in the Arctic, I quickly restored their rates to their former levels after coming into power. This was really the only way I could maintain my addiction for hookers and blow. I'm sure you would have done the same thing if you were in my shoes. Yes, I can hear the people building a gold statue of me as we speak. They really are, I'm forcing them to! Hahaha!!

The citizens of Paradise City were in love with the work that the Criterion Construction Co. had done. One compliment often given to them was that they would have paid for their craftsmanship. Confused, the workers went to their accounting team and asked why people kept saying that?? They were making billions, weren't they?? This lead to the event forever known as "The Red Monday Morning". While it would be several months before a person with a business degree would apply at Criterion Co. again, and after the rest of the workforce was released from jail due to a mistrial, eventually they were back in business and working on a top secret project. Well, it would have been a secret if people hadn't looked out towards the ocean off of 4th Street and seen a massive island being erected. Yes, Big Surf Island was Criterion Co.'s last great construction job for the City. Completed during the summer of 2009, they later realized that hiring daredevils with a fetish for carnage probably was not the smartest idea for the safety of the locals. The spike in tourism deemed it a success though and the people quickly remembered that money trumps human lives any day of the week. I am so proud to call myself Mayor of Paradise City *sniff*.

Meanwhile, city officials discovered that people would pay for parties, several automotive companies produced a new line vehicles for midgets, and the Paradise City Police Department bolstered its crackdown on local racing gangs and gold thieves. I was furious when robbers took off with my gold vault. Sure it was empty but the vault itself was made of pure gold. It cost me a fortune of the taxpayers' money that I would never get back! Didn't really think that one out before I made the purchase. But like all mistakes, you just do it again and hope for a better outcome. Taxes go up and I get a new gold vault! Hahaha!!

Yes, Paradise City was as busy as ever but sadly it would not last.

By now many people have moved on. There are still many visitors each day but not like in the heyday when Paradise City was THE place to be. This scared the citizens. With less crashes, who would buy all the vehicles they were producing? Certainly not those freeloading Canadians!! What will the local garages fix? Where would the tourism money come from? The City was facing a sustainability crisis! Cancer victims, once again able to receive treatment due to the lack of injured filling up the hospital, were often criticized for enjoying the City's downward spiral. They were quickly driven out of town and Paradise City has been cancer-free for 4 straight months!

One day a man rode into town. A simple man, one true to his word. He had a look in his eye that brought hope to the City. When people saw his smile, they felt that they too could smile once again. He had big ideas, he had a plan. People's spirits were up and they could see a bright future ahead of them. I remember the first time I met him, the look of fear and regret on his face as my Montgomery Hawker Solo took a bite out of his driver-side door. Paramedics said he died instantly, a vicious t-bone the most likely cause of death. They didn't hear his scream like I did. Was I sad?? Of course!! I was making such great time on 2nd Street and another meatbag had to get in my way! But something happened that day. Maybe I took a bit of his soul with me when I smashed into him. Maybe I was jealous of the awe he received from everyone. The parade they honoured him with afterwards was pretty impressive, which I...uh, also crashed into. All I know is that I was filled with energy, with motivation. I made a decision. I was going to make Paradise City mine and these simpletons were going to have a damn parade for me!!

With the people of Destructoid no longer visiting Paradise City, there was no one to protect the locals from me. In my Firehawk GP, I blazed the streets and conquered roads. Day or night, it was no different. I was in control. I quickly amassed a collection of street signs. From red to silver to gold. There was no Road Rule out of my reach. The citizens of the City could not simply ignore this. They eventually bowed down to me, trembling for mercy. They accepted me as their leader and I began my reign of terror. I would rule with an Iron Throttle.

That's not to say that everyone loved me at first. There were several streets of people who just would not kneel before me and continued to rebel behind the name of other PSN users. I would attack and they would stand strong, resisting my onslaught with all their might. Of course, all I needed was time and persistence. Unfortunately for them, both were on my side. One by one, my last enemies would crumble. As the sun sat on the evening of January 20th, Paradise City was covered in darkness. Some said that the night's sky was darker than usual. They would be correct.

That is right!! "Operation: Conquer Paradise City on my Bike" was a success!! Remember when you first came to the City and it was all new and unknown?? How there was so much to do and there were endless possibilities?? How all the Road Rules signs were red and needed to be beaten?? Well they are....for all of YOU at least! Muhwahahaha!! You see, I now own a map with all gold street signs! I own Paradise City!! Sure, I don't expect it to last. Frankly, I don't want it to last. But for just a little while, I have complete control of the City.

Road Rules and Showtimes with cars will take a little longer it seems. After adding some peasants who I was Freeburning with, I realized I lost several silver and gold street signs. While I was angry at first, it did give me greater motivation to fly faster down the streets. Plus just remembering their executions makes my day seem brighter. Hahaha!!

That was the Road Rules for Cars....

...and this is the Showtimes. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

The Criterion Construction Company recently announced that they would no longer be working in Paradise City. That made this caring dictator a little sad and maybe even shed a little manly tear. I would have sent our army to go destroy them but I forgot that I disbanded them and spent the City's entire military budget (what, your city doesn't have a military??) on a cruise-liner that I immediately sunk while trying to re-enact the Titanic. Of course, getting an iceberg to do what you want is like getting a fat man to stop eating, it just doesn't happen. So we used explosives instead, and I have to say, the results were fantastic! Will definitely do that again. The environmentalist were crying for days and days and I was like, "Shouldn't you guys be saving whales or something?". Turns out a pod of whales was killed by the explosion. Whoops! The irony is delicious...just like this Orca Sandwich! Hahaha!! But Criterion Co.'s announcement did make me realize something. I am the self-appointed Mayor!! If I don't want to be assassinated or anything, I have a duty to ensure that the citizens of the City are miserable....but not miserable enough to want to kill me. It's a gentle balance of strong-love, as I always like to say. Of course just so everyone knows, the only way to take the mayoral throne is to beat my Road Rules. Don't attempt murder because you get put to death by default. I updated the constitution.

So I invite the people of Destructoid, come to Paradise City and laugh at my people! Throw loose change at them and spend money at our fine local establishments. Impregnate our women. Impregnate our men! Come complete Free Burn and Timed Challenges, working together to yell at that one idiot who just will NOT complete the simple task at hand. Come do barrel rolls and flat spins as your 2 tonne soon-to-be metal casket flies through the air. Been to Big Surf Island yet?? The weather there has never been better!! Most importantly, beat my Road Rules so that I can reclaim gold again!


*This message has been printed on the hopes and dreams of Paradise City's orphans. Not recyclable.*   read

5:29 PM on 11.14.2009

Xbox 360: I apparently now have one.

Yeah, that is it. That is my new Xbox 360. Well I guess it's not technically "new" or "mine". My dad bought it off his coworker yesterday for $100 after he went out and purchased the new Special Edition Modern Warfare 2 package. Considering that Fallout 3 alone costs $70 up here in Canada, I'd say that that's not too bad of a deal at all. I'm still not sure if he expects me to pay him for it or not. Actually I wouldn't be surprised if he gives me the 360 just so that he can finish Uncharted. He's out of his mind if he thinks I'll give up my PlayStation 3 that easily though haha.

I still don't really know how I feel about it yet. I mean I am excited to have completed the "trifecta" and I now have access to all games released this generation. But at the same time I was perfectly content with just my PS3. I guess it may have more to do with the fact that I am falling way behind in the release schedule for just PS3 games alone and now I have to worry about another console as well. And now that I think about it, there are a few Wii games I still need to get too. Plus games cost money, something I'm kind of lacking right now. I guess since this phone picture is all I've seen of it so far, I haven't been able to establish a connection with the console yet. Yeah school can suck sometimes. It looks like I'll have another week of "productivity" to enjoy before I go home, become acquainted with it and lose myself even more to my gaming habits. Of course the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 beta starts next week as well on the PS3 so I'll likely be playing a lot of that instead. Speaking of which, the game is looking freakin' awesome. I embedded the video for all to see down below. Check out that hot drilling action *drools*. Oh and if you still haven't got a beta key yet, PM me and I'll send you one. I have 3 extras that I managed to obtain but they may only work with North American accounts. That's what IGN is saying at least. Check my last blog for more details and where you can find more.


Anyways to keep this blog relevant and from being a complete waste of your time, I will tell you the 5 games I am getting for the Xbox 360:

1) Jet Set Radio Future

Yes I know it's not a 360 title but this was the game I wanted most on the original Xbox. Since I only had a GameCube last generation, I could never experience this gem. All I know is that Jet Grind Radio remains one of my all-time favourite games and I can't say that I've lived until I've played the sequel. I should probably pick up the GBA game too eventually.

2) Left 4 Dead 2

A problem I knew I was going to have before I got my PS3 was that none of my friends had one. They all had 360s. Now that I can join them on Microsoft's console I'm already being informed that I must purchase L4D2 when it comes out. Oh I'm not complaining at all, it is the game I've most wanted to come to the PS3. I just have a feeling that I'm not going to get much other gaming done on the 360.

3) Halo 3 & Halo 3: ODST

Can I really own an Xbox without Halo?? Yes but I wouldn't want to. Despite what everyone says, I've always had fun with the series and really enjoy the games. My head is already hurting though just thinking of all the "chatter" I'll be hearing from the other players. Well I guess that will be with all 360 games, right??

4) Crackdown

This is one of the games that I originally wanted a 360 for. The game just looks fun, like something I can get lost in for hours doing nothing. Plus I think I'll need to pump myself up for Crackdown 2 anyways. It helps that this game is really cheap.

5) Viva PiŮata

I don't know why I want this game. Maybe because it's bright and quirky. Maybe because I'm half-Mexican. All I know is that I've seen it for cheap as well and I will probably get it eventually.

As it stands, most of my future purchases will still be on the PS3. For one, just about all the games I want are exclusive for the system. Multiplatform titles will probably depend on the game though. I know BF:BC2 is definitely going to the PS3 but games like NHL 11 will probably go to the 360. I'm sure my cousin will make me for that game especially. Having 70+ people on my Friends List as well as pumping quite a bit of money into DLC for the console also help contribute to this decision. We'll see though. I still haven't learned the proper voodoo dance to fend of the RRoD yet either so that is something I'll need to inquire about over the next week.

My GamerTag is CelicaCrazed, just like for everything, in case someone wants to add me though I won't be able to accept it till next weekend. I made it way back when the console released just so that no one could steal my name when I did eventually get a 360. Thinking ahead FTW!!

Alright Dtoiders, see you on the battlefields ^_^   read

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