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Char Aznable's blog

11:34 AM on 12.23.2009

CONTEST: Games As Art

After seeing DaedHead8's recent contest, I was inspired to give back to my Destructoid brethren. So if he wouldn't mind, I'm borrowing his idea and spreading some community love in time for the holidays. In other words, I'm giving away one FREE COPY OF BRAID FOR THE PC to you fools. Well, to one of you, at least.

How do you win your very own copy of this beloved indie darling and favorite of scarf-wearers everywhere? Find me the most ridiculously overblown, absurd argument for "games as art" that is available on the internet and share it here.

(I dunno, man. I shit you not, I searched for "Fancy Pants" and this is what came up. Don't blame me, folks. Blame Google.)

Check out GameFAQs for a justification of Chex Quest's place in the pantheon of artistic expression. Read a random message board and uncover a long-winded love letter to Bubsy. Unearth the crazed ramblings of a devoted Karnov fan. Make something up.

Your task is to showcase the ridiculous nature of the "games as art" debate and make me laugh, and the best man or woman will win.

Deadline: 11:59pm EST, 12/24/09. Whenever I wake up Christmas morning/afternoon, I'll gift the game to the winner of my choosing through Steam.

Note: You must leave your Steam ID somewhere in the comment section below, or you're disqualified. If you don't use Steam, then fuck off. Kidding. But seriously, Steam users only.

(Full Disclosure: Braid is on sale at Steam for $2.49. Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M. Get the money. Dollar, dollar bill, ya'll.)

This is all in good fun, and remember kids: ART

Happy holidays!   read

1:00 PM on 03.16.2009

Niero Whupped Superman's Ass

Well, I figured I'd join in the fun and add to the headaches for today's Cblog recapper. Happy third anniversary, Niero and crew! I've had a hell of a lot of fun here since I joined the site (maybe a year ago? I don't remember). My days at work have been relatively boredom-free, and many late nights have since been spent kicking ass and bullshitting with some awesome people over Xbox Live.

This was all made possible through Destructoid, so thanks for busting your ass for each and every one of us. We appreciate it.


A special shout-out goes to RetroforceGO! for making my commute to work enjoyable each week. You guys are...wait for it...AMAZING!! Keep on being all awesome, all the time.

Now it's party time!

Rock over London, Rock on Chicago. Polaroid - See What Develops.   read

1:06 PM on 01.07.2009

Ghetto Rock Band Drum Pedal Fix

To quote Jack Black in Anchorman, after punting a dog off a highway overpass, "That's how I roll."

I'm sure a good percentage of people who purchased the original Rock Band instruments have experienced some sort of failure at one point or another. A cottage industry has even popped up, with after-market parts and services being designed specifically to address problems with the Rock Band instruments. My particular problems were isolated to the drum pedal, which has a tendency to buckle under pressure from hardcore drumming.

After snapping my Rock Band pedal for the second time, my friends and I bypassed all of that and created something far more extraordinary. Spawned by the masterful use of adhesive tape and drunken ingenuity, and submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I present to you the Rock Band Drum Pedal: TI-83 Edition.

Damn you, Blackened

When my first pedal split in two pieces, I went through the standard steps outlined on EA's website for returning defective RB instruments. The process was fairly painless, but it was just a hassle to wait a few weeks for the replacement to arrive. Well, it arrived, but it was broken again within a month, and I was not about to go through all that bullshit again (especially since my friends are all too lazy to do it themselves).

After the initial shock wore off and I refused to return another broken pedal, we decided to improvise, Macgyver style. We crudely examined the pedal, straining to find its inner workings like apes surrounding a monolith, and realized that everything was fine except for the flat part where your foot goes (that's the technical term for it). The best course of action seemed to be attaching something flat and sturdy to bridge the gap between the broken pieces. Simple enough, right?

Our first attempt was pretty pitiful: we just wrapped a shitload of twine around both an old TI-83 calculator and the pedal and prayed for the best. It would last for a whole song if we were lucky, and would then unravel into a useless mess. We then stumbled onto some kickass adhesive tape, which got the job done, and the rest is history. For those who are curious, I have no idea what kind of tape that is. And yes, I actually Googled "types of adhesive tape." Thrilling results ensued.

Yeah, kinda gross, huh?

I figured I would also include an extreme close-up of this masterpiece, which is holding strong after a few months of wear and tear. Yeah, check out that grimy ass tape, with dirt crusted into every fold and crevice.

You can practically smell the cheap beer emanating from this thing. Natty Light FTL.   read

10:20 AM on 09.26.2008

Raging Raven from MGS4 is Real

You know the Raging Raven boss from Metal Gear Solid 4? Yeah, that's real now.

Yves Rossy, a 49-year-old former military pilot, became the first person to cross the English Channel using a single jet-propelled wing. With a large wing mounted to his back and four kerosene-burning turbines, Rossy used his head and back (no rudder or tail fin) to steer the contraption during the 22-mile flight from Calais to Dover before parachuting to safety. Here is the man in action:

The flight was filmed for the National Geographic Channel and was also covered by the BBC. Video of the flight can be seen on the BBC's website.

Stock up on your rations and cigarettes, people. This could turn ugly.   read

6:37 PM on 09.09.2008

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

After coming home from a hard day at work refreshing Dtoid all day, I was greeted by the RRoD. Nah, it's cool; I didn't want to play Soulcalibur IV or Castle Crashers or Dead Rising or Oblivion or Gears of War for the next 2-4 weeks anyway. You guys hang on to it for me.

My nerd rage took over for a few minutes as I uttered the sacred incantation of "FUCK!" to the heavens, and I then took the necessary steps to have it repaired. I didn't want to dwell on the negatives too much, and with 2-4 weeks of emptiness ahead of me, I figured I'd take a look at some of the positives that could come out of this horrible, horrible experience.

1. I can celebrate the Dreamcast's birthday

Now that my primary console is out of commission, I can take the time to properly celebrate the awesomeness that was the Dreamcast. I only played a handful of games for this system, but I played them to death. Marvel vs Capcom 2 will be the first thing I play, followed by Street Fighter III and possibly Jet Grind Radio and Power Stone. I may have to dust off the copy of Skies of Arcadia that I never got around to trying, as well. Any other suggestions?

2. I can obsess even more over RetroforceGO!

Since I'll be playing games with relatively annoying soundtracks (see: MvC2), I'll have even more time to geek out over the Retroforce team. Seriously, in the off chance that one of you reads this worthless blog, listening to your podcast is the only thing that makes my commute to work bearable. Thank you, guys; you rule.

3. I'm a statistic

I can take solace in the fact that I'm one more number to add to the percentage of Xbox 360 failures, and one more withered pile of plastic to toss onto the heap. Because of this, I'll indirectly be part of an inevitable flame war on GameFAQs between rabid fanboys, so let me take a moment and offer a preemptive retort of "NO U SUX!1! FUCK $ONY!"

4. Kitties

Now that I'm not playing as many games, I'll have more time to spend with Star and Zelda, pictured above. Say it with me now: AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! Alright, that was shameless, but you can't go wrong with kitty pictures, can you?

That's it, that's all I've got. Forget trying to exercise more and get in better shape, or stimulating myself intellectually and becoming a better person. I'm getting the Xbox back in 2-4 weeks, fuck all that. Please console me with all of the Red Ring sympathy cards and "Come over to the dark side of PS3" messages your kind little hearts can muster.   read

3:13 PM on 07.24.2008

Street Fighter II Quarter Matches

My fellow Dtoiders, the time has come to have another quarter match night on Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting (Xbox Live Arcade). For those people who missed out the first time, this was an incredibly fun series of matches hosted by Y0j1mb0 over Xbox Live. Four people in a room, two combatants and two spectators, one hell of a good time. Damn, I should write movie taglines or something.

Let's do this.

It's been about a month since the last one, and I've been dying to go for it again. Since I don't see Y0j1mb0 on Xbox Live much these days, I figured I'd take the initiative and get it going. Plus I really have a competitive fighting itch to scratch in anticipation of next week's Soul Calibur IV release. Who's up for it?

Will anyone ever defeat this evil scum bag?

After jokingly proclaiming myself to be king of the Street Fighter hill among Dtoiders, I want to see what the competition has to offer. I know there are some seriously skilled players out there who have been honing their hadoukens and sticking those shoryukens since the 90s, so let's see 'em - your skills, not your testicles.

I'm thinking tonight - that is, in a few hours - would be a good time, but I'm not sure about everyone else's availability. I'd be more than willing to move it to another day or time if others would prefer that. I'll host it tonight if there is enough interest, or pretty much whenever you guys want to play. I just want to get a game going, so it doesn't matter to me.

Line 'em up.

If you want in, send me a message or friend request. My GT is ShinigamiBV, and I'm on all the damned time. I'm on the East Coast, so any time between 7pm and 1am EST is good for me. Let me know, later guys!   read

7:49 AM on 07.11.2008

The Torture Game

The crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the Spanish Inquisition, Abu Ghraib, and What do all of these things have in common? Torture.

My reason for writing this blog is because I stumbled upon The Torture Game 2. In this "game," you are given an androgynous, bound ragdoll and several implements of destruction, and the goal is to kill the person through any means possible. There is even an option to upload a custom face onto the person, which has limitless potential for laughs. For the record, I immediately tried to get that picture of Jack Thompson with the crazy eyes on there, but I couldn't get it wouldn't work.

The weapons you are given include your bare hands (for ripping off body parts), rope (used to tie limbs to the walls in positions only dreamed of in Japanese porn), a pistol, a shotgun, an AK-47, a razor, a chainsaw, spikes, and umm...a paintbrush. You can paint on the corpse to further degrade the person, I suppose, if you're so inclined.

Violence has been an essential part of countless games in recent years, with the release of Mortal Kombat marking one of the first times when the level of violence and brutality overshadowed the actual gameplay (which kinda sucks compared to Street Fighter). However, The Torture Game 2 takes that concept to a whole new level, where there is nothing left to the experience BUT the violence.

Here's one way to relieve boredom while you're at work: death by a billion spikes.

I gave it a shot, and I found it to be an adequate time killer (puns definitely intended). But that led me to the following questions: Have I become that desensitized to violence over the years? Does flaying the skin off of a body with a razor cause no reaction in me whatsoever? Would other human beings feel guilty for having discussions with their co-workers while simultaneously ramming metal spikes into this character's nether regions?

I'm still not sure of how I feel about this game. I would feel like an enormous hypocrite for jumping on the soapbox here and then going home to decapitate ninjas and score headshots on some aliens. Some people may argue that it's a stress reliever or that it's a safe way to vent their anger. In that case, god damn, I'd hate to see what lurks in the deep recesses of your soul. Others have turned the game into a form of expression and art through creative use of the blood splatters and paintbrush tool, which inspired me to do this:

It almost felt like sacrilege doing this, but I couldn't resist.

So what do you guys think? Has this game gone too far, or is it just a harmless diversion? Or was your immediate reaction "OMG BLOOD AND GUTS!!!!"?

Note: I initially came across this game thanks to an article on called "Should you take 'Torture' seriously?" by Winda Benedetti. It's actually a well-written and researched article on an inflammatory subject in gaming, from a mainstream media outlet, that doesn't browbeat the reader into thinking all games are evil.

And for those keeping score, I did indeed make a direct comparison between the Spanish Inquisition and the content on in this blog.   read

7:34 AM on 06.17.2008

Y0j1mb0, I'm Calling You Out

That precious beard won't save you now

As some of you may recall, Y0j1mb0 challenged the Destructoid community to some Street Fighter II last week with the bold and grammatically incorrect claim that "I am the greatest Street Fighter II player in this here parts of Destructoid."

After the gauntlet was thrown down and a couple days of buildup, a few people couldn't connect and a few others were busy, so we ended up with about 6 people in the quarter matches over the course of the night. These included the mighty Y0j1mb0, casualweaponry, NotAZombie, Usedtabe, Elitechief27, and myself (sorry if I left anyone out - I suck with associating Gamer Tags to names).

I jumped on Xbox Live 15 minutes early, because I was all too eager to begin challenging my Destructoid comrades and make Y0j1mb0 eat his words, so he and I started it off. After four quick matches, the score stood at 4-0 in my favor, with nobody around to witness my dominance over the Bearded One. All I have to verify my skills is the following message:

Your tears make me strong

At this point, I was regretting the fact that his headset was broken, because I really wanted to hear the trash talk now. Maybe it was the illness, but his game was off. After others joined in and he had a chance to warm up, though, Y0j1mb0 stepped it up and put a serious hurting on us for a stretch of 5-6 matches. We switched in and out, with NotAZombie and Usedtabe fighting valiantly and providing many laughs during the night, and Elitechief27 arrived toward the end to kick some ass (and ignored my friend request *cough*).

For all that trash talking, though, I expected better. These are the skills of a man with 600+ ranked victories? Not only that, but you stuck with Ken the entire time, despite my repeated pleas to switch it up with another character. Because, ya know, Ryu/Ken all night gets boring.

Sir, I dare say that you are not the greatest Street Fighter II player in these here parts of Destructoid.

I am.

Also, this:

I think I went a little too "Billy Mays" with the beard


Seriously, though, I'm not as big of a douchebag as this blog would lead you to believe. I'm just joking around. Y0j1mb0 is a very cool dude, and he has some serious skills in Street Fighter. I'm sure he appreciates a good bit of trash talking as much as the next man, so I just couldn't resist.

I had a really fun time playing Street Fighter with you guys, and I'd love to do it again. How about this Wednesday or Thursday night? I'll take any challengers.

GT: ShinigamiBV. Bring it.   read

11:42 AM on 04.29.2008

Gaming's Guilty Pleasures: Marathon Sessions

Everyone's been there at some point. After reaching that last save point or taking down a difficult boss, you put down the sweaty controller, stretch out your aching fingers, rub your glazed-over eyes, and glance at the clock.

Dun dun DUNNNNNN!!!

Shit. It's 5 AM and I have work in the morning!

Surely almost every gamer worth his (or her) salt has reached the point where they take things too far and go overboard in their gaming habits. I'm not even going to touch upon the amount of money that people spend on their video games (which can be ludicrous at times), but I'll instead focus on the amount of time that people spend. Marathon sessions are enjoyable, especially when red-hot properties like Metal Gear Solid and Smash Bros. are released, but the consequences are not always pleasant:

Side note: what the hell is wrong with that man's hair?! Looks like a reverse-leopard.

Learning to balance gaming with responsibilities in "the real world" is a difficult task for some people, with school, work, and family often competing for time with the likes of aliens, zombies, and those endless fucking bullets from Ikaruga. Skipping class, calling out of work sick, and ignoring social events are all fairly common when a huge game is released (I'm looking at you, people who bought GTAIV at midnight!). I don't even need to bring up World of Warcraft, do I? Hell, too much of a good thing can even be a matter of life and death for some people:

"Ready to roll out!"

As with all things, moderation is the key. I've had to learn this the hard way through my 20+ years of gaming, because I've spent many a night glued to the computer playing StarCraft or running through quests in Oblivion for hours on end. After I reach a certain point, I know I should stop playing, but I don't. I might be too tired or aggravated to enjoy playing the game, yet I trudge onward. MUST.KEEP.GOING. I suppose this could be considered an addiction by some, and the topic of internet addiction has even been suggested for inclusion in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

I always feel some guilt and remorse after spending an entire night playing video games. I tend to think, damn, I could have been WAY more productive with those hours of my life. I think my personal record was around 12 hours spent on God of War II in a 24-hour period, which pretty much left me feeling like shit afterward.

He fucked up my day like the Blade of Olympus in Zeus' chest

I suppose that my guilt comes from the fact that I'm playing alone in my room, with the curtains drawn like some Howard Hughes-ian recluse, as I almost never do marathon sessions with other people. Maybe this is because I keep weird hours, and that most of my friends are in bed while I'm wide awake. Or maybe it's the fact that I can't stand playing with some of the annoying bastards on Xbox Live for more than a couple hours at a time.

Since getting a full-time job after college, I haven't had the time or energy to invest in video games like I used to, which I suppose is a good thing. I would probably self-destruct if left on my own for too long. So what about you guys? What's the longest amount of time (in one sitting, or cumulative time) you've ever spent on a single game?   read

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