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8:20 PM on 11.15.2010  

More Innovation = More Memorable

I love innovation in video games - new experiences and new ways to play. It's not what drives the industry, but it's my current favorite thing to look for when trying out a new game. Has it been done before? How is this different than everything that's come before it? If the answer is "it's just rehash!" then I really can't be bothered to play the demo or even read the current news about it.

Are you the same way? I grew up with a Commodore 64, where 2D platformers were king. For 5-7 years, I played over 100 games (my cousins were big time floppy pirates) that were basically the same style of gameplay. The C64 only has one button on the top of the joystick, so you either shot something, or jumped, or both. The games that weren't 2D platformers are the ones that became really memorable. I still remember the suspense of shooting down balloon-wearing foxes in Pooyan, and bouncing off the walls of Pitfall 2's caverns. The rest of the copycats just blended together.

I didn't realize it until I turned 30, but my favorite games of each generation were also new styles of gameplay that I had never experienced before. I spent countless hours playing Twisted Metal 2, Tekken 2 (PSX demo disc anyone?), and Final Fantasy 7. Each game seemed so innovative and fresh at the time, but with sequel after sequel and spiritual successors that have mere superficial updates, I get less and less enjoyment playing the same style of game. I finally reached a point where my pleasure-ometer reached 0 and JRPGs (once my favorite game style) began to piss me off.

There are just too many cardboard cutouts and not enough innovators in the market today. Creativity isn't rewarded with dollar signs, but the most memorable games of every console are the ones that took the biggest leaps. Will you even remember the Call of Duty sequels in 10 years? I think instead you'll remember Noby Noby Boy.



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BTW: my bro and I do a weekly podcast

Jumpmen Podcast ep 16: Orange Kryptonite's Gonna Turn Me Gay - http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-jumpmen-podcast/id403075356
Topics covered: nut-kicking, Pay-for-Play demos, multi-colored Green Lanterns and orange Kryptonite, It's On Like Donkey Kong, Kinect, and the new Aquabats album

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8:16 AM on 11.15.2010  

Ho-Bot music video - WoW, FB, eHarm

"Ho-Bot" is a crazy ass music video that blends video games, internet memes, and trippy / horrible graphics together into one insane package. With obvious references to World of Warcraft, Facebook, and eHarmony, it shows a silly future world where the digital age goes CRAZY! There's a giant goat that fires missiles out its eyes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7XL74D_ZW8

I shot and directed it, enjoy.

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12:04 PM on 10.02.2009  

Destructoid Demographics

I stumbled upon Quantcast and thought I'd share some numbers with y'all.



According to the Quantcast audience profiler, Destructoid's audience is white males aged 18-34 with less than $30k salaries and no college education. This doesn't just represent America - half of Dtoid's near-million viewers a month comes from other countries.

Quantcast's site rankings describes Destructoid as "509K+ U.S. monthly people. The site attracts a teen, very slightly male biased audience.", giving it a rank of 3276. It ranks just below Wizard101, BustedTees and MyWebFace.

Widening the scope to see audience trends over the years, it is apparent that while viewership spiked early on, there has been a slow but consistent rise in Dtoid's 'people per day'.



Finally, let's compare the numbers to a rival gamer site, Kotaku.




What questions can we raise in response to these numbers? What kinds of changes could Dtoid undergo to ramp up their 'people per day', or do they need to change anything? Has the "also, cocks" formula worked for the best, or could there be something more to the site?

Since you've been visiting Destructoid, what trends have you seen? Are you surprised by these statistics, or does it sound pretty dead-on?

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12:01 PM on 04.03.2009  

Go For Broke Day 2009 = this Sunday

Are you a bad enough dude to GO FOR BROKE?

Go For Broke Day 2009 is upon us - this Sunday, April 5th! It's a day to lay it all on the line, take a big risk, and give your all against impossible odds. When I first learned about this day in college, the tagline from Street Fighter Alpha 3, "Let's Party! Go For Broke!" came to my mind and I knew that gamers across the world would totally appreciate having their own holiday.

Since then, April 5th has been G4B Day for me, my friends, their friends, and whomever we can we can involved or interested in the challenge. What challenge, you ask? Well, let's get to that.

What makes a good G4B challenge?

Last year PBC asked the gamer community to submit text and video submissions detailing how they'd be spending their G4B Day. All sorts of ridiculous things came in - a lot of them near impossible, but most were really badass. A couple guys were going to finally finish a super hard game they'd put down years ago, and others were going to try to beat a favorite game start to finish with low health or other handicaps. Two guys tried to beat every Sonic game ever made, no continues. This truly celebrates the spirit of putting everything on the line.



This year's challenge:

My personal challenge for this year's G4B Day is to kill Dracula before the sun sets. I've never played Order of Ecclesia before, which makes this even harder, but my friend Darrin lent me his DS and this Sunday it's ON. One game, start to finish.

I hope that this post has inspired you to take some time this Sunday, grab some friends & your favorite beverage, and fight the impossible fight. Godspeed, Dtoiders.




more information:

G4B's actual holiday description:
Today is a day to put it all on the line, and take a chance. It might be money. Or, it can be a love relationship. Perhaps, it's time to initiate a risky project, or to take a new job.

Many of us go about our daily lives playing it safe, not taking big chances. If you are of a conservative ilk, you may have never gone out on a limb, or taken big risks. If this sounds like you, maybe today is a day to really let loose and "Go for Broke".

If you can muster up the courage to take a big risk, you can enjoy today by taking big risks and "Going for Broke". We will leave it up to you to decide whether the risk is worth taking.

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1:35 PM on 11.12.2008  

RIDER KICK! Kamen Rider Dragon Knight is coming!

It's about time. An American sentai series with a dark feel and an utter lack of "shiny happy people" is coming to the CW.

Kamen Rider Dragon Knight - Begins Feb. 21st, Steak Peak Jan. 16th… CONFIRMED!!!

I've been breathing in the hype about this show for the last year or so, slowly letting my defenses down as I saw more and more of what looks to be the best sentai show since Cutey Honey: The Live. The fights look great, story is mildly original, and most importantly the style of the show is slick as hell. Just watch this clip from HJ.



That's what I'm talking about! I shuddered at the American casting choices of Power Rangers: Jungle Furry after I had fallen in love with the original Japanese cast. I'm no Japanophile, nor do I watch un-subbed anime or anything, but I can recognize good acting and good casting. Geki Rangers (PR: JF in Japan) had those things in spades, and it looks like Dragon Knight will as well! With an American cast! Woo hoo!

If you're not a sentai fan, than maybe you aren't feeling what I'm putting down. Tokusatsu shows like Power Rangers and Ultraman have a terrible stigma (deservedly) associated with them from America's first glimpse of the genre in the 90s.

Bandai / Saban removed any grown-up issues from PR and watered down any real drama from the original series, converting the cast of resurrected ancient warriors into shiny happy McKids who hung out at a juice bar after school. It had more in common with Saved by the Bell than the original series, and this continued in every incarnation thenceforth. There were your VR Troopers, SuperHuman Samurai Syber Squads, and Big Bad Beetle Borgs, but it was more of the same: converting foreign shows with substance into lowest common denominator toddler feed.

Hopefully this will spark an interest in American sentai shows aimed at an older demographic. As an adult, when I turn on the TV there's not much to watch but gangster drama and Law & Order clones. I want to see mixed martial arts in an ongoing story that has substance. I want Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight to be good, dammit!

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12:43 PM on 11.02.2008  

King of the Hill - CANCELLED! Finally!

FINALLY!

Stupid King of the stupid Hill is finally stupid canceled.

This p.o.s. should have been axed 12 years ago - while great shows like Firefly were cut off at the roots a few episodes into their first season. Why does the FOX network continue to make zero sense when it comes to cuts and greenlights? Who the hell knows. All I know right now is that one of the unfunniest cartoons to ever ride on the Simpsons' coat tails is being put down.

Ugh. It's about damn time.

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8:57 PM on 10.31.2008  

Zombie Apocalypse Buddy Flick

Death, zombies, friendship and a whole lotta killing.



Check out the flick. I made it with my friends in under 48 hours and I'm pretty proud. It's based around a crazy idea I had at a JoeCam party years ago - and I always wanted to do it with puppets. Thanks to PBC, I can make wacky treatments come to life!@

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8:27 AM on 10.29.2008  

Sex education in Fable II

Yes, Internet, I am one of those people that couldn't get laid in Fable II.

Well, at first I just spent alot of time talking to the first pair of tits that I laid my eyes on - doing the same four expressions over and over again to put her in "the mood". I think there was some thumbs-upping that led to her eventually talking nasty to me, and then all that remained was to break into someone's house and use their bed as our happy hunting ground. While the owners (and their children) were still in the room.

After this hilarious encounter (which ended with me jumping out a window to escape the law) I was fulfilled. Sex happened in a video game - and it wasn't a mod or some fetishy Hentai game about stuffing pool cues into unwilling underage princesses. Sweet. Soon after, however, I wondered how promiscuous I could be - what would the consequences be? Already I was playing the game like a medieval GTA - killing cops, civilians, chickens, whatever, and then high-taling it to the next town over where the ladies treated me like a gold penis statue. It rocked.

Something was off, though, because I couldn't just charm everyone into the sack. I re-read the manual. I waited to catch the 'sexy hints' on the loading screens, but nothing was working. I even got three interested women into one crowed Gypsy caravan wagon at one time - but all I got when selecting the bed was "sleep for how long?" and some numbers. My in-game character spent the next two weeks sleeping while those women just stood around the wagon, waiting to be used like some kind of Photoshop tool while I sputtered and rotated furiously. What was I doing wrong? I couldn't even impregnate my wife, who "wants sex" according to her profile. Something had to be done.

So I finally broke down and checked GameFaqs - which doesn't have a Sex FAQ yet. WTF. I had to scour forums with 'sex' in my search parameters before I found anything useful. The whole experience left me feeling kind of like a perv. I mean, who looks up how to have in-game sex on the Internet? I wished there was some sort of sex education class that I could take in Fable II, like when my character was in 8th grade or something. If only little Sparrow hadn't grown up poor and uneducated. Ah well. At least I can split skulls and run faster than GOD.

The answer (after all the forum-searching) was that I had neglected to ever check into the town bookstore. For, like in the town in Desperado - thar be sexy secrets in them books. I haven't done it yet, but you can learn some special expressions from the books they sell in the store. These get your targets ready for some hot-totally-pitch-black-can't-see-anything-sounds-sexy? encounters. Ooooooh yeah.

Get ready, women of Fable II - I'm educated and ready to have THOUSANDS OF BABIES! I'm the one man population explosion!

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9:25 AM on 09.30.2008  

Mass Effect: the Luna Mission



It was supposed to be a long-shot joke on our wedding registry, but 1 day after the ceremony, I opened an unmarked cardboard box to find 15 used Genesis games...and Mass Effect. "Wow!" I thought, "I should have put MORE crap like this on the registry!"

I don't like to skip around when I game. Old 'one game at a time' Williams, that's me. Playing a game through until it is utterly defeated, destroyed, dominated - that was how I liked it as a kid. Nowadays I feel the compulsion to uber-play a game when I reach its ending, but instead simply take in the game's end, feel nostalgic for a day or so, and move on. I don't have enough time or passion to play something for over 100 hours. (except games that require it, like FF12 or Persona 3)

So Mass Effect sat on my shelf, staring at me, taunting me, for a solid 6 months. My wife bought me Persona 3 FES, which I was really looking forward to for a looong time (but too broke to buy the $70 original version), so I spent my summer playing an hour a day of P3 inbetween day-long bouts of editing at home. When the final boss' second form was destroyed and I felt considerable time had passed since I put the game back in its case (a week later), I picked up Lost Odyssey and Mass Effect (both registry-gotten games) and made a choice. My friend Darrin, who had come back from our wedding to find his apartment violated and all of his next-gen consoles / games stolen, had highly recommended Mass Effect. In fact, I felt bad that I hadn't offered to let him borrow my unplayed copy, mainly because I had my eye on it for post-P3 playing and also, it was a wedding gift. Lost Odyssey, I felt, was another J-RPG with tons of grinding and traditional 'monsters on left, heroes on right' style battles. Because I had just spent over 100 hours of my summer doing this exact same thing with Persona 3, I decided to trust Darrin and put Mass Effect into the Xbox 360 DVD tray.



I've spent over 15 hours in the game so far. The gameplay consists of walking around in different cities / planets / space locations and finding missions and sidequests to spend your time on. After some quick space travel, you wind up on an alien world where you and your squad of two helpers kill various aliens with upgradable weapons, magic, and tech, which is like magic but sciencey. The first few missions consisted of only these two elements - and I was cool with that, but it felt a little stale. If you choose to take a weaker magic-user along with your bulky weapons expert, they both run into the heat of battle if you tell them to - there's no separate commands for movement. There are selectable commands for special attacks and weapon changes, otherwise your team will act on their own.

After 5 hours of blasting and chatting, I talked to Darrin. It felt like everyone in the game had no problem talking to a complete stranger, and frequently divulged their innermost thoughts and feelings to me without hesitation. "That'll change", Darrin said.

It did. Finally I was given freedom to choose where I went next. The entire galaxy, consisting of several clusters of solar systems - each with their own group of surrounding planets - are open to scan and explore. When I had my own ship and was cruising around the galaxy - that's when the game really picked up. Occasionally (usually once per solar system) you get to cruise around on a planet's surface in a six-wheeled explorer vehicle. You're searching with your radar for ruins, mineral deposits, and the infrequent alien monster to blast to hell. I loved this. Suddenly I was Captain Kirk, cruising the unknown planets of space, cataloging strange new worlds and laying down the law, wild west style. Suddenly my conversations with strangers carried more meaning. Suddenly I cared.


VS


I really like the look and feel of the Mako six-wheeler. It feels like a 3D MoonPatrol. There's even a jump button! Whether I'm spinning its tires trying to climb a giant rocky mountain, or circling a giant Thresher Maw, or peppering some enemy gun turrents and snipers from far away, the control of the vehicle is awesome and it feels great to explore these worlds. What makes this experience even better is that you can pop out of the Mako at any point and take the battle on foot. I try never to leave the vehicle, as it has better shields and weapons than my characters do, but when you're forced to, you know that IT'S ON.

Case in point: the Luna Mission. I randomly received a distress call from Alliance military - there's a rouge batch of AI on Earth's moon and I'm the only one who can put it down. I hurried to the Sol system and after scanning all the planets (there's a description of the properties and history of each), landed on the moon. Roving around on the gray, colorless surface was pure joy. I tilted the camera upwards, and there was a breathtaking view of Earth - just as pretty as you've ever seen from photos taken from the space station. In this moment, I knew this game was pure gold. What other game has ever recreated driving on the moon - complete with battles against evil machines AND simple surveying goals?

The mission was long and hard, but I didn't care. I was really having a lot of fun. Before landing, I made sure to do a bunch of sidequests to level up my characters' attributes and weapons. Even with this, my team died on a number of occasions. You can't just run into a room full of enemies with your guns blazing. You will die every time. The game's enemies are tough and murderous, ranging from "giant robot with missles that will kill you in one hit" to "fast commandos that will run, dodge, and use cover". I've even run into Zerg-looking aliens that spit acid and send little explosive grubs to kill you from afar. There's a lot of variation here, forcing you to get really good with using cover and sniping - and also knowing where to send your team and what special attacks/defense for them to use.

I haven't played a quarter of the game yet, but already I'm very pleased with the overall package. There's so much to this game that I can't cover it in this blog post - and I won't, until I'm further in. Believe the hype, people! Mass Effect is that damn good. The Luna Mission combined everything I like about this game - playing the hero, planet exploration, on-foot baddie extermination. I'm sold - and there's so much more to play.

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