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ErbilT's blog

3:23 AM on 07.01.2010

Dtoid Community Discusses pt 21*: E3 Impressions

Hello everyone for another installment of Destructoid Community Discusses. For the uninitiated, this is a community blog in which we allow our community members to converse with other community members and talk about various video game related topics. So it's pretty much a giant geekfest that anybody on the site can participate in.

Since E3 was a few weeks ago, I figured that there was just no getting around the topic. So this week's discussion is focused around the various announcements. We also had the a very large number of participants from the community, including Tactix, CrimeMinister, Daxelman, Josh Hest, Y0j1mb0 and Gun Sage. Here is the prompt as it was presented to them:

E3 2010

"Christmas in June has started! The E3 press conferences have all been concluded and a ton of announcements have been made. Kinect, the 360 redesign, Zelda: Skyward Sword, the official unveiling of the 3DS, PlayStation Move, PlayStation 3 3D capabilities and Twisted Metal to name a few of the bombs that were dropped earlier in the week. There was plenty of announcements that were made, so I can’t list all of them, but allow me to fanboy out and state the following:

OMG!!!!! CHILD OF EDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!OMG!!OMG!!!

::Ahem, compose yourself ErbilT, you’re a big boy now::

As I was saying….

So, I have to ask if there is anything that made your jaw drop in excitement? Is there anything that was shown that you cannot wait to get your mittens on and why are you excited about it? Also, I’m interested in hearing what you thought were the absolute stinkers of the show and why are you repulsed by their very existence. “

Why was I the only one excited for this?


Alright, so I guess I will start with my raging hard-on for the 3DS, holy shit. Nintendo's presser was the gift that kept giving. They kicked it off with the only game that I knew was happening coming in and then moved into high gear. They kept going with tons and tons of reveals that blew my mind more and more each time. I haven't played too much Donkey Kong Country (only one of them for gameboy) and the result was me not really giving a fuck about the whole series. I still managed to get giddy when they revealed Donkey Kong Returns. Due to the 45 seconds of what I saw I'm now anticipating that game like mad. They also brought me Kirby MADE OUT OF STRING. The 3DS happened and was cool, but I was yelling like a Mexican soccer announcer when Kid Icarus was announced.

The fun didn't stop there, they kept pumping out games for 3DS that got increasingly more awesome. I was really surprised by the stealth announcements of the 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time and Star Fox64.

That turned into more of a recap...


Yeah, I have to agree with Spencer. The 3DS won best of show for me in the overall category, and Kirby's Epic Yarn won best of show in the game category, but there's a far share of a lot of things that I'm excited about from E3. Contrary to popular opinion, I'm actually looking forward to seeing what happens with Kinect beyond launch. Ubisoft's fitness game looked really cool the way it showed off the sensor capabilities, and Dance Central is going to teach me how to dance. Hey, if that white guy can do it, I can do it, and I'm black, yo.

Sony's got me interested with Portal 2 and Steamworks, which could lead to the Orange Box finally getting some love on the PS3, or on a broader scale, if MS wises up and stops forcing payment for free updates, the Orange Box getting love on both the PS3 and 360, which I really hope happens. I know some guys who can't stand PC controls for FPS games, but would really like to get into TF2. Other than that, I'm just kinda perplexed why we didn't see more of games like Brink or Marvel vs Capcom 3 or even the new Castlevania. Did MS/Sony just pay of Activision/EA respectively to show stuff and not anyone else?

We both said a lot of things that you're going to regret.

I bet it's because they knew how awesome Konami's presser was going to be and didn't even bother. EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEM!

Pure sex.

Josh Hest

If no one else is going to do it, I'll be Tactix: KARAOKE REVOLUTION -GLEE EDITION!

One of these days, I'll watch this.
Seriously, I was blown away by Nintendo. I've been looking for excuses to put down my newfangled XBOXes and PS3s lately, and taking some time to revisit old friends in the form of Ocarina of Time and Kid Icarus sound like just the right way to do that.

Also, I'm trying to play the optimist on the Kinect. In my opinion anything that lets gamers interact with the medium in a different (preferably tolerable) way is a good thing. And the system as I saw during the demos looks tight and responsive--something that wouldn't drive you insane (Forza ftw!).

Congratulations to E3 for making such a great comeback as one of the premiere trade shows for the industry; more than that, congratulations for making gaming something to be excited about in the coming year!

Just had to throw a little wrench into the 3DS lovefest that's going on... :-)


I'm going to echo Spencer's rather strong sexual attraction to the Nintendo 3DS. Hearing about it's 3D capabilities without glasses is what turned my initial reaction to it when it was first announced from "meh" to " I NEED one." I'm itching to get my hands on it to see with my own eyes how its 3D implementation really is and if it compares or equals what is being shown on the latest high end 3D HDTVs. Yet even though my curiosity is beyond piqued I can't help but feel that Nintendo pretty much bamboozled all the people that purchased a DSi or DSi XL. How long will this new 3DS be out before the next iteration comes out with an added upgrade for a little more money to sap from us.

Not trying to dampen anybody's excitement here but Nintendo's handheld, as future revisions of the 3DS are a given and it wont just be one or two but way more if you take their history into account. It sure would be nice to purchase one of their handheld systems and it not become obsolete immediately due to the next one one in the assembly line they're putting the finishing touches on and haven't rolled out the door yet.

As for their lineup of games... hell yeah. This is the one area where Nintendo ( and Sony ) were head and shoulders above Microsoft showing. There's a reason why I buy a Nintendo console without fail everytime they put one out, and that's because of their first party games. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, Donkey Kong Country and Kid Icarus? Yes please. The only thing missing was a new Pikmin game for the 3DS and that's probably in the works. I know they ( Nintendo ) got reamed for past presentations but it takes time to reload for awesomeness and it looks like they are fully armed with a wealth of first party games that look and play fantastic.

As for Microsoft's showing I was less than thrilled. I really wanted to see something shown gamewise that justified a purchase for Kinect. Newsflash: I did not. Seriously the people that ridiculed Nintendo for their "waggleness" should of had a field day with what was shown. And this is from someone who could see Kinect and its potential as ground breaking. Unfortunately the majority that was shown, in my humble opinion, equated to silly flapping about nonsense. What I feared most about it came true... it's merely a tool to utilize for more impending shovelware to make a quick buck out of the casual crowd and those that don't know better.

As for their games shown it looks like they really need more fantastic 1st party support or just new exclusives because aside from the usual standbys of Gears, Fable and of course Halo, I didn't see a lot there that got me wanting for anything. If it wasn't for their new "Slim" console reveal their showing would of been really really poor. But hey, I'm sure people will pick up one of their new slicker 360s. Hell, I almost felt a tug at my wallet to get too when I saw it. I think I'll wait til a little bit to see how they fare as far as longevity is concerned. They should of put Blu-ray on that puppy and I would of been sold on the spot.

Good to see you back, Sweettooth

As for Sony, well they had Twisted Metal. I'm good. Seriously though, I'm weary of motion controls now being the rage but at least like the Wii, the Move's implementation in games seems less convoluted than Kinetic. And more practical as well. I really would love an RTS with Move, hell with the Wii's stuff too! I just fear a flood of shovelware of waggle crap coming for it too. Overall I was still excited by E3. How could you not be? I LOVE videogames, you love videogames, new videogames were shown. I found at least 3 games from everybody's presentation that I have to get, if not way more, that I didn't have on my purchase list. Mission E3 was yet again a successful endeavor. Here's to the future and all the games that come with it.

Gun Sage

To be completely honest, at first I really didn't care. This is because A) there were a lot of games I'd forgotten about or didn't think would be shown (and some weren't) and B) last year's E3 was kinda meh. Boy, am I glad I was wrong. I was a little peeved that most of Microsoft and Sony's shows were trying to justify technology both they and their fanboys originally scoffed at and now are trying to get into the market with.

Even still, in their own respective ways, there are a few titles that supposedly utilize these new hardware features that could be good...then again, we thought Red Steel was going to be good, too. I was especially wow'd by the Nintendo conference as they dropped all kinds of stuff I wasn't, but probably should have, been expecting.
If anything, I felt the Sony conference was lacking the most wow factor, which doesn't speak well for them as I'm still not convinced I "need" a PS3. Metal Gear Solid Rising does look like the sex, though.


I'm more interested in the games that didn't get the most E3 spotlight though. Brink's caught my eye even more that it did before? Customizable on the fly missions based on how much I suck at whichever class? Gone of the days of apologizing to the rest of the guys for sucking; now the game gives me stuff that I can do, and is actually important to the overall success if the team. Finally, I will be a credit to a team.

Will Brink be able to lure non-FPS players into the fold?

Rage looks like the first FPS game that gets in-game driving right, but I only think it'll work if your using a console based controller. I saw some of the gameplay videos, and you don't see that wonky controlled camera, or stop and go driving. It looks like it controls kinda like Burnout would, except with auto turrets on your car.

And lets face it, we're all going to buy Metal Gear Solid: Rising because cutting things in half is awesome.


Microsoft Kinect

I want to believe.

While the technology is totally awesome and futuristic, the games that were showed in order to showcase the technology were just disappointing to me. Dance Central was a great game and fun to play, but other than that the other games just didn't scream "awesome" to me. The games looked "cute" but for the hardcore gamer in us, I feel they made the mistake of going the route of Nintendo at last years conference.

I had hands on with the racing game and Kinect adventures and while they were fun to play, I don't see myself wanting to play them outside a fun 10 minute at a time thing.

The other problem is the rumored price point which was sort of confirmed just yesterday, at 149.99. If that's what this Kinect Experience is going for, I think most people, including myself, are going to just turn away.
(And also, just to add to the above need a 3DS. I can tell you from experience that it freaking WORKS as advertised and is AMAZING to play with)


Alright, I guess I will jump back in. I didn't hate the Microsoft conference as much as everyone else seemed to, I thought they had some cool stuff that I might like. I was really impressed by gears of war 3. I thought it looked fantastic. This isn't to say that the first two weren't impressive but there is something about jungles that impresses me.

I also thought the Xbox redesign was neat. I don't have an Xbox myself, and I haven't really wanted one, but the sheer sexiness of that small Darth Vader looking box made me want one pretty badly. My one complaint with the new Xbox is that the system is glossy and the controller is matte, which bugs the shit out of me.

Josh Hest

Tell me how much the 3DS is going to cost.


Anyone that knows me also knows that I am amazingly and sometimes irrationally cheap. How much this thing costs is going to play a huge factor in whether or not I'm a first-run adopter or not.

Think about it--you can get a Wii for almost $150 bucks now and an XBOX360 for something way less than that...I know they're not totally comparable but that's a lot of purchased distraction before I absolutely have to have something new...

Yeah, we know what it prints....


Josh,if your frugality thinks 150 bucks is too steep, your status as a first-run adopter will be non existent. It will be more than that. My guess is it will be 199.99 and it will sell like hotcakes. Who knows, it may even be more with a pack in game.


I feel like the 3DS could use a Metroid Prime: first hunt style thing to help push the 3d deal.

Josh Hest

I was thinking that another Dementium game would be amazing on 3DS. It already scared me enough with the pixel-ridden, 3D-ish monsters in the last one!


And that concludes the 21st Community Discusses. Please note that all of my CD blogs will be denoted with an asterisk, as they are not written by Tactix. I won't be kicking off another discussion until the middle of next week, due to my birthday and the upcoming 4th of July weekend. With that said, I am hoping that I'll be set up to actually make the next discussion into a Podcast. So as always, if you are interested, by all means send me an email at [email protected] and I'll be sure to keep in contact with you guys. Thanks for reading and stay awesome.   read

1:13 AM on 06.14.2010

Dtoid Community Discusses pt 20*: Nintendo 3DS Hype Edition

Hello World!

I guess an explanation is in order. About four months ago at one of Agius's NARPS, I was asking Tactix why there have not been any Destructoid Community Discusses updates in quite some time. He basically told me that since he has been tied up with work and handling some of the SF community tasks, that he has not had time to carry fourth with maintaining the blogs. Long story short, he asked me if I wanted to help out with it, told him I'd love to and started getting an article prepped a few weeks later.

So I will be helping out in continuing the Community Discuess blogs until Tactix has enough time to pick it up again. The conversation I am about to present to you guys actually took place from April 8th - April 14th, so if you were wondering why the conversation seems a little dated, well.... it's because it is.

I am hoping that I can stick a bi-weekly schedule. It's been kinda tough finding time to update the blog, given that I got sick shortly after the conversation was concluded and spent the remaining months extremely busy at work, or sick at home with strep. So even though you guys probably had no idea that this was going to be started up again, I apologize about the lateness in posting the article and I will from this point on be able to keep a more regular bi-weekly schedule. As this is my first article, I wanted to keep the conversation light. So our panel this week consists of Joshhest, Chris Healy, and myself, with a little assist from Tactix. Here is the prompt as presented to them:

The Nintendo 3DS

Image stolen from Chris Kohler's Twitter feed.

With the announcement of the Nintendo 3DS, there has been more speculation made about the successor to the DS as opposed to actual facts about what the system is going to offer gamers. I know that I am paraphrasing, but the only known facts are that the system is going to have a 3D solution that does not require the use of glasses and that it is backwards compatible with all DS titles. There have been some questions about the timing of the press release as well, since the DSi XL was on the verge of being publicly available, as it seems as if Nintendo is putting the success of that particular hardware revision at risk with this announcement.

So my main question is that are you excited about this announcement?

Since we have not seen any new consoles since 2006, “and no new portable systems since 2005”, this will most likely be the first major system release in 4-5 years, given if the hardware is revised. Do you believe that the system will be successful, or will it drop off the face of the planet like their last stab at 3D gaming? Also, what kind of experiences would you like to be explored on the system?


I would like to start by saying I'm really excited by the impending release of the DS3. In theory. I would also like to say that I have complete confidence in Nintendo's understanding of what people want in portable gaming (I adore my original DS Heavy), but then I slip into that pile of gaming muck known as Virtual Boy.

Hopefully the pain and embarrassment of Virtual Boy's implosion is enough to ensure that this latest entry into the portable market doesn't rely too heavily on gimmicks at the expense of producing a fun, gamer-friendly machine.

Of course all of this hedges on what specs / features end up in the final product, so I'll wait and see--cautious optimism is my watchword.

Supposed leaked 3DS photo taken from

Chris Healy

I'm sort of in the middle, not too excited, but very interested. I can't quite say if it's gonna be successful or not yet, it's going to largely depend on how clear the 3D clear is and if it's going to add depth or pop out towards the player. I don't think it's going to hinder sales of the XL too much though because I think a lot of people had made up their mind about whether they were going to pick one up or don't read into video game news very much and don't know about it yet. If i remember correctly it's going to come out some time around spring next year in Japan which would mean a Fall or Winter release in America, I think that a decent amount of time from the release of the XL.


I think making the announcement so close to the DSi XL release was a bit of a mistep. I was dead set on buying an XL, but with this announcement and the knowledge that the system will be able to play my DS library, I figured that I can wait a year for the new version of the system. It seems to be the opinion shared by a lot of my friends as well.

I am excited to see what Nintendo does with the new 3DS. Given Nintendo's track record with handhelds, there is really no reason for me to doubt the potential success for the system, but some questions remain. Will this just be a simple DS upgrade like the evolution of the DS to the DSi, or will it be the portable system with Gamecube-ish graphics that has been rumored. As far as press releases are concerned, the release was very lacking in content and I was hoping for a little bit more information. Screens would have helped me form a better opinion.


I'm not entirely convinced that it's a misstep. Depending on how much of a leap the 3DS ends up being (and by extension how much it costs) it could open up an interesting market for people who aren't quite ready to make the jump and pay the premium for a new and slightly experimental 3D system.

My guess is that since the DSi XL seems to be more or less a body redesign with a slightly bigger screen, Nintendo is hoping to get a few more people interested with a product that they don't have to spend much more research or development dollars on (unlike the 3DS).

That being said, I want to wait for June and get some details.

Also, can we have a round of applause for how awesome Nintendo's Hype Machine has become? I have no doubt that regardless of how cheesy or flop-worthy this 3D ends up being, it will inspire the same Tickle-me-Elmo level of consumer fever that the Wii did: moms fighting, kids burning stuff, Jim Sterling shitting all over it--the whole bit.

Chris Healy

I don't see it as a misstep too much either. I believe a lot of people who didn't make the jump from the DS to the DSi are still gonna go out and get the XL then sell their old DS.

Putting out such a vague press release was a smart decision in my opinion, because it gets people talking about what it's gonna be able to do and it's going to get a whole lot of people to check out their E3 press conference to find out more.

I will definitely agree that this thing is going to get a lot of hype, if only for the fact that it's going to be doing 3D without glasses. Little kids across the world are sure to be entertained by that alone.

We can only hope. :-)


In response what Tim said about holding off on buying the DSi XL because of the announcement of the 3DS, I dont think those are the core market that the DSi XL is really aimed for anyway. I'm sure that those that would be most appealed to the DSi XL are the more casual DSi owners who probably dont read Dtoid or Kotaku or whatever.

For them, I bet that they are probably consumers who have seen the DSi and kinda wanted one....the release of a "new and improved DSi!" is probably all they need to have them pick one up. Take into account that the XL comes packed with Brain Age games, and you know that the system is totally marketed for Grandmas with bad eyesight.

So even if Nintendo doesnt get the hardcore gamer money with the XL, I'm sure they are more than satisfied to get it later with the 3DS.

I kinda want to know what you think about how the 3DS will work? There is tons of speculation on thought is that it will be like the Japanese Wii Ware release game ( which uses the camera to track motion and give the DS a sort of "pop in" 3D effect. In the most recent Game Informer magazine there was also some speculation about multiple layers of screen that might give a "pop out" 3D effect. What do you guys think will be the case? (that video is amazing btw :P)


Eh, I see it as a mistake where Nintendo could have easily made a ton more money sitting on the announcement while they push the XL for a few months. They are only charging $20 extra for a bigger screen and we all know Nintendo will not release a system unless they can turn a profit on it. I just think Nintendo could have pushed the announcement back to E3 and still would have been okay as far as getting enough pre-release hype.

Aaaaaaaaand enough about the DSi. :-)

As far as the Nintendo 3DS's tech is concerned. I am really hoping they use camera motion mixed with the parallax barrier tech that Hitachi is developing. ( for more info on the screens and it's maybe a possiblity for Nintendo's new handheld.)

The only thing that I have an issue with the camera tracking is that the effect can be very frame rate dependent. I remember during E3 2007, a bunch of companies, "along with Sony" were demoing potential camera based head tracking solutions that was demoed earlier in the year with that amazing Johnny Lee YouTube clip for the Wii. Although it did work, quick and sudden movements did not really give an effective 3D effect to any of the items demoed, due to the framerate being unable to keep up with the movements. With that noted, I really want to see how convincing the Hitachi screens look, regardless if it does not end up on the 3DS.


I'm hoping they use the hitachi screens as well. From what I've read about them, they seem like a perfect fit for the 3ds.

As for the framerate issue, it's been a few years since those demos and they could very well have worked out those problems by now. Since it's a handheld too, I don't how much quick and suddens movements would be used.

All in all, I'm very excited too see what nintendo has in store for us at D3. I can't wait to see what the 3ds look like and how the games look. It's sure to be a very exciting press conference.


And that concludes the 20th Community Discusses. Please note that all of my CD blogs will be denoted with an asterisk, as they are not written by Tactix. I am looking to start up a new discussion at the end of the week, so we can all talk about the craziness that is E3 this week. So if you are interested, by all means send me an email at [email protected] and I'll be sure to keep in contact with you guys. Thanks for reading and stay awesome.   read

2:30 PM on 12.30.2009

Destructoid 2009: A Thank You Of Sorts!

So yeah, I was going to write up this long blog post about what I liked and disliked about the year, but yeah... I just realized that all I really wanted to say was that 2009 was fucking amazing and meeting you guys definitely helped make it awesome. You guys are amazing and I hope that you all have a great New Year.


12:56 PM on 09.01.2009

Childhood dream attained! I am now officially a video game character!

So a few months back, one of my friends over at Cryptic asked me if I wanted to be put in Champions Online as an NPC character. Of course this made me really excited and I agreed. I didn’t really think much about it until this message popped into my Facebook page yesterday….

I was impressed to see that you showed up as Timothy "7 Fingers" Erbil in Champions Online. How did you pull that one off?”

So yeah, I haven’t gotten around to playing the game yet… my video card is dead and I’m currently using onboard video, but apparently I’m one of the leaders in a prison riot. It’s an open world mission, so people will be beating me up constantly.

So yeah, I’ll end this post with a quote from my brother when I told him the news.

It’s pretty cool though. Being put in a video game is one of the better geek honors.... maybe just short of being made into a webcomic character or being a Star Wars extra.”

So yeah, this totally made my day yesterday.


10:16 PM on 08.17.2009

Video City game stickers from 1983

If you ever go to the Mission District in San Francisco and are just craving a milkshake or some decent diner food. There is a place on 24th street called St. Francis Fountain that is pretty amazing. Not only can you get a fine milkshake at the place, but they also sell vintage Topps movie and entertainment cards for the 70's, 80's and early 90's. One of the sticker packs that caught my eye at the place was the Video City sticker cards.

I remember my mom buying these for me when I was young, but it's been so long that I forgot about them until I saw the Turbo scratch off card included in one of the packs. The date on the packs state that these were produced in 1983, so these cards are a good 26 years old. Kinda crazy that I remember them due to the Turbo cards, but they also had some stickers with some horrible artwork for Frogger, Donkey Kong Junior and Zaxxon. Anyway, I'd figured that I'd post them so you all could see. Sorry about the quality of the pics, I took them at work with my iPhone, but they get the message across.

They had another card set that was dedicated to Donkey Kong Junior and I'll probably go back and pick up a pack of those later, but I just wanted to so you all how awesome the art was for these cards. There were some other cards that I wanted to pick up for the nostalga factor as well, ""they also had Yo MTV Raps cards, cards from the movie Dune, Garbage Pail Kids stickers and New Kids On The Block cards"   read

2:41 AM on 08.17.2009

Xbox 360 Indie Game Impressions "I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1"

As everyone knows, the Xbox Indie Games channel has been a complete cesspool of crap over the past few months. Granted, there is some titles that come through that are genuinely rewarding and surprising, but most of it is shoveled out crap. Still, I continue to check the marketplace out once in a while in hopes that I find an awesome game that puts my faith back in that platform.

So I checked today and the first title to pop up in the new releases was a game called I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 and immediately thought that it was the worst fucking title that I have ever seen in the world. Still, I give it enough of a chance to take a look at the screen shots and it looked familiar. There used to be a freeware game put out about 8-10 years ago for PC in which it played like a dual stick shooter which was awesome for a free game. Now, I am not sure if this is the same game or not, but its pretty close.

The game is basically an arcade dual-stick shooter in which you just go around the screen, blowing the crap out of zombies, 8-bit happy face snake like creatures and other sorts of villainy. Not exactly innovative for sure, but it works and if you are a fan of these types of shooters, I think there is a lot to like with the game. There is a decent weapon selection and although the first song that plays is horrid, the background effects actually react to the music and there are some pretty neat effects that happen during gameplay. The music gets better, if not more generic after the first song plays out... but the arcade-style gameplay will definitely appeal to fans of Robotron and Smash TV. Which brings me to the reason why I decided to make a blog post about the game.

It is actually extremely well done for a community game, and its only a buck. Now granted, I have only played the game for about 30 minutes, it's still worth checking out at least the demo. I went ahead and purchased the title since I am a sucker for dual stick shooters and will probably post more about the game when it's not 1am in the morning.

But yeah, definitely give the demo a spin. I'd argue that with the time that I have spent with the game already, it's already better than some of the dual stick games that have appeared on the XBLA service. I'll try to write more when I spend some more time with the game and when I am a little more awake.   read

11:39 PM on 06.21.2009

Rocket Riot Is Frigging Amazing!

Honestly, I was starting to get the fear come over me over the past few weeks that I was becoming the “jaded gamer” stereotype. This was mainly due to my complete and utter indifference to the items that were being displayed and promoted at E3. I mean, outside of Scribblenauts, I just found it very difficult to get excited over anything. Natal looked kinda cool and so did the Sony motion controller, but I really wasn’t too into either of them. So after seeing all of this, I started thinking to myself, “If this is the direction that gaming is going over the next few years, do I really want to be a part of it.”

Well, as long as there are games being made like Rocket Riot, I don’t think I have to worry.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any illusions that Rocket Riot is going to be the second coming as far as gaming is concerned, but the game is a fucking blast to play and is probably one of the best competitive multiplayer 2D based games that I have played in a long time.

Ultimately, the game is just fun.

It’s a very simple game, I guess the best way I could put it is if Worms, Smash TV and Bangai-O had a kid and it came out in 8-bit. You are a little man with no legs and a jet pack blowing the hell out of everything that moves. The left stick moves the player around the 2D arena and the right stick aims the rockets which are your main weapon. The weapon does not fire until you let go of the stick and it returns to the center position. The longer the user holds the stick in any direction, the rocket’s distance increases. You can play up to 8 players online and there are several different game types to choose from. The levels are completely deformable and there are various powerups and “viruses” that the player can pick up that will decrease their performance.

I have mainly played the single-player portion of the game and I have made it to level 68 out of 80. So far, the challenge has been nicely passed, although it seems as if the difficulty is reaching to the point in which I would have an easier time surviving Armageddon. The sheer amount of insanity that is on screen is amazing. It seems as if there can be up to 30-40 characters on screen at once, possibly more. So add them, their rockets and the tons of bit pieces that explode whenever your rocket hits the terrain, then you can get an idea of the insanity.

The multiplayer over XBL is only competitive and I have played the Deathmatch and Rugby variants of the games. Although Deathmatch is the kind of kill-em-all insanity that you have come to expect, the Rugby game is just tons of fun. You can play up to four players on each team and you rush to the middle of the screen to get the ball. Once picked up, the player must shoot the ball through the opponent’s uprights, or fly through the uprights. Avoiding the other team the entire time this is happening.

So yeah, I know it’s been touched on by a few people already. Topher talked about it a bit on the RFgo podcast and I believe that it was one of the games played for FNF, but seriously, I cannot recommend this game enough. It’s ten bucks and oozes quality. So, if you were like me and skipped out on Ghostbuster’s because you can’t justify spending $60 on a game at the moment, download the demo and definitely check this game out.

“And as a side note, if there is anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area that would want to play this game via system link, let me know. I wouldn’t mind getting some people together and hosting a game.”   read

3:16 AM on 05.29.2009

Gamerpass: Space Giraffe

Its been almost two years since the release of Space Giraffe on the Xbox 360 and I have been thinking a lot about the game lately. I don't think I have loved a game so much that had such a polarizing reaction from the hardcore gamer set. Putting aside the drama that surrounded the sales numbers and Jeff Minter's apparently drunken Frogger-related ramblings, I found there to be quite an amazing arcade-like experience. With that stated, the game definitely did not start out that way.

In the interest of full disclosure, my brother and I used to go to our cousins house every other week when we were around five to ten years old. Every time we would go over there, we would go across to the street to a neighbors house and play their Tempest machine. My brother was the better one out of the two of us, as he was able to flip the machine several times before we stopped playing the game and moved on to other machines, but back in the 80's, owning your own arcade machine was almost unheard of. I mean... only rich people like the kid from Sliver Spoons had enough money to buy arcade machines for their living room.

A few years later, Tempest 2000 came out for the Atari Jaguar and that rekindled our love for the game due to how amazing it looked and sounded. The music, power ups and the then impressive 3D graphics made the game to be what I consider to be one of the best revamps of a classic video game at that time. Sure, looking back, the frame rate struggled a bit and there was no spinner control, but the presentation was amazing for its time. With all of the praise that I give the title, it still was not enough to make me buy the system until about two years ago for twenty-five bucks. We just rented the system and the game from our local video game store and blasted through the game, almost playing it non-stop for a full week. I ended up buying the DOS version of the game once it was released and it was definitely worth it.

I skipped Tempest 3000. For any person who dare criticizes me for this, let me ask you a question... do you know anyone with a NUON? By the time the game was released, I was in college and the game rental shop I went to in Junior High was closed. Anyway, I doubt they would have stocked NUON based DVD players.

So once I heard that Llamasoft was going to release a “spiritual successor” to Tempest 3000, I got excited. There is no way that this game is going to be horrible since this man has done such an amazing job revamping a then 12 year old game to be this amazing piece of software.

Well, it turned out to be a great game, but not in the way that I usually come to expect.

When I first started playing the game, I played through the tutorial and even though it told me things about some of the objectives, it really didn't do a good job of stressing how important various parts of the game were. There was also the problem that there so much going on with the game due to the background visuals, that core gameplay elements such as the Power Zone were difficult for me to grasp, or flew completely over my head.

So, I jumped in and started to play the game like Tempest. As anyone who has played this game knows, if you do this in the game, the game will give you low scores and generally insult you as you finish a level. As I progressed further into the game, the psychedelic backgrounds started to wear on me. What I though was initially cool and fit the theme for the game turned into a massive headache as far as gameplay is concerned. The sound design was amateur, with phones ringing and cows mooing for no apparent reason. The music was okay, not as memorable at the Tempest 2000 soundtrack, but it wasn't horrible and it fit the game's theme of psychedelic insanity.

So after playing the game for about an hour, I left it a little disappointed. I didn't come back to it for a few days and still couldn't get into it. The backgrounds were just too much and I didn't want to play it again. It wasn't fun being firmly on the bottom of the top scores list and it was really getting hard for me to feign interest in the game. So, with all of this said and done, I was ready to completely write the game off....

Then I looked it up on GameFAQS, read an FAQ, some forums and figured out that the in-game tutorial was complete shit.

Seriously, the game did not turn out to be all that difficult. The psy backgrounds are a distraction, but once a few tricks are learned, you can figure out the game structure and actually do very well with a little bit of practice. From the information that I picked up, I was able to deconstruct the game a little more and actually started to do thing that I normally wouldn't do in a video game, such as identifying the enemies strictly by color as opposed to visual shape, using sound cues to identify different types of enemies as they were coming onto the web. Hell, I was even able to trick the visualizer a bit by plugging in my iPod and using the custom playback option to play a blank mp3 track so I could play with minimal visualizer interference. I consider that to be cheating a bit, but it does help out if you honestly don't know what you are doing. Also, getting a decent explanation on how the Power Zone works is invaluable to the game. I don't know why this was not stressed in the tutorial, but it is the key to getting high scores in the game.

I read somewhere that the reason Jeff Minter was so vague with the rules was that he wanted the user to figure the gameplay out as they went along in the game. Now, I can see this angle of thought if this was an actual physical arcade release in which friends could gather around and compare notes and gameplay styles, but that kind of thinking doesn't work too well with home based games. Also, since the majority of multiplayer games are played over the internet nowadays, those kinds of opportunities that were afforded to arcade players during the 80's and 90's are few and far between.

But I have to say the best thing about the game was the constant addition of obstacles. It seems as if every ten levels or so, the game will start throwing more and more varied challenges your way at a very welcome and consistent pace. It was perfect, since it seems like it takes anywhere from one to three minutes for each level. At the midway point, just as soon as you are starting to get into a groove with the gameplay, enemies are introduced that are actually able to spin the web that you are on. The game also has one of the most sadistic tributes to the Commodore 64 that I have ever seen,"the achievement given is well earned".

Now, it's been hard to find people who are into this kind of insanity in a game, but this is one of the few game that if I know somebody has played through it, it can definitely be seen as a notch on their gamerpass. This ranks up there as far as accomplishments along with beating R-Type with one quarter. The few people that I have found that like the game, look at it with just as much respect and admiration as I do. There was a PC version of this released not too long ago with the backgrounds toned down and a very clear Power Zone meter on the bottom of the screen, but it costs $20 as compared to $5 on Xbox LIVE. Both are actually deals when you consider that the majority of Pop Cap games go for $20 on PC as well.   read

1:48 AM on 05.21.2009

Why wasn't I aware: Osman

Let’s travel back to 1989 for a moment. For those of us who grew up during the late 80’s and played a lot of video games, it is really hard to forget playing Strider. Released in American arcades and on the NES in 1989, Strider was everything that an 11 year-old boy who was constantly picked on by his peers would want in a video game… a complete badass with a huge laser sword-thing that just casually walked around in various locations around the world, cutting anyone who was unfortunate enough to be born in Russia or Africa in half. Although the NES and Arcade version were completely different games as far as level structure and gameplay were concerned, they were both amazing experiences and the aesthetic design of Strider Hiyru is tough to match even to this day.

After the Nintendo port and the Genesis port was released, we really didn’t see much of Strider until the official sequel hit stateside about eleven years later in 2000. That is an awful long time in between installments. Yeah, I guess I could include Strider Returns, but upon seeing the screenshots and universally horrible reviews that followed its release, I wisely skipped playing the game until recently on an emulator. The thirty minutes that I spent playing the ROM on an emulator made me thankful that I never spent any real money on it, and this is coming from a person who owns the arcade boards for both of the arcade releases.

I was geeking out on the internet about six months ago and I read up on a Hardcore Gaming 101 article about a title that was released in 1996 entitled Osman, (Cannon Dancer in Japan).It summed up that sometime during the 90’s, the designer left Capcom to create games for Mitchell Corp along with a few others. The reasons why were pure speculation, but it was very obvious after playing this title that he probably wanted to make another Strider, but the powers that be wouldn’t let him.

Simply put, this title is Strider II with a different character, and I am very disappointed that I did not find out about this game until recently.

The story is a bit sparse, so I am going to tell you what I think is happening in the game. It all starts when the main character that looks like a cross between Gambit and a Humboldt hippie is at a Psytrance rave. While he was rolling his damn brains out, he is hit in the back of the head with a sock full of screw bolts and quarters. When he awakes, his captors train him to be the most ruthless badass that there ever was, but refuse to give him any clothes other than the exact same spandex top and baggy hippie pants that he was found wearing, just so he knows that he will always their slave.

Years pass, his training improves to the point in which he can totally leap entire buildings while doing about 10 flips per jump, make people explode just by kicking and punching them and he can create shadow clones of himself. Once he has mastered this, he finally meets his captors, who send him out on a mission to kill “Abdullah the Slaver”… and you use this as an excuse to kill anything that moves.

So okay, maybe that isn’t the real story. But upon seeing the visuals of the game, you’d be hard pressed not to think that it wasn’t inspired by Alex Gray or the rave culture of the early and mid 90’s. I guess you could call it psychedelic or spiritual inspired, but it doesn’t seem to fit very well. Especially due to the amount of violence that is in the game. Although your character does not have a flachion like in the Strider game, he can punch and kick every bit as fast and this has a habit of making your foes explode into a bloody mess. The game is much more graphic than Strider ever was, but the gore is fleeting and the animation in the game is amazing. Screenshots cannot do this game justice, this game has to be played to really appreciate the animation and the amount of sheer insanity that happens on screen at any given time.

The stages are pure Strider as well. The game is a straight platform action game with lots of mini-bosses scattered about to keep the action interesting. There are also a lot of little touches that they threw in that I thought was nice, such as the destructible future sport cars and huge stages that drastically change mid-level. The game even has its own version of the anti-grav battle that was during the Balrog battle in Strider. The variety in the levels is great and there are a ton of little nods to its unofficial prequel all over the game. Unfortunately, the music is pretty forgettable. Although the main theme from the first level pops into my head from time to time, you won’t even bother the rest of the soundtrack.

Even with all of the bad things that I wrote about the game and its art direction, I really like Osman and I definitely think that it is worth seeking out if you are a fan of the Strider series, or 2D action games in general. There is a lot of great gameplay to be had here and a playthrough will take about 20-30 minutes. Although the game did have an arcade release, I never seen one personally and I’m unsure if it made it to the states. I had to get the ROM file and use MAME to play the game, so the legality is dubious at best. Still, it is definitely worth seeking out if you are looking to scratch that Strider itch.


8:58 AM on 05.20.2009

First Impressions: Punch-Out!

Yesterday, I went to Best Buy my first retail game since Street Fighter IV and I had three franchise revivals to choose from: Bionic Commando, UFC and Punch-Out. Now, I had played the demos for BC and UFC and thought that they both were worthy candidates for purchase, I checked MetaCritic and Punch-Out had the best score. That, mixed with the fact that I loved the Punch-Out titles as a kid swayed me away from picking up the other two titles. So I picked up the game and ended up at a friends house in which we played the game non-stop for three hours.

Nostalgia can be a pain in this industry. Although there have been countless IP revivals that have broken out of the shadows of their original games to be great stand-alone titles, it also allows the user to be more forgiving when a title does not quite live up to the expectations that its predecessor has placed upon it. If there is any company that has the formula down for successful IP revivals, it must be Nintendo. I don't think I have ever played a horrible Metroid, Mario or Zelda title and I think that it's fair to state the same about the Punch-Out! Series.

We started the session playing multi-player for about thirty minutes and were thrown off by the pacing. Although the screen was split and I had a pretty easy time adapting to the controls, it just seemed really slow. The multi-player recovery and attack system was just too sluggish to make it even remotely interesting. That mixed with the fact that there is no variety with the fighters made the mode feel as if it was just tacked on as an afterthought. Anyway, I didn't buy the game for the multi-player, I bought it so I can make Von Kaiser and Bald Bull, “the only Turkish person in video games that I am aware of”, my bitch again.

There rest of the time spent with the game was acquiring the titles through the story mode, passing the controller off to my friend after every other fight. This is where the nostalgia kicked in. I think a lot of gamers over the age of 27 have some really vivid memories of playing through Mike Tyson's Punch-Out with their friends and devising plans on how to take out the next boxer. The way that we were talking about the plans to take out the next boxer was almost like if we had taken a time machine to when I was nine years old and all of my friends were gathered around the television trying to figure out for the life of us how in the hell was it possible to beat Mike Tyson.

The complaints that I have are minor, and probably are not an issue for 99% of the people out there, but since when did Glass Joe have any muscle tone? Why doesn't King Hippo bark and hop to the middle of the ring when he starts his fight? There were little semantic issues that I picked apart in my head while we fought our way to Mr. Sandman, “which is a far better choice for a final fighter than Mr. Dream was when they took Mike Tyson out of the original NES version of the game”. All of these complaints fall by the wayside when you actually start playing the game, as the gameplay is pure, classic Punch-Out save for the ability to perform a different super punch depending on how many stars the player has acquired. When playing with the Wii Remote turned to its side like an NES controller, it plays exactly as you remember. I tried the Wii Remote and Numchuk combo for a quick minute to get a feel for the responsiveness, but wasn't too impressed, so I just stuck with what worked.

Which leads to my only real complaint about the game, which would be the inability to use a classic controller or a Gamecube controller while fighting. The D-Pad on the Wii Remote is a little small for adult hands and having the option to use a bigger pad or an analog stick would have been amazing. This issue turned me into “that guy” on a few occasions. You know, “that guy” who makes excuses for ducking when he really should have blocked... I am convinced that if I had a larger D-Pad with a more defined imprint on the controller, more close calls would have turned out in my favor.

Anyway, I am still not done with the title,as I understand that the Title Defense mode adds a lot of replayability to the title and changes the boxers and their play style dramatically. I'm probably going to jump into that after work today or later on in the week, but so far, I can say that the game exceeded my expectations and does not tarnish the reputation of the series one bit. Currently, I am believing the hype. Any game nowadays that sucks me into playing it for several hours during my first sitting is impressive and I am really looking forward to finishing the game. I'll write more once I've completed the single player.   read

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