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11:02 AM on 12.03.2009

Love/Hate: The Games as Art Argument



If it weren't for the majority of people who were born at the end of Generation X and the beginning of Generation Y, this debate wouldn't exist. I say this because we were the first generation to be brought up having wide access to televisions...and the fact that most of us wanted more interaction with it rather than being passive sacks of meat slowly roasting in the lovely radiation that it brought into our lives...much like the hotdogs at 7-11.

Every medium has had at one point, neophytes and veterans that love to go back and forth debating entertainment value versus artistic value. Consider this my entry to be added to the ever increasing pile of games as art discussion. Even though the videogame medium isn't new, it was only recently that our beloved game industry surpassed profits that rival that of the movie industry. Yup, what was once a niche market has become mainstream and with it...more arguing.

I love videogames. I love art. However but I can't pretend to know what art really is. Hell, so many people don't even realize that the definition of the word is so subjective as to be completely misunderstood by many who would use it to further one side or the other.



There is just something about how the whole argument for or against games as art that I find completely revolting...to the point of hating the whole fucking mess. It gets so bad sometimes that I will purposely miss out on some excellent games because of the relentless battles of whether it is/isn't art.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe videogames can be art, regardless of its entertainment value or sheer transparency as a work of pulp. My biggest problem is that people want to have a laser-beam focus on certain games or an aspect of them that they want to consider works of art...I don't think it's that simple, you can't pick one game and have it be THE example while not allowing all others a fair shake.



Let's start with classic gaming. I can see the inherent beauty in classic games like Donkey Kong, Frogger, and even Burgertime. I'm not talking about the simple piles of pixels that make up the image you see on the screen (which to sprite junkies like myself are art), but in the manner in which you (as the player) interface with the machine. Even the guts of the arcade cabinet itself have a beauty that many people would argue whether it's art or not.

Even with all of the arguments I just brought up, it seems that nobody wants to debate classic gaming at all. They're on an untouchable pedestal where it 'just isn't fair' to drag into the debates that focus on more recent games on sleeker hardware.

The most commonly used example that I hear about is Shadow of the Colossus. It's already one generation behind but for most of us gamers, that SHOULDN'T matter. It's an excellent game and is gorgeous to look at. My biggest complaint about them citing Shadow is that these people are using a good game on a sexy piece of hardware for their argument about which games should be considered art. It's the same as bringing up Andy Warhol's Soup Can paintings...or Godwin's Law. It's so common that I feel that you've already lost the argument.



All of the posturing and fighting over something so trivial as to whether you see it as art or not is in my opinion, ridiculous. When you become so focused on classifying the merits and artistic value of a game, you tend to become so shortsighted as to not pay attention to the other aspects that make the game up.

Personally I don't see there ever being an end to the debate, but more or less an agreement between the both sides to disagree with each other. It's happened with all forms of mass media over the years, whether it be heavy metal music, comic books, or Fox News.

I wish that people could approach the arguments with a bit more of an open mind instead of having set variables that need to be filled in order to classify it one way or another. Word.   read


11:35 AM on 12.02.2009

Love/Hate: Super Mario World



Let me get this out there right now. There is in my mind, no better example of a platforming game and no "Mario" game that comes as close to perfection than Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo. I love this game like no other, and I'm sure that there are thousands if not millions of gamers out there who would agree with me. However there is something serious that occurs when I play it that makes me despise myself entirely.
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My problem...my "hate" about Super Mario World is that I become a Super Mario World savant because of the OCD that this game brings out of my personality. I can't simply finish a red-dotted level and leave it be...I MUST finish them any and every way possible before I can move onto the next level.

This behavior isn't merely limited to the fact that I can't leave a stage without being satisfied that I've finished it properly. It extends to the my atrocious behavior of having to travel back across the whole fucking map of Super Mario World, just so I can visit the "Top Secret Area"...I even do this in co-op play, much to the chagrin of anyone I've duped into playing with me.



I'm not kidding...I've found myself sometimes travelling from places as far as The Valley of Bowser all the way back to Donut Plains to get Yoshi and some powerups. It's hardcore...and it's completely retarded. In fact, this may have been before I started exhibiting the other OCD tick I have about finishing levels that I mentioned earlier.

Upon realization that the red-dotted levels had secret exits (which in some areas, was pretty damn easy to figure out) and that it meant that there was more than one path that would be cleared once you finished them...the game got busted wide open. Suddenly I found myself in Star World and Special World, which in my tiny, tiny world...I knew that I was seeing areas that few of my friends had ever seen.



I would love it if I could have a playthrough that would emulate that of a normal 'happy-go-lucky' person does, trouncing through Dinosaur Land with no cares at all. Nope, can't ever happen. I am always compelled to play the game with machine precision, otherwise it just doesn't feel right to me.

I love this game, I can't state that enough. It's seriously one of the most perfect games ever made, but I hate myself for loving every single second I spend playing it as soulless gaming machine.   read


8:58 AM on 12.01.2009

Do the Wrong Thing: Battletoads

Well, RevAnt hasn't put up the Monthly Musings for December just yet (I'm assuming is forthcoming)...I thought maybe I could sneak this one under the radar of the astute readers of Destructoid, even though it's really the first of the month.

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I read the title of November's musings and thought immediately of something that I'm sure nobody touched on, Battletoads. Ok, hear me out, 'do the wrong thing' shouldn't necessarily be doing evil or violence in order to push a story along, but for me it was what guys like me had to do with our limited game collections in the late 80s/early 90s.
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Ok so, Battletoads. Everyone who knows me, knows I have this massive video game boner for the game and anything else associated with the genre. Well, when the game came out on the NES back in 1991, me and my cadre of pre-teen gamers (about 5 of us if I recall) were one of the first people in our school to get our hands on this game.

I had no idea what I was really in for...but none of us really knew what to expect from this game, except for toads, battling, and whatever Nintendo Power told us through its short-lived comic series.

We powered up the NES that fateful Friday evening and began playing, only to have our asses handed to us within the first 20 minutes...scratch that, the first 5 minutes when we realized that you could actually fall off the face of the f*cking planet on the first level by walking too far down.

I swear we didn't put this game down until the following morning when it was time to shut off the NES to watch Saved By The Bell and eat Cap'n Crunch. Unbeknownst to us, there was another game in transit to our local arcade that weekend that would change the face of gaming forever.

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Street Fighter II came on the scene around the same time as Battletoads, and you might be wondering what the hell the two have to do with each other...but we're getting to that soon, I promise.

Being the video gaming fiends that we were (some still are), it didn't take long for us to desire more and more time at the mall to play Street Fighter II. The fighting game bug had bitten us and we were powerless against its infection.

What were we to do with ourselves now that we wanted a fighting game experience and there was none to be had on the NES?!? You got it, we invented a Battletoads fighting league. Talk about doing the wrong thing...we started using the 'friendly-fire' that Battletoads had to beat the shit out of each other repeatedly.

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It was glorious...and for some of us, BETTER than playing Street Fighter II! We'd start the game up and either proceed to pound on each other in the first level once you beat up the first set of pigs, or we'd go just a bit further and fight over the war-walker's leg to use as a weapon. We'd keep this trend going as far as the descent level where you're rappelling and you can still cause mayhem to your co-op partner.

Sure, it might not be evil, but there is something to be said about our gaming generation that had to make due with alternatives to the games we REALLY wanted to play. We may not have had all the fancy consoles and games we enjoy today, but god-damnit we loved what we had and still reminisce about the friendships they helped solidify. Right or wrong, sometimes doing the wrong thing can feel so right.   read


8:57 AM on 11.30.2009

A Weird Kid's Top 10 -- Arcade Beat 'Em Ups



If there's one genre of games I think is getting the shaft over and over again that made me fall in love with gaming in the first place, it would have to be the beat 'em ups. These games were just notorious for eating a roll of quarters faster than a German in a Mentos commercial. The funniest thing is that many of us didn't seem to mind doing so.

I wince when I think of all the cash that I've dumped into the arcades in my formative years playing these games, all of that cash that could have gone to something more worthwhile like delicious snack foods or maybe saved in my own pocket so I could afford more cartridges for my Sega Master System or my Nintendo. The biggest offence are the ones that I had beaten so many times before but I continued to play and play over and over again.

Tonight's list are just those, the games where you too might remember playing through multiple times, but wouldn't mind going back and doing it all again...there's no better word to describe them than classic.
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Knights of the Round

This game had it all for kids like me who grew up listening and fantasizing about Arthurian legends. You had Arthur with his well balanced attacking, Percival with his arm/shoulder guard and devastating axe, and finally that a-hole Lancelot with his long-flowing hair.

I mean, this is just the start of the list today and I'm already breaking out a game that had character leveling, and a whole slew of pretty sprites that you just don't see anymore.



The Punisher

In my opinion, this is the only Punisher piece of media outside of the comic to be any sort of fun. I mean, who doesn't enjoy the idea of taking up the mantle of the Punisher or Nick Fury (Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and fighting your way through the criminal underworld of the Kingpin?

Notably, this game was obscene with the amount of weaponry strewn about the levels. You had flamethrowers, pistols, MAC-10s, M-16s, and those are just the firearms...I loved this game, even when it got ported down to the Genesis/Mega Drive, except for the fact that the sexy ninja ladies got more clothing in the home version.



Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

In case you never heard of the comic series that was responsible for the birth of this game, Xenozoic Tales was a comic series that lasted about 14 issues back in the mid-eighties which featured a storyline of humanity retreating into underground cities for 600 years due to natural disasters and pollution. When the humans emerged, the Earth had been overrun with extinct species from Earth's past...most notibly, Dinosaurs.

This game (another Capcom masterpiece) was great for the fact that it combined things that all male children who grew up in the 80s and 90s enjoyed: big cars, beating people up, guns, explosives, dinosaurs, and cussing. Yup, this was one of Capcom's first games to actually feature expletives in the game itself. Whether it be Jack saying "damn, I'm good!" or the boss in stage 2 saying a censored "fuck you!" it didn't matter, it had me laughing everytime.



Warriors of Fate
Based on the Manga (Tenshi wo Kurau), this beat 'em up took place in the Three-Kingdoms era of Chinese history with your character as the main protagonist for the Kingdom of Shu.

Main difference for this game over the ones I listed that were the standard Capcom side-scroller beat 'em ups, is that this one was particularly gory. I'm saying like bad guys being cleft in twain if you perform a finishing move or are equipped with certain edged weapons. Not only that, but there is a metric fuckton of decapitations and fights where the enemy just blows up from the amount of awesome you punch into them. Any fan should seek this game out just for the violence factor. PERIOD.



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Following the huge pile of fail that was the NES game that all of us own, Konami sought to bring in buckets of coin with their first TMNT arcade game that would start a trend for the company. A trend that lasted through multiple ports of their arcade games, a Simpsons based arcade machine, and 2 modern-day ports onto Xbox Live Arcade.

The first game that started it all was this one back in 1989. I don't know if any of you were around when it first started showing up in arcades, but I personally can remember going to Aladdin's Castle and dropping many a dollar trying to get past the first couple of levels.

It wasn't until the game received mass distribution into locales like Pizza Hut (or Mazzio's Pizza for me in Arkansas) that I finally reached the final levels of the game. I can fondly remember the in-fighting that would happen between friends as to who gets to play a certain character. This was all new territory for kids like me and was generally quickly resolved until a certain other 'character specific' game came along, which is the next one on my list.



X-Men

I was lucky enough to have a few locations around me that had the full dual-screened, six-player cabinets for this game. There's nothing quite like the experience of playing X-Men with five of your buddies and not being the one that has to use Dazzler as your character.

Personally, I was always hoping to either be Wolverine or Nightcrawler because they're two of my favorites, but I wouldn't mind being anyone else except for Dazzler, boy what were the developers thinking when they put her in? Couldn't they pick anyone else from the X-Men roster to use in the game?

If you've been living under a rock your whole life, X-Men was an excellent beat 'em up that allowed you to sacrifice life points in order to use your mutant abilities, let you beat up on enemies when they're down, and had animation comparable with the television series, which was great for the time...plus dude, it had Marvel characters beating the shit out of other Marvel characters.



Final Fight

What else can I say about this game that hasn't been said already. We have so many internet memes that Poison himself has been responsible for, a whole genre of anime/manga called futanari, and a mayor that is so ripped that he makes Jesse Ventura look like a she-male.

I'll tell you what I especially love about the Final Fight series...so many of these characters have eventually found their way to the Street Fighter Alpha (and SFIII) series that it makes me feel that one day, we might see a Final Fight game that does the same and lets you clean the city up using SF characters...well at least I can dream.



Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara

If the first D&D game that came out in the arcades wasn't enough for you, they came out with a sequel a few years after called Shadow over Mystara that blew the socks off the original. There were a few new classes over the original Fighter/Dwarf/Cleric/Elf that were in the original with the addition of the Thief and Magic User.

The best part about this game is that they really tried to make an action-RPG on par with games that we'd only see on the PC. I just find myself lucky that I bought the import version of this game with the Drow titties intact.



Alien Vs. Predator

This game almost made my number one spot...if there weren't a game out there that completely steals my heart everytime I play it. This in my opinon, was the pinnacle of the arcade beat 'em ups made by Capcom.

It takes place on a Earth of the future where the Aliens have landed and have begun to take over the entire planet. The only hope for the California town of San Drad lies in the hands of the hands of two soldiers (one being the same namesake of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in the original movie), and two Predators who have come to Earth to hunt the Xenomorphs.

I could always count on picking Lynn Kurosawa and making it through about 30% of the game on one credit before the difficulty got out of hand and it became just another quarter muncher like all of the titles before it, best thing is that it was in a game universe that I had grown to love over the years...just done really well.



Battletoads

Ok so I may be a bit biased here...mainly because Battletoads on the Genesis (Mega Drive) and the NES is one of those games that instantly transports me back to my childhood in ways that other games have never even come close.

The arcade version...is that game on steroids and methamphetamines. Picture a game you loved as a kid, but with ultraviolence, excellent sound, and graphics that blew the version you loved out of the water. I mean, you got to chooose between all 3 battletoads, and each one was a bit different.

Where this game shined for me was the special attacks you could perform. Sure, the bad guys were still the palette swaped giant rats from the other games, but how you could dispose of them was the selling-point. Much like how you'd play games like Super Dodge Ball, you too could control your battletoad into doing special moves that would dismember said victims in the most entertaining of ways. I'm talking Army of Darkness / Evil Dead 2 gore here people...it was enough to make me have a bit of a geekgasm.



Captain America and The Avengers

I should have loved this game but the fact that the dialogue and health system were both so horrible, I just can't forgive it's sins. The line that kills me is the first battle with a boss character...in the first level it's Whirwind and the Avengers say "You cannot escape!" only to have the retarded villain quip back with "You will be the one's escaping"...it's just so dreadful I can't take it.



Well, this concludes yet another Weird Kids Top 10 list. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. I know for certain that there are many of you out there that will disagree with some of my choices for this list, but keep in mind that this is in no way a definitive listing nor is it meant to be taken seriously. Its all for fun, just enjoy reading and take something away with you or leave a comment if you so wish.

If you have a particular Top 10 that youd like to see email me, and Id be happy to oblige. Thank you again for reading. See you again next time!   read


1:02 PM on 05.18.2009

A Weird Kid's Top 10 -- NES Games That You Had To Leave on All-Night To Beat


Back in the great days of my youth almost 19 years ago, when the NES was king and I was a portly little quiet kid. A kid who escaped everyday to the Mushroom Kingdom and Dracula's Castle to avoid my boring existence as a grade school child. I had very few friends and a non-existent home life so video games became a coping mechanism to help my personal development and became my best friend.

The NES in today's world is considered archaic, dilapidated, old, and maybe even silly; to me, it was the best game console ever made (until the SNES that is). Many of the games that were there to be enjoyed were ones you had to beat within the time-span from when the power button was pressed to the on position to the time when you either:

A) Accidentally Hit the Reset Button
B) Had a Power Outage (prevalent in the south)
C) The Connection Between Cartridge and NES Failed
D) You Hit The Power Button

If you didn't beat the game in that span of time, you had to start over from the beginning, usually World/Level 1-1.

There were some games that did come with more advance features such as Battery Backup (which is now starting to fail in some of my older games ;__:) or Password Features that were great as long as you write it down exactly as it appeared, if not, back to World 1-1 Noob! There was however a way around this problem, the NES didn't generate heat much at all, the power supply did, so many of us started to leave the NES on all night long while we slept.

I can remember going home from school on Friday night playing all day until I couldn't possibly go any further, shutting off the TV, the lights and everything else only to have the square cyclopic red eyeball of the NES stare at me all night like HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey threatening to kill me while I slept. Today's list deals with those few games that forced me to do so on many occasions, I'll see you at the end.
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Goonies II
While the original Goonies game was never released here in America, its sequel did manage to see the light of day. The story had you playing as Mikey trying to rescue the other Goonies as well as a mermaid from the clutches of the evil Fratellis who have escaped from prison once again.

This game was long, and in most respects a pain in the ass to play when it went to its faux-3D rooms that you had to explore. Other than those, it was a really really fun game to play. If it wasn't for the repeating rendition of Cyndi Lauper's song from the movie, it would be a great game. The game does have a password feature but since it was a bit too complicated like most Konami games, if you messed up one letter or one character...it's back to the beginning of the game.



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Clash At Demonhead
One of the more relatively unknown games I own on my NES, Clash At Demonhead was a real acquired taste. The game seemed majorly flawed by its graphics and stunted gameplay, but the story is where the game shined. If you've never had a chance to play this game, give it a little time and it will come to grow on you and become one of the best platforming adventure games you've ever played. Well, at least that's my opinion.

This was yet another game that had no way of saving your game unless you really enjoyed entering a password that could have very easily been transcribed wrong. The risk was always just a bit too high for me to quit the game with a password. I even had a chalkboard in my room (whiteboards didn't exist back then) that I would use to keep track of all of my game secrets and passwords.



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Faxanadu
Faxanadu was perhaps one of the first action RPGs that I played while growing up. Sure, I had spent a whole bunch of time playing Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, but this game provided more for me. The music and graphics used in the game were substantial for the time the game was released. This was perhaps one of the first games that I ever played that used music as more than just background filler.

The worst part about playing any RPG on the old NES wasn't so much that it was hard, but the fact that so many of them used passwords instead of batteries to save your progress. Faxanadu was brutal because it used both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, AND punctuation marks in its passwords. I guess playing games like this set me up for the job I do today...making passwords for simpletons.



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Metal Gear
Oh man the first Metal Gear was a nerdy kids wet dream, it had it all: simulated stealth, cigarettes, c-rations, 15 different weapons and a cardboard box you could sneak around in. The only problem, is that I didn't quite know all that was going on thanks to the lack of good localization (trust me the MSX version was much better). Kojima had a great game even for the 80s standards of Nintendo games, it was released under the Ultra label to get past Nintendo's embargo on game companies making too many games per year. As has been one of my favorite games all throughout my childhood.

To get an example of how retarded the game's save feature was, here ya go. There was NO battery at all and when you called on the radio to get your password you got a string of 25 numbers that you would have to write down. 25 is a lot of stuff to write down and to input into ANY game. Here's the password that I actually used to have memorized so I could start the game with all the equipment if you don't believe how much work old games used to be: 5XZ1C GZZZG UOOOU UYRZZ NTOZ3. Tell me that's not a tad overkill...



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Ghosts & Goblins
This game gets one paragraph, and only one because it fucking sucks how this game played me as a kid. I get to the last level and up the the boss only to be dragged ALL THE WAY back to the beginning of the game. At that point I turned the game off and went to bed angry. I got up and beat the game the next morning only to take it back to game store to demand a full return of my money. There, I said it, fuck this game.



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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
A game that I have only beaten once, ever, in the whole time that I have owned the cartridge. I even got punished because I was so late coming home that night because I was at the last level facing off against Shredder. In case you didn't know, TMNT also has a rather negative stigma as a really tough game that is unforgiving. Whether your hangups be on the level with the electric seaweed and the underwater bombs, or the multiple times that you have to witness screen flicker from too many sprites on the screen at one time, this game could fuck you up quickly.

Do I even need to remind the people here that Raphael was a pretty worthless character because his sais had an attack range of maybe 3 inches? Its not so much that this game didn't have a password or save feature, but it was always tough for me to reach for the power button when I spent 3 hours getting to the 4th stage. At times I miss how tough games were, but then again I remember how mad some always made me and how often I would take all my aggression out on my poor defenseless controllers.



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Super Maro Bros. 3
Ok, ok, I'm sure there are some of you calling bullshit on this one being here on the list, but lets face the facts here. Mario 3 is a simple game if you cheat and use the warp whistles, but what about the people like me who wanted to play the ENTIRE game themselves? I can recall with great joy the moment I made it above the clouds in World 5 and the triumph I felt after beating World 7 all by myself. If anyone was going to be tapping that sweet princess peach it was going to be me!

Man, is it just me, but does it not take forever to beat every single stage in SMB3? What's worse is the fact that Nintendo in their infinite short sightedness decided that this game didn't need any kind of save feature! Thankfully when I bought Super Mario All-Stars, it remedied the problem and had a save feature for EACH Mario game on the cart.



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Little Nemo: The Dream Master
It's no surprise that most of the games that I've put on my top 10 are some of the most despicable examples of hard games, and Little Nemo was no slouch in that department either. The game seems somewhat of a kids game until you get to the train on the Topsy Turvy level and spend the next 2 hours trying to figure out the whole pattern to it all to get to the next stage.

I loved this game for the mere fact that you bribe the animals you come across to let you "borrow" them by throwing candy at them. Bee Mario? Sorry it was done back before the Wii ever thought of it when Nemo could become a bee himself. Oh man, there is just something about Capcom games from back in the late 80s that will always warm my heart to think about them.



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Bionic Commando
I creamed myself when I played the remake of this game on XBLA in glorious HD and with 3D graphics. It is a retro-gamer's dream to have a game like Bionic Commando be remade. This is one of the most classic examples of a quality game, it had great graphics, sound, music, animation, and a somewhat plausible story featuring everyone's favorite punching bag: Hitler!

There was no chance of me ever turning off my console once I started playing Bionic Commando when I was young. After spawn camping one spot in the first area to build up my life points (it took collecting 300 bullets randomly dropped by baddies), and collecting all of my equipment to cross the big span between the first areas to the final areas...I became a zombie. I would purposely leave my NES on just to prove to some of my friends that I had in fact beat the game. You see, back then it was easy to say that you beat a game, it was another point entirely to prove that you did.



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Battletoads
Ah, what can I say about one of the best games to ever grace the good ol' NES? It was one of Rare's first in a long line of awesomesauce that the company became known for so many years later. But there is a catch with Battletoads, this game was really fucking hard, not just a little hard, really really fucking hard. The game's length is pretty extensive too, I have yet to see a game like this where there are so many varied elements of gameplay. If there was one thing I could leave behind with Battletoads, it would have to be the speeder bike level.

The game had NO password settings, NO battery backup, and was quite possibly one of the meanest games to ever allow multiplayer. There was friendly fire in this game in a time where friendly fire wasn't even defined outside the military. That never stopped my and my friends from just beating the shit out of each other though. I can remember playing just that first level almost like it were my very own version of Street Fighter II. With a game as brutal as this though, who could blame me?



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The Simpsons: Bart vs The Space Mutants
If there's anything I hate more than poorly designed games, its poorly designed games that have no apparent way of beating them. That's were this awesome example of licensed gaming comes into play. The game looked great, but was nigh impossible to win at it. I can even think of the area in the game that always hung me up. It was right where you have to run up the dinosaur skeleton and make this unbelievable leap of faith. The game was very sparing with giving you extra lives but you go through them at an insane rate.

To this day, I've never beat this game but I can recall having to leave my NES on overnight only to lose every SINGLE extra life that I had within 5 minutes, though no matter how mad I would get at this game, I'd still try to track down a copy.



Well, this concludes yet another Weird Kids Top 10 list. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. I know for certain that there are many of you out there that will disagree with some of my choices for this list, but keep in mind that this is in no way a definitive listing nor is it meant to be taken seriously. Its all for fun, just enjoy reading and take something away with you or leave a comment if you so wish.

If you have a particular Top 10 that youd like to see let me know! Id be happy to oblige. Thank you again for reading. See you again next time!   read


3:47 PM on 12.02.2008

Games That Defined Me -- Chrono Cross

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Chrono Cross is just one of those games that deserve more dissection and more attention from the gaming world even though I'm sure it's been done before by many other contributors and writers here on Destructoid. This was perhaps the final RPG on the PlayStation that I fell in love with, seeing how it was released weeks before the PlayStation 2 was released in the American market.
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With Chrono Cross being the sequel / prequel / concurrent-quel to Chrono Trigger (time travelling in games and movies is generally a bad idea), there was an already rabid fan base that was just dying to get their hands on this game. I was one of these rabid gamers. I can recall fondly the amount of time I spent in my youth going on adventures through time as Crono, all of the times I beat the game, and the emotions that were tied to the game's characters.

The feelings that were there as a 13 year old SNES gamer were realized again when Chrono Cross came out. I had hoped that it would be a true sequel to the game that I had grown to love, but as more and more details came out about the characters and setting, I was starting to feel let down. "Who the hell is Serge and WTF is up with the Harlequin character," I mused to myself angrily as I watched and read everything that was posted about Chrono Cross before its release.

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Now, I'm sure that I'm not the only person who used to track games from the day they're announced to the day it comes out. This was one of those few times that I was literally shaking once I had my copy in my hands. The mentality that says "I must forsake everything and everyone until I have played this game for at least 10 hours," took me over and I was a Square zombie for the next 4 days.

Not seeing the forest for the trees, many gamers are quick to overlook the story of Chrono Cross as non-canon and having nothing to do with Chrono Trigger. Even I didn't realize that the events from Chrono Cross were majorly tied to characters and other events from Chrono Trigger. Turns out that ***MAJOR SPOILER WARNING*** Kid is actually a cloned version of Schala (Janus's sister) that was raised by Lucca and sent back in time to save Serge. We come to find out that the entire point of Chrono Cross is a plot set up by Belthasar (one of the gurus from Chrono Trigger) to save the universe. This game probably has the most tightly woven and cryptic story I've ever seen, and that's saying a lot considering I love Hideo Kojima games.

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Continuing on with more tie-ins between the two games:

Ozzie, Slash, and Flea make cameo appearances.

The Frozen Flame (which is a central part of Chrono Cross) is actually a piece of Lavos that was fractured from his body when he landed on the planet.

There are allegories to a lost city known as Dinopolis which was a city of Reptites from Chrono Trigger.

Crono, Marle, and Lucca appear as apparitions to Serge and the party before the final battle.

The final battle in the game is between the party and the Time Devourer (which is Schala merged with Lavos).

There is a New Game + mode.

There are multiple endings depending on when you fight the final battle.

This just goes to show you that the events in Chrono Cross should be taken a little more seriously, because to me this IS a true sequel to Chrono Trigger. But that's enough about story; let's get into what people initially judge all games on...the graphics.

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For PlayStation standards, the graphics were undoubtedly great due to the game coming out near then end of the PS1's life. There are wonderfully hand-drawn backgrounds layered in some of the most vibrant colors that you rarely see in any RPG these days. The FMV sequences remain some of the best that I've ever seen come out of Square, especially the scene where the newly embodied Lynx turns to Kid and stabs her in the guts.

The characters are represented by 3D models that actually look like themselves from the game's battle sequences. It's great that Square decided to go this route instead of super deformed characters like we got in FFVII and FFIX. There's nothing worse than being ripped from a game by glaring differences like that.

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Perhaps the best part of Chrono Cross to me, and many other gamers out there, is the soundtrack. There has yet to be a masterpiece made by Yasunori Mitsuda to rival the work that he put into this game's soundtrack. Instead of the midi-sounding music that had become so prevalent on the PS1, Mitsuda took samples of instruments directly and at a very high bit rate. What you end up with are songs that actually sound like they are being played by those instruments. A great example of this is on the song 'Another Ami' where it sounds like the guitar in the song is actually being played (complete with fingers sliding on the frets), not a synthesized version of a guitar...this probably had to do with his fellow Xenogears musician Tomohiko Kira helping on a few of the more guitar heavy tracks.

The gameplay was rich for an RPG. You have the usual suspects when it comes to travel, the overworld map, the in town areas, dungeons, etc. What made this game even more loved to those who enjoyed the original was that there were no random battles at all. The only difference being, that when you ran into an enemy, you would go to a different screen for battles instead of the menus popping up on the screen like it did in Chrono Trigger.

Returning to the game from the original, were the tech attacks that all characters can perform that could also be initiated by tag-teaming with other party members, and you also saw a return of the magic system. The difference being that magic isn't something that you get from leveling up explicitly, you could also get them from shops, treasure chests, and as drops from enemies you fight.

Overall, this is quite possibly one of my favorite games due to the fact that you always feel like you're actually having an effect on the game with each decision you make. Ultimately, not everything you do matters, whether you collect all 40+ people in your party, or if you choose to go up in an elevator rather than down, it really doesn't matter but it gives you the foreboding feeling that any decision you make could be the one that saves the world or destroys it. I would be happy if people gave this game its due respect as a true sequel to Chrono Trigger; to me it is and will always remain one of my favorite RPGs and a game that defines me.   read


1:00 PM on 11.25.2008

A Weird Kid's Top 10 -- Guilty Pleasure Movies


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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]Whether it be games, music, books, or movies, I've earned my Weird Kid moniker. With movies it was mainly because I had too much time where I was allowed to stay up late watching all the premium channels without any adult supervision. I would honestly stay up until like 4 AM watching movie after movie when I was growing up, it didn't matter if it was a good movie, it was better than watching ANYTHING on regular TV.

Throughout those formative years, I garnered a hankering for all things B-Movie. Whether it be classic camp like Buckaroo Banzai, bad dystopian future where we fight wars with robots like in Robot Jox, or just something silly starring A-List actors like John Malkovich in Making Mr. Right, I was down for anything anywhere.

Today's list I hope to share with you the top 10 movies that I think are guilty pleasures to watch. Maybe you don't think that some of these are bad movies, but I've garnered enough shifty eyes to believe that there should be some shame in enjoying these movies as much as I have. See you at the end.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]
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The Neverending Story

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]We've all heard the jokes about this movie, especially how can this possibly be the "Neverending Story" if the movie is only 102 minutes long?

It's alright; I honestly don't think I could or would change anything in this movie. Some of my favorite childhood movie watching memories come from this film. We lived in Germany when the movie hit the local theatres and it was an insane success. I especially love the scene where Atreyu (awesome band BTW) is talking to the turtle after he loses his horse in the bog, only to be rescued from the G'mork by Falcor the luck dragon.

There is so much imagery packed within this movie that makes it an instant fantasy classic and a great example of the movie magic that was available in the early 1980s. Sure, the story is pretty dumb, and the fact that little Bastian Balthazar Bux need only give the "Childlike Empress" (pedo-warning) a name to save all of Fantasia doesn't help. Let's not mention the fact that the villain is killed in such a retarded manner and looks horribly fake...moving right along.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Super Mario Bros.

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]There was sooooo much hate surrounding this movie, and understandably so...it's unlike anything you ever see in the Super Mario Bros. games. There were certain aspects of the movie that were just lifted from the games such as the Bobomb, but that's probably where the comparison ends.

This movie was just another example of Hollywood raping a popular game in order to get name recognition in the theatres, but what's really great is that this movie would be awesome if it had none of the character names OR the title of Super Mario Bros.

My favorite scene in the whole movie is when Mario Mario and Luigi Mario are at a nightclub and are dancing with a real bruiser of a lady when all of a sudden the PA starts playing "Walk the Dinosaur" by Was...damn it I love that scene. Good luck having anyone else say they love this movie. I could watch the scene with the Goombas dancing in the elevator so many times, and let's not forget Dennis Hopper as Koopa was fucking amazing![embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Planet of the Apes

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]What can you say about this classic 1967s Sci-Fi that hasn't been said already?

I honestly believe that this was easily Charlton Heston's best work ever, and his deliver of such lines as "Get your hands off me, you damn dirty apes!" or his rant at the end of the flick when he discovers that he's been on Earth the whole time. I'm sure if I would have been around at the time, I would have picked up the action figures and had one of my own Bright Eyes vs. Dr Zaius battles.

This was probably one of the first movies to get me to see the inherent dangers we humans heap upon ourselves in the name of technology, and also one of the first to get me to walk down the path that led me to atheism. These points were hammered in even further with the quite shitty Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

If I had to give a preferred scene in the movie, it would have to be the scene where Heston's character kisses the female chimpanzee right on the lips and Cornelius gets pissed to he point of hissing...that was some hot furry lovin' going on right there.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Starship Troopers

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]There is nothing wrong with this movie. Nothing at all...except the obvious departure from Robert Heinlein's novel bearing the same name. This was one movie that felt strangely reminiscent of another movie that I had seen before that went by the name Robocop, mainly because of the interlaced commercials and sterile environments. This dj vu was quickly remedied when I learned that the director was the same for both movies.

This movie had it all: death, destruction, Mormons, tits, tattoos, retards, electric fiddle, Gary Busey Jr., tits, Neil Patrick Harris, a vagina bug, and an awesome drill instructor that broke limbs on a whim. Hell, even Rico's teacher was Michael Ironside! Believe it or not, this movie was nominated for an Oscar.

The most awesome part of this movie for me was the scene when they're at basic training and they have a live-fire exercise and the one big-guy character catches a couple of rounds to the face and they show it! What added to that scene was the fact that Casper Van Dien got whipped like someone who wouldn't accept their name was 'Toby'. Look it up it's from Roots you uncultured bastards.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Wing Commander

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]Chris Roberts, the damn creator for the Wing Commander series of video games which took up a huge chunk of my PC gaming days, couldn't have failed harder to create a cinematic version of his games.

Personally, I really enjoyed this game because I was already familiar with the story and the characters from playing the games. I just have to admit that it's not a very good story. Bad guy aliens are here to kill all humans...blah blah blah...it's up to one person to save the...blah blah blah until final scene where victory and kisses are had by all.

Now the good parts of the movie: I really really like Matthew Lillard, Tcheky Karyo, Saffron Burrows, Jrgen Prochnow, and David Warner (TRON WOOOO!). The casting for this movie is excellent. Each character portrays their role perfectly EXCEPT for the douchenozzle they picked to play the main character, Freddie Prinze Jr.

In the PC games, Christopher Blair is played by Mark Hamill which is a much better fit for the character than a whiny little bitch like Fred. Also in the PC version of the game, the Kilrathi are portrayed as these regal feline anthropomorphic characters, but in the movie they come across as these shaved gerbil people which really is too bad.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

The Running Man

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]There are 2 movies that I can think of that contain not only one, but both movie-star-turned-politicians Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse "the Body" Ventura. The first one is Predator and the second one is this movie The Running Man.

While this is another movie that strays off the beaten path of the author's original material, it is still a damn fine action movie and a real blast to watch. Arnold's character is a stereotypical member of the military who defies an order, is made a political prisoner, and who is set up as a villain of the worst caliber.

What was great about the movie wasn't so much the awesome one-liners that Arnold would always say after dispatching one of the baddies, but that this was made years ago and is actually hitting pretty close to home in the sense of propaganda and reality TV keeping the populace docile. Let's not also neglect that the main villain in the movie is Richard Dawson from Family Feud fame!

The best scene in the entire movie is when the fat-assed Dynamo (same guy who played Grossburger in Stir Crazy) attempts to rape the heroine in the movie only to be electrocuted by his own weaponry.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Flash Gordon

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]I used to think that this movie was evil and just plain horrible until I went back and watched it twice in one weekend about a month ago. It does everything that it is supposed to do, be an homage to the original 1934 comic strip.

The opening (minus Sam J Jones being a football player) is ripped straight from the comics, and c'mon Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless is a classic role that the man was born for. There's some sexiness, some violence, some campy special effects, horrible costumes, and the best part of the whole flick is that you get to watch Brian Blessed prance around in his underwear as leader of the Hawkmen.

The scene that I would watch the movie over and over again is the one where Flash and Prince Barin (Timothy Dalton) fight to the death on the Hawkman home world only to be interrupted by Ming's advisor Klytus's arrival. Flash decides that he's had enough of the gold-faced Destro lookalike and gives him a shoulder charge...right onto the spiked floor of the dais that he was just fighting on, impaling the villain in multiple places. The coolest thing happens, they just don't leave it there, they show his eyeballs and tongue popping out his head! It's so fucking great to see, you want to cheer! It's about 5:51 in the video above.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Street Fighter

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]For a movie maker to get the idea to make a full-lenth feature based on a game that had a tenuous story to begin with is insane but has never stopped anyone in Hollywood from proceeding. Any time that you make a movie of a game, something is lost in the translation from game to big screen. Though, in the case of Street Fighter, something was gained, a degree of ridiculousness.

First off, the casting for the movie is laughable and in some cases tragic. It's really depressing to me that Raul Julia died shortly after his portrayal of M. Bison. Let's see, you also had Jean-Claude Van Damme playing Guile, Ming Na playing Chun-Li, and Wes Studi (who was brilliant in Mystery Men and Geronimo) as Sagat. Though I'd give the best casting to Kylie Minogue playing Cammy, man she was/is so freakin' hot.

I remember reading every article that I could find about this movie leading up to the day it came out. I waited in line as a 14 year old game geek, dying to see one of my favorite games as a movie. There were people that were disappointed with this one, but I'd have to say that as a adolescent gamer, this movie was perfect. I especially enjoyed Zangief (my favorite character in the game) and how retarded he was.

That leads me to my favorite scene in the whole film. There is an arms deal about to go down between Sagat and Bison when a truckload of explosives is seen on the closed circuit TV headed down to the tent they're in and Zangief says "Quick! Change the channel!" and steals the entire movie.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]Tim Curry won my heart the minute I started watching this movie and he showed up on-screen as Dr. Frank-N-Furter (the sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania). Deep down, I am a dramafag and love watching musicals. Luckily for me there are plenty of musicals that are of such exceptional caliber that I can save my macho image by proclaiming how they're 'high art'.

You can't say that about The Rocky Horror Picture Show, there is no art to be had here. This movie has camp written all over it. I personally think that this movie's story sucks, but is so much fun to sing along with to and watch that one can't help but be entranced by it.

It may seem clich and the obvious scene to pick but I happen to love the scene from the movie where the entire cast at the party starts to do the "Time Warp". That has to be one of the best musical numbers to ever be shown on the big screen. If you have never had the opportunity to attend a Rocky Horror movie event, do yourself a favor and go to one in your city. The audience interaction with the movie makes so memorable.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Tank Girl

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]Lori Petty is a goddess, especially in this movie. It's too bad that I'd never have a chance with her. Her portrayal of Tank Girl from the British comic strip is almost perfect. It's just too bad that the movie follows nothing that's in the comics.

The scene where Rebecca (Tank Girl) forces the Madam of the brother Quicksilver to sing the Cole Porter song "Let's Do It" is priceless and is probably my favorite scene besides the final battle with Malcolm McDowell. What's even greater is the cameo by Iggy Pop in the scene preceding the one with the big musical number where he gets his hand skewered for being a pedophile.

Back in High School, I bought this movie on VHS and watched it nightly until I lost it at an ex girlfriend's house. By that point, thankfully I could remember every line of dialogue and scene from watching it so often. The soundtrack for the movie contains so many tracks that are great to listen to (except the Ice Cube track at the end, yuck!), especially the virtually unknown Portishead's "Roads", which is the BGM for the scene where Lori Petty takes a dust shower, man I fucking love this movie.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker

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[embed]84154:16033[/embed]Ok so this one was added for a laugh (as most my Number zeros are) but now that I think about it, had a damn fine soundtrack...it doesn't hurt that most of the tracks are off of the album Bad that sold over 18 million copies worldwide. That's pretty damn impressive. Sure it is mostly a collection of music videos throughout most the movie except for the tenuous narrative involving Joe Pesci's character chasing down children to get them hooked on drugs.

The reason that this movie get's this position on my top 10 is the horrible scene where MJ starts to change into a robot that decimates Pesci's troops and then into a space ship to finally defeat Pesci himself. Let's not forget that earlier in the movie he transformed into a sports car to escape to do the same thing. Luckily this movie's saving grace is right after the car chase portion.

The best scene has to be the music video for "Smooth Criminal" where Michael dances his ass off in a 1930s nightclub and does his patented (I'm serious, it's got its own patent number) gravity lean. That video alone warrants a viewing of this movie...or you could just watch the YouTube up there.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]


[embed]84154:16033[/embed]Well, this concludes yet another Weird Kid's Top 10 list. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. I know for certain that there are many of you out there that will disagree with some of my choices for this list, but keep in mind that this is in no way a definitive listing nor is it meant to be taken seriously. Its all for fun, just enjoy reading and take something away with you or leave a comment if you so wish.

As always, please let me know if you have a particular Top 10 that you'd like to see, and I'd be happy to oblige. For all of my faithful fans that do submit ideas, I promise I'll eventually get around to yours. Thank you again for reading. See you next time.[embed]84154:16034[/embed]

Originally posted at: MediaWhoreNetwork   read


2:10 PM on 07.22.2008

Look, I Drink -- BigPopaGamer's Guaranteed to Get You Laid (or Sick) Punch



There are plenty of others here on D-Toid that do the same. I thought to myself "Wouldn't it be nice to share some sophisticated drink recipes with fellow adults?" That's where this posting comes from, the love I have for all drinks. So if you too are 21 years old or above, stay a spell, crack open a 'cold one' and join me as I share today's recipe.



BigPopaGamer's Guaranteed to Get You Laid (or Sick) Punch

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BigPopaGamer, the man, the myth, the misogynist...I used to know nothing about this guy guy until I started coming into the IRC chat room (yes, some of us still hang out in the unofficial Destructoid chatroom) during the dayshift at my work. Turns out that BPG is a guy that has much of the the same interests and tastes as myself. He is always known as the man with the sexy GIFs and awesome profile, I got to know him a little better through this drink recipe he decided to share with me...check out BigPopaGamer's blog and feed the man some comments sometime. The man needs all the love you can spare.

The basic recipe is:

1 Liter of Everclear
1 Liter of 100 Proof Vodka
3 Gallons of Hawaiian Punch
1 2-Liter Bottle of Sprite
1 Quart of Orange Juice
1 Quart of Pineapple Juice
1 Quart of any random juice (optional)
1 2-Liter Bottle of Ginger Ale (optional)

This is probably the simplest recipe that I've posted in a long time, all you need is big ass cooler with a spigot, some ice, and a big mixing spoon (I suggest a cordless drill with a paint stirrer).

Just take all the ingredients and dump them into the cooler, mix and serve. Here's the real trick, you let the ladies drink for free while you charge the gents $5 to have as much as they can drink (to help offset the cost of making the whole thing).

This is a major warning! Go easy on drinking these! You will get fucked up and possibly alcohol poisioning if you drink too much. Just because there are over 5 gallons of the beverage and you can have as many as you want, doesn't mean that you should!

The drink should look something like this when finished.

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How's about a nice Hawaiian Punch?[embed]91032:12337[/embed]

There you have it, a BigPopaGamer's Something Something Punch! Take it easy with these, seriously, even if you're initiated in the ways of liquor, it will go straight to your head. BigPopaGamer guarantees that if you make this and can make the alcohol "not taste-able", you will "see people get fucked up on two glasses" and also says that "everytime I've made this, I've seen nudity." So go out and make some and either get laid or sick...your choice!

*Note* Destructoid assumes no responsibility for the drink recipes posted by Excremento, nor the actions taken from imbibing said drinks, neither does Excremento. Remeber kids, drink in moderation you don't want alcohol poisoning. As always have something to eat before a night of drinking.



Well, I hope you guys all like it, please let me know what you think!



White Russians
Mr. Destructoid's Green Death
Happy Cola
A Pimp Named Butmac
The Electro Lemon
Irish Car Bombs
Neonie's Furry Purple Squirrels
Adios Motherf*cker
Shipero's Italian Martini
Coonskin And Bones
Flaming Dr. Pepper
12-Gauge Shottie
Destructoid Army Green
Miami Vice
The Workman Mojito
n00bmeister's Sneaky Drinking at Work Drink
Necros's Lounge Lizard
The Goomba Smash
Aerox's Lunchbox
Bloodylip's I Have a Hard Dreamsicle   read


9:57 AM on 07.22.2008

What the Hell Have We Done?!?

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Gamers of Destructoid, I think that we've created a monster. A monster that is really mean that likes to eat cash and poop out cheap plastic instruments. The rhythm gaming industry is a beast that none of us saw coming but each of us have helped in making it a dominant genre.

I don't know if it was the sheer repetitiveness of the FPS genre or the amazing lack of decent RPGs in the last couple of years, but I had been looking and hoping for a new game type to play that didn't require hours and hours of my time to get somewhat decent at or one that forced me to work up a sweat.

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Don't get me wrong, I love playing every single Dance Dance Revolution game that I own, including the extra expensive ones that I had to import from Japan to play on my PlayStation 1. The biggest problem with the rhythm games of then was that you had to get off your ass to really get into them; DDR wasn't quite as fun if you played with the controller instead of the dance pad.

Even the Beatmania games were lacking substance to keep me interested, and I'm sorry but I had to draw the line somewhere when it comes to importing games, I couldn't afford to import those wickedly awesome controllers. I think it was the fact that all of the Konami games didn't have easily recognizable bands and songs that lead to the imminent rise of the Guitar Hero franchise.

Thinking that the new game was just a fad and something that I didn't quite understand (I used to be one of those people who thought that it made no sense and that people should just learn real guitar), it never even crossed my mind to pick it up. It wasn't until the game was announced on the Xbox 360 that I thought I might check it out.

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I remember fondly going out to every store near me trying to find Guitar Hero II and how insanely quick the game managed to sell out at stores near me. It wasn't until I tried the last place on Earth that I want to shop at that I found my own copy of the game...at Kmart (I f*cking hate Kmart with a passion!). From the moment that I unpacked my Xplorer guitar and strapped it on, I was hooked.

Since then, I have picked up Guitar Hero III with the wireless guitar and Rock Band with the complete set of instruments. There are two games that I plan on getting soon, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero DS, and two that I plan on getting when they come out, Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2. Each one of these games can be bought without their peripherals (except the DS version), but I'm going to be a sucker and buy each one's bundle pack so I can have the newest version of the instruments. This is going to be a problem.

By the time I get all of the games I listed above, I will have 6 guitars, 3 sets of drums, 3 microphones, and a DS attachment that will probably never be used on any other game. There is simply no need to have all of that crap piling up in the corner of my living room or collecting dust in my basement. I know that it's not necessary to pick up each game's bundle pack with all the instruments, but I don't care. I'm a collector, it's what I do.

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Oh and before I finish up here, I didn't forget Konami's Rock Revolution. I just didn't say anything about it because I have a feeling that it will be horrible and not worth the money. Save your cash and get one of the good games coming out.

Seriously, I think we've created a monster and I see no end to it in sight...and to be honest I don't care if it really does because I'm having a really good time S'ingTFUAJPG. Thanks for reading.   read


8:20 PM on 07.08.2008

A Cast of Thousands - Gregg The Grim Reaper

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Death, the one inevitability that we all must face. The one absolute to each of our lives, that is unless you're a character in a video game, then death is as avoidable as most common STDs (Protip: look for open sores to avoid Herpes), or steaming piles of dog poo on the sidewalk.

Fortunately, the brilliant minds at Rare decided to put a nice spin on death by giving him a face, name, and perfectly suited attitude for his job. I'm talking about Gregg...Gregg The Grim Reaper...ya know from Conker's Bad Fur Day. For the first good couple of hours playing Conker I had managed to not die. But as the game progressed, the difficulty started to get more...well...difficult, and death was inevitable. Once I finally bit the dust while fighting the HayBot at the bottom of the barn, I was treated to a nice cutscene where you hear a menacing voice calling out to your character. "Conker, Conker, Conker, Yes you boy, You're Dead, You are dead. Dead as a Dodo. Deader than a.." it is then you see one of my favorite video game characters of all time, Gregg the Grim Reaper.

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He is one of the few characters in the whole world of Conker the Squirrel that has no issue giving Conker a taste of his own medicine in the form of being a smarmy cunt. In the short introduction between the two characters you get to know more about what its like to die as a video game squirrel than you'd probably care to know.

Now he may not seem like much of a character, but the few times that he does pop up in the game are more than enough to get a feel for the character, especially his disdain for his job that resonates so closely to my own opinion of work. Let's not forget his hate of cats. He bloody hates cats. For the longest time, I as well didn't have any love for the normal house cat.

Not only is Gregg's appearance something that I could never have anticipated, he's also damn funny to boot. I mean, just look at him, he's a diminutive Grim Reaper with a gold tooth! Every single time that i was treated to a scene featuring Gregg, I knew that I was in for a treat.

It might seem strange to be able to identify so easily with a auxiliary character that only has about 5-6 minutes of actual time in the game, but for that moment of time in my life I was Gregg The Grim Reaper. Not that I enjoyed killing people or even slaying cats, but the disdain that he has for his job and all of the smart-assed people he has to deal on a daily basis made him an endearing character that I hope gets his own title one of these days.

The Great Mighty Poo, King Ooga Booga, The Weasels, and the Bee King & Queen were great, but nowhere close to being as funny as Gregg was in the brief times he was featured in the game. Below, I was lucky enough to find a collection of all of his appearances in the game. It's sad to think that he's only in the game for a little over 4 minutes. Oh well, he's still one of my favorite assholes in recent gaming history.

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I really don't know if it is the British accents or what, but to this day Conker's Bad Fur Day remains one of my favorite games because of the excellent dialog that each character is given. There is such a variety of individual characters represented in the game, it's hard to believe that the voice acting cast was so small.

I'm not sure how many people picked up Conker's Bad Fur Day on the Nintendo 64 or the remade/censored version that came out on the Xbox as Conker: Live & Reloaded, but I honestly think that it is incumbent on you as a gamer to spend a good couple of nights running through the crazy, platforming, adult oriented world that Rare so skillfully crafted.

Maybe Rare will see the error of their ways in the future and actually decide to take a chance on us adult gamers again...yeah right, fat chance, we all know that we're doomed for more sequels to Viva Pinata and a version of Banjo Kazooie that doesn't seem quite true to the original. Oh well, at least I can game happy because I own both versions and even take the time to play them all the way through every once in a while, its seriously that good of a game.   read


1:36 PM on 06.17.2008

A Weird Kid's Top 10 -- SNK Games


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The arcade, to my generation its where magic happened one quarter at a time, and games looked so much better than anything you could play on a console at home. The big names were always represented in these beaming halls of standup gaming fury, Sega, Capcom, Konami, and one of my favorites SNK.

You would always catch me over at the SNK cabinets, easily identifiable as the ones with red and white stripes and always with the same 4 button layout. You'd even be lucky at time to find a cabinet that has more than one of your favorite games. Keep in mind though that they didn't specifically make games JUST for the Neo Geo cabinets in the arcade and their proprietary system, they managed to give some serious love to the Nintendo back in the day. Honestly, there isn't a game maker that I think is more plugged in to what their fans want and appreciate. Tonight’s list is: Excremento's top 10 SNK games of all time, enjoy!


NAM-1975
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If you've ever played a game like Cabal or the Western-themed Blood Brothers, then NAM-1975 is right up your alley. The game plays almost identical to the other 3rd person action shooters that were out at the time. The game takes place in...you guessed it VietNAM in the year 1975 (which for you younglings out there is when the conflict for America drew to a close), and involves you + a gun + grenades versus them dirty North Vietnamese. It is totally derivative gameplay, but still remains one of my favorite arcade shooters.


Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy
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Top Hunter is a great side scrolling 2D beat-em up that shares its soul with games like Battletoads, Super Mario Bros., and Street Fighter. I know it sounds like a strange combination, but besides regular attacks you can jump on your foes, throw items at them, throw hadokens, and even grapple with the baddies.

This game is a piece of 2D art, and is very gorgeous. Each stage features amazing detail and 2 layer backgrounds that give you a faux sense of 3D. Top Hunter is great, but is relatively unknown to the non-Neo Geo crowd. It's worth your time if you can 'not' get a copy for yourself to check out, I wouldn't suggest actually buying this game unless you're a serious collector like Hitogoroshi.


Metal Slug 3
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The Metal Slug series did for shoot-em up games what Ronald McDonald did for burgers...it made them fun and addicting at the same time. Action is much like the Contra series except, you know, better. The graphics are always eye-meltingly good, and the individual shrieks you hear from each character meeting their demise combined with the report made from each weapon you use go to create an atmosphere that is so reminiscent of arcade gaming when I was younger.

The best think that you can look forward to in any Metal Slug is that there is almost guaranteed to be new items, vehicles, and enemies to shoot at. The ONLY reason that MS3 makes this list and not the others is the vomiting zombie that you can become...seriously you have no excuse, go and get this game either on the Wii, XBLA, or on a Neo Geo console, now.


Last Blade 2
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The greatest historically weapon based fighter you've never played is how I would sum up the gameplay experience of playing The Last Blade series. Just like any Neo Geo based fighting game, the visuals are damn near perfect and are some of the best examples of sprite animation ever seen. The Last Blade series was created by the same genius behind Guilty Gear, Mr. Daisuke Ishiwatari.

If you were to look closely at the combat system behind Guilty Gear, you can almost see a few parallels. The most engaging aspect of gameplay is the introduction of a parry button that will leave your opponent up to an attack if you time it juuuust right. The music and sound effects used in the game are very reminiscent of the type that would hear during an epic samurai movie that were all based during the Tokugawa era in which the game is set.


King of Fighters 98
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I bought this game for my Dreamcast way back when the Dreamcast was still fairly new, and it prompted me to go out and actually buy a Neo Geo Pocket Color with The King of Fighters R2 so I could link it up with my Dreamcast. This was the one game in the KoF series that cemented me as a lifelong SNK fan.

Whether it be the inclusion of almost every single team member from all of the years past, or the new challengers that made it into the mix. I believe that this was the first KoF that detached itself from the rest of the SNK fighting game flock and stood out on its own. The gameplay was balanced more than any of its predecessors, the roster was huge, the music was memorable, and the backgrounds were detailed. I really really really liked playing this game on my Dreamcast and still remains to this day one of my top 3 for the system.


Ikari Warriors
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Ikari Warriors (Ikari is moonspeak for 'anger') busted in on the shmup scene back in the mid-eighties and featured a few never-before-used gameplay elements that have survived the test of time and are still used in many games to this day. The 8 direction joystick used in the arcade coupled with the 8 position rotary switch underneath said joystick is what I think became the precursor for the standard we enjoy in FPS games. Metal Slug wouldn't be Metal Slug if there was no tank to jump in. Hell, even co-op gameplay was scarce on arcade cabinets until Ikari Warriors proved that nearly every game deserved it.

Let's not forget that SNK rarely forgets its roots. The protagonists in Ikari Warriors would eventually end their hiatus and appear in one of SNK's most popular series The King of Fighters, representing Team Brazil. SNK even gave Ralf and Clark a chance to rejoin their original genre and continue their shmup legacy in Metal Slug 6.


Sengoku 2
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I bet a lot of you awesome Dtoid peeps have never played the Sengoku games. Well a good place to start would be with the second game in the series. Sengoku 2 took what was established in the first game, and compounded the awesome until the graphics were on par with every game seen on the Neo Geo in the mid-90s and the Music/SFX were clear and distinct.

The game's story is more epic than any of the other iterations of the game and there is an added bonus of being able to power up your weapons and swap the game's characters. Though the game is a run-of-the-mill side scrolling beat-em up, it shines much brighter than any Final Fight game, especially since you could slice and dice your opponents into oblivion, not to mention all the arterial spraying.


Samurai Shodown 2
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Don't get me wrong, this is in no way a better game than most of the other fighting games that I have put on this list except for the fact that I have so much love for this one in particular. Samurai Shodown was cool as hell when I first got my hands on the series, but didn't get much love out of me until I started playing this game almost everyday when I was hanging out at my local comics shop.

The epic battles between me and my friend, each of us proficient with every character were the matches of legend. I loved every single round that was spent in that store, especially cause my teenage brain kept making me use Cham-Cham over and over again (not only cause she was the most distinct character, but she also had a monkey on her side). It may not be the best SS game, but damnit it's always going to be my favorite.


Garou: Mark of the Wolves
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The culmination of every 2D fighting game that SNK has ever made came out in 1999 and featured animations that were as fluid, if not better than that Street Fighter III could ever be. That is a complete fanboy statement, but damnit SNK was so ahead of the game when it came to 2D innovation. There really are only 2 camps when it comes to fighters: you're either a SNK fan, or a Capcom fan. Don't get me wrong, I love Capcom something fierce, but SNK trumps them with play mechanics, well balanced characters that have full histories, and the pure beauty of the sprites they use.

The events of MotW take place 10 years after Geese Howard offed himself in Real Bout, and features offspring and disciples of many of SNK's favorite characters: Rock Howard - Geese's Son, Kim Dong Hwan & Kim Jae Hoon - Kim Kaph Wan's Sons, Kushnood Butt - Ryo Sakazaki's Student. The only thing that does hold the game back is it's suprisingly small cast of characters.

When I first started playing this game in the arcade, there was just too much going on, it's amazing to experience. The untrained would think that it is simply just another fighter, but the lovers of the game have come to realize that the game is deeper than most Street Fighter games, and is even argued to be better than the Guilty Gear series. Personally, I'd rather spend an afternoon playing this than any new game that Capcom may throw my way.


Crystalis
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I have no doubts that Crystalis influenced some of my favorite games and is why that the action RPG genre is where it is today. Hands down, Crystalis is quite possibly one of the finest RPGs you could ever hope to play on the NES. Combining the RPG aspects of the Final Fantasy series and mixing it with the action aspects of The Legend of Zelda and Star Tropics was a brilliant move by SNK. That's right, the company known for some of the best series in fighting game history was also the creator of one of my favorite RPGs ever.

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The story for the game takes place 100 years after a global nuclear war (how many NES games used nuclear holocaust as a plot device, hmmmm?), when your character awakens from a cryogenic sleep chamber to bring order to the world and prevent the rise of the evil Draygonian Empire to ultimate power.

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Sounds simple enough right? Well the developers saw fit to make the game pristine in its execution. For those of you that never got a chance with this game imagine the gameplay from TLOZ: A Link to the Past and the abilities from TLOZ: Link's Awakening being available to you back in 1990. I mean, they even saw fit to have the character move in 8 directions, sounds weird I know, but for most of the RPGs on the NES, you could only move in 4 directions, hence why this game is my Number 1 pick for any SNK game.


[embed]91032:12336[/embed]AMAZING SHOCKING TIE!!![embed]91032:12337[/embed]
It's simply amazing...I've never had a tie for the Number 0 spot of my top tens, ever.

Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf
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There has never been a golf game that I haven't loved and or played. I'm serious, I fucking love golf games. It all started back in the PC days of yore when I got hooked on Links and has continued on to the Hot Shots Golf series that I enjoy playing on my PS2 and PS3. Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf was one of the rare sports games that I loved on my NES, and until I starting writing this article, I had no clue that SNK was behind its creation. What's even better is that they parodied the game on the Simpsons, on the same episode that they had Bonestorm in, except they named it "Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge". Classic Simpsons are so good.

Doki Doki Majo Shinpan
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This game, never released here in the U.S. is the ultimate pedo-game, all because you have to use the stylus of your DS to 'touch' tween witches in an attempt to find their "witch mark" which ultimately exposes them as what they truly are. If that's not enough to garner a spot as a zero, the game sold even better than The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass in Japan and is even getting a sequel.

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I guess it just goes to show you that the difference in gamers from Japan and gamers all throughout the world is that we don't secretly wish to touch little girls like the Japanese are so wont to do. I can only imagine the flooding amount of H-Games that are going to be spawned from the success of this game. The best thing that I saw is the fact that a UK magazine called "NGamer" awarded it 'The Superman 64 Award For Worst Game" in 2007 because they gave it 'NOs' in every category instead of a score.



Well, this concludes yet another Weird Kid's Top 10 list. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. I know for certain that there are many of you out there that will disagree with some of my choices for this list, but keep in mind that this is in no way a definitive listing nor is it meant to be taken seriously. Its all for fun, just enjoy reading and take something away with you or leave a comment if you so wish.

As always, please let me know if you have a particular Top 10 that you'd like to see, and I'd be happy to oblige. For all of my faithful fans that do submit ideas, I promise I'll eventually get around to yours. Thank you again for reading. See you next time.

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3:56 PM on 06.11.2008

A Weird Kid's Top 10 -- Games I Forgot I Owned Until I Found Them While Packing Up My Apartment To Move To My New House




Moving sucks...I hate it. Hopefully this will be the LAST time I will ever have to move. It is one of the most futile and frustrating activities that I've ever had to do. You pack up all your stuff, move its physical location, unpack, and hope you didn't forget anything.

Unfortunately for me, these last 3 years at my apartment have made it so that I have yet to be completely unpacked from my last move from my parent's basement. If I include this most recent move coming up, I will have moved 13 times in my life (I can thank Uncle Sam for 9 of them), which automatically qualifies me as a 'moving' ninja. I'm good at what I do, I just don't enjoy it.

Luckily, Mrs. Excremento and I have finally closed on our house and are now in the process of uprooting and moving to the fortress of solitude where we can raise our brood. This means that I will finally get a chance to have my media room decked out the way it should be. In the process of this move, after going through boxes upon boxes of games that haven't seen the light of day in years, I found some that I forgot that I even owned until yesterday when I found them all over again. Today’s list is The Weird Kid's Top 10 Games I Forgot I Owned Until I Found Them While Packing Up My Apartment To Move To My New House. Enjoy!


N2O: Nitrous Oxide - PlayStation


I used to have the biggest boner for any album that The Crystal Method made. Their first album Vegas is still one of the best examples of good ol' American made Techno. When I found out they did the soundtrack for a game, I was there, with cash in hand.

For those of you that might have never played N2O it's like this other game that was popular a long time ago (when I was a kid), Tempest. The similarities being that you pilot a ship that is tethered to a wall of a tunnel that is full of all sorts of baddies that you have to try to clear. The great thing about this game was its graphics. The tunnels you are in change shape, undulate, and change color sometimes in order to rape your eyes and give you motion sickness. This game's experience was made so much better by having its soundtrack be nothing but TCM all the way through.

Hell, in a time before custom game soundtracks, stuff like this was important and could be seen as selling points for games. I almost bought a Duke Nukem game just because the opening song was by Stabbing Westward. I can even remember popping various PlayStation games into my Discman to see if the game's music would show up.


Ghost in the Shell - PlayStation


Being a fan of many anime and not too much manga, you'd have to have been living under a rock in the nerd world to never have seen Ghost in the Shell at least once back in the late 90s. The movie was great, but for most of us silly Americans, we had no idea who the characters were. Not until the GitS: Stand Alone Complex series did we get a chance to find out the back-story on most of the series' beloved characters.

Too bad that the game came out before the TV series...

Don't get me wrong, the game is pretty fucking awesome by PS1 standards. The bad part is that every level has you playing as a no-name troop known as "The Rookie" inside a Fuchikoma tank as you crawl along walls, scaling buildings, hanging upside down, jumping chasms, and essentially shooting anything that isn't a friend. The best part of the game is the soundtrack and cut scenes (actually made by Production I.G.), the soundtrack was good enough to warrant its own soundtrack cd and the voice acting in the game was done by the actual voice cast from the TV show and movies.


Code Name: Viper - NES


Can someone say complete rip-off of Rolling Thunder? I can, but you know what, I don't care. This game was a fun little romp through 8 stages of similar looking enemies that are palette swapped. There's platforming, getting behind cover, shooting, and more awesome NES speak from the hostages you rescue. Instead of "Thank You!" it sounds like "Meeekh Maw".

If you've never played this game before, and you're a fan of Rolling Thunder type games, give this a shot. It's no Shinobi, but is pretty well done for an early Capcom game on the good old NES.


Shatterhand - NES


One of the greatest unsung heroes here in America for game development would have to be Natsume. The company never really made it huge here but they kept on releasing awesome action game after awesome action game and Shatterhand is one of the greatest.

There's a special place in my heart for all the awesome action games on the NES, whether it be Ninja Gaiden, Vice: Project Doom, or even G.I. Joe, I think it was the console's defining genre. Shatterhand is one of the few games that once imported into the country was made better by adding effects and better graphics over the Japanese version.

The game's mechanic is your typical action platformer reminiscent of a run-and-gun game except you yourself have no gun, just your fists. Well that's true until you collect enough 'Alpha' and 'Beta' icons to build a little robot buddy to help you out. This game is one of the rare gems that came out near the end of the NES's lifecycle, at that time when the games on the console were really really well done. If you're a fan of the genre and you like having fun, check your apartment out when cleaning up, you too might have a copy you forgot about.


Side Arms Hyper Dyne- Turbografx 16


Another game that incorporated the Alpha and Beta theme was Side Arms Hyper Dyne that was originally an arcade game that got ported to just about every system imaginable for its time. Taking cues from other shmup games like Gradius, you had a multitude of powerups and speed-ups for your character that you use to battle all sorts of various no name enemies.

What was great about this game and why I'm glad I found it was that it is a damn near arcade perfect version of the game. Not as cool as my copy of Blazing Lazers but still a pretty damn cool game nonetheless. Also, if you find the hidden powerups in the stages and you are playing 2 player, you join together like F-ing Voltron to decimate your foes...man I loved this game!


Grandia - PlayStation


Grandia, you either loved it or hated it. I'm one of the few that adored this game. The story was strangely attractive, considering it was like most JRPGs and dealing with the coming-of-age of the characters involved. The main draws for me with this game, like all of my games is the great soundtrack, and innovative battle system that mixed active-time and real-time elements.

I remember from the game, the quest to reach the wall that divides the 'end of the world' was pretty epic, and the cool way that the game made you feel sympathy with the characters by tackling elements that all gamers tend to share. Most of us game players share the same traits, we're curious, energetic, loyal, adventuresome, and most importantly we enjoy other people's company and like to have fun. That's what this game is, one of the best examples of JRPG fun. My only complaint...slowdown, there's massive slowdown as the screen fills up with sprites.


Excitebike - NES


Its fuckin' Excitebike, 'nuff said. I just cant believe I forgot I owned this one!


Jet Grind Radio - Dreamcast


Jet Grind Radio (aka Jet Set Radio), I thought I lent you out to my friend back in the day! I am so happy I didn't cause he's not my friend anymore! I thought this game was lost forever due to the strange circumstance that is known as growing up. I got this game mainly because it had graffiti art as the main gameplay mechanic. Little did I know that electro-magnetic inline skates and gang warfare would be the other 2 big things.

Probably one of the first cel-shaded games ever to be made, JGR holds a special place in my heart as one of my favorite games with a wild and eclectic soundtrack that suits my personality to a "T". Holy crap if you seriously have never had some time with the Jet ___ Radio series, go out to Gamestop and spend 4 bucks on an Xbox version of the game. I'm just glad that I found my copy, now I don't have to source a new one from ebay!!!


Dungeons & Dragons Collection - Saturn


Man I got so lucky in finding this game. I had it stuffed in my PC game box of games because it doesn’t even resemble other games that I have on my Saturn. Not only is the game really 2 games smooshed into one box. It's two arcade perfect versions of the games, and it's friggin D&D!

Only one problem, I speak and read only enough moonspeak to get by, not quite enough to get the whole story of what’s going on in the game, or what somebody just said to me. It's ok, this beat 'em up is one of my favorites that never gets old, no matter how many times I play it. I especially love being the cleric and killing undead enemies with my magic rings. Have fun with the dragon at the end of the first game though. Oh, and boobies in the second game!!!! Woo hoo!

[
Legend of Mana - PlayStation


I don't know how I forgot I had this game. Honestly, with the amount of time I spent playing this game would have made it an easy thing to remember...alas, it was forgotten. This is probably my second favorite version of the Mana series, with Secret of Mana claiming the number one spot in my heart.

The graphics in this game are spectacular, all of the hand drawn and painted backgrounds, all of the 2D character sprites were just unbelievable. The music is probably one of the most important aspects of the game for me. The soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimamura, the same genius behind the soundtracks for Kingdom Hearts I & II, Parasite Eve, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Tobal No. 1, and even Street Fighter 2; that makes her alright in my book.



Now many people think that this game isn't worth the Mana moniker (I'm looking at you BigPopaGamer!!!), I happen to disagree. Its true that there isn't much story in the game (probably why I forgot the game) but there is sooooooo much content there to keep a guy like me happy for weeks. I really want to throw this game into my PS3 just to see the opening video right now...too bad for me, I'm at work.


Pro-Wrestling - NES


The beginning of the button-mashing console fighting game was in an area of my apartment that hadn't seen daylight in a long time. I picked up the cartridge, and immediately ran into the other room to pop it into the good ol' NES. I was immediately frustrated by the control scheme and the unrelenting computer opponents, but had to give a good laugh when the match was me 'Starman' vs. 'The Amazon'.

This game had it all, cameramen, referees that dropped to the mat when you go down for the count, and even better is the simulated 3 count that the NES's sad little sound chip tries to emulate. I had a good time with the game, but seriously it got old FAST. Its sad though I can remember a time before home console fighting games where all we had to keep us entertained on weekends when we'd have friends over were games like this one.




Well, this concludes yet another Weird Kid's Top 10 list. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. I'm just glad that most of my most precious games that I thought I lost or forgot about are still in my collection. Remember my top 10s are meant to be entertaining and not meant to be taken seriously. Its all for fun, just enjoy reading and take something away with you or leave a comment if you so wish.

As always, please let me know if you have a particular Top 10 that you'd like to see, and I'd be happy to oblige. For all of my faithful fans that do submit ideas, I promise I'll eventually get around to yours. Thank you again for reading. See you next time.   read





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