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About
Name's Josh. I'm 26, play pretty much any kind of game, and have since I was old enough to hold a controller.
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Hello my friends! Your regular host Scholarly Gamer is a bit busy and so I am here to introduce the new month's BoB event! Last month's Fallout theme had a solid turnout and we'd like to thank all of you for participating. We had so many people jump in initially and show their support for the idea and then some of you even managed to get some blogs written about your experiences, and each of those blogs was great fun to read!

We'll try to get a good recap of last month's blogs done soon, but for now let's get started on March's Band of Bloggers:

Hello, Hyrule!

With this still being a pretty new event we're trying a new approach this month. This time around we're just going to assign the Zelda series as a whole and you can pick and choose which one or ones you'd like to write about! Wanna write about your experiences in the Majora's Mask remake? Go for it! Wanna compare and contrast a few different ones? Even better! Write about as many of them as you like in any format you find interesting. You folks got incredibly imaginative with last month's assignment so we look forward to seeing what you can put together this time around!

If you're not familiar with what's going on then consider it a bit of a video game book club, except this month instead of us all playing a single specific game you have a whole series to choose from! Over the course of March we'd like you to go out and play any and all Zelda titles that your heart desires. If you've wanted to replay any older titles or have been putting off that Majora's Mask 3D run then here's your chance to join others and knock em out over the course of the month.

Before the month ends just come on back to Destructoid's Community Blogs and tell us about your experiences! Get creative with it! There are no rules set for your blogs, so just have fun with it and show us what you can do. As always if you have any feedback or suggestions for the event going forward then please let us know. Scholarly, Dream, and I want to make this as solid and enjoyable of an event as possible. So thanks for the support guys, and thanks for reading!

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Hey folks! It's been a bit since I wrote, so I apologize that this return is both a bit late AND a bit short, but by god I helped start this event and I will participate in it. A combination of physical, mental, and technical problems have made it difficult to play as much of Fallout as I'd have liked but with around 15 hours in my current playthrough I think I can say enough. So now, to offset the lovely things everyone has had to say about their trips through the wasteland, allow me to tell you why this game is fucking shit.

Fallout: New Vegas is an absolute mess. I got shot in the head, woke up in a doctor's office with a magic science machine that let me change my face, and answered some questions about inkblots that gave me perks that I immediately swapped out to things I would actually use. I ventured outside, sun blinding my fancy new eyes, and learned how to shoot a godawful rifle at lizard things and helped a complete stranger gather the town's forces together to fight off the evil prisoners from across the street.

Now a fully fledged idol to the most boring shit town in the wastes I ventured out on my own, ready to begin my pokemon adventure! I walked across the street, saw more prison folk who were now none too happy to know me thanks to my (apparently quick to spread) reputation for killing their companions, and proceeded to murder them in self defense, gaining the dumbest nonexistant mechanic I have ever seen: KARMA! Murdering the inmates who may have simply joined the powder gangers because they had nowhere else to go gave me good karma. Stealing their stuff from the boxes around their corpses gave me bad karma. WAT. Murder all you like but please for the sake of all that is holy don't steal from them! What does karma actually do? WHO KNOWS!

There are other lovely mechanics that DO matter though, and boy are they fun! You very quickly learn from the game that you can only carry so much in your inventory. Don't wanna overburden yourself! Understandable I say. I'm only one man. I start to walk off and the game calls out to me “Oh, by the way! Did I mention that everything you use is in a constant state of decay and the primary way to repair it is to carry around multiple copies of the same weapons and armor so that you can use them to repair each other? So have fun carrying 4 shotguns around!” I'm starting to understand why my poor character is full of anger and ready to murder.

FNV is the story of a courier on the edge. By the way, did you know you played as a courier? Cuz I'll be damned if it was ever relevant in my time with it! I didn't get to deliver SHIT. If ANY game was gonna have fetch/delivery quests surely this would be the one! The most courier-esque job I did for anyone was a sniper lady who asked me to check out and report back on the status of a lovely whoretown called Nipton that was apparently on flames, and not of the rock and roll variety. No hurry though, take your time. Upon arriving at my destination I was met with crucifixions and a group of people who apparently really liked to cosplay as centurions.

They had decided to murder everyone in town for reasons and so I tried to murder them, but that didn't go well. Any of the 5 times. I made the tactical choice to be a little bitch and let the group go about their merry way and proceeded to loot the remains of the previous inhabitants, making my way through their houses and their rather large town hall, until something new happened. As I made my way to the top of the town hall and explored the mayor's room, I unlocked his closet and looted his stash of ammo and weapons to the point that I became over encumbered. I began dropping stuff I'd never use, but accidentally dropped a useful piece of armor which fell behind the mop bucket. I jumped onto the mop bucket to retrieve said armor and became stuck in the mop bucket.

After hours of killing deadly radioactive beasts and humans and solving problems, the biggest obstacle I met over the course of my time with the game was a mop bucket. I was unable to jump or move around. I attempted resting to see if it would maybe be fixed after waking up, but nope all it did was eat my autosave. Not content to load my quicksave from outside town I began tossing dynamite and grenades at my feet, at which point I discovered that my character was a fucking champ. Even in the face of point blank explosions he was perfectly fine to sit there and just grunt a bit. After many explosions I finally fell from the mortal coil and reloaded inside of the bucket. BUT WAIT! PRAISE CHINESE JESUS I COULD JUMP NOW!

I saved the shit out of that game and made my way outside town hall and began to finally finish exploring the town. Oh wait, no I didn't, because upon trying to walk into one of the small houses in town I suddenly began bouncing uncontrollably for no reason whatsoever. Just bouncing constantly, unable to stop, and unable to fast travel or anything because I couldn't “do that while jumping or falling.” I literally now had the opposite problem of what I had been suffering from just 3 minutes earlier. I bounced so much that my game crashed.

So why, through all of these things, do I still want to go back for more? I met all kinds of people and did all kinds of jobs on the rest of my trip through the wastes. I got Walker Texas Ranger pardoned so he could run a roller coaster town with his own brand of street justice, I helped some zombie folks fix a rocket so they could go to space to meet god or some weird shit, I helped a sniper lure a sweet old lady out in front of a t-rex so he could murder her because she was actually a pimp in the slave business apparently.

I did all kinds of stupid shit in that desert, and I'll be damned if I for some stupid reason don't want to go and do more. Fallout: New Vegas is a mess of a game, but it sure can be an enjoyable mess. Hope you enjoyed this incredibly dumb take on the blog assignment, and thanks for reading.

 

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Hey guys, it's your old buddy / internet acquaintance / random stranger Fenriff here with a bit of an update on my weekly writing. A lot of you may not realize this but I've been doing my weekly piece for about 8 months now! That's 8 months of writing a new piece every single week (with the exception of the one week my internet was out) and it's never been news or anything; it's all been stuff that I could think of on my own off the top of my head. I gotta tell you; it's starting to tax me a little bit.

Now don't get me wrong, I've had a fun time with it, and I've gotten WAY more feedback and comments and attention overall than I ever expected to. You guys have really gone above and beyond with your support, even those of you who just clicked and read without realizing that you were reading the same guy you've read before. Over the course of these 8 months I've been on the front page of IGN once (as well as being their Community Spotlight a separate time), the front page of Destructoid once, and the front page of Kotaku 6 times!

 

Even when I wasn't on a front page there were always those of you willing to have great discussions with me about my writing. I think my Breath of Fire Series Retrospective was probably the first time that I really felt like I was doing something right, because a lot of people came out of the woodwork to talk about that series with me. Which was a huge relief by the way because I played through every one of those games over the course of two weeks for the sake of writing that! I took notes!

I've written my thoughts on industry practices, my opinions on mechanics, I've poured my heart out about some of my favorite games, I've written lists, I even did full on reviews early on! So much writing and every week seems to fly right by and then it's time to write again. So what's all this about? Basically I've been starting to get a bit burnt out here lately. It's difficult to think of something creative and original to write about every single week and I don't want to get to a point where I feel like I'm forcing myself. I had actually written a whole piece about video game romance for today because of Valentine's this week and I just tossed it because it didn't feel like I actually had anything to say.

 

So what am I doing? Quitting? Not necessarily. It's important to me that this stay fun and engaging for me. The minute it starts to feel like I'm forcing myself to do it then it loses it's shine. This isn't something I do for a living, I've never gotten paid to write anything, it's just a hobby and a way to express myself. So I'm taking a break! Not from writing in general, just from doing it on a set schedule. If I sit and write something I want it to be because I felt inspired to do it and because I have something I want to say, not because I feel like someone out there will be disappointed in me if my blog doesn't show up that week.

So the weekly piece is on hold for a while. Season 1 of it has come to a close we'll say. You'll still see me around, creeping through blogs and probably leaving more comments on everyone else's stuff rather than worrying so much about my own. Whenever I come up with something I want to write about I'll write it, so when you see me pop up in the future you can know that I've got something to say and I'm not going through the motions. Thanks everyone for your support thus far and I look forward to writing more for you in the future!

 

Thanks for reading.

 








Fenriff
10:24 AM on 02.02.2015

Boy, I haven't written one of these in a while! Today I want to tell you about a game called The Fall, which somehow passed me by and so I figured that many of you might have missed it as well. The Fall is the first in a trilogy of short, story focused games by developer Over The Moon. If you've been craving more creepy, sci fi, mind bending story telling in the vein of The Swapper then look no further.

The story of The Fall is the real reason you'll want to get into it. You're given the shortest of introduction scenes by watching your suited character fall from the sky through the ground and into a cave. A.R.I.D., the suit's AI, snaps on, realizes that the person piloting it is in critical condition, and takes over the suit to get its pilot to safety. That means that for the course of this game you will not be playing an actual person, but an AI trying to fight against its constraints to save its human owner.

The planet you'll find yourself on is lonely and filled with the corpses of humans and robots alike, tossed aside for unknown reasons, and you'll quickly meet a rogue AI who has deemed you as faulty and in need of scrapping. As you try to keep your pilot safe you'll notice that many functions of your suit have been locked, and those are functions that you'll really want to help stay alive. How far is it okay for an AI to push the limits for the sake of saving one human though?

The overall goal of the story is simply to reach the surface of the planet in an attempt to find medical help for your pilot, but just taking the elevator would be too easy and wouldn't make for much of a game! The Fall's gameplay is made primarily of solving puzzles in a very adventure game format. You'll run around the dark and dreary setting collecting items and trying to wrap your poor little brain around discovering the best way to use those items to get past the obstacles in your way. And believe you me, you will certainly need to put on your thinking cap for some of these puzzles!

It's not all about the puzzles though, as The Fall has a solid, albeit scarcely used, action side to it as well. It's not terribly far into the game before you're finally given access to your gun, at which point you'll begin to face security droids and who knows what else on your path to the top. The combat mechanics are fairly basic, but they do their job. Holding LB will stick you into cover if there's any near you and you can use the right analog stick to aim at your enemies and charge your pistol for a relatively powerful shot.

Once you've got your gun your primary experience will revolve around you exploring the areas available to you and swapping back and forth between your gun's flashlight and laser sight. The flashlight allows you to inspect things in the environment for interactions and the laser sight is for aiming in combat. You can only see whether or not something can be observed or interacted with by aiming your flashlight at it, which can be a tad annoying, but it's not anything that will really impede your enjoyment much. This means that you'll want to shine your flashlight everywhere; not only for items to pick up or interact with, but just for the pleasure of seeing what your AI has to say about the world around you.

The game isn't very long, clocking in around 3 hours (depending on how long it takes you to solve the puzzles), but it's certainly a memorable experience. I don't know when we'll see the rest of the trilogy, but if this first entry is anything to go by then I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of it. The game is only $10 and can be obtained either through Steam or DRM free through the Humble Store. Give it a shot some time! Oh, and thanks for reading.

 

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Well friends, tomorrow is my 26th birthday. I'm getting old! I've been doing this gaming thing for a while now, and like many of you I have a ton of great memories from that time. Often it's easy to let those good memories cloud out the less than great memories, which can have a bit of a negative effect. We don't always want to remember the bad or disappointing times, but I feel that it's important to nonetheless. With that in mind I want to take today to talk about nostalgia.

I'm sure all of us who have been gaming for a while are guilty of letting nostalgia cloud what we think or say at some points. It's hard not to! By default most people don't want to remember things that don't make them happy. Being too drenched in nostalgia can have negative effects though. It can cause you to look at a game too harshly, forgetting that it's pitfalls are shared by things you enjoy, or to look at another game too nicely, overlooking the flaws in it solely because of it's association to something you love.

It's not rare to see people saying things like “gaming gets worse every year” or “this year was terrible for games.” People tend to have a time in their gaming life that they consider a sort of “golden age” of gaming. Once that is established it's easy to fall into a state of remembering all of the great things from that age while you eagerly point out all the flaws of the generations of those that came after.

For instance; the most memorable generation of gaming for me was the SNES era. A lot of people share that sentiment as there were some damn good games that came out during that period; some of my all time favorites! Is it really a “golden age” though? Didn't it have many of the pitfalls that so many other generations have had as well?

“Console wars?” We had 'em. Sega vs Nintendo was huge in those days! “How about disappointing sequels?” Son, did you play Act Raiser 2? The game that took a unique idea and stripped all of the unique parts out, leaving you with a slow, poorly designed side-scrolling hack and slash with bad controls? “But you didn't have to worry about DLC back then!” True enough, but the idea of DLC isn't bad in itself, it's just constantly poorly implemented and used to nickel and dime people. There's good DLC, but there will always be bad DLC just like there will always be bad games.

Sometimes nostalgia brings old games to new heights long after their prime. Earthbound has a HUGE following these days and is fondly remembered by many more people now than it ever was while it was relevant. Why is that? Well, for a few reasons I suppose. Earthbound was something new; it was a fresh take on a genre that had fallen into a comfortable place. When you look back at JRPG's prior to Earthbound you're likely to find a whole lot of generic fantasy. You'll find Dragon Warrior/Quest and you'll find the older Final Fantasy titles, games that are great but also had a very “knights and magic and dragons” kind of theme.

Granted FF6 really started that series' move towards a more Sci-Fi/Fantasy mix, but that came out the same year as Earthbound for Japan, and even then Earthbound stood out for its unique theme. This is a game that took a very fantasy heavy genre and put it in the real world, or at least one close enough for us. Here in America we never got Earthbound's predecessor (or it's sequel for that matter), so seeing this game that brought JRPG mechanics into a strangely American setting was bizarre to say the least.

New things like that can often keep people away rather than draw them in however, and thus was the case with Earthbound, which sold pretty poorly over here. So why do we hold it in such high regard now? Because now we go looking for that unique-ness. Now we've learned to appreciate something that goes in directions that many would never think to. So we look past the flaws in it because we've decided that we love it now.

You'll see people go so far as to regard Earthbound as perfection, but why? What of it's INCREDIBLY grindy nature? What of how easy it is to find yourself unsure of where to go and what to do? (I mean the game came with a walkthrough when it launched, if that doesn't tell you they knew you'd need help then what does?) What of the characters who are lauded as charming and memorable today who actually show little to no emotion (on the rare occasion that they speak at all) over the course of the fairly lengthy game?

It's so easy to look at everything that Earthbound does right with it's fantastic setting, it's bizarre themes and aesthetics, and it's unique take on the genre as a whole, that we're willing to look past those things, and that is fascinating to me. How could anyone NOT find it amazing that such an incredibly critical group of people like gamers are willing to look at a game like this and praise it for it's amazing unique bits and set aside it's noticeable flaws?

Think of something more recent, like a lot of the arguments against DmC: Devil May Cry. Personally I have loved DMC since it's original release and also loved the recent DmC, but a lot of others didn't. Don't get me wrong, that's perfectly okay. People will always disagree on things, especially when it comes to something as subjective as “Which is more fun?” That aside you can clearly point out the people whose nostalgia get in the way of their judgment.

“The acting is shit!” “The story is garbage!” “New Dante only appeals to 14 year olds!” All as they continue to praise the previous DMC games, literally none of which were ever known for being anything above mediocre in any of those departments. You're telling me the white haired, red trenchcoat wearing, pizza eating, rock and roll enjoying Dante wasn't designed to appeal specifically to late 90's / early 2000's teenagers?

Again I'll point out that there are plenty of legitimate reasons for disliking or arguing against DmC. Just because I enjoy it doesn't mean I won't give you that much. You loved the style system, you loved the difficulty, you loved the campy Japanese nature of it. I get that! I loved it too! If it wasn't for the original DMC I wouldn't have discovered my love for action games! At the end of the day though DmC isn't bringing ruin to your favorite franchise. If that series was able to survive DMC2, a game whose only interesting feature was being able to customize your devil trigger (a feature that I'm honestly surprised hasn't really returned), then it can survive ANYTHING.

We as gamers are a very strange bunch. We rarely agree, we're quick to judge, and we are so fucking passionate in one form or another. Even if you find someone who takes the exact opposite stance as you on a game to such a degree that neither of you can break through to the other, can you tell me that at least a little part of you doesn't appreciate that in such a fantastically varied medium there are people matching you in devotion to the hobby that you both love? As long as I'm a part of that kind of community I don't think I will ever lack something to write about. So here I am, a day away from being 26 years old, both thinking back and looking forward. I don't know what's in store, but I bet it'll be interesting. Thanks for reading.

 

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So the whole “Badger” thing left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Not necessarily because of the core of what he was trying to say (I can appreciate someone having a differing opinion) but because of how it was said. Also I'd like to throw in my own two cents about the whole “unethical journalism” shtick, because I feel that there's a fundamental factor that's being overlooked. Let's start with the “Badger,” not just in this particular rendition, but as a Destructoid idea in general.

I can somewhat appreciate the idea of the Badger. Getting people who know a bit about the industry who otherwise couldn't really tell you what they think and giving them a place to do that has its benefits. Someone in that situation could really shed some light on subjects and provide for interesting conversation. In the way it has currently been implemented though it comes off as a platform for people frustrated with their own industry (and the community that follows it) to let out their anger and frustrations in a borderline childish manner without repercussion.

If you have some kind of knowledge that gives you a point of view that others likely don't and you want to take that opportunity to share it in a place that will guarantee you attention then, in my mind, the least you could do is treat that attention with some kind of respect. If you are just going to use it to rant and call people idiots and belittle ideas then you could easily create a false internet persona in a community and bitch about it there like everyone else who doesn't want their real name associated with their words. If you are going to take Destructoid's offer for a platform that will sit and listen to you and what you have to say then I feel you're doing a disservice by using it as the equivalent of a pissy gamefaqs poster. If someone won't listen to reason and your first course of action is to be unreasonable right back, then how are you different from them?

You don't take this kind of opportunity and use it to call people idiots and shame them for the things they enjoy, regardless of how silly the things they enjoy may seem. Taking the time out to even bring up the idea that people may enjoy Game Grumps more than Mel Brooks is irrelevant at best and stupid at worst, as they share barely any common qualities. One of them is a famed comedic director, the other is two guys who play video games on youtube. It's like giving someone shit for enjoying Dr. Seuss more than Ernest Hemmingway and thinking that your bitching is justified because they're both authors. I realize that this particular point wasn't the focus of the article, but it shows how the writer looks at certain people regardless. The idea of every “nerd” being some poor deluded kid who desperately wants to be understood and thus are weak to being swayed by publishers who offer them things is also silly to me.

Moving away from the Badger as an idea and onto the subject matter of unethical game journalism, here is the basis of how I feel on the situation: if you feel that you can't trust a particular journalist or online publication then I feel that there is a very simple solution: don't visit them. Should journalists be held responsible for keeping up a certain standard? Absolutely. Should publishers stop trying to bribe them every chance they get? Obviously. Does that mean that, given the failure of those two to change, you should just continue reading everything they post and commenting on it and sitting on your high horse? God, no.

A journalist only has as much pull as they have people who will pay attention to them. And yes, they are journalists. That's just what journalism is. The idea that so many people seem to have of journalism as being some kind of higher calling that carries a certain weight with it is silly. If you are in a profession in which you relay news from a source to the public then you are, in some form, a journalist.

This idea that you should refuse to buy a product if someone in the industry was given it for free seems ridiculous to me. Surely you should carry some of the responsibility of what you purchase. There are so many places on the internet that you can go to learn people's opinions on a game or piece of hardware that, in my mind, you can't read one person's review and then blame them when you buy the product and your enjoyment of it doesn't line up with theirs.

You COULD say: “Bronathan Folmes reviewed the New 3DS and said it was the best handheld that Nintendo had ever put out, but it I bought it and think it's mediocre at best. He got his for free from Nintendo and so he's biased and can't be trusted and we should boycott.” OR you could just do proper research, find people whose values and opinions line up with your own somewhat regularly, and be somewhat responsible with your purchases. Even if Bronathan Folmes gave the New 3DS a more friendly review because he got it for free, then yes he has failed to live up to the standard expected of him, but that hardly excuses your complete lack of thinking for yourself.

So much of what gets reviewed on any big online publication is done so through review copies sent by publishers. Should we stop reading all of those reviews solely because the writers haven't paid for what they're reviewing? Should we only trust people who have spent their own money to give us an honest view? Or should we assume that someone who has been hired into this profession has some kind of integrity that they seek to adhere to and that those who pay him or her also keeps that integrity in mind? Why would we place any faith into the gaming press at all if we're just gonna view them all as untrustworthy and lacking integrity? In a weird and yet completely obvious way everyone is right and everyone is wrong. Publishers shouldn't get away with attempting to bribe journalists, journalists should be held accountable for themselves, and you should be responsible for what you spend your own money on. There is no one singular problem.

So why should you listen to me? Literally no reason what so ever. I'm NOT some respected member of any community or industry, I'm NOT someone with inside knowledge of the inner workings of a profession. What I am is some guy on the internet who enjoys games. My name is Josh Barnes, I write about video games for fun, and this is the end of my rant. Thanks for reading.

 

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