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About
I'm just your everyday comic book nerd from Long Island, New York studying Biology, that has just gotten back into video games after a one-generation hiatus. While I enjoy all the consoles, Nintendo will always be my favorite (although the seeming mediocrity of the Gamecube is part of the reason why I stopped playing games). My first console was the Super Nintendo back in 1991 followed by the Nintendo 64 in 1997, and the Nintendo Entertainment System a short time later (weird order, i know). At this time my younger brother decided to branch off to the SONY Playstation systems, a place where he remains today. After the N64, I began to feel that I was outgrowing video games and had completely stopped playing by the time the Gamecube came out. With a PS2 in the house, I didn't feel it was necessary to go out and get the Gamecube. After trying out a friend's Wii, I was completely hooked once again. At first I thought the controls were stupid, but after actually trying it out I couldn't believe how fitting they actually were. I purchased my own Wii in August 2007, and am really enjoying the Virtual Console feature where I can play old-school NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis games games that I always wanted to (can you believe I have never played completely through Sonic the Hedgehog?). After beating The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Super Mario Galaxy, I am really feeling like a kid again with this system and am really glad that I decided to go back to video games. I also have a Gameboy SP and a Nintendo DS, both of which kick ass. In the end, I am a casual gamer and I know that some people in the video game community don't take kindly to that for some reason, but I do feel that I have the knowledge and the skills to not only play this generation's video games, but to talk and debate about them as well.

Here are some of my favorite games:
Super Mario Brothers
Super Mario Brothers 3
Super Mario World
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Super Mario 64
Super Mario Galaxy
Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2
Donkey Kong 64
Medal of Honor: Frontline
Metroid Prime
Kirby's Adventure
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Now I don't claim to know a whole lot about modern video games in general, but I do know a whole lot about iconic characters, and as a nerd I absolutely love crossovers. I love them in comic books, action cartoons, and fanfiction but I especially love them in fighter video games because you can take control of a character and go head to head in nerdfest dream matches. However, there are a few things about these crossovers that piss me off. One of them is clones; I hate clone characters because it just shouts "LAZY" and just fills up character spots in the game (the only one's I'll except are Ken and Ryu). The second thing that bothers me even more are non-iconic characters/crappy characters taking up character slots in what are supposed to be games that bring together the best of the best.

Now when it comes creating my ideal Smash cast, I applied the two points of my philosophy states above and added a third. The third being that the character in question has to fit the look and feel of the game. For example, the SSB games feature predominantly Nintendo characters which happen to have a more "cartoony" type design to them. Now obviously this doesn't apply to characters like Samus and Link, but in general this is true, and because of that we can't, no matter how much we want to, add certain characters that have more of a realistic design to a game like this...it just doesn't look right. You wouldn't have Iron Man and the Hulk take on the Animaniacs, would you? Well, maybe you would...but it wouldn't look right, and you know it.

Now I understand that certain characters that make my list are considered to be "bad" characters in regards to fighting ability in the game, but sometimes, how iconic a character is trumps how good or bad they are. So without further delay, here is my ideal Smash cast. At the end, I'll address why certain characters wouldn't make my cut:

Mario- 'nuff said
Luigi- 'nuff said
Peach-
Bowser-too iconic to be left out
Yoshi-O.G.
Wario-he farts.
Donkey Kong-O.G.
King K. Rool-he could have potential
Link-O.G.
Ganondorf- give him that big ass sword and his own move set.
Zelda/Sheik
Kirby-O.G.
Metaknight- just plain cool
Sonic- come on, it's Sonic the Hedghog
Dr. Robotnik- flying around in that pod could provide a cool move set
Samus Aran-O.G.
Pit-
Mr. Game and Watch- I enjoy watching people kick ass with this guy and he's very unique.
Ness-O.G.
Marth
Captain Falcon-O.G.
Fox McCloud-O.G
Ash (with Charizard, Venusaur, and Blastoise)- arguable the 3 best pokemon in one.
Bomberman- could have an interesting move set
Mega Man- let's be honest, he should have been in Brawl
Little Mac-
Pac-Man- for the same reason as Game and Watch...it would be hilarious to see.
Hammer Brother- I just think they're cool enemies. Maybe Give Boom-Boom some hammers and call him Super Hammer Brother or something.

You're a loser, Billy!: Those that didn't make it:
Jigglypuff, Pichu, Pikachu, Mewtwo, Lucario- With the Ash trainer character, you get the "Big 3" pokemon and don't need more, and I just plain hate pikachu.
Diddy Kong- we already have the Big Guy, and don't need another.
Young Link, Toon Link, Falco, Lucas, Wolf O'Donnel, Ike, and Roy- already have similar counterpart characters in the game.
ROB, King Dedede, ice Climbers, - just retarded.
Dr. Mario, Zero Suit Samus,- just plain unnecessary
Snake- doesn't fit the look of the game, in my opinion.

So for better or for worse that's what i believe. Flame on!








When the Superhero Movie Era began in 2000, people all over the world, including myself, were extremely excited. To have our favorite comic book and cartoon icons make the transition to the live-action silver screen was something many of us had been waiting for for a long time. Up until that point all we really had if you think about it were 4 Superman movies (although I didn't like any of the four, the first 2 were deemed good movies, while the latter two were complete garbage) and 4 Batman movies (I liked the first two, but I think we all know that all the copies of the latter two should be collected and shot into the sun). Anyway, this era opened with a bang with 2000's X-Men and 2002's Spider-Man, both of which were first and foremost true to the comic book so the nerds liked it and overall pretty decent movies a so the critics and the general movie-going population liked them as well. Everyone was excited, a new age of movies with pretty much an endless amount of possibilities, and as long as the production companies gave the same attention to every comic-adaptation as they did to Spider-Man we would have a bottomless pit of great movie experiences, right?

Fast forward to the present. As with anything in life, money continues to make the world go round. In short, the studios have sacrificed quality for quantity and pretty much have been processing crappy adaptations and stamping on iconic names to these "films" in order to make a ton of money. I'd say there's about a 1:2 ratio of good comic adaptations to bad ones. So let's see if I'm right.

The Good: X-Men, X-Men 2, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Batman Begins, Superman Returns.

The Bad: X-Men 3, Spider-Man 3, Daredevil, The Punisher, Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four 2, Catwoman, Ghost Rider, Elektra, Hulk,...

The lists can go on and on and I'm certain that there are some that I've missed on both lists, but I think we can all agree that I'm at least in the ballpark. For every decent adaptation they make, they release out two or three pieces of trash. Then there are movies like V for Vendetta, which was a solid movie, but strayed significantly from the graphic novel.

However, like I said, these production companies don't care about what they're doing to iconic figures that, quite frankly, helped raise many of us, they just want to cash in on the name, and they're doing a hell of a job. With that said, The Dark Knight looks very promising (R.I.P Mr. Ledger) and so does Iron Man, but only time will tell.

This past summer's Transformers movie, while getting mixed reviews, was very true to the plot of most Transformers incantations (Autobots and Decepticons fight on Cybertron and then for some reason travel to Earth. The Autobots befriend a kid and then continue their war with Megatron and the rest of the Decepticons on Earth). This movie also officially began the transition, or I should say inclusion, of 1980's action-cartoon movie adaptations. If you can believe that there's going to be a Speed Racer movie coming out sometime this summer, and a Dragonball movie to be released in August. Yes, that's right, a Dragonball movie. I never thought anyone would have the balls (no pun intended) to try to adapt anime, especially the most famous anime franchise on the planet, but apparently I was wrong. Again, if there's money to be made. While I honestly believe that there's no chance that these two movies have any chance of being decent, they will still make a mind-blowing amount of money because idiots like me will pay to see them for nostalgic reasons alone...well, maybe not Speed Racer, but we'll see. Look for Thundercats, Voltron, G-Force, and G.I. Joe in the near future as well (all of which are in pre,preproduction from what I've read).

My point here is this; while we do get decent movies every once in a while, overall these production companies are ruining many of the characters and stories that we were brought up with, and as long as these movies continue to make boat-loads of money, the companies will continue to butcher these stories. The future of this era will strictly be dictated by the market, so if any of you out there think that these upcoming films may be garbage, they probably are, so don't go and see them. And if you are like me and actually go to movies to see how bad they can possibly be, then try to limit yourself as best you can.

And don't even get me started on Video Game movie adaptations!

Thanks for reading,
Mike.










When my brother showed me the trailer for the upcoming Soul Calibur game a couple of weeks ago, I nearly crapped my pants at how cool Darth Vader and Yoda looked. I honestly thought it was a great idea as Star Wars provides a relatively untapped source of characters that could be used in fighting games (we've all forgotten about Masters of Teras Kasi I hope). However after doing some more digging, I found that there were a significant amount of bloggers, forum members, and youtube commenters, that thought that the inclusion of the latest guest characters is a bad idea. Their reasoning ranged from the simple, "I think it's stupid" to the uber-nerdy "Well it doesn't make sense. The blade of the lightsaber would cut through any weapon." (in which i respond by saying "not if their weapons are made of Cortosis, dipshit...yea, i'll let you readers go look that one up on your own). Then i heard the anurism-causing, "Well Star Wars takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." Let's not overanalyze, shall we? Darth Vader is in the game and it's cool. That's it. There's no need for deep plot or reasoning in fighting games anyway...Relax.

Here's the bottom line, not that I matter at all, but I had never even heard of Soul Calibur until 2 came out with its special guest characters for each console (Spawn for X-Box, Link for Gamecube, and Heihachi for Playstation2), and I don't think I was the only one. The inclusion of these guest characters was a brilliant move because it not only was cool for the gamers, but was a brilliant piece of marketing for the company who created the game and for each console itself. Think about it; how many people bought that game only because of the guest characters? I would wager that one-quarter to one-third of the sales occured for that reason alone. My theory is this (and again, my opinion is meaningless) but if there are no guest characters, Soul Calibur is just another fighting game that isn't Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter 2: Super Championship Turbo Extreme Maximum Ultimate Edition. Also think about actually how many times you saw Soul Calibur 2 commercials on tv (a lot) and compare that to how many times you saw commercials for Soul Calibur 3 (from what I understand had no guest characters...or at least no popular ones) on tv (not once for me).

So Soul Calibur is including guest characters again for its 4th edition and this time using two characters that are more iconic than Link, Spawn, and Heihachi combined. My brother, who's a PS3 owner, admitted that there was probably no chance that he would buy this game if Vader wasn't in it (he's still bitter about Heihachi on PS2...GAUNTLETS ARE NOT WEAPONS!!!), but he most definitely will buy it now. I'm sure he's not alone in that thought. Just remember how cool the Marvel vs. Capcom and all the related games in that franchise were. Crossovers are cool, especially in video games. I only hope Vader gets to use Mace Windu's PimpSaber as one of his unlockable weapons.

Live Long and Prosper....wait....,
-Mike








For my first post on this video game blog, I figured that I'd talk about the greatest video game character of all time. I forced myself to hold off on Super Mario Galaxy until Christmas due to the fact that I had a strong desire to study for and pass Organic Chemistry. Anyway, on that fateful Christmas day, like a shadow of my former child-self, eager to tear through endless gifts filled with Ghostbuster Proton Packs, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, I opened up the gift that contained Super Mario Galaxy. I was so exited, after weeks of reading awesome reviews and watching clips on Youtube, I finally had the game in my hand. After Christmas morning was over I headed into my room, fired up my Wii, and began playing the game. Right off the bat, I couldn't help but notice the colorful environments and the wonderfully-orchestrated music that were both very new and yet paid very good homage to old-school Super Mario games. I'm not going to do a whole review of the game, partly because I'm lazy, partly because I don't have the knowledge of certain aspects of games in general (software, sound, etc.), and partly because there are millions of reviews out there already. However, I will say that I beat the game rather easily (I got 104 stars before I went to confront Bowser in the Fate of the Universe). This surprised me very much since I hadn't really played a video game in years. Was I really that good? Is it like riding a bike? Am I like The Wizard? The answer, in short, is no, not by a long shot. So what was the reason I had such an easy time beating the game? Simply, it is because the game itself was easy. My gamer friends tell me that vid games in general are becoming easier because the companies want to broaden their fanbase and I suppose that Nintendo's flagship character shouldn't be an exception to this new rule. There were two major aspects that made this game easy in particular. One was the fact that all of the levels were linear, meaning that the game led you to where you had to go with, at most, moderate exploration involved. I often referred to the format of the game as a side-scroller in a 3-D environment. The second aspect was the fact that you only needed to find half the stars in the game (60) in order to face Bowser in the last level. Now if you are like me and have to completely beat a Dome and its Snacky Happiness Secret Galaxy outside of it before moving on, it is clear that a normal person could beat the game within 3 days, and a hardcore gamer could beat it within hours.

Now I never owned a Gamecube and as a result never played Super Mario Sunshine. Based on what I know about the game, have read about it, and have heard about it from my friends, it was very disappointing in general and was not a worthy sequel to the genius that was Super Mario 64. Having played through both SM64 and Galaxy I will say that Galaxy is definatly a worthy sequel based on the variety of Marioesque environments and stages alone, but cannot compete with SM64's larger environments and more exploration-based objectives in order to gain stars. I loved the fact that you could get stars out of order just by stumbling upon them. It was extremely rare to do that in Galaxy. But I digress, Super Mario Galaxy was at worst, pretty to look at, and at best, amazing to play. That game, along with New Super Mario Bros. (which I also got for Christmas after finally getting a Nintendo DS) were both very pleasing because of the combination of new aspects as well as old-school Mario characteristics. Welcome back, Mario. You're #1 once again.

Thanks for reading,
Mike.