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Gamertag: GraveRisen
PSN: LinoleumTile
Friend code: 6104 4847 1226 7635

Hey hey all, I'm GraveRisen from Calgary, AB and I'm a gamer by many definitions.

It all started at an early age with me, starting off in a household already equipped with an intellivision (which I still have to this day), and by the time I was 5, a NES. I had my trusty game gear to play on long car rides (and subsequently commit "AA Genocide"), and when I was 7 I bought my first console with my own cash, the classic Sega Genesis.

I never really grew out of video games like my parents thought I would. I found myself in posession of a SNES shortly after the system was released and oh I spent so many hours gaming with friends, and dumped more time than I care to admit into sweet ass RPG's. The era of the N64 came around my buddies and I pulled weekly all-nighters playing perfect dark and ocarina of time speed runs.

As for non-gaming related shiz, I'm a bit of a metal head (in music taste and personality, not so much dress), though I'll listen to any classic/hard rock, metal, alternative, even some hip-hop. My sort-of "backup" favorite is Classical music. I do loves me some Chopin and Tchaikovsky.

Bitches don't know about my huge collections

Systems currently in my posession:

Intellivison, NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, WII, Genesis, Dreamcast, GB pocket, GB colour, GBA, DS, DSi, PSP 1000, and a sweet ass gaming PC

And at last count my total games were at 192

Im in ur cabinet, playin ur games

It's so hard for me to pick a genre I play so lets just simplify things... No sports games except for mutant football, blades of steel, etc (the quirky ones). I'm a huge fan of RPG's, any FPS that tries something new (NOT HALO OMFG), RTS's like Red Alert 1 and Total Annihilation, ANY Blizzard game, and fighting games are huge for me.
Following (2)  

So I’ve finally begun my masochistic journey into the hell hole of dark souls. This really is a harsh, unforgiving game that will fuck you up if you look at it funny. Or at all. Or if you look away. Or if you’re within the same zip code.

I started off where most grand adventures begin.... character creation. Now there are a lot of classes to pick from in this game. Personally, I don’t want to be burdened with learning complicated... “spells” and “magic”, and the last thing I want to be in this game is squishy.... so I opted for brute force and went with the wanderer. Axe, shield, and armour. Pure Viking. In an attempt to make him both adventurous and generic, I’ve gifted him with the name “outrider”.

Now beginning my adventure, I find myself in a prison cell. And I’m dead.

Death count: 1

WHOO THAT WAS FAST. Actually more accurately, I’m now Undead. In fact you spend most of the game as one of the undead. Don’t like your pasty white skin tone? DOESN’T MATTER! Your skin will remain a mass of red mashed up flesh for most of the game. Well my cell door is wide open; guess the undead are free to roam the undead asylum. Funny enough. First thing I notice is that the place is in ruins. I don’t know why I noticed this, as everything is in ruins in this game. I start exploring the asylum, down one hallway, through some dark rooms, and find myself in a courtyard with a small bonfire parked in the middle. I’m immediately reminded by the ghostly instruction manual in my head that I can sit by the bonfire to rest. So I do, and recover the health I haven’t lost yet. I also notice a lot of notes on the ground marked by other souls. I see one that says “Hard fight ahead” and another that says “good luck” ...... I HAVEN’T EVEN FINISHED THE TUTORIAL AREA. So accepting my fate, I push open the doors to the cathedral in front of me. Large open room..... great. Wondering what kind of monstrosity I’m going to face I sulk my way into the room and make it about halfway in before BAM, an asylum demon drops in from the roof and cracks me upside the face with a small car. Good god I’m alive! So I chug my healing pot and start running circles around the decent sized townhouse that was currently sizing me up for slippers and stabbing at it with my..... Broken sword hilt. It does 2-4 damage. I also have no shield. Also he has around 1200 hp. AWESOME. Things are going alright, get him down a full health bar (out of 100 then one mis-step sends me into a pillar. I try to dodge left as he’s raising his volvo... OH LOOK A POT. Smack. Dead. I resurrect at the bonfire outside and hey, let’s give it another shot. Crushed, pain, dead. AGAIN. Dead. Ran out of health pots! Dead. At this point I figured I was doing something wrong. So this time I started scouring the room for an escape. There’s a door at the back! Yes!.... locked. Turning around, I find the asylum demon rather unimpressed that I was trying to escape. Dead. Okay maybe there’s a secret door. So this time I skirt the edges of the walls, letting the demon take out his rage on the pillars. FINALLY I found a tiny little hole in the wall, barely man sized, with an open gate. I dove through as it crashed down behind me. Awesome!! I also found a note on the ground here stating “I did it!”. Me too buddy... me too.

Death Count: 7

Now for the rest of the tutorial. Rather smug that I evaded the demon, I explored what was left of the asylum, and came across a wounded knight. Seemingly alive. I think. Maybe not. Doesn’t matter. He tells me of some grand prophecy that I’m supposedly going to fulfill. Something about ringing some bells and saving something... I don’t really know. All that matters is that he had a key for me. So key in hand I find myself at the top of the asylum, and make it to a balcony. ESCAPE!.... I look down only to see the asylum demon waiting for me. OH COME ON!! Luckily by this point I had picked up an axe and a shield so I felt a little more confidant. As I approach the ledge I’m prompted with a “press R1 while falling for a heavy strike”. My god, time for revenge. I drop in on the bastard and plant my axe in the back of his extremely ugly grin, BAM half of his HP gone. Good god... that would have been handy earlier. Now that I’m armed with a real weapon and not a butter knife, I make quick work of what’s left of him and the door I had tried to open earlier was now unlocked, hooray! Going through I find myself at a cliff and get whisked away into a cut scene. After some dialogue about this grand prophecy, a (I’m not kidding here) 30 foot tall crow grabs me off the cliff and flies off to dump me at the main quest hub.

Much to my surprise and enjoyment, nothing at the camp was trying to kill me!! Huzzah!! Clearly this had to be a trap. Now because this game is hard as nails it doesn’t tell you where to go. You get to learn by trial and error. So I set off... The first lovely bloke I come across feels the need to tell me that dozens of other “prophesized saviours” have come before me and failed miserably and that I’m no different than the rest. GREAT START. So I ignore the asshole and head up the ruined steps to this beautiful ruined shrine (notice a theme) and play around in the water for a bit. The colossal crow is perched on the roof just chillin. Now this crow, despite its size, is entirely proportional as if it was a normal sized crow. If you had seen this giant crow sitting in a giant tree you would assume nothing was out of the ordinary. Looking up at it, I felt like some sort of photo-realistic pikmin. There really wasn’t anything here so I headed towards the graveyard, and to my not surprise, 2 armed skeletons popped up. Psh, skeletons? No problem. Or... so I thought. I start laying into one of them and he falls to pieces. HAH! Easy. Then his buddy decided to give him a hand. SLICE SLICE there goes half my health bar. Jesus H christ! Well I can handle this. Then the first guy stands up again. Behind me. Well, that ended nicely. Dead. Bound and determined not to lose to a skeleton I come back for more punishment time and time again. Even if I wasn’t supposed to be here these had to be worth a TON of souls (what you use to level up and is also used for currency). Well after 45 min of experimenting and kiting and dodging I took them down, WOOOOO!!!!. .... but.... no souls. Of course, they’re skeletons. So that was a little depressing.

Death count: 19

So as not to frustrate myself too much, I decided to head to the REAL first zone, the undead burgh. Even before finding my way in via the waterway I saw a little note on the ground by a cliff that said “try jumping” and there was, indeed, a ledge across from it. So I sprinted at the cliff and realized somewhere between the ledge and my bone crunching impact with the valley below, that I had no idea how to jump. WOO! The tutorial didn’t even teach that. Too lazy to look it up online, I just headed into the burgh. Things started running a lot smoother from here. The undead are manageable, I’m really not dying at all thanks to the refillable health flasks the game hands you. No big surprises and I make it to the first bonfire (save/checkpoint) without a hitch. This HAS to be a trap. There’s no way this game would be so forgiving. So I brace myself for the next leg. Right off the bat, I step onto a narrow bridge and undead start tossing fire bombs from scaffolding 3 feet off the ground, with absolutely no possibility for me to attack them or defend myself. So I sprint across the bridge and dive into the next room. This room is, of course, filled with undead. Armoured undead. With shields. Then 2 more pop in through the side and back doors and start tossing fire bombs left and right. ERHGHEGREGRHGHHHRUUUHHHRRRRR.... Dead again. Next pass, knowing about the ambush I handily dispatched them. The next few areas I was EXTREMELY thorough in checking behind every barrel, in every box, behind every wall for every scrap of undead and, go figure, there were 3 in one building HIDING and waiting for me. Assholes. Well whatever. I find myself at a nice villa on the cliffside, with a staircase headed down to the cellar. I really should have known that anything headed down to a dark corridor is a bad idea in this game. Well, sure enough right in the middle of the hallway there’s a massive 10 foot tall armoured knight. I knew this was a bad plan, but.... I had to try. It would be heroic. So I went for it and WHABAM!! CRIT FROM BEHIND..... wait.... I didn’t make a visible dent in his health bar. And he has a huge sword. And he’s chasing me. Running.... This had predictable results. Dead.

Death count: 26

Next time around I avoided the big badass knight and let him creep in his cellar in peace. Not much further ahead I came up to what I KNEW was a bad sign A long spiral staircase up a tower, not a single enemy in sight. Not only that, but It exited out onto a castle wall with.... no enemies. Great, this is going to hurt. Accepting what would likely be my fate, I bolted out to around the middle of the wall segment when THOK... arrow in my back. Then 2, 3... Now crippled and nearly dead I turned around to find 2 archers parked on top of the tower I just came out of. Well, screw them I thought. I’m not dealing with their shit I thought. And I headed towards the next tower. Which is when a massive tauros demon decided he wanted in on the action and tossed himself off the tower and landed in my lap. Ow. Somehow I managed to survive and chugged my health pots like this was a frat party gone right. Not wanting to deal with him foot-to-face, I turned and started to book it to the other end of the wall. OH YEAH... The archers. Yeah I forgot about them. I also forgot that the arrows stun me as they hit me, giving the tauros demon enough time to catch up to me. This ended with rather squishy results.

Death Count: 33

And that about sums up my first day of Dark Souls

When it comes to building a crazed and insanely loyal fanbase there is no company in the gaming industry that does it better than Atlus. And it really isn't a lot that sets them apart from the crowd. The big secret? ..... They CARE about their fans. They actually CARE.

shocking I know!

Not only to they know their target market inside and out, but they just throw out the freebies because they know we want them. An art book and a soundtrack won't affect the game whatsoever, however these go a loooooong way towards creating a loyal fanbase. While most other companies will offer these, it's usually for collectors editions, special deluxe packs, and so on for a higher pricepoint. Atlus on the other hand scoffs at their puny attempts to add value and includes them pro bono. What, soundtracks in my game? Yup! Just take a look...

In all of these cases except for demons souls the soundtrack and art books are packaged into the standard basic edition of the game. In the case of demons souls the soundtrack and art book were free by pre-order. But this is just for older games right? and niche DS games that we rarely ever see in the north american market? Hah not quite. Let's take a look at their most recent release...

yup, still there. Even better, if you DO want to shell out the extra bucks, you're going to get a LOT more than a keychain and a stack of postcards. Lets take a look at the next game Atlus is publishing, Disgaea 4. The basic edition once more has a soundtrack and artbook. The collectors has a figure of one of the main characters, and the premium edition has all that plus figures of EVERY major character and some minor ones and cameos.

Now freebies are great and all but as I said they don't affect the game in any way. A great game is a great game no matter what you glue to the box. This is where Atlus really blows our minds. The have some sort of insane pre-cognitive ability that tells them what their fans will want next. Either that or they've all been brainwashed at this point. Not only that but when they have a successful franchise, they make sure that players have PLENTY of content to immerse themselves in the world of that game. They are by no means afraid of sequels. In fact they love them... and so do we! FOR EXAMPLE...

- There are 33 games in the shin megami tensei series
- Including re-releases 9 games in the disgaea world
- including remakes there are 7, soon to be 8 persona games
- The Trauma Center series is now up to 5 games
- Etrian odyssey came out in 2007 and has 3 games in the series

They've also managed to cover just about every single variety of RPG you can possibly imagine. For the more traditional types you have the Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2. Phenomenal in both production value and story. For the standard RPG/collection ADD types there's the persona series, with dozens of personas to collect, combine, and level up. They also have a huge "social" gaming aspect where you manage your characters friendships and relationships. Persona 3 is still considered to be one of if not the best PS2 RPG. And then they have really obscure types of games like Knights in the knightmare... A bullet hell top down shooter tactical RPG. And speaking of which, take a look at this!

That's right. Atlus is giving you a FREE game, and a good one too, just for buying their regular game at the normal price. They've even included the offer on PSN (even though we all know pspgo owners aren't real people ;) ). It's so simple!!

So besides releasing and publishing tons of games with tons of free extras tacked on, what does atlus do so well? They know what's going to sell, and they make enough money off their flagship releases that they're able to bring over some less popular niche titles from overseas to please their fans. Wait, atlus is making boatloads of cash? hell yeah they are! Persona 1, 2, 3, 4 sold incredibly well, as did disgaea. And at this point there have been 3 remakes/re-releases of disgaea 1, 2 of disgaea 2, and several spin-off games including prinny adventures 1 AND 2. Their games have even been labeled as some of the best of their genre. As said earlier Persona 3 is among the best PS2 RPG releases. Disgaea is easily the most in depth strategy RPG ever released and one of the best (debatable against FF tactics).

So what can they do with all this cashola? release games that may not be quite as popular, but will please either their core fan base or reach out to other niche markets. For example, Majong Club 3D is coming out for 3DS soon. There are several small PC games such as Rock of ages, Trine and Trine 2, puzzle game Droplitz, Hexyz force PSP (which likely nobody in NA had heard of), as well as re-releases of everyones favorite games. I still owe Atlus my first born for releasing Persona 3 on PSP.

So Atlus does a lot of good for us, There MUST be a black sheep in the mix. They MUST be bad at something. Yup, there is something they suck at. Availability.

If there's one thing you should know about an atlus game, it's to BUY IT. BUY IT NOW or you'll never see it again. They have this amazing talent for releasing juuuuuuust enough copies for their fans, and by the time anyone that cares about the game gets to it, it's out of stock for anyone with a passing interest. Even just this week, 3 local shops sold out of Catherine on PS3 the day it was released. So if you're eyeing down the latest Atlus production, I would get your preorder down pronto, or you might possibly miss out on a fantastic game.

So anyone else out their love their Atlus titles? Favorite Atlus game?

Photo Photo Photo

Gentlemen, we have a pressing matter at hand as of late. Battle lines are being drawn, onlookers are beginning to take notice, and women and children are running for the hills. Is this the great Playstation XBOX clash we've all been waiting for? Is the Wii ready to usurp its older brothers? No not this time. This time the lines have been drawn somewhere else.... We are at war with....


No, this is not a direct war against casual gamers, this is a battle provoked by the casual gaming developers themselves. Is EVERY casual developer evil? Of course not. In fact, the casual market is an amazing place for innovation and creation, spawning new IP's and catapulting basement programmers into AAA developers. However we have a few enemies as of the last few years who seem bound and determined to demolish console gaming.

You've probably heard of these heathens. In fact, if you haven't I'm pretty sure you need to re-evaluate the size of rock you're living under. The likes of Farmville, Cafe world, Angry birds, and yoville. There are multiple offenses perpetrated by these offenders, some of them far more damaging than others.

Now you probably recognize these games, at least a few of them. Please note that these are not the only offenders, but simply the most prominent examples. And you're probably thinking... How bad can these fames really be for the console market? Quite, is the answer. Every dollar taken away from your average gamer is a dollar taken from the core console gaming market, and these offenders are a proverbial black hole of household finances. Not only that, but how can you play the latest Call of modern battlefield honor when you spend 4 hours collecting crops?? Lets take a look at the numbers shall we....

Angry birds has pulled in over $100,000,000 as of March 2011. Now... this is just from the app sales ( at 0.99 per sale). Angry bids has, however, also taken on a whole new level that most video games never venture into... merchandising. There are iPhone cases, plushies, t-shirts, costumes, iPad cases, vending machines, and even thongs (seen em but I can't find a picture). I can't imagine these are the biggest sellers out there, but it still goes to show just what these companies are doing to us. Angry birds is an iphone game and nothing more and yet the developers feel the need to force themselves into our everyday lives because they THINK that after 100 million sales we all want to devote our lives to their game. How pretentious!
Even worse, the developer went as far as to claim the console market is dying and that mobile gaming will rise from the ashes! That's a declaration of war if I ever heard one

Now the REAL offender. The kingpin of the waste-your-time market... Zynga. Creators of farmville and cityville *boooooo, hissssss*
I warn you, the number of users and the revenue coming from this monstrosity is going to blow you away.

Zygna's annual revenue has surpassed $600,000,000 and is making well over $1million each and every day. And at this point Farmville has over 70 million users and their other big hitter, cityville, has soared over 100 million users. Assuming some significant overlap, that lands us at over 120 million people spending an average of $5-6/day and god knows how many hours on facebook games. Even worse, between all of zygna's combined games they rake in a total of of 240 million users/month. Zygna also reported an average daily user base of 32 million

Why does this make Zygna evil and not just successful? Simply put, they designed the game to be addictive and to entice you into spending money on it. To quote a SUNY grad student...

"The secret to Farmville’s popularity is neither gameplay nor aesthetics. Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations. When users log into Facebook, they are reminded that their neighbors have sent them gifts, posted bonuses on their walls, and helped with each others’ farms. In turn, they are obligated to return the courtesies. As the French sociologist Marcel Mauss tells us, gifts are never free: they bind the giver and receiver in a loop of reciprocity. It is rude to refuse a gift, and ruder still to not return the kindness"

The worst part of this all is that the games have no substance. There's nothing new or innovative about them. No groundbreaking graphics, no wild and risky new art direction, no alternative control schemes, nothing! And this only serves to hinder the progress of other indy and casual games, further holding back the future of the entire gaming industry.

These companies taking so many users away also serves as a hindrance to smaller companies looking to move up in the industry. It takes a lot of gamers paying attention to something before it gets reocegnition. For example, the developer from a small turn based flash game by the name of Steambirds picked up $40,000 and a lot of peer reocegnition for his game (blog is here

What do you guys think of the casual gaming market, is it filling bigger shoes than it should? Taking a bigger piece of the pie than we'd like it to?

I was struck with some inspiration this weekend on a new series of blogs I want to do. The idea has been chilling in the back of my brain for a bit and has finally solidified into this here idea.... The Iceberg Report! An investigation into games with far more depth to them than most gamers would care to venture into. And of course I'd like to start with the game I'm currently delving into and a great memory of my childhood...

"Pokemon!" you may say. "Isn't that just a weirdly addictive kids game?" you may ask. "A moose bit my sister once" others may say... but they're very silly so lets ignore them. Yes! Pokemon! There is such a complex and complicated back end to this game that it has taken competitive (yes, there are tournaments) players years to nail down all the math and the secrets behind the game. And these aren't unintentional tricks and tools either, all this functionality was built into the game intentionally as proven by the items provided (detailed later). There is a ridiculous depth to this game that takes a lot of effort and willpower to learn about and delve into, lets start with the basics, terminology....

EV ~ Effort Value
- A hidden number assigned to pokemon. when defeated, they give the players pokemon a set number of "EV"s for a stat. for example Pidgey gives 1 attack EV.

IV ~ Individual Value
- A hidden value assigned to each of the pokemons stats, maximum of 31. Determines how high each stat is capable of being raised to.

- A "quirk" that allows one of the pokemons stats to grow higher than normal, with one other dropping below normal. For example a "Jolly" nature means the pokemon will receive higher than normal speed stats, but lower than normal special attack.

STAB ~ Same Type Attack Bonus
- a move used by a pokemon that shares a type with itself (Flamethrower used by a fire type) will receive a 50% boost to the total damage done

Now with that out of the way lets get started.

Building the perfect Pokemon!

To start off with we'll need to select a role for our pokemon and we have a few general roles to select from. First off you have sweepers and walls. Sweepers are pokemon designed to wipe out your opponents team, usually by 1 hit super effective KO's. Walls are as the name would imply basically damange sponges. They take a beating and usually have some utility to make their presence worthwhile. Each of these can be further classified into physical or special. For example a special sweeper is a pokemon that utilizes the special attack stat to KO opposing pokemon such as Mewtwo or Raichu.

So lets start with a physical sweeper.

You want to look for a pokemon with a high attack stat to start off with. We're going to use's pokedex sorted by attack to pick one. Let's look at 2 great examples.

First we have Slaking. While Slaking's attack is MONSTROUSLY high, he's very very slow. The downside to this is that he will be hit before getting a chance to attack 90% of the time. To offset this, he has a very high HP value as well as a decent defense. The downside? atrocious special defense. A special sweeper would demolish him.

Secondly we have Meinshao. While also posessing a higher than average attack, Meinshao also has a very high speed, allowing it to attack before its opponent gets a hit in. often disabling or KO-ing it before any sort of attack is landed. The offset is of course, that meinshao is about as tough as paper mache.

Since beating someone into absolute oblivion before they get a chance to react is hilarious, lets use Meinfoo for this example.

Before we get started we need to plan out EV's and this one should be simple. We want high attack for physical sweep, and we also want to optimize mein's other great stat, speed. I'll explain EV's more in depth later, but for now know that we want: Attack and Speed.

Step 1: Breeding for natures, moves, and awesome

As with many things in life, hardcore pokemon training starts with sex. What you want to accomplish here is breeding in the ideal nature and moves for your pokemon. First off lets go over some of the basics...
When breeding, here's what the parents give the hatchling

Female: Determines what pokemon is hatched (will be same as the female)
Father: passes on moves that the hatchling could potentially learn

The main 2 purposes of this are as stated before, natures, and egg moves. Egg moves are moves that the hatchling can learn from its father, but not normally via TM/HM or leveling up. For example, Meinfoo (the pre-evolution fo Meinshao) can learn low kick if a female Meinfoo/Meinshao was bred with a Machop/Machoke/Machamp who had low kick.

Another nigh impossible thing to breed for is a "shiny". Basically it's a palate swap for any given pokemon. Honestly some of them are absolutely badass, but the effort put into getting them...... lets just say some things are best left to luck. The chances of finding or hatching a shiny Pokemon is normally 1 in 8192. The probability is lowered significantly when breeding pokemon traded from different countries, all the way down to 1 in 1136 if both pokemon are from countries other than your own.

For example, here's a shiny Charizard. Droooool.......

Once you've bred a few dozen hatchlings until you have the perfect moves and nature, it's onto EV training..

Step 2: EV training. Better make some coffee

Now comes the painful part. EV grinding. As stated earlier, EV's are a hidden value assigned to the pokemon you defeat. Be warned (or suggested) that if you use Exp.Share, the pokemon holding exp.share will also gain the same EV's as the pokemon who was fighting. Here's a once over of how they work

For every 4 EV's of one stat, that given stat will raise by 1 more than normal next time it levels up. EV's also max out at 252 per stat and 508 total. So when maxing 2 stats that works out to...

252 stat 1, 252 for stat 2, 4 for stat 3

Now to actually get said EV's. There's a way to sort pokemon by EV on serebii, lets look at the Attack chart. Near the bottom you'll find that there are a few pokemon with attack EV's and a commonality. Meinfoo, Meinshao, Driddgion, Golurk, and Golett. What do they have in common? you can find them all in or around the Dragonspiral Tower in Black/White. S now you take your new hatchling with its adamant EV and low kick, and give him Exp. Share! Remember how I said earlier he'll gain the same EV's as the battling pokemon? Perfect! So start killing your way through attack EV pokemon. Now here's an important step....

Keep track of how many EV's you've earned! Usually keeping a tally on some scrap paper works well enough.

there's also 2 main ways to boost EV gain. One is a held item called Macho Brace. It doubles any EV gains for the pokemon holding it. The other is this ailment called Pokerus.
There's a 2 in 65,535 chance of contracting Pokérus in battle, and a 3 in 65,535 chance a wild or hatched pokemon will have it. Battling with a pokemon who has pokerus will spread it to your party. Is it a bad thing you ask? Not at all! Any pokemon with a current or previous pokerus infection will also gain EV's at double the rate, which can be combined with the macho brace. Be warned though, that pokemon in your party will be cured after midnight (though still have the benefit, just can't spread it), but pokemon in your storage boxes will NOT be cured. So keep a few handy.

When you finally have 252 attack EV's and 252 speed EV's you're now at the final step.... his moveset

Step 3: Killer moveset for killer pokemon

This is a fairly simple step. You want to select moves that complement your pokemon and its stats and abilities. Here's a good example for meinfoo.

We want physical moves for our physical sweeper, so looking at meinfoo's moveset we find at level 56. Hi-Jump Kick. 130 power, 90 accuracy, if the pokemon misses he takes huge damage. So massive damage attack with a downside. Now if he SHOULD miss and take tamage, Mainfoo's ability (Regenerator) allows him to heal 33% hp when switched out. Some good synergy there.

Now we have a fighting move which benefits from your STAB bonus. That covers Normal, Rock, Steel, Dark, and ice. You can also give him Stone edge for a powerful rock move and some wider super effectives

Next up lets get some other utility going. Meinshao learns U-turn at level 41. It's a bug attack (again, more range of damage) and also forces him to switch out after that round of combat. Not only does this allow you to swap in a pokemon capable of taking on whatever is infront of you, but you can also scout. Put meinfoo infront of something he's going to 1 hit KO. Your opponent will switch to something to combat Meinfoo with. So open with U-turn, you'll do some damage, then find out what your opponent was going to put infront of him. If you're lucky, he'll switch in a psycic type to kill your fighting type Meinfoo. Why is this good? u-turn is a bug type and will generally demolish most psycic types when hit with that much power. ALSO with regenerator, mein will heal 33% of his hp when switching out.

Now we have 1 more slot left. Why not a stat boost? in the event that you will have a spare turn with either no or minimal incoming damage, you can use Swords Dance to further boost your attack stat. The easiest way to do this is deploy your Meinfoo on something he'll 1 hit, forcing your opponent to swap. On that turn you can safely use swords dance to buff up.

So at this point we have the following:

Nature: Adamant
EV's: 252 attack/252 speed/4 hp
- Hi Jump Kick
- U-turn
- Stone edge
- Swords dance

But we missed 1 thing... Held items. Generally you want to pick something with some synergy to your moves or pokemon. In this case, any held item to boost speed is good to have. You can also use a berry for status cure or a stat boost. for example salac berry will boost your speed when low, which is great for movesets that intentionally drop your HP to trigger a benefit or effect (such as the famous bellyzard). If you can't decide what to use, Leftovers is always a safe option. It regens some HP every round automatically.

Now the last step.... level to 100 by any means you care to. Totally up to you.

Step 4: HAHAHAHAHA you thought it was over...

Repeat steps 1-3 5 more times to build your party. There's no exact science to building a party. Just pick some pokemon you like, and try to cover all your types. You want a wall that can take punishment, a sweeper that can dish it out, and maybe a utility/buff pokemon to mix it up. From here it's all personal choice.

Finally when you have your full team... what can you do? Well Pokemon black and white both have very robust online matchmaking systems as well as even having leaderboards on the pokemon global link. There are also pokemon tournaments held around the globe, or you can simple annihilate your friends for shits and giggles.

Man that was a lot of typing. And all this to build ONE pokemon. I know a lot of you out there probably already know about this stuff, but for those who only ever played this game as a child and still have fond memories of it..... bet you didn't expect THIS did ya.

And that brings us to the bottom of the iceberg.

Do these little guys really look so threatening?

The pixel has given us so very very much over the many years this generous little soul has been traversing our electronics, and how do we repay him for literally countless hours of entertainment? By hiding him with vertex shaders, alti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, lighting and shading engines, and anything else we can come up with to disguise his loving, caring little figure.

However in this, the digital age of judgmental prejudice, there stand crusaders and warriors who fight for the cause of this defenseless little fellow.
I have gathered a list of the finest examples of the resurgence of 8, 16, and 32 bit pixelated gameplay in all its original glory. I highly recommend giving these a try (and supporting this lost art all in one fel swoop!)

Topping off my list is a recent release from the folks at Team Meat....

Super Meat Boy has to be the most flawless example of a retro side scrolling platformer since the golden days of plumbers and blue hedgehogs. The game is a very simple experience and it's extremely refreshing. You don't play an angsty teen with a dark history and inner demons to deal with, or some grizzled military vet with a mission he's hell bent on accomplishing, or even some sort of genetically modified super being with a destiny to save the world. You play a chunk of meat... named super meat boy... You are the hero who has to beat the bad guy and save the girl. That's it. No secret societies, no ancient artifacts, no alien mysteries.

The game has this fantastic retro feel to it that tickles your nostalgia bone just right. This could be partially due to the classic handheld inspired warp zones. These secret portals send you off into a different universe where you run through a set of 3 levels, with a total of 3 lives. There are warp zones inspired from neo geo, gameboy classic, turbografix, and even virtuaboy.

My god, just look at those screenshots, I swear you can COUNT the pixels. It's just glorious.

Super Meat Boy is also a fairly challenging fast paced game that'll keep you addicted for hours. very very highly recommend this.

Equally as important is the 6-game series from Gaijin....

Bit.Trip! Starring Commander Video. This gloriously pixelated masterpiece spans 6 titles (with all 6 being packed into a 3ds title in the future) including bit.trip beat, core, void, runner, fate, and flux. These games follow the adventures of Captain Video in his missing to save the world... along with being some of the most awesome retro throwbacks. Even right off the bat the first game in the series can be described as R-type Pong.

Most of the games are a play off of some form of sidescrolling rhytm based shooter (Think REZ sideways). They range from rail shooter to pong to platformer, and are all variations on tjhe same theme. The final game, flux, features a lot of elements for the past 5 games.

Look at those pixels!! So big you could slice em up, fry them, and still have enough leftover for a sandwich at lunch.

Just look at commander video, a true friend to the humble pixel. He embraces their sharp, edgy love and defends them to the death.

Seriously though, this series is fantastic. Support Gaijin so we can see more of this :)

Next we have a little sleeper hit that sailed over the heads of pixel racists everywhere.

This game was created by a man known as "Pixel". How perfect is that?! He loves the little guys so much he named himself after one. More people could stand to learn from this man... woman... square.

Its initial release didn't register on your average gamers radar as it was launched as freeware on PC in 2004. Pixel warriors around the world slowly began to catch word of this title as it swept around the globe (hooray internet!) and its popularity began to snowball. Eventually nintendo realized they knew a winning pixel when they saw one and picked up the title on Wiiware last march. If you still have not heard of or played this game....... what the vector are you doing? Get to it!

Gameplay wise this gets a little complicated to describe... it's a side scrolling platformer action adventure RPG shooter. It's a weird mashup inspired by Metroid and Castlevania and the most inspired nostalgic undertones. Our quadrilateral friends would thank you for downloading this title.

One last one I have to plug in is a bit of a smaller, yet no less important release. In this game we can see the evolution of a pixel and how it can grow to adapt to a changing game environment. This game is Space invaders infinity Gene.

Not much to say about this one, it's a nice simple top down shooter just like space invaders (though you progress through a level), and as you progress along, your ship "evolves" and starts to develop new abilities (like free flying, new shots, new ships, etc). It's a super simple experience that tells a beautiful story of the humble pixel's rise to power.

Remember, only YOU can save the pixel from its impending extinction. Support your favorite indie developers and keep retro gaming alive

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I'm about to lose my life savings to Nintendo and I think I like it... I like it...

I don't think any of us can argue that the Wii delivered on everything we hoped it would. It certainly wasn't the golden revolutionary child Nintendo was heralding either.
However, one thing none of us can deny is Nintendo's complete and total domination of the handheld market. In 21 years no company has yet been able to dethrone them.

Now enter the 3DS.

Nintendo is throwing 2 very powerful weapons at us this time around. Nostalgia and technology.
Right off the first announcements we have several classic N64 titles remade for this portable. Ocarina of time and star fox 64 both hit that nostalgia chord juuuust right. I still remember the afternoons I spent after school speed running ocarina of time, everything from Dodongo to Twinrova to the Shadow temple is still fresh in my mind. Especially if this is going to be a launch title, I'm there day 1 waiting in line for a midnight release. I'll find a 24 hour wal-mart if need be, and troll the aisles with my master sword and hylian shield.

And then... as if Nintendo hadn't already sealed my soul and wallet away, came the other announcements. Metal gear solid 3, Resident Evil, Kingdom Hearts, SF4, Pilot Wings, Kid Icarus, and Paper Mario.
This lineup of games has already stomped the DS launch into dust.

They've revived a 20 year old franchise with kid icarus (which looks gorgeous), and more importantly have tapped into existing and BIG dollar franchises for new titles. Resident evil is a promising IP for the system, and decapitating zombies in 3D should be hella fun. Pilot wings is a returning IP that many of us have been waiting to see since 1996, and I think it has great potential on the 3ds. Paper mario is going to be a solid return to form for the RPG side of Nintendo. Given the history of paper mario games and Nintendo first party RPG's, we can expect great things out of this title. ESPECIALLY if it's a remake of Paper Mario 1 (oh please VG gods, please oh please). And kingdom hearts is such a powerful franchise that they barely have to mention the games existence. There's no story, no official title, no real screenshots, no hints at gameplay, and there's already an explosion of buzz around this title.

So what games do you folks want to see ported, remade, or sequel-ed on the 3DS?
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