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7:53 PM on 03.16.2015  

The Definitive List of the Top 10 Nintendo Characters

10. Jimmy T. (WarioWare Series)

With still so many big, significant Nintendo characters left, I was debating who to put in this last slot, but ultimately I had to go with my instinct, and my instinct says that the disco-loving, handlebar-mustached, blue-afroed Jimmy Thang of WarioWare fame, was the biggest and most important of all. Reputedly capable of climbing six stairs in one step (this is official trivia), Jimmy T. – Wario’s childhood friend and cellphone contact – is clearly Nintendo’s grooviest character. Pictured above with his parents, Papa Thang and Mama Thang.

 

9. Captain Rainbow (Captain Rainbow)

This is the only character on this list whose game I haven’t actually played. I can’t talk too much about his character, because I don’t know too much about him, but… look at him! He’s a beast! It’s an utter shame that Nintendo never localised this game, since it’s so clearly as brimming with personality as anything they’ve ever published. An utter shame.

 

8. Shih Tzu (Nintendogs Series)

When I bought my 3DS at launch, the first game I bought alongside it was Nintendogs + Cats: Toy Poodle & New Friends. The clerk asked if I was buying it for someone else, to which I replied, emphatically “No”! Apparently the title and the stupid gay poodle on the cover didn’t convey that this was a game for cool manly men like me. Obviously it should have been called Shih Tzu and Some Stupid Other Dogs, because we all know that the Shih Tzu is the coolest and best dog of all. And what a great rendition of the Shih Tzu it is – I got an all-white one, with a red collar: she looks just like the dog my parents had when I was little.

 

7. Reyn (Xenoblade Chronicles)

The fact Nintendo of America declined to localize Xenoblade Chronicles at first might be ultimately one of the best things to happen to the game, because the onus fell on Nintendo of Europe, and they gave it some of the most ridiculous British voice acting I’ve ever heard. Reyn’s cockney is particularly special. There’s a limited pool of quotes that get repeated over and over again in battles throughout the game, and Reyn’s are particularly stupid, and it’s such a long game… I really should find it grating, but it ended up being kind of the most memorable aspect of the game for me; I really should hate Reyn but I actually find him stupidly endearing. ...NOW IT’S REYN TIME! NOW IT’S REYN TIME! MAN, WHAT A BUNCH OF JOKERS! NOW IT’S REYN TIME! MAN, WHAT A BUNCH OF JOKERS! NOW IT’S REYN TIME! LET’S NOT LOSE OUR ‘EADS THO!

 

6. Mr. Saturn (Mother Series)

Deep within the world of Earthbound lies Saturn Valley, where resides Mr. Saturn. But it’s not just one Mr. Saturn. Everyone in Saturn Valley is Mr. Saturn. He’s a strange, possibly-alien race of oddly-adorable walking head things that speak in Saturnian, a weirdly-written grammatically-inept version of English that makes erratic use of the words ‘boing’, ‘ding’ and ‘zoom’. Obviously, Saturn Valley is the best place to be. Kay-o! Also, Mr. Saturn can apparently be thrown at people to break their shields.

 

5. Gaston (Animal Crossing Series)

There are some great characters in Animal Crossing – Kapp’n, Resetti, that otter that accuses you of busting his chops – you could be forgiven for choosing one of them as the ‘best’ Animal Crossing character, after all, not everyone who’s played the game has met Gaston. But Gaston is definitively the best: he’s a cranky French rabbit with yellow fur and a big black mustache who plays KK Dirge on a loop in his ramshackle house. He’s so great. I was so sad when he left my town! But I got his framed photo. And I built a new wing onto my house dedicated to displaying it. The photo is inscribed: “An ear for an ear leaves everyone deaf”.

 

4. Cranky Kong (Donkey Kong Series)

The decision to make Cranky a playable character in Tropical Freeze has to be the best decision anyone’s ever made with regards to this series. Not only did it allow the 2nd best Donkey Kong character, Funky Kong, to return in a great role as the shopkeeper, but most of all it finally put the spotlight on, arguably, Nintendo’s greatest protagonist. Too few of Nintendo’s protagonists are ill-tempered, rambling and elderly. Cranky is all of those things, and he’s also an ape. With a big white beard and a cane. And he kicked so much ass in Tropical Freeze; he was a total blast to play!

 

3. Waluigi (Mario Series)

My favourite Mario character has always been Waluigi. His bony, sinister, Dick Dastardly-esque appearance, his purple clothes set against the bright primary colours of Mushroom Kingdom, his funny upside-down ‘L’ logo – all unique attributes that set him apart from his familiars. Talk about a character that doesn’t get his due; Waluigi deserves to be more than just Wario’s tennis partner, and I know Nintendo could do something interesting with him if they really tried, to make him a true rival to Luigi, or even give him his own game. Anyway, he’s always the character I choose in all the party games.

 

2. Farfetch’d (Pokémon Series)

Perhaps it was my fascination for the endangered peregrine falcon, at the time, that fed into my love of Farfetch’d. Here’s this beautiful wild bird, which long ago existed in abundance, but due to over-hunting (it used to be popular to cook him up alongside the leek he carries) became as farfetched as the name suggests. I don’t think I’m making all this up. Anywho, Farfetch’d is one of the only standalone generation one Pokémon that hasn’t been retroactively given some unnecessary evolution or retarded ‘baby’ version. He’s always been the same, and he’s always been my favourite. And, judging from how unprecedentedly easy he was to catch in Pokémon X, maybe, like the Peregrine Falcon, the species is making a recovery.

 

1. Tingle (Zelda Series)

Who else could rightly top this list? I’m pretty sure it’s incredibly widely accepted that Tingle is the greatest character Nintendo’s ever created. There are tons of other characters from the Zelda series I’d love to have included on this list (Salvatore, Dodoh, and Ooccoo to name a few), but none can come close to the fucking legendary status of Tingle. Tingle is, of course, symbolic of the player. Tingle is me. Tingle is you. Tingle is a single 35-year-old man dressed as a fairy. There is no other Nintendo character people love as much as Tingle.

 


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7:18 PM on 01.14.2015  

Bill Trinen Made Me His Whore and then Slut-Shamed Me

So I was watching Nintendo Direct this afternoon between classes. While many people were excited for the ‘New’ Nintendo 3DS release date announcement, I’d gotten pretty much over my interest in upgrading my original 3DS since the ‘New’ one was originally unveiled. What I mainly wanted to know was, when was the Majora’s Mask 3D release date going to be? You see, if there’s one thing I haven’t gotten and won’t get over, it’s my love of Majora’s Mask. And I needed to know if it was going to be released by April, so I could safely pre-order that limited edition with the Skull Kid figurine at my local EB games, and know I’d still be in town to pick it up. Now that I want; there is no game I am more emotionally attached to than Majora’s Mask, I consider it, arguably, the greatest game of all time.

And then it happened. 

Bill Trinen from the Nintendo Treehouse stepped onto the screen, and began to talk about Majora’s Mask. The release date. “Friday, February the 13th”, he said, his eyes growing darker. “Wait a minute, doesn’t that date sound familiar?” he continued, muffling a malevolent cackle. “Well it should! Because that’s the release date of the New 3DS!” As he broke out in a maniacal laughter, he reached into his pants and whipped out his Special Limited Majora’s Mask Edition of the New 3DS.

“YOU LIKE MAJORA’S MASK, DON’T YOU, YOU WHORE? So you’ll buy this fucking console you already own even though it’s $230 and doesn’t come with the game, BECAUSE I DREW SOME MAJORA'S MASK SHIT ON IT, and you’ll buy anything with Majora’s Mask on it, because you’re a little whore, ISN’T THAT RIGHT?!” “Yes sir”, I mumbled. “There’s added functionality too” he continued, “If you want to look at all of the things in Majora’s Mask from all of the angles we’ve programmed in now, you’re gonna need that c-stick! …You cunt.”

It was settled. I needed this New Majora’s Mask 3DS. I walked back to class, feeling kind of dirty and used, but counting down the hours until I could go to EB games.

At 6:13pm I walked into EB, and told the teller I wanted to pre-order the Majora’s Mask 3DS and the Skull Kid collector’s edition of the game. At the mention of the Skull Kid figure, the teller laughed in my face a familiar laugh, and said, no, they’d run out of pre-orders for that ages ago. But he checked on the New 3DS, that had been announced hours earlier. “I’m afraid I just got an email, literally three minutes ago, at 6:10pm, saying I’m no longer allowed to sell any more pre-orders of the Majora’s Mask 3DS”.

The room became fuzzy. I felt disoriented. I looked back at the teller, and noticed his face had become unrecognizable, an amorphous blob. And he began to laugh some more. As I squinted, his face came into focus. It was Bill Trinen! “YOU LITTLE SLUT! You really would do anything I tell you? Well guess what”, he said, tearing at my clothes, “a cheap slut like you doesn’t deserve to have anything to do with Majora’s Mask. Your body disgusts me”, he screamed, standing up on the counter and whipping water balloons filled with pink paint at me, in convulsive hysterical laughter. 

I pre-ordered some Amiibos and left quietly.


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5:29 PM on 01.01.2015  

Grethiwha's Things of 2014

Happy New Year, Destructoid people!

So, um, 2014 happened. And so naturally I must award a videogame the distinction of being my favourite videogame of 2014.

My 2014 game of the year is…

Odama!!!

Don’t walk – run, now, to your local Odama Superstore and buy Odama!

Heh, okay, Odama’s not really a 2014 game. But it might be my favourite game that I played for the first time in 2014. It’s truly a new style of gameplay, that feels completely unlike anything I’ve ever played before – and how often do you get to say that these days? It’s a pinball RTS with voice controls. And it’s fucking fun. Sometimes frustrating. But mostly fun.

 

As far as actual 2014 games are concerned, well I only actually ‘completed’ one 2014 game. That’s Donkey Kong. Which was fantastic, but gameplay-wise not any better than Returns.

I tried to be a good video gamer. I walked into EB one day and bought $200 worth of games. Deception IV, Akiba’s Trip, Sleeping Dogs, Metal Gear Rising, and Hyrule Warriors. But each game I started, I couldn’t bring myself to play more than a few hours before I really just wanted to move on to the next one. Rising was the only one I actually finished. 

Other than those, and a few other previous-year releases I played, there wasn’t all that much in 2014. Mario Kart 8 was disappointing to me. Hyrule Warriors is surprisingly enjoyable, but when I look at how many hours of gameplay you can sink into it, I just think… this is going to be the same shit over and over again isn’t it, with any new surprises far too thinly spread. It’s more fun with friends but I’m not sure I have any friends who are interested beyond playing just one level. 

 

Fantasy Life is also quite enjoyable, and I’ve been really addicted to it lately, playing like 20 hours over the last few days. But as I reach Expert class Tailor and Blacksmith, and unlock… more shit to tailor and smith… It seems a little aimless. I also just realized that the class I was looking forward to most – Postman – isn’t unlockable, it was cut. It’s a nice game though, and I still want to unlock more of the world map and try a couple more classes. 

I normally don’t do these blogs until, like, February because there are more games I want to play, and there are some; I just don’t know when or even if I’ll ever get around to them. Valiant Hearts and Lone Survivor (which just came out last month on Wii U) are short enough I may actually have the patience for them. And I might play Bayonetta 2, since everyone seems to like it, though Viewtiful Joe is currently higher on my Hideki Kamiya-priority list. 

 

So I guess my game of the year is Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. It’s just so fun. I invite people to play, and then the stoners that live next door to me see me playing through the window and then they come in to ‘rip some Bros.’ with us. It’s great. The new characters are great. The 5-8 player support is amazing. The GC adapter’s brilliant. Good stuff. 

And that’s my videogame year in review. Maybe I sound a little unenthusiastic, I dunno. I don't want to come across as being down on the whole medium or anything, but I confess, as per the last several years, it’s not really my favourite medium anymore, and plus I have real life concerns (which is to say I may be having one, soon). So I’ll probably be cutting back a little on the games purchases, and I really don’t see buying a PS4 or XB1, so I probably won’t have another year like 2013 soon.

 

And this all leads me to my random non-videogame awards of 2014! Like best song of 2014 (Dreams by The Cranberries), or best videogame character of 2014 (The Japanese man who yells at you in Odama). These awards are definitely all NVGR and specific to 2014. 

 

Best Movie of 2014 (by which I mean 2013 because I’ve hardly watched any 2014 movies)!

Tie: Snowpiercer and The Wind Rises 

I’ve decided to include both these movies because even if I think I like Snowpiercer a tiny bit more, they’re both really close, and my favourite movies of this decade so far. Snowpiercer, the first international production by Joon-ho Bong, my favourite Korean director (his 2003 film Memories of Murder is even better) is a brilliant and eccentric science-fiction blockbuster, set on a train going round the world. The characters, having lived 17 years together in this metal box, have basically gone insane in all the best ways, and the train itself is just as crazy and full of surprises. Some wonderful visuals I’m not gonna forget anytime soon. 

The Wind Rises, conversely, is an extraordinarily simple film. It’s the final film of Hayao Miyazaki, and I think it’s his best. Though it’s his first non-fantasy film, he still incorporates fantasy in his trademark way, and the animation is as utterly gorgeous as anything he’s ever done. And then there’s the ending, so simple yet so utterly elegant and completely moving. A beautiful, beautiful movie.

 

Best movie from a different year that I watched for the first time in 2014!

Hazard (2005)

Last year I gave this award to Love Exposure. I’ve since watched every other Sion Sono movie available with English subtitles up to 2012, and I have to say, based on output in the last twenty years, he is easily my favourite director right now. Exte, Strange Circus, Guilty of RomanceCold Fish, and the Suicide Club movies, are all amazing, but my favourite after Love Exposure is this low-budget, barely-seen little movie he made in New York City. Like Love Exposure it’s hard to explain what exactly everything meant to me – it’s outwardly over-the-top, ultra-energetic, ridiculous, funny, but on some deeper inner level, it not only resonated strongly with me, but practically shook me out of my seat. Somehow, I don’t think I’ve ever connected more strongly to a movie character, than I did to Shin, in this film.

 

Most Anticipated Game of 2015!

Million Onion Hotel

Like, a couple weeks after I chose “whatever Onion Games is working on” as my most anticipated game of 2014, they officially announced Million Onion Hotel, and the trailer accompanying this announcement made it very obvious that I had chosen wisely. It’s an iOS game, but what the hell. I have an iPhone. Now, finally, I have a reason to be happy that I have an iPhone! Their website still lists the game as coming in 2014, which, didn’t happen, but I’m expecting and anticipating it’s release, hopefully early this year.

 

Best thing I bought with Money in 2014!

Herzog: The Collection Blu-ray Boxset

I love blu-rays. Werner Herzog is my favourite filmmaker. This gorgeously packaged boxset containing most of my favourite Werner Herzog movies on blu-ray, including many movies I wasn’t sure would ever come to blu-ray, such as my all-time favourite movie, Heart of Glass, which looks phenomenal in HD… is obviously now the best thing in my blu-ray collection.

 

Um, so anyway, that’s enough things of 2014, I guess. Bye!


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10:42 PM on 02.24.2014  

Grethiwhaís GOTY 2013 Extravaganza!

I know what youíre thinking: Isnít it a little early to list off the best games of 2013? And if youíre not thinking thatÖ think about it! I mean, the Oscars havenít even happened yet: those people havenít necessarily had a chance to see all the nominated films yet, and they actually have some professional obligation to do so. I donít, and videogames are so much harder to get through besides! So youíre right, it is too early, and I havenít had a chance to play all the 2013 games Iím interested in yet, but goddamnit Iíve started playing 2014 games and I donít know when Iím gonna get around to buying stupid Grand Theft Auto and Metal Gear Rising and I wanna make this goddamn list already so fuck off!

Er, anyway, 2013 was a ridiculously great year for videogames. So much good stuff! All ten of these games are A-level wonderful, wonderful games. To say nothing of what I left off Ė so much great stuff Ė including Pokťmon X which is possibly the best Pokťmon game ever because you can catch a Farfetchíd two hours in.

2014 on the other hand looks a bit dreary by comparison I must admit. But there are some interesting games coming. Since I still havenít done my most anticipated games of the year list yet either, Iíll try to mix them in with this list. Thatís like two lists youíre getting! You lucky dogs. And, as a bonus, howzabout I throw some other random 2013 Ďawardsí in as well? Iíve just changed the title of this blog from ĎSpectacularí to ĎExtravaganzaí.


Most Anticipated! #10! Shovel Knight!

Iím not a huge fan of all these retro-styled games, banking on nostalgia, because, well, I grew up with the N64 Ė Iím not nostalgic for those old games, and honestly I donít even really like that many of them. However, Shovel Knight stands out to me from amongst many of the other indie pixel art games Ė I sense, thereís real heart in this one, and talent, and it may be worth playing.


Random Award! Best Graphics!
Killer is Dead! If you skip the side-missions, Killer is Dead can be pretty fun (despite being by far the worst Suda game in terms of characters and writing). But thatís not the reason to play this game;†Killer is Dead is an extraordinary and sometimes hypnotic audio-visual experience, and though it wonít make my top 10 list in a year so packed with all-around excellent titles, for this it does deserve special mention.


GOTY #10! The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds!

Despite Legend of Zelda being my favourite game series, Iíve never really been able to get into the old top-down ones. Iíve never finished any of them. But this oneÖ Iím just about to do the final dungeon, and Iíve had a blast with it from start to finish. The dungeon design is fantastic, there are tons of cool secrets to findÖ Itís great, easily my favourite portable Zelda game after Phantom Hourglass.


Most Anticipated! #9! Persona 5!
Iíve never played a Persona game before but Iíve been long-curious to give it a shot. Now admittedly, my experience trying to play my first Shin Megami Tensei game with the new one last year on 3DS did not work out so well (er, I did not make it past the tutorial dungeon), but I still hold out hope that the spin-off series will be more my cup of tea.


Random Award! Best New Character(s) of 2013!

Grace and Savannah from Tokyo Crash Mobs!


GOTY #9! Super Mario 3D World!

2013 was great for couch multiplayer, thanksÖ mostly to this game. While I wouldnít go quite so far with my praise for it as some people Ė the game didnít do much that was truly new Ė absolutely I think itís the best of both worlds from Mario 3D Land and the New Super Mario Bros series, and, outside of Smash, it's probably the best multiplayer game Nintendoís ever made. Itís pure fun, and thereís been no shortage of people to play it with, living in residence now.


Most Anticipated! #8! Watch Dogs!
The Wii U version is still coming, right? Anyway, Watch Dogs looks damn neat, and Iím all for a big budget game that is not a sequel.


Random Award! Best Virtual Console Release!

Earthbound! Iíve made the decision not to count this as a proper 2013 game, to free up a much-needed spot on my list. But Earthbound was one of my most memorable gaming experiences of the year, and one of my top 2013 releases all the same. For some reason I could never get into Earthbound, playing it in an unofficial capacity on emulator several years back. And, Iíll be honest, if the Wii U VC didnít have its own save-anywhere feature, I could see this being a very frustrating game. But playing it now, like this, Iíve absolutely fallen in love with the world of Earthbound, and the characters, and Iím thrilled to have had the chance to play it in this capacity. Hopefully Mother 3 will finally get an official release soon too. What was that about GBA games coming to Wii U?


GOTY #8! Rayman Legends!

Rayman is the other wonderful couch multiplayer game Iíve been playing with friends a lot, and while most seem to be a bit more partial to Mario 3D World, to me Rayman is the much fresher game experience. Itís a brilliant platformer, itís brimming with new ideas, it makes far better use of the Wii Gamepad, andÖ itís a blast to play. Itís maybe the best multiplayer platformer Iíve ever played.


Most Anticipated! #7! Metal Gear Solid V!
While Iíve given up on ever truly understanding the story of the MGS games, I think theyíre some of the most technically impressive games around, I really enjoy the stealth gameplay, and I canít help anticipating the newest instalment.


Random Award! Best game from a different year that I played for the first time this year!

Chulip! A classic of the kissing adventure game genre! Okay, Chulip is marred somewhat by some series gameplay flaws, but I loved it so much despite that, and now that some time has passed since I played it, the good sticks with me far more than the bad. It could almost be one of my favourite games. You know what, Iím gonna write it a love letter:
Dear Chulip, I really really love you, Chulip. I love you very much. Please give me a kiss next time. End.


GOTY #7! Pikmin 3!

Pikmin 3 was my most anticipated Wii U game, period. Itís one of my favourite series, and I couldnít think of a better one to lead off Nintendoís first foray into HD gaming. I donít think Pikmin 3 is quite as perfect as Pikmin 1, nor does it have the sheer wealth of content that Pikmin 2 does (I was actually surprised when it ended so soon, I was still expecting to get the purple and white pikmin!), but it is certainly the most beautiful and polished Pikmin game yet, and absolutely one of the most enjoyable games Iíve played all year. I loved every minute.


Most Anticipated! #6! Mario Kart 8!

I havenít been this interested in a Mario Kart game inÖ some time. The Wii one was kind of lame, and I didnít even bother with the 3DS game. The best Mario Kart Ė the last great one Ė in my opinion, is the DS Mario Kart. They nailed that one. Except it was on the DS. And Mario Kart belongs on console, to be played in local multiplayer. Mario Kart 64 is hard to play nowadays; I want a new, definitive Kart game. And from everything Iíve seen of 8, it looks like thereís enormous potential there for this to be it.


Random Award! Game everybody loves I most want to slag off!
Heh, Iím not gonna make any friends with this award. But I canít help slagging off Fire Emblem: Awakening. Itís made me realize I do not like turn-based strategy games. Itís the same problem I have with Advance Wars. These games walk the line between boring and frustrating. Depending on the difficulty level itís one or the other. It never actually threatens to be fun. However, there is one thing that sets Fire Emblem apart from other games in the genre: the extreme wealth of inane chatterbollocks between missions. Itís worse than Mass Effect! Honestly, you guys!


GOTY #6! The Last of Us!

After Uncharted 3 I was no longer impressed by Naughty Dogís hallmark spectacle, and I was fed up with their annoying-ass characters. When I put The Last of Us in my PS3 for the first time however, it was immediately striking Ė this was something different, something special, and something from the heart. And itís not the story, why I like this game, though itís certainly compelling. I am perplexed by pop cultureís current interest in ďemotional zombie shitĒ (as Shinta once wonderfully put it), and I sure as hell didnít cry seeing Ellie pet some giraffes out of nowhere (though my dad did snicker a little when he entered the room at that moment), but no Ė it is the gameplay I like. I love the gameplay, the atmosphere, the tension and fear, the strategy, the design and graphics, the characterizations, and the story Ė itís the whole damn package. Itís damn near flawless from top to bottom.


Most Anticipated! #5! Super Smash Bros. for Wii U!

Whereas I feel the Mario Kart series is dying for a definitive instalment, I feel that the Smash Bros. series has already been perfected. That said, Smash is my favourite multiplayer game series Ė the best party game around Ė and I canít help looking more forward to this than the next Kart. And hey, maybe Travisíll be in itÖ Sigh. He wonít. But itíd be great.


Random Award! Fuck videogames; Best Music Album and Song of 2013!
The Next Day by David Bowie. I havenít really listened to any other 2013 music (besides the new Chameleons Vox EP), and I canít really be fucked to, but irregardless: OH MY GOD DAVID BOWIEíS BACK AFTER TEN YEARS AND AMAZING STILL!


GOTY #5! Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch!

Ni No Kuni is a game about a little boy who accidentally causes his motherís death. In his inability to cope with this situation, he dreams up a fantasy world in his mind wherein he may be able to bring his mother back to life in the real world, though we, the player, soon realize itís just a fantasy, and the game is most certainly not going to end with his mother actually coming back to life. This interplay between real and fantastic worlds calls to mind other Studio Ghibli works and especially Spirited Away. And like that movie, it is beautifully handled (and way less depressing than I describe). Ni No Kuni is a thoroughly enchanting game, everything I hoped it would be. And while I was worried the JRPG gameplay would be a dull grindfest, in fact I never found that, and I quite enjoyed the Pokťmon-style monster catching and fighting. Though Ni No Kuni came out in January, itís by far one of the most memorable games of the year, and Iím already wondering if I havenít placed it too low on this list. Too many amazing games!


Most Anticipated! #4! Fantasy Life!
Fantasy Life is that RPG where you can play as the postman if you want because why not. It looks like adorable fun. It was on my list last year, and I donít think Iíve actually heard anything about it since then. Someone localize it already!


Random Award! Best Movie of 2013!

The Next Day, starring Gary Oldman and the stunning Merriam CotillardÖ Even if I had seen more than a couple actual 2013 movies, I think Iíd still be pretty adamant that this Bowie music video is the motion picture of the year.


GOTY #4!Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon!

Luigiís Mansion brought me back to the days of playing games like Super Mario 64 for the first time as a kid. Hereís a first party Nintendo game like nothing Iíve ever played before, but with all the polish, charm and brilliance of the games that made me fall in love with them in the first place. Iíve never played the original Luigiís Mansion; itís a new style of gameplay for me, and as fun and perfectly executed as any Nintendo game Iíve ever played.


Most Anticipated! #3! Hyrule Warriors!
I just started playing Dynasty Warriors 8 Ė my first foray into the series Ė recently, andÖ Iím not really sure what I think about it yetÖ But whatever, the idea of a Zelda-Dynasty Warriors crossover is so ridiculous and hilarious to me that I canít help it being one of my most anticipated games.


Random Award! Best Movie from a different year that I watched for the first time this year!

Love Exposure! The latest addition to my top ten favourite movies of all time. It is everything good forever. A wickedly funny and beautiful epic romantic bildungsroman about religion and perverts. I hate trying to describe it. And anyway itíll no doubt mean something different to everyone who watches it. Itís a four-hour long Japanese film but it feels like 2 hours. My highest recommendation.


GOTY #3! Animal Crossing: New Leaf!

Oh my god I hate this game. I played it for like 200 hours before I finally gave up on it. Iím still missing that one goddamn fossil. This game is so fucking addictive. I just wish it didnít take so long for Blathers to wake up, or for the Nooklings to sell me those damn fortune cookies. And of course Gaston moved out as soon as I stopped playingÖ Gaston! My favourite neighbour! Now some fucking prick I streetpassed has him. Son of a bitch. Anyway, the whole mayor thing was a stroke of goddamn genius, as itís made me feel as invested in customizing my town as my house and character. My town, which goes to ruin now without me. Jesus Christ.


Most Anticipated! #2! Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze!

Okay, this game did come out like 3 days ago. And Iíve already played the first world. But believe me, even before I played it, before it started getting 10/10 reviews, this was at the top of my most anticipated games list! DKCR is perhaps my favourite 2D platformer of all-time, I like it better than any 2D Mario or the like. And this looks like more of that. But even more fun and with the best enemy designs ever and also HD monkey fur. Now, playing itÖ so far so good. And one more thing stands out as a stroke of sheer genius: Cranky Kong is playable and Funky Kong replaces him at the store.


Random Award! Worst Sequel!
The sequel to my PS3 getting the yellow light of doom in December 2012! After paying 100+ dollars to get it repaired from Sony only to find Iíd permanently lost two and a half years of save data, and then having to redownload, one by one, every single game and piece of DLC of PSN Ė way over a hundred things Ė and reinstall all my disc-based gamesÖ Exactly one year later, Iím watching my new blu-ray of Love Exposure, and all of a sudden my PS3 craps out exactly like it did the last time. I was literally one day away from buying a harddrive to finally back up my data to (as well a bunch of games for it). I decided: Iím not getting it repaired, Iím waiting and maybe Iíll buy a slim in a couple years when theyíre like $100. Anyway, I bought a slim from a friend 3 days ago, and my mum got the old PS3 repaired by a third party for her to keep Ė it lasted about a week but I got my data backed up to copy to the new one. But just save data backs up apparently so I still have to redownload everythingÖ or not botherÖ IN SUM: Fuck Sony! <3


GOTY #2! Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate!

Though I did kind of abandon Monster Hunter prematurely to play other things (with the intention of returning to it), I still maintain that itís one of the most enjoyable and refreshing gaming experiences in a long time, and indeed the best online co-op game Iíve ever played, if not the best online game, period. What an enjoyable game, like nothing Iíve ever played, and addictive as all hell. Anyway, I wrote a thing about it when it was actually fresh in my memory you can read if you want.


Most Anticipated! #1! Whatever Onion Games is Working On!

This is a bit of a cop-out since there isnít an actual game announced and god knows if thereíll be something out this year, but I wanted to bump stupid Yarn Yoshi out of my top ten most anticipated games, and frankly there isnít one game that Iím as excited for as Iíd be if, say, Yoshiro Kimuraís new game were to be announced to be coming out. Anyway, have you seen the latest blog post Ė he revealed character designs for this mystery game and theyíre amazing. Thereís a guy whose face is shaped like an onion who also has one of those upside-down faces where his face is a different face when you flip it over. And also thereís a guy whoís an asparagus with a face and then another face on his butt. Also, naked mariachis. This is my most anticipated game.


Random Award! Best thing I bought with money in 2013!

Zatoichi blu-ray boxset! The Zatoichi movies are so consistently great itís ridiculous. Itís like the best movie series ever. And look at this boxset. Itís so awesome!


GOTY #1! The Wonderful 101



The Wonderful 101 is the best game on the Wii U, itís the best action game Iíve ever played, itís breathlessly paced, funny, spectacular and visually gorgeous, itís a totally unique combat system that only gets better and better as you get better at it, itís a complete game experience, huge yet so full of little details, and just when you think it canít possibly feel climactic in the wake of what came before, my god, that endingÖ What more can I say about The Wonderful 101, I feel like Iíve said it all before. Just buy it, if you have a Wii U and like cool videogames. Itís everything I want the Wii U to be about, and itís freaking awesome.

END!

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1:53 AM on 11.11.2013  

Grethiwords: Wonderful Backlog Onion

Since blogging on Destructoid, I havenít done as many stupid Ďupdate on what games Iíve been playing/thinking about/excited for recentlyí-type blogs as I used to. I guess I feel like thereís more pressure here to better develop my ideas into something more fully-formed Ė something with a point Ė lest I appear in the recaps under ďcould be betterĒ and feel bad for pushing more worthy blog posts off the first page.

But then there are times when Iím inspired to think about videogames enough that I just want to unite morph my random unconnected thoughts into a giant fist and punch my blog with demented prattle. And anyway, random blogs Ďbecause videogamesí are in fashion†now, so let me be!

Anyway, I declare this a new segment on my blog (meaning I might do another one ever): Grethiwords! I write the words about the videogames! Because Iíve been thinking about the videogames! Videogames!

Wonderful!



I just finished The Wonderful 101. Itís awesome. Like, my favourite game on the Wii U awesome. Like, the best action game Iíve ever played awesome. I didn’t even realise it was an action game at first Ė to me it just looked like a cross between Pikmin and Ōkami, from the creator of the latter, and that was enough to sell me on it, I needed no more. But this is an action game. Like God of War. Or some other action game. I donít play a lot of action games honestly. Combo systems scare me. Maybe I should try Kamiyaís other action games ≠Ė Devil May Cry or Bayonetta? Iíve played the demos for those gamesÖ Bayonetta I could barely play. Maybe if I played it from the start Ė like Wonderful 101 where the gameplay isnít especially satisfying at first but gets more and more fun the better I get at it the farther into it I get, maybe I could get better at Bayonetta? Anyway, I always thought that game looked totally pandering, and I figure these games lack the charm I love in Kamiyaís cartoony games besides. Now Viewtiful JoeÖ I will buy that†in a heartbeat if it gets made available through the virtual console or an HD update or something.

Anyway, The Wonderful 101 does not play like a typical action game, and perhaps thatís why I was so able to embrace it. Its gameplay is also nothing like Pikmin or any of the other 100-guys-following-you-around games. But it is such a unique system, that like I said gets steadily more enjoyable the better I got at it, and I just love it. And like a true action game, it is breathlessly paced, and full of ludicrous set-pieces. It is also one of the most gorgeous and visually intensive games Iíve played. And itís also damn long for a game paced so ≠Ė I had heard it was gonna be short, but it lasted me a good 20 hours. I cringe to think how much they spent on this game considering the sales Ė but I donít care, because I love it for the spectacle it is. Itís such a complete†game, so full of detail and perfectly executed. I wasnít sure it was gonna end in a way that truly manages to feel climactic in the wake of everything that came before, while still utilizing all the mechanics and everything Iíd learned to that point Ė I wasnít sure it was possible Ė but holy hell did they ever pull it off. Hats off to Platinum games.

And did I mention how damn funny and full of personality the game is?


Backlog!

Anyway, The Wonderful 101ís got me thinking about my 2013 games of the year. Which Iíll be posting on this blog no doubt well into February or March with all the games I still need to play. But I canít wait Ďtil then! I wanna talk about it now! So, spoiler alert: The Wonderful 101 is the frontrunner for my GOTY. Anyway, I already have eight games this year (nine if you count Earthbound; I wonít) that are so damn good itíd be sin to leave them off my top 10 at the end of the year. Whereas last year I could only come up with 3 must-play games for the year.

At the risk of sounding like a twat, 2013 is an amazing year to be a Nintendo fan. Six out of these eight games are on Nintendo consoles. And four of those are Wii U games. The Wii U is amazing and people should start buying it. Thereís enough good stuff now, and I still have to play the new Mario game next week, and Deus Ex (though Iíll wait for a price drop on that), not to mention The Wind Waker HD. So much good stuff.

Anyway, I also still need to play Killer Is Dead, and Fire EmblemÖ The upcoming Zelda gameÖ I gotta pick up Grand Theft Auto V. And Saints Row IV. And if thatís not enough, Iíve been watching some Hong Kong movies lately and feel compelled now to play last yearís Sleeping Dogs. Too much open-world! Waiting for a price drop on Dynasty Warriors 8, but Iím excited to finally try that series. Gonna get Pokťmon X. And maybe I should play Bioshock Infinite, now that I think of it. (Edit: I forgot about†Attack of the Friday Monsters,†Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, and the new†Ace Attorney...) Haha. Fuck. Do not expect my games of the year list by March.

And how the hell will I narrow it down to 10?

Onion!



And now for something completely different. I did a blog about Love-de-Lic recently, which Iím actually kind of proud of, although itís secretly just a romantic love letter to game director Yoshiro Kimura. Thereís a scene in his game Chulip where the boy writes his first love letter, and that scene makes me so happy I want to cry.

Anyway, I didnít know what he was up to now when I wrote that blog, but I just found out, from Podtoid of all places. Heís started an indie company called Onion Games and, as discussed on Podtoid, he has a twitter account in which he writes from the perspective of a sentient onion. It is amazing. But even more amazing to me is his blog/website, started mid-September. He writes diary updates like this one, and somehow, because of the cartoons he draws with it, and because of the way itís written, in broken English, it somehow captures that mixture of child-like innocence and serious feelings from his games that I always find so beautiful and makes me want to cry so. I love it so much!

He also posts pixel art on the blog. Like this:



Isnít it the best?! Look at it!! <3

Anyway, I still have no idea what kind of game heís working on, but according to the blog, ďOnion games is making game happilyĒ, and I couldnít be happier to read that.

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5:58 PM on 11.07.2013  

Farewell Jim!

Jim Sterling left Destructoid. In case you didn't know. Which is to me kind of like Mr. Destructoid leaving Dtoid for another website, so intrinsic is Jim to this place. And I'm still baffled by the lack of fanfare.

My head has been awhirl all day wondering if I even want to stick around this place now. Up until this morning when I happened upon the news mentioned off-handedly in a c-blog, everything at Dtoid was great for me. The rise in melodramatic posts as of late about the site becoming less and less fun left me unfazed, because I can only dedicate so much time to this shit, and as far as I'm concerned, the news, and personalities and content, in the capacity I have to digest them, are enough for me. But now without Jim, it's a whole other equation, and all of a sudden the front page does seem a bit dry to me. And I remember when my favourite editors left the last gaming site I used to browse, how hollow an experience it was to stick around afterwards as long as I did.

Anyway, since the best explanations of the situation seem to currently be found through such means as wading through Twitter posts, and Deadly Premonition let's plays Ė for the part where Jim talks about what happened for a bit before getting distracted by a cutscene Ė I will briefly post my findings.

- There seems to have been some sort of disagreement between Jim and Dale about the type or capacity of content Jim was to contribute, which he thought they could compromise on, but apparently they couldn't (wth) and decided it was best to get a divorce. But they're on friendly terms and mommy and daddy both still love you.

- Podtoid is now "The Dismal Jesters" and you can find it here for now. And it was just added to iTunes apparently as I was typing this. It's like, a regular episode of Podtoid.

That's about all I've got. Anyway, I did scout some other gaming sites today, but ultimately my conclusion is, I love Dtoid, and it still meets my needs as well or better than any other site out there, and it's crazy early to think about jumping ship. And I can still follow Jim separately on Youtube and the Escapist and the new podcast. And I'm encouraged by Dale North's words in a reply on another cblog, about the direction of the site and wanting to liven up the front page. It sounds pretty good. And there are still plenty of great people, in the staff and community. I'll stick around awhile yet, friends.

But now, Jim does deserve a proper Dtoid farewell.



Jim... The site won't be the same without you.

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12:07 AM on 05.25.2013  

My Nintendo E3 Wii U Wishlist

Pleased to enjoy this list of things I want. They are things. I would be happy if they were real things. Probably they are not.

...Yeah. I've not listed anything we know is coming at E3, nor anything too boring, that we just had or can obviously expect. And in a way this is my wishlist (for Nintendo 1st party/published stuff) for the whole of the Wii U's lifespan. And even then I think these range from wishful thinking to totally impossible. But think if they happened!



10. New Star Fox



I haven't played much†Star Fox. I played the N64 game (on VC)... once. I didn't like the whole arcadey play-the-whole-game-in-one-sitting thing, and I don't think I actually beat it, but it was quite fun while it lasted. I think I've played the SNES original a little bit... and not cared. How were the Gamecube ones? Point is, this is a franchise that's skipped a generation, and that I think has a lot of untapped potential and there's room for it to make one hell of a comeback. I want a truly amazing†Star Fox†game.


9. 2014 Year of Waluigi



Waluigi is my favourite†Mario†character. Wario has two whole serieses. Luigi's been getting plenty of attention these days. Now it's about time Waluigi got his own game. I don't care what it is. Nintendo's take on the stealth genre? It literally doesn't matter.


8. Super Smash Bros. U includes Travis Touchdown



Super Smash Bros.†is to my mind the best party game, hands down, and it's definitely the confirmed thing I'm most excited just to actually see. But my number one wish for it is to include Travis Touchdown as a playable character. Suda's expressed his interest in this. And his existing moveset in his own games already translates perfectly to Smash Bros.


7. Earthbound Bundle



This is already speculated to be coming for the Wii U.†I'd love this. Both†Earthbound†and†Mother 3†are games I've tried to play on emulator but I've not gotten far in either. Being able to play them in an official capacity on the gamepad however, may be the motivation I need to really get into these games. We already know†Earthbound†is coming to Virtual Console, but a†Mother 3†release would be more important, and I'd love to be there for some kind of series-celebrating physical special-edition release or something.


6. Battalion Wars/Endless Ocean 3



Though these series have little to do with one another,†Battalion Wars 2†and†Endless Ocean†are both Wii games I got really into way back in 2007, and though they're often forgotten about nowadays, I think they're both ideal for the Wii U. I think the control possibilities for†Battalion Wars†on the gamepad are limitless, and I think†Endless Ocean, more than just about any game I can think of, would benefit from HD photorealistic graphics.


5. Real-time 3D Pokťmon Red Remake



This is a pipe dream I've had probably since forever. I want a fully-3D open-world†Pokťmon†game. One in which for battles you control Pokťmon in 3D space in real time and use the environment the way Pokťmon do in the show. It would be a ridiculous undertaking for Nintendo, having to animate all those Pokťmon... but I only really want the first 151 to be in it anyhow. Yeah, this would be higher up if I thought there was even a slight chance of it happening.


4. Skip Ltd. Bundle



I mentioned this in my last blog, how happy I would be if Nintendo localized†New Play Control Chibi-Robo†and†Captain Rainbow†and threw them out there, together in a bundle. I don't even care if they're up-resed for the Wii U. I just want to play these games.


3. Gamecube Games on VC, includes Cubivore



Okay, GC on VC is something that needs to happen. Hell, Sony's already got PS2 games on the PS3; there's no reason Nintendo can't keep up the two-generations-behind thing with its Virtual Console library. But more than the usual suspects on VC Ė†Mario Sunshine,†Melee, and all that Ė I wanna see some of the weirder games I missed out on, like†Cubivore,†Odama,†Viewtiful Joe... and imports! The cancelled-last-minute localization of†GiFTPiA, if it's not already included in the Skip bundle!


2.†New Miyamoto IP



This is what Nintendo desperately needs Ė a new IP from Miyamoto, like we haven't had since†Pikmin. Of course we know the idea for†Pikmin†came to Miyamoto as he'd recently taken up gardening. What's Miyamoto been up to lately that he can turn into the next brilliant game concept? He's getting older. Maybe an adventure game where your character is constantly and rapidly aging. As his abilities and agility decrease, he has to accomplish tasks to get something to reset his aging before he expires. Heh, a cartoonified†Ubik. I'd play that. I would very much play that.


1. Wave Race 3



Remembering†Wave Race†exists (and having no one IRL to yell at about how much I want a new one) inspired this blog post.†Wave Race†is the greatest of all racing games. It's been 12 years since the last one. This series needs to come back. Please please please please†please please please†please please please†please please please†please please please.



Comments?!

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12:12 AM on 05.22.2013  

Love-de-Lic & the most talented Japanese game devs whose games I can't play...



When I think back to my time with†Little King's Story, one of my favourite games of all time and to my mind surely the best original game of the console generation, I feel something like heartbreak. There is some kind of beautiful innocence to the presentation of that game, and my mind wanders to the positively stunning final level and very final cutscene in the game; I can't say any more for fear of spoiling it, but it is something nobody talks about, despite how deeply it's ingrained itself in my†subconscious, like only a sparse few such sequences in games ever do. Equally heartbreaking is it to think of†the game's poor performance, and that the main mind behind†Little King's Story,†Yoshiro 'miserable Japanese guy' Kimura hasn't been able to get another project off the ground.

The latter article has put Kimura back on my mind. I'd totally forgotten his PS2 title†Chulip, was announced for PSN. It's apparently been on there for several months now. I've started playing it. I immediately fell in love with the game. There are so many good things in this game; it would take me an hour to explain! That said, the more I play it, the more its gameplay has proven an obstacle in my enjoyment. There's a complete game walkthrough in the software manual which has unfortunately proven entirely necessary, the game is too slow going, I get game over way too often, poopie causes way too much heartbreak... er, yeah, I'm not going to try to explain that one. But despite all these issues, I keep coming back to the game, and I must see it through. It's hilarious, and ferociously unique, and on some other mysterious level, it resonates with me, in a similar way to†Little King's Story. It's nowhere near the same level as†Little King's Story, and for the record, I think†Little King's Story†has incredible gameplay to match its presentation, but†Chulip†is nonetheless evidence of a major talent. One which deserved the resources to reach its true potential in†Little King's Story, and one which deserves the resources to make even more games.



Finally playing another game by Kimura has once again reminded me of†this Neogaf post†I saw some time after playing†Little King's Story, which has stuck with me. It is about†Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, an untranslated Japanese PS1 game, which seems to be considered by many of those who've been able to play it as one of the greatest games ever made. It would seem that Kimura, back then, was part of a dream team known as 'Love-de-Lic', supposedly at the height of their creativity. That none of their games have made it out of Japan seems almost criminal.

With Kimura and Love-de-Lic on my mind, I've been trying to look into it more to find out exactly where the†Moon†guys have ended up, what games they've been involved in. It seems the three men most instrumental in that game's making are Kimura, Taro Kudou, and most of all, Love-de-Lic founder Kenichi Nishi.


First off, Kimura, we know, made†Chulip†and†Little King's Story. After Love-de-Lic broke up, he formed his own studio, 'Punchline', which only made two games:†Chulip, and the localized albeit very rare PS2 survival-horror title†Rule of Rose, which I believe Kimura was heavily involved in but not the main mind behind. He then worked with Cing/TownFactory on†Little King's Story, and since has worked briefly at Grasshopper and elsewhere, but hasn't been quite at the helm of another project, that I know of.

Taro Kudou meanwhile formed his own studio along with fellow Love-de-Lic guy Kazuyuki Kurashima called 'Vanpool', which've done a lot of things for Nintendo. Kudou, it turns out, was the guy behind†Freshly Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, which I so wish had made it past Europe.†But his first and perhaps most interesting game there, the one selected by the aforementioned Neogaffer as the second best LdL game,†Endonesia, is confined to Japan.

Finally, Kenichi Nishi seems to have had the biggest career since Love-de-Lic, but also the most frustratingly unlocalized. He formed the studio 'Skip Ltd.', which've grown and made all sorts of things. But three games in particular were headed by Nishi, the only one to make it outside of Japan being†Chibi-Robo.†Chibi-Robo!†How I want to play this game. But it's kinda rare now. I saw it in an EB Games once, a couple years back, prominently displayed. I was tempted and so wish I'd bought it, but it was $30 which seemed really high for a used Gamecube game, and at the time I still thought there was hope that the†New Play Control†version would get localized. But it never did. Anyhow, the other two include the Gamecube adventure title†GiFTPiA, and, what's long been my most wanted unlocalized Wii game,†Captain Rainbow. Anyway, Nishi has since formed another studio called 'Route24', and has made weird stuff like†LOL†on the DS, and some iOS games or something. Apparently he wants to do a†Moon: Remix RPG Adventure†sequel.



Point is, these are some of the most talented game developers in Japan, and it's incredibly disheartening that their games are so underrepresented outside their home country. For a minute I imagined Nintendo announcing a bundle with†New Play Control Chibi-Robo†and†Captain Rainbow†(and GiFTPiA for good measure why not), and now I'm so depressed I want to cry, because of how badly that's so not going to happen. Games don't have their Criterion Collection, someone to pluck them from obscurity and translate and rerelease them; it's too much work and there's not enough interest. It's awful, but it seems the time has passed on Love-de-Lic's games, unless I'm to learn Japanese...

...That's not entirely true.†Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, the "greatest game yet made",†has a fan translation underway. If there's one thing I hope someone takes away from this blog... it's to be as excited for this project as I am.

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5:07 PM on 04.01.2013  

Grethiwha's Blog: 2007-2011

Retoidded from IGN.



Whatever AMA means.

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4:24 PM on 03.28.2013  

Monster Hunterís Not That Hard, You Should Really Play It



Back in mid-2010 when Monster Hunter Tri came out on the Wii, I was conflicted about whether or not I wanted to buy it. Iíd been intending to try the series Ė it and Dragon Quest these two series that were popular in Japan and not so in the West, I was curious about, and were getting new acclaimed instalments around the same time as one another. But I didnít take too fondly to Dragon Quest IX and subsequently decided against Monster Hunter. I chickened out at the last minute at the idea of its hardcore difficulty (my being someone who generally plays games on the easy setting), and at the idea that I can just lose a 50-minute fight and not accomplish anything (this is why I stopped playing Advance Wars).

But Iíve still been curious about the series. I thought maybe Iíd consider Monster Hunter 4 when that comes out, but seeing as I prefer console games, and Iíd like an excuse to use my WiiU, I decided by and by that I should try 3 Ultimate. And liable as I was to chickening out again, the timing was right, and I ended up picking it up, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I popped it in for the first time about 8pm Saturday night, intending just to play for a couple hours at most, and then watch a movie and go to bed. At about 4am I forced myself to quit. I love this game. (Incidentally, Iíd just got done playing the very Dragon Quest-like Ni No Kuni, and loved that as well. I suppose this is weird Japanese popular games series 2010 games redux year. Iíll work on that title.)



I havenít been this addicted to a videogame since Skyrim. I played Monster Hunter most of last weekend, when I could in the evenings this week, and now that itís the long weekend I want nothing more than to play it some more. ÖAlthough my stupid brotherís playing Lego City Undercover at the moment Ė needless to say my WiiU, which I havenít had anything to play on for the past two months, has gotten more game-time this week than Iím sure it has in all the time since I bought it on launch day.

Anywho, the community for Monster Hunter is awesome and super-supportive. Whenever Iíd comment on some article about how Iím a little intimidated about the game, Iíd get replies from series fans encouraging me to give it a go. And now in the game people have been really helpful in initiating me into it. I met my first Monster Hunter friend day one! Also most people use text and keyboard as opposed to the mic (or donít mind people using keyboard), which is more my thing. So I like that.



But anyhow, I wanted to do my part now in addressing some of my anxieties about the game and encouraging other people to play. The game is not that difficult. Donít get me wrong, it takes practice, and it can be very hard, but online, it all depends on whoís with you. With three other high-level players, an intimidating monster can be a walk in the park; I can pretty much just focus on staying alive, while they do most of the work. With only 3 in a party, and all on the same level as you, a tough boss fight can be a lot harder, and I have lost a fight after 50 minutes, but so what? Iíve now fought that same monster half a dozen times and itís not gotten boring. When youíre playing Monster Hunter, an hour feels like no time at all; itís so fun, and I feel like Iím constantly learning new things about the game and tightening my grasp on what all it has to offer.

The game is not inaccessibly challenging, but my god can those monsters be scary, and so much fun to fight. My first fight against a big monster, a badgery-looking bear, with only my soon to be first Monster Hunter friend, was something darn special. Now Iíve still only unlocked the second difficulty level/set of quests and I suspect the game will become much, much more challenging still. But itís a challenge Iím looking forward to, and expect Iíll be ready for. Catching up on single-player quests has been a walk in the park after the big monsters in the multi-player. And I havenít mentioned all the other stuff: Iíve figured out how to use my farm to get me plenty of the ingredients I need to make health potions, so I no longer have to forage for them; Iíve just forged a badass new electric sword (stubbornly insisting on only using the Longswords with the samurai aesthetic)Ö I could go on forever with this stuff.



But in sum: this is a ludicrously addictive and enjoyable game, like nothing Iíve played before. If you have a WiiU, I canít recommend any game more highly for the system. If youíre on the fence like I was: without hesitation I say go for it!

Now I wonder how many months before I stop playing this finally. I really wanna try Lego City UndercoverÖ

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8:19 PM on 01.11.2013  

My Top Three Games of 2012

Well, with the retail version of The Walking Dead game sold out everywhere, Iím losing my conviction that despite my disinterest in the show and comics and the game itself until it started winning game of the year awards left and right, I need to play it. And with the WiiWare version of Retro City Rampage still not out, Iím thinking of giving up on waiting for that to come out before creating a best of 2012 list (technically it will be a 2013 release, after all).

So letís do this! Here it is, my best of 2012 list! Iím doing it a bit differently than I have in past years because honestly there werenít enough outstanding games to fill a top 10 list as sufficiently as I have the last four years. Donít get me wrong, there were a lot of great games, but many were smaller games that didnít occupy my time as fully, and that ultimately didnít prove especially memorable. It may be my fault, perhaps lately Iíve been too choosy about what I play Ė Sleeping Dogs for example is a game I came close to playing and in past years may have, but I changed my mind last minute (same thing with The Walking Dead). Just know that Iím not complaining. After all, what I will probably remember 2012 best for (gaming-wise) is finally getting a chance to finish Majoraís Mask.

So what Iím going to do instead of a top-10 list, is just to highlight three games that I thought were truly outstanding. For a point of reference compared to my 2011 list, I donít think any of these games are quite as good as my top 3 of that year, but theyíd fit in somewhere between those three and my #4 game that year. Whereas no other game of 2012 did I like quite as much as my #10 game on that list. In short, these three games are what I consider the true must-plays of 2012.

In order of release dateÖ and alphabetical orderÖ and, uh, also in order of scale I guessÖ and obscurityÖ


JOURNEY (PSN)



I only played Journey once. It was two hours long and I finished it in a single sitting. When I finished, despite how early into the year I played it, I said to myself, with the same conviction as I did Ghost Trick in 2011: This will be my game of the year.



When I started playing it, I had sort of forgotten that you meet other players but canít communicate with them, and the possibilities of this mechanic had never dawned on me. When I first noticed another character, jumping around the level, it was a magical moment Ė I immediately got it. And as I followed this mysterious person around the level and he followed me around, and we helped each other find secrets, without actually talking to one another. The bond I felt with this other character, just in this one level, was so strong and so unlike anything Iíve ever experienced before, and immediately I was in love with the game. Over the next two hours, I lost track of partners and other ones showed up, but still I was able to bond with them in this way, and it was truly magical.



The game is drop-dead gorgeous, visually; the music is incredible, and the set-pieces, if I can even call them that, are truly spectacular and one-of-a-kind. Journey was quite a journey. And yet, Journey is not lasting art. It was two hours and I hesitate to play it again for fear that the magic of my first play-through will be diminished on a second go. Eventually, it will get to the point where everyone you play with online knows how to do everything, is just trying to accomplish specific goals, is disinterested in the other player, and that original magic will be lost (before the online community disappears altogether). Iíll have to replay it before that point. I fear it might already be like that, that Journey is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and will never be the same as it was in 2012. But if that may be the case, Iím just glad I was there.



THE LAST STORY



Xenoblade Chronicles impressed me in a lot of ways, with its scale and its world and its energy, and itís the game I put the most time into this year, but there was so much I didnít like about it. That game pretty much devolved into spending hours upon hours running across enormous fields hitting every enemy along the way with your sword to gain the necessary experience to challenge the next boss. Itís probably the most ludicrously time-wasting game Iíve ever played; donít even get me started on the inanity of spending hours in menus to equip the right equipment, gem crafting, or sidequests that are completed by running all over gargantuan levels until a little red Ďxí appears on your radar. With this in mind, I was pretty trepidatious going into The Last Story, expecting something like Xenoblade Chronicles but not as worthwhile.



Instead, with The Last Story, I got one of (if not) the most enjoyable and brilliantly paced JRPGs Iíve ever experienced. And it makes Xenoblade Chroniclesí excess of filler seem all the more offensive by comparison. Of course, most people seem to like Xenoblade Chronicles more, and I can understand that. The Last Story has much less depth, it is only a little over 20 hours long. The two games are ultimately for pretty different audiences. But for people like meÖ The Last Story is an action-RPG, and that means something. This game has an auto-equip button, that lets the computer decide who gets what equipment. Yes, this is the JRPG for people like me. No fiddling around in menus. No grinding. Oh yes.



I find The Last Story has much more depth in terms of the range of approaches to combat. The combat is also more enjoyable; I really feel like Iím controlling everything my character does, but the combat system is also unique, in effective ways that add strategy to the game. The bosses are awesome. The music is great. And I ultimately became quite endeared to the characters. And I already said this, but I canít help saying it again: the pacing is so great! This is a total class gaming experience. Read more in this blog I did about it.



and finally...



WAY OF THE SAMURAI 4



Way of the fucking Samurai 4, oh my god I love this game. Why oh why did no one tell me about this series when I did my blog about how I wished there was an open-world samurai game? Sure itís not exactly the Red Dead Redemption of the samurai genre, but in its own, incredibly silly way, itís almost as good. This is a game where you can run up to the local magistrate and call them ďstupidheadsĒ, beat up old ladies within an inch of their lives and then recruit them into your dojo to train and fight for you, and seduce random women (or old ladies) with lines like ďYou have a nice, firm assĒ. Thatís just the tip of the iceberg.



When I first started playing, I thought perhaps this game was so little-known for a good reason. The ugly graphics and screen-tearing, and the repetitious clanging of the swords in the background into my headphones while I was reading tutorials was giving me a headache, and I was discouraged by the initial lack of clothing options (I opted for nearly naked over the ugly kimono). But then I clicked something to surrender a battle and suddenly I was tied up on a trolley track engaging in this ludicrous dialogue with a man to help save me, which I liked. And then it was late at night and I really wanted to save and quit and I couldnít figure out how to save and then I went up to a guy with a camera, who could save my game by taking a photo, and his explanation for saving and the subsequent dialogue choices were amazing. And then he was getting ready to take the photo when suddenly he got hit by the trolley and died. And I was incredibly amused and annoyed.



Anyway, it took me a while and some research to understand and get used to the gameís structure Ė this is a game you must play through multiple times to get anything out of Ė on subsequent play-throughs you can side with different factions and get different endings, and, crucially, everything you did on your first play-through is saved. Itís really interesting, and back when it first came out, and Destructoid wasnít really covering it much, I was planning to do a review of it in my blog until Josh Tolentino finally wrote a great review of it, highlighting that the gameís weakness is in its failure to communicate its strengths, and it takes effort from the player to get into. But gosh, that effort is rewarded tenfold in silliness. I ultimately played this game over 30 hours, and I have so many good memories, from recruiting geisha to my dojo, to opening the language school so I could understand English, to lowering my crime rate so the stores would stock more clothes, to going fishing inside a bucket (and catching the Ďlegendary fishí in there, no less), to completing ludicrous sidequests for the local vagabonds, to playing as an old man dressed in cat ears and cat paws who specializes in martial arts and performing the hilariously creepy sex mini-game. To following the path to the true ending, which, as stupid as the story of this game is most of the time, is actually kind of cool. No, itís not a serious triple-A samurai open-world game (and you might need to visit its GameFAQs page a bit), but if you like somewhat unpolished open-world comedy games, like, say, Deadly PremonitionÖ this was perhaps my favourite game of 2012.

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7:22 PM on 01.06.2013  

My Most Anticipated Games of 2013

2012 was one of the weaker years for gaming, for me, in recent memory. There was nothing I played that came close to my top three of 2011. Most of the most worthwhile games of last year were short, downloadable games; there was little in the realm of full retail type experiences that I could get anywhere near as immersed in as the likes of Skyward Sword and Skyrim. Anyway, I still need to play The Walking Dead, to find out what the fuss is about on that one, and Retro City Rampage, when it finally comes to Wiiware, before I finalize any kind of personal 'best of 2012' list (maybe I'll count the latter as a 2013 game). But for now, a most anticipated of 2013 list! If some of the games on this list pan out (not to mention, some of the games not on this list, like Killer is Dead), I see 2013 being quite a bit stronger a year than '012...

10. Fantasy Life (3DS - TBA)


This is a game that hasn't been announced for a release outside of Japan Ė it just came out in Japan like a week ago after like three years of development Ė but my fingers are crossed for it. It's a JRPG, but you don't play as a hero, rather, a peasant. There are tons of different occupations you can choose and I'm seriously enraptured by the idea of playing an RPG as a postman. The game looks to capture the simulation game addictiveness and delightfulness of stuff like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, and I have high hopes for it.

9. Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS3 - Q2)


I laud Rockstar for taking their immense talent and resources to original settings in riskier games like Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire, these last few years, the former being, I think, their best game. But I'm ready for a new GTA now. And they've earned their right to make one. It's been enough time that the game can be a true sequel, not just a new iteration. I had some problems with GTA IV, but I look forward to this new game blowing that one away.

8. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS - Spring)


I haven't gotten much use out of my 3DS lately. Why hasn't this come out yet? Since the launch of the 3DS, I've seen this as perhaps Nintendo's biggest first-party title - or at least the most intriguing, since I never played the original Luigi's Mansion, and am interested to see what the green brother's personal series is all about.

7. LEGO City Undercover (WiiU - Q1)


This looks like easily the best LEGO game in years, if not ever. It's not a franchise cash-in, it's its own thing, and it looks awesome. It appears to be a true open-world game Ė a silly GTA clone, in the tradition of The Simpson's Hit & Run, and I'm frankly more excited for it than the actual new GTA game.

6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS - Q1/Q2)


It's been many years now since my addiction to Animal Crossing on the DS finally wore off. But now, as I've seen more and more of the new game, I'm starting to feel it again... the craving. Yes, I see myself playing this every day again. And now, I'll have even more motivation to keep with it, since my brother (who played the Wii version until the disc broke) will no doubt get his own copy of the game. Aaarg, I really hope I don't get to that point again where the game just devolves into me logging in every day to spend twenty minutes picking and selling all the fruits that have regrown on my trees...

5. Rayman Legends (WiiU - February 26)


This was to be my big launch title for the WiiU, before it got delayed. Having played a little bit of New Super Mario Bros. U, and the Rayman Legends Demo Ė Rayman Legends is just so much better. This is the WiiU platformer to be; this is the WiiU game to play with friends. This game is where the fun and creativity is.

4. The Wonderful 101 (WiiU - "Launch Window")


This is a game where you draw circles around unemployed Superheroes to recruit them to form together into a giant fist and punch robots. Yes. This game for me represents the next generation of the kind of unique niche Wii games that made that system so special. The gameplay is immediately intriguing to me, being another new take on the Pikmin style of gameplay that's made for some of my very favourite games. Yeah, this is definitely one of my most anticipated WiiU games.

3. The Last Guardian (PS3 - TBA)


Okay okay, The Last Guardian has been at the top of my most anticipated games lists every year since 2010. So it's getting difficult to include it with a straight face. But c'mon! It's gotta come out this year, right?!

2. Pikmin 3 (WiiU - Launch Window)


This is Nintendo's one big triple-A WiiU game, and it's the long-awaited next instalment in one of their best and most under-loved franchises. The Pikmin games are soo fucking good. I am enormously excited for this game Ė it is certain to be incredible. And what better way to establish Nintendo's first foray into HD gaming Ė this game will look glorious.

1. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3 - January 22)


I debated the order of these top three choices. But, despite some trepidation regarding the turn-based combat and possible grinding that's why I'm not often a big JRPG fan, I'm giving Ni No Kuni the top spot. I mean, the game looks deep and unbelievably beautiful, and I can see myself being absorbed into its world the way only a few of my very favourite games have ever accomplished. The fact that Studio Ghibli is behind this project lends credence to this possibility Ė the worlds of their films are charming and endearing and beautiful. And seeing these worlds through their films is great, but I'm getting this feeling, that that will pale in comparison to the experience of actually being in one of their worlds. ...And it's coming this month!

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