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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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8:07 PM on 12.13.2012  

A Fanboy was Born Today



Today I got my PS3 back from repair. This whole thing has been quite a nightmare. A little over a week ago it crapped out on me while I was watching an episode of The Boondocks on DVD. I got the dreaded "Yellow Light of Doom". And the PS3 would turn on no more.

My initial research informed me there were two ways of going about this situation. I could send it in to Sony for $150 so they could take 4-6 weeks to send me back a different refurbished PS3 (at which point I'd be better off just buying a refurbished PS3), or I could give it to some sort of sketchy unauthorized console repair guy in my area and that way I wouldn't lose my hard drive (but the repair might not last).

But I wasn't too worried about losing my data, because I upgraded my hard drive three Augusts ago from the original 40GB to a 320GB. So I could just send in the old one and hang on to the good one, data intact. And, as it turned out, the price to service it wasn't quite so steep; here, for my model, it cost about $112 after tax. And it didn't take long either; I got the thing back, what?, four business days after I sent it in. Swell.

And here my troubles began...



So my 40GB hard drive has been cleared. And the PS3 will not accept my 320GB hard drive without first reformatting and clearing that. It must only work with my original console. And though I'm pretty sure they sent me back the same console, it doesn't recognize it any more. And because the backups that the PS3 accepts are encrypted in some special way, there is literally no way I can back up the data on my 320GB drive. In order to back it up, my PS3 would have to never have been broken in the first place.

So I'm screwed. I have all my data on the hard drive in front of me, and I have no choice but to erase it.

Back up your PS3 hard drives, folks! My sole consolation is, I still have my backup from two and a half years ago. So I don't lose all my data... Just the last two and a half years of it. Ugh. And god knows the headaches I'll get even trying to recover what is backed up! Apparently certain games have 'locked' save data and can't be recovered (still holding out hope for my Fallout 3 and most of my LittleBigPlanet data, at the very least). I'm going to have to redownload so much DLC and so many PSN games it'll probably be more than my monthly internet usage allowance, all at once. So much crap to reinstall. This is assuming the back-up even works.

I remember the headaches when I first upgraded the PS3's hard drive. Here's a portion of a blog post I wrote, way back then:

Now, I was always under the false impression that an external hard drive would add space without the need to actually go through the potentially arduous task of replacing the internal hard drive. So one of the things I got for my birthday is an external hard drive. I formatted it to fat32 and added the folders and plugged it into my PS3, only to find that it's only good for pictures and videos. That's no good, it's the game data and psn games that take up all the (40GB of) space. I had a bunch of money from my birthday, so I went out and bought an internal (320GB) hard drive for about $60, followed Chris Roper's tutorial on replacing it, and had difficulty every step of the way. From waiting like 40 minutes for the Best Buy guy to check the back room to see if the one I was looking for was hidden in the back somewhere (He couldn't find it; I ended up going to PC cyber, a computer specialty store and getting a good one for cheaper than any at Best Buy with no difficulty whatsoever) - to the tray my hard drive is in being designed differently than Chris Ropers - to the PS3 not starting up the same way - to, worst of all, the backup utility restore failing. I had backed up all my stuff to my new external hard drive, but whenever I would restore, after an hour of restoring it would fail. A lot of my files would be back, but the PS3 wasn't completely back to normal. I ended up switching back and forth the hard drives and spent the better part of two days on this before deleting as much of my game data as I could stand (I kept Rock Band and LittleBigPlanet - I ain't redownloading all that DLC) on my old hard drive, creating a back up, resetting my new hard drive and then restoring again. Finally it worked, names didn't have asterisks beside them, my brother's theme showed up, and I began reinstalling all my games. Thank God that's over with.




God knows if I even by miracle had backed up my hard drive before the console crapped out on me, if I would even be able to transfer the data, with all my game data on there, which wouldn't transfer back then! Fuck, this is all so frustrating!

I've never lost save data like this before! I loath to lose data like this! I have 92 save files in Skyrim, lost. All that time a couple months back I spent acquiring all the clothing I could get in Way of the Samurai 4, just to have it. And now I don't. That's the kind of thing I do in all sorts of games. I have no choice now but to adopt a 'well, I probably wasn't going to revisit those games in a meaningful way anyway' attitude. But truly, save data is important to me.

And here's where I need to go on a bit of a Jimquisition-style rant. Because fuck Sony! This bullshit where the hard drive can only work with one PS3, or where the backup data is encrypted so only that PS3 can back it up, is not at the service of the consumer but rather is some bullshit anti-piracy measure. And the 'locked saves' are for what, to make sure people don't cheat at trophies? Fucking trophies? I see no sign that Sony gives a shit about people being able to recover their save data. That's not important to them. They're interested only in preventing piracy, at the expense of the consumer.



And now I can't help but like Nintendo even more. My Wii broke a couple years back. It cost half as much to repair (a third of the $150 it costs some PS3 owners), and took half as long (a fifteenth of how long it took some PS3 owners), and they saved all of my data. I wanted to improve my Wii's storage space, so I got an unused SD card that was lying around the house and plugged that in, end of story, how does that compare to my story above about switching the PS3's hard drive? It's all so easy with Nintendo, and they seem to actually care about seeing you keep your save data.

And now, as we begin a new console generation, I don't see myself buying a Playstation 4. It's not just because of this. My first console was the N64, then the PS2, then the Wii. It wasn't until 2008 I first became a multi-console owner. And now, for real life reasons, I have less time than ever to play games, and I've been thinking I'll just stick with the WiiU for a while. But after this disheartening experience I am more convinced to stick with just the WiiU.

I don't actually identify myself as a fanboy, like the title of this post suggests, but in the coming years, I'll probably be resigning myself, in the realm of games, to being a 'Nintendo guy'. The Wii was my favourite console, but I think now, increasingly, I'm finding Nintendo is the only console manufacturer I can really respect.



I just hope the WiiU starts getting some freakin' games already.

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11:03 PM on 11.18.2012  

A blog about how slow the WiiU is to update...

...written while I wait for the WiiU to update.



I was so in awe of how long it was taking that I just had to write about it. Actually it finished downloading, and that's what took ludicrously long, so it's installing now and shouldn't be long.

So I got the WiiU! Hooray! Okay, it's been a lot more headaches than fun so far. I just spent nearly two hours getting the internet to work on it. And before that I was transferring all my Miis from my 3DS, painstakingly one by one. I don't want to transfer all my data from my Wii since I'm keeping it, so apparently this is the only way to get all my Miis in there.

Oh hey, it's finished installing.

Anyway, I was visiting my grandmother's house right after I picked it up this afternoon, and so I set the thing up there first. Had no problem connecting to the internet at her place, although it gave me an error when I tried to update the system. Probably for the best considering how slow the update is. Spent way too long creating a Mii for the fact I ended up just using my 3DS Mii. Also, the first time I quit NintendoLand, the WiiU menu was loading for so long I had to unplug the system. And the load times in general were pretty frustrating for how much going through menus there was at first.

So I played some NintendoLand. First I played the Game & Watch themed dancing game and it was shite. And Sterling was right about that robot-lady; she's super annoying. But I later played with my brother and cousin some of the multi-player games, and they were quite fun!

Alright, let's see what this update's done...

Ah! There's that Mii Wara Wara! Okay, creating a Nintendo Network ID, now we're talking. Good, "Grethiwha"'s not taken. The more I post on the internet, the more I fear someone will steal my bullshit unique username just to annoy me. Friend me!

Anywho, I have more to check out, and it occurs to me writing the blow-by-blow here as I go through it won't be very interesting.

So yeah. Hopefully this didn't sound negative; I'm pretty excited to check out what all else the thing has to offer. And the controller's pretty rad. Just forgot the amount of headaches that can occasionally come with first setting up a new console. How have everyone else's first experiences with the thing been?

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12:27 AM on 11.10.2012  

Ōkami HD First Impressions



Holy balls crap this game is beautiful! FUCK!

So, as you probably know (by scrolling anywhere on my blog), Ōkami is one of, if not my single favourite game ever. I also consider it, on account of its art design, the best looking game of all-time - better looking than any game this generation has produced, despite the dated graphics.



So, naturally, an HD update should make it an even more beautiful most beautiful game ever. It should do, but I have a healthy scepticism when it comes to HD remakes. The ones I've played include:

- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and ICO, which are fine, but they look a little weird, like they were obviously meant to be played on a CRT television. Seeing them in HD doesn't flatter them.

- No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise, which features broken Move controls, a rubbish new art style, and a wealth of exclusive technical issues.

- and Metal Gear Solid 3, which is pretty ace.

So I thought Ōkami HD had potential to be the best thing ever, but I figured there was a good chance it would let itself down in some way. Anyway, I've put a few hours into it, and it's completely blown away even my most optimistic expectations.



I literally can't find fault in this new version of Ōkami.

So I guess the first thing I have to talk about is the visuals. Here's my academic analysis: HOLY SHEEEEET IT LOOKS SO FUCKING GOOD!

Totally blown away by how good it looks, and I think that's saying a lot considering I already thought it was the best looking game ever. How much better than the best can it look? A LOT APPARENTLY!

Also, you paper-filter obsessives will be happy to know it's now offered in your choice of three intensities! I like "normal". The sky and water have that subtle papery texture to them... Fuck it looks so good! It all just looks so handcrafted and amazing!



Okay. Now controls. Here's where I was most sceptical. Because I liked the Wii controls and I think the Move is rubbish. I figured I'd just use the DualShock controls, and that's what I'm doing. But it's totally fine! This is Ōkami's original control scheme, from the PS2 version, and I'm liking it just fine. The Wii controls made the game faster, but there were a few little issues where you could tell it wasn't the game's original control scheme - like, for example, it was absurdly hard to cross monster's names off your list thingy when you were expected to make a perfectly horizontal line. Now there are no such problems. This is the way the game was originally meant to be played.

And I don't miss the motion controls in combat, nor the incredibly sensitive dodging ability which made it so whenever I scratched my ear holding the Nunchuk while loading a new room, it'd finish loading and I'd dodge back into the previous room and have to load two more times. (Speaking of loading, I'm pretty sure that's way way faster now...)



That said, I did try the Move controls (which was frustrating, because the two halves of the controller both lost their charge from disuse and needed to be charged separately, though I only have one charging cable <_<), and I was... really impressed! Except for I couldn't figure out how to draw thicker lines, drawing works perfectly with the Move's pointer controls. And as far as I could tell, there was no motion control at all - all that's still done with the buttons. Which is great, because the Move's motion control capabilities are shit-house as far as I've experienced, and the Wii version's waggle control was never its highlight.

Still... no fault of the developers, the button layout on the Move, I've come to realize, is a worthy addition to any list of reasons not to like the Move. It just doesn't feel good to press those little face buttons, and I'd sooner just stick with the DualShock.

Anyway, the Move controls are still a lot better than I was expecting, and if you're intent on using them, I don't strongly recommend against them! And besides, just the fact that the game offers both control methods, I'm pretty impressed with.



So, uh, if you haven't figured it out, I think this is the definitive version of the game. Easily. Despite my trepidation regarding HD updates. This is the best HD update I've experienced. And it couldn't have been for a more deserving game. I may find myself replaying through the entire 50+ hour thing, shortly - I'm that excited to own it. It feels less like playing a port of a videogame, and more like having my favourite movie - and incidentally the movie I think is the most visually stunning I've seen - be released on blu-ray and given a flawless transfer. I am awed by it. (speaking of: Lawrence of Arabia comes out on Blu-ray this week and is being called "a revelation and perhaps the definitive Blu-ray catalogue release, if not the format's finest presentation". :DDDD)

If you have a PS3, and haven't played Ōkami yet, you're in for a treat (and you WILL buy it, versteht ihr?). If you have played it before, and you liked it enough to buy it again for the sake of owning a more definitive version... you will not be disappointed.



Ōkami HD is perfect.

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2:51 PM on 10.20.2012  

My Favourite Movies (as they vaguely relate to video-games!) (ÖNVGR)



A little while back I wrote a post about how it didnít feel right posting about movies and shit here, this being such a game-centric community. But then I felt silly cause most people just told me to write my post.

But I didnít really have a post in mind; I was thinking about my favourite movies posts I used to do on my old blog, but Iíve since started doing that as an IMDb list. And I donít want to just, like, copy-and-paste from there, or worse, just rewrite the same shit in slightly different words. But I DO still want to tell you fine folks why the incredibly obscure film Heart of Glass is the best movie ever made. Also, nobody talks to me on IMDbÖ

So how do I write a favourite movies post differently, perhaps, more specifically catered to this community? The answer: superfluous videogame comparisons! Oh god, this is gonna be awful. Okay, Iíll probably just end up trying to cater my writing style, and focusing less on the sentimental tear-jerky movies and more on the balls-mental movies I like; what I think my audience is more interested in (Iím fascinated by the way, by this delusion that I have an Ďaudienceí).

So here goes! Iím gonna do my top 21, in groups of seven Ė my seven favourite favourites counting as #1, the next as #2, and the next as #3, and beyond that in alphabetical order. Because beyond that, the order doesnít mean much.

Anyways, I like movies about madness and cutting people.


#3:

Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Dir. Werner Herzog

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Uncharted. Fuck me Iím off to a bad start with these video-game comparisons. Iíve offended myself with this one. But they both are in the jungle and make reference to El Dorado, so thatís something.

Werner Herzog is my favourite filmmaker. I consider his movies to be about man vs. nature Öand God vs. all. They almost all deal with madness. His films are gloomy, but they are also hilarious, and this juxtaposition is to me their primary appeal. Also of note is how ridiculous the productions get. For this film he shot in the middle of the jungle on a shoestring budget, filming for example from atop rafts in actual rapids. His lead actor, Klaus Kinski, was a madman who would yell and berate the crew for hours at a time Ė at one point fired a rifle blindly into a tent full of extras, blowing one of their fingertips off. Near the end of filming he decided to leave, to break contract and the whole film would have been for nothing. But he took Herzogís death threat seriously and finished the film. The pair went on to make four more films together. I could go on forever. I love this.

Anyway, the film is about an expedition to find a non-existent treasure, about men meaninglessly Ďclaimingí land that is hostile and unliveable. Itís a slow and atmospheric descent into collective madness. Itís oft considered Herzogís best film Ė itís pretty rad.


Branded to Kill
Dir. Seijun Suzuki



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: No More Heroes. Itís about a ranked assassin working his way to #1. In itís insanity, itís perhaps the closest film here to a Suda game.

This movie is completely incoherent and completely awesome. Itís sort of like a Bond movie if there was literally no exposition, never any established sense of time and space, and every scene was absurd and baffling. You get the essence Ė he shoots some guys, he gets the ladies, he gets turned on by sniffing boiled rice; you know, the basics. Itíll take you a few viewings to begin to piece together the story, and perhaps to fully appreciate the way it deconstructs the genre, but fuck this movie is always such a good time.


The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
Dir. Werner Herzog

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Oh fuck, god, I donít know. Fez, because they both feature the colour green.

Another Herzog movie! This oneís about a (real) person who showed up in an 1820s German town one day out of nowhere, speaking only a couple words, who would later learn to speak and describe having spent the first 16 years of his life locked up in a tiny dungeon, being fed bread through a crack Ė never seeing another human being. The way Herzog explores this character is beyond fascinating. The performance by Bruno S. Ė a non-actor, beaten as a child by his prostitute mother, who spent most of his life in a variety of mental institutions Ė is magnificent. And you must understand the significance and hilarity of the scribe character!


Fanny & Alexander
Dir. Ingmar Bergman



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Killer7. Iím actually serious about this one, crazily enough! If youíve read my post about Killer7, you may remember I described the last section of the game before the epilogue as having some kind of unprecedented and equally inexplicable but incredible effect on me Ė to do with the colours and the sound design and the mood created by everything that led up to that pointÖ well, the same thing with the last section before the epilogue of Fanny and Alexander. The film is over five hours long (donít watch the shorter version), and I didnít even think the first half was all that great at first, but the final part is somehow one of the greatest parts of any movie, and it works because of the mood created by all that came before it.


Mulholland Dr.
Dir. David Lynch



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Deadly Premonition. I dunno, itís sort of surreal and it features creepy smiling. Also itís from David Lynch who did Twin Peaks (my favourite live-action show), which Deadly Premonition is based onÖ

I wasnít crazy about this movie the first time I watched it (at least not the bizarre and moderately pornographic second half), but some of the imagery came back to me one day like a year later and I decided I had to watch it again and that I would fucking love it and I did. Those creepy fucking old people!


Star Wars Trilogy
Dirs. George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquandt

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: One of those Star Wars games.

Itís Star Wars.


Woman of the Sands
Dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Journey (because sand).

Okay, for seriously, this movie is best watched knowing nothing about it. You know nothing about it. Now watch it. Itís SO COMPELLING!


Okay so thatís the first group down! BTW do you like my wallpaper I made up there? I fuck around in Photoshop trying to make these things and I felt as I was making it that it was a massive waste of time and was shit but then it turned out pretty cool in the end and I stare at it a lot. Yeah. Itís got pictures from my top 16 favourite films which include Woman of the Sands and Aguirre from the first group.

#2:

Harakiri
Dir. Masaki Kobayashi



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Uhhhhhh. Fuck. Metal Gear Solid. Because in both the dude has a beard. And Metal Gearís pretty intense.

I fucking love samurai movies so much. This is like the culmination of everything I learned from watching so many of these films, about ronin and the Bushido code of honour Ė its not a good entry point if you havenít watched samurai cinema, but itís arguably the ultimate film in the genre. Itís cunting incredible. Itís a drama, itís very Ďtalkyí, and yet it is somehow the most intense film Iíve ever seen.


Itís a Wonderful Life
Dir. Frank Capra

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Command & Conquer: Generals. Because an angel guides George Bailey kind of like how the player guides tanks in the game.

If you havenít seen this classic (which plays every Christmas), watch it, ya idiot. Itís easily the best Christmas movie ever and instantly became a staple of my Xmas Eve when I finally watched it a couple Christmases ago. Itís also easily the best thing Classical Hollywoodís ever done, and easily the best a lot of other things I could come up with too. Itís sentimental, a tearjerker, but donít underestimate its effectiveness.


Kill Bill
Dir. Quentin Tarantino

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Red Steel 2. Cause itís a mix of Western and Eastern influences. Yeah! I thought about that one for a bit! Can you tell?

I havenít watched it in a while, but a few years back I was completely obsessed with this film Ė Iíd watch it like once a week for a while. I donít think thereís a not-great scene in the whole thing. Vol. 2 is particularly awesome. You know.


Lawrence of Arabia
Dir. David Lean

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Uncharted 3. Cause theyíre both about T.E. Lawrence. And one of the wankers in the game references the film.

The epic of all epics. Just try to watch it and tell me camels arenít the best!


Paris, Texas
Dir. Wim Wenders

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: No More Heroes 2. You see, Suda referenced this once when asked what his favourite film was. And, there are a few things in the No More Heroes games that can be seen as sort of homages to Paris, Texas. Travisí name; Sylviaís accent. But especially in Desperate Struggle, that sort of phone sex bit through the two-way glass Ė itís a concept this film invented. It should be noted however, that NMH2 is not a slow and quiet film about heartbreak.

This is my favourite portrait of the U.S. This might have something to do with the fact that it was made by a German.


Seven Samurai
Dir. Akira Kurosawa

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Way of the Samurai 4. Cause they both got samurai. Although WOTS is extremely silly. I mostly just wanted to mention it because I played 30+ hours of the thing and itís one of my favourite games of the year.

To me the appeal of Seven Samurai is its ability to transport and endear me to a time and a place better than any other film. I sincerely love those characters.


Stroszek
Dir. Werner Herzog



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Dishonoured. Because Stroszek is the movie Iím writing about now, just as Dishonoured is the game Iím playing now (not literally).

Stroszek is my second favourite Herzog film, and itís probably his film that I feel most effectively or with the greatest balance captures that juxtaposition of gloom and absurdist humour I was talking about. Also, Bruno S. and the (actually) crazy old guy who played the scribe are back after Kaspar Hauser and even better. Also, the ending is THE best thing ever.


Thatís it for the second group. Now the #1s! These movies are all ones I will happily call my favourite movie of all time. For reals. These movies are the shit. My the shit. Are you excited? Iím not. Cause itís almost 3:30am. And I can sense my writing getting less sensible and I keep having to fix noticing weird mistakes. Also, Jesus balls this is getting long. Iíll have to finish later.

[later]

#1:

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Dir. Sergio Leone

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Red Dead Redemption. Obviously.

This is simply one of the most thoroughly stylish and enjoyable and perfect movies ever. Recommended for everyone, forever.


The Happiness of the Katakuris
Dir. Takashi Miike



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Ummmm, Katamari Damacy because itís kind of crazy and thereís some music in it.

This movie, which I have only seen once, is literally the most entertaining anything I have ever seen. Itís a horror-musical-comedy (with some Claymation to boot) about a Japanese family that opens an inn, but whoís guests keep dying on them. When they discover the first guest dead, that scene blew my mind. I was very literally screaming with delight and disbelief at what I was seeing Ė at the energy of it. As I continued to do for most of the rest of this film. Holy hell itís entertaining.

So if you like the kinds of crazy Japanese videogames I like, then this is my highest movie recommendation. Also, one of the actors kind of looks a little like Suda51.


Heart of Glass
Dir. Werner Herzog



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Uhhhhh, Majoraís Mask because there are chickens in it, while, in the movie, thereís a duck that looks kind of like a chicken at one point.

So, the story is this: the foreman of the local glassworks in a small 18th century Bavarian village dies, and with him the secret of their famous ďRuby glassĒ. Unable to continue making the red glass, the entire town falls into a collective madness. Yes. A seer predicts their doom but none listen. The dialogue is equally baffling and amazing:

-ďI want the Ruby again. I want the red glass, understand? I need a glass to contain my blood, or it will trickle away. The sun is hurting me.Ē
-ďYou will never see the sun again. Rats will bite your ear lobes.Ē

If that quote doesnít explain why Herzog is my favourite filmmaker, I donít know what will. Maybe this: this is a movie for which Herzog had all of his actors (save the seer and the glassblowers) act under hypnosis. Their movements are jerky and unpredictable. The result is an atmosphere quite unlike anything else Iíve ever seen: of trance and sleepwalking. By the end of it, I feel that I too am in something of a trance. And the more I think about it, the more I think this is my single favourite film, if I have to choose. I can watch it as a comedy, or completely seriously, or halfway between and regardless I always adore it.


The Human Condition
Dir. Masaki Kobayashi

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Medal of Honour: Heroes 2. Iím not sure why I choose that one specifically, since literally the only connection is they both take place in WWII.

Iím slightly embarrassed about having a movie called ďThe Human ConditionĒ here, because I always associate that term with Jim Sterling making fun of pretentiousness. Itís totally not a pretentious movie though! It is the greatest war film Ė the most powerful cinematic anti-war statement! It is ten hours long but itís length is necessary Ė the character development is unprecedented, and the degree to which you grow attached to Kaji (Tatsuya Nakadai, who will become your favourite actor after you watch this) after spending so much time with him is a big part of what makes the final third of the film the most incredible piece of cinema Iíve ever witnessed. Heart of Glass is my #1 today, but Human Condition was my #1 yesterday (so you can understand why Iím doing this alphabetically hereÖ).

Ikiru
Dir. Akira Kurosawa

Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: God, I donít even care any more. Kirby. Because both are Japanese.

This is the very best tearjerker type movie on this list. But I said I wasnít going to focus on those. So Iíll leave it at that. But it is fucking incredible.


Ran
Dir. Akira Kurosawa



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Wahhhh. I donít know! Halo, cause they carry flags of a certain colour so you know what side theyíre on.

This is the very best of the best of Akira Kurosawa Ė my 2nd favourite director. Itís justÖ perfect and incredible. Itís an epic about madness Ė Shakespeareís King Lear reimagined and surely bettered in feudal Japan. There is nothing I donít love about this film.


Unforgiven
Dir. Clint Eastwood



Video-game it is(nít actually) similar to: Ah, fuck it. None! There doesnít have to be! Videogames are and can be great for completely different reasons than movies. Comparing them can be good when the comparison is apt, but just comparing them all the time is pointless. And further, itís a waste of a videogameís potential if it just seeks to emulate movies. ÖAw, shucks, what a valuable lesson weíve all just learnt! :) Ö>_>

So, this is a great movie to watch after youíve seen The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and other such movies. They set your expectations. Clint Eastwoodís character, older now, recalls stories that you can easily imagine in those films. But when I reached a key scene in Unforgiven, I was completely blown away by how different in tone it turned out to be. And ultimately I ended up liking it just as much as tGtBatU, finding it just as perfect, but in a completely opposite way. I consider them now companion pieces.


And thatís all! Hopefully this wasnít too badly a regurgitation of what I wrote on my IMDb list (which is way longer). And hopefully Iíve piqued someoneís interest on a few weird-ass movies.

And feel free to recommend me some movies I guess, if you want. Occams recommended me ďVisitor QĒ a while ago which is now the most disturbed thing Iíve yet seen.

Anyways, I won't have reason any more to post about not-videogames for a while now.

Comments?!

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2:09 PM on 09.22.2012  

The Top 25 All-Time Best Wii Games (#5-1)

Here we go! FinallyÖ My top 5 favourite games on the Wii console! The best of the best! The cream of the crop! The something of the something else not quite as good as the something but still amazing!

These are some fantastic games, guys. If you havenít played them, wellÖ I recommend them! Extra strongly! These are my 10/10s, on the Dtoid scale. Theyíre some of my very favourite games of all time. I love them so much!

Dramatic reveal time! Okay, itís not that dramatic, since three of them are listed in my sidebar, and the other two are just, obvious, since they havenít come up yetÖÖ

EXCITEMENT!


#5! The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword



Twilight Princess made this list, and itís certainly a fantastic game, but Skyward Sword blows it away. While itís not quite as good as Ocarina of Time, Majoraís Mask, or The Wind Waker, all in my top 10 favourite games of all time, which establish the 3D Zelda series as my favourite gaming series of all timeÖ Iíd put it in the same league as those. In some ways itís better than those games. The amount of personality, humour, and charm this game exudes is pretty much above anything else Nintendoís ever done.

Beyond that, the motion controls are excellent and the game remains the only game, besides Red Steel 2, to truly deliver on the potential of the Wii Motion+. Itís great. The art style is fantastic, and the gameís world is beautifully realized (if a bit less cohesive than in past games). The dungeons are some of the best, and there are tons of great little sidequests and NPC interactions to experience between dungeons. The balance of main quest, dungeons, and sidequests is pretty much ideal for me. The game is a massive 60 hours in length, if you do all the sidequests and stuff, and the quality of entertainment sustained over such a time is practically unheard of.

But what really matters is this: when I first started playing Skyward Sword, I felt it. I felt that magic I felt when I first started playing The Wind Waker, or, as a kid, the N64 games before it. Thereís something special and amazing about exploring the worlds of these games and interacting with their NPCs. And Skyward Sword has it.


#4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl



Nearly ten years later, (having never owned Melee) I was still bringing out Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64 when I needed a game to play with friends. When Brawl came out, the 64 game was finally one-upped. Sadly, when weíre in the mood for a shooter, despite the prevalence of shooters this generation, I still revert to Nightfire and TimeSplitters 2. As far as de facto, go-to, never-gets-old party games, for me this console generation has produced only Brawl. But what a de facto, go-to, never-gets-old party game it is!

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is by a wide margin my most played Wii game, having logged over 200 hours into it. And, though the PS3 doesnít keep track of this stuff and I have no idea how much time Iíve spent in the level creator in LittleBigPlanet, itís a strong contender for my most played game on any console this generation. I remember when I got the game, I think it was March Break, and I seem to recall the basement was being renovated or something and I had a little old TV temporarily set up in my room to play it onÖ I played more Wii that week than I had since the first day I got my Wii Ė actually more. Apparently, those first four days with the game, I played between nine-and-a-half and fourteen-and-a-half hours a day Ė and Iím sure I havenít played any game that much at once since. I was beyond addicted to it, and Iíve had every character unlocked, and all the trophies and stuff that werenít totally impossible for so long now, I hardly remember all that stuff. Now I mostly just play regular brawls with friends. Indeed, still, four years later, I bring it out as the go-to game to play with friends, as Iím sure I will continue to do, at least until the next Smash Bros. on WiiU.

Itís such a love-letter to so many Nintendo franchises (I found myself wanting to play all the games I hadnít yet that all the characters came from, just to see these characters, whoíre so well and appealingly presented here, on their own adventures) and thereís so much content crammed into every corner of the game, and the core mechanic just remains so very enjoyable. Brawl is the complete package, itís pretty much perfect, and frankly, I donít think thereís ever been a better party game.


#3. No More Heroes



I love No More Heroes so much. Iím hard-pressed to name a game as brimming with personality as this one. Travis Touchdown is easily my favourite videogame character of all-time. Heís hilarious, and playing as him both makes you feel like a complete badass, and a total dork and pervert. Heís amazing. This game also started my love affair with Suda51, which led to my discovery of Killer7, etc.; so many good games. But NMH remains, aside from Killer7, easily the best among them. Itís so good.

Sure, the open world aspect is kind of bland, and I wouldnít want to look for all those ďLovikov BallsĒ and t-shirts again (luckily, you keep all that stuff on subsequent playthroughs), but still I found myself addicted to it when I first played it, to a degree few games achieve. I loved running around, trying to buy all the katana upgrades and clothing and shit. And the mini-games, like lawn-mowing, are awesome. Itís awesome that lawn-mowing is even a thing. But of course, itís the main assassination missions that are the best part. The control scheme, which uses the A button to slash, and then a single waggle of the Wii remote for a finishing moveÖ is the most fun thing ever. And when I waggle the remote to cut a guys head off, and like, six guys standing right next to him also get decapitated, their heads being launched into the air by the literal geysers of ultra-stylized cartoon blood shooting from between their shouldersÖ itís the most satisfying thing ever. I remember being infinitely amused by the idea that you could cut guys in half the long way. Yeah. This game has the best murder in videogames.

But oh my god the boss fights! Theyíre all ten of them given so much personality, theyíre such unique characters; theyíre so bloody memorable. The cutscenes that introduce them are some of my favourite cutscenes in any game Ė I remember Iíd watch them more on YouTube afterwards; theyíre just so good. Again with these bosses, itís that mix of badassness and total ridiculous hilarity.

But thereís another layer to No More Heroes, as a satire, wherein Travis is a metaphor for the gamer, the world is bland to him, except for the few stores he frequents (as we experience the open world), and he has to do boring jobs (like lawn-mowing) to make money to do the one thing he really loves: gaming (killing people). Itís surprisingly easy to accept this understanding of it, and once you get it, you canít get it out of your head. Itís all executed so well and itís really brilliant. And Iíd say, if any game deserves the title of ďart-gameĒ, No More Heroes does. Just donít think that means it isnít fun to play, because, at its peak, I think itís the most fun game Iíve ever played.


#2. Little Kingís Story



It breaks my heart to think that Cing filed for bankruptcy after making easily the best original Wii game, period. It doesnít help, how utterly endeared and emotionally attached to the gameís world I feel. Let me just, for a second, boot it up and watch that opening clip that always playsÖ ďAnd so somehow, in some such way, the boy was no longer Ė lonely.Ē Wahhh I love this game so much! The way the music swells! I know a lot of the music is public domain stuff, but itís so effective! And gosh, the art style. And now Iím flashing to the ending, which is so beautifully executed. Argh! Everything about Yoshiro Kimuraís game here, from the character and enemy design to the cutscenes to the world to theÖ Ė everything Ė itís all so thoroughly lovingly crafted. From start to finish, itís a completely first-class gaming experience.

The gameplay borrows that faux-RTS style from Pikmin that I mentioned earlier how much I adore. Except LKS does it its own way, and itís kind of better in every way. Your followers start off as ďlazy adultsĒ, and you have to assign them to different classes. Unlike in Pikmin, there are a huge variety of classes, and theyíre all palpably different, and you need to be strategic about who you take with you. Itís fantastic. And you know how you feel guilty when you let a Pikmin die? Think of that times a thousand. Your followers have names, they can get married, have children, and when even a single one dies, you may actually see your followers holding a funeral for the deceased the next morning. The game is cartoony and looks sort of childish, but underneath the surface, it can be very dark, bleak even, both in terms of stuff like this, and thematically, as itís about war and global domination, with hints of genocide. It feels like a throwback, to when childrenís stories could have this sort of edge Ė when they were profoundly affecting Ė instead of just so fucking sterile all the time.

Anyways, from the moment you defeat the first mini-boss, a skull-cow, and your followers throw a festival to celebrate the victory, all wearing skull-cow masksÖ thereís never any doubt, youíre in for something special with this game. But how special, you still wonít be prepared for. The game is 50+ hours of perfection. The slow evolution from living in a tiny shack, sending a couple lazy followers to pick some turnips, to reigning over a huge kingdom and leading an enormous army of followers all at onceÖ itís executed perfectly. The main boss fights are easily some of the most well-crafted, unique, and fun boss fights Iíve ever played in any game Ė ďTV DinnahĒ is a strong contender for my favourite boss fight ever, period Ė and they have a ton of personality to boot, being introduced in some of the most creative cutscenes ever.

I could keep going! Thereís so much about the game I havenít mentioned! But I need to try to sum it up now. Thatís hard to do! The game is astonishingly deep, challenging, creative, inspired, delightful, endearing, and fun. There are so many surprises in store for you when you play it, around every corner; I donít want to spoil them. Just play it! I know thereís a Vita version coming out, but it kind of looks like the exact same game, reskinned with a more generic art-style, which Kimura and folks have had no involvement in. If you can, play the Wii version. Please! Games like this certainly donít come out every year Ė and there may well be nothing like it ever again.


and finallyÖ

my #1 favourite game on the WiiÖ

isÖ

*drumroll*

#1! Ōkami



Heh, hereís where I feel a bit guilty about my weird rule about ports on this list. It just seems wrong to have a PS2 port in the number one spot. But the Wii version is what I played, and it remains my favourite game on the system. If you have a problem with that (punk!), feel free to consider Little Kingís Story as taking its rightful title of ďBest Wii GameĒ. Itís pretty much just as good, and in a way, itís kind of similar to Ōkami. I mean, theyíre both that very rare and special kind of game: They seem so very lovingly crafted, and, despite their being very niche and doomed to low sales and obscurity, everything about their production screams triple-A. Theyíre both 50+ hours of pure gaming bliss. Furthermore, they both offer their unique takes on formulas from Nintendo franchises Ė Ōkami is to The Legend of Zelda what LKS is to Pikmin Ė and somehow outdo the Nintendo games. The Legend of Zelda is my favourite videogame series, and while itís a close call for me to select a preference between my favourite Zelda entry, The Wind Waker, and Ōkami, I tend to pick Ōkami.

The towns arenít quite as fun to explore, and itís not quite as voraciously fun as The Wind Waker, but in its own way, Ōkami is even more brilliant. Where to start? Okay, I suppose Iíll start with the most immediately striking thing in the game: the visuals. I consider Ōkami the single most visually beautiful game ever made Ė it doesnít matter that itís decidedly last gen (although the upcoming HD version could look amazing) Ė the art direction is incredible. The cel-shaded visuals, the way trees and stuff are 2D, the way mountains are drawn into the background Ė at all points this game looks like a watercolour, or rather, a Ďsumi-eí painting come to life. Itís astonishing. And this traditional Japanese style of art is complemented by a traditional Japanese style of music, which is also fantastic.

The gameplay is all around fantastic. Being in or out of dungeons is less black-and-white than in the Zelda series Ė more organic Ė and on account of that I enjoy Ōkamiís Ďdungeonsí more. The unique ďCelestial BrushĒ mechanic is a stroke (ugh) of genius. Every time you learn a new brush technique, there are tons of ways you can make use of it, and there are plenty of things youíll have encountered in the game world that youíll realise you couldnít do anything with until now. Itís handled so well. The game is also massive, and when you think youíve fought the final boss, youíll realise youíve only explored one third of what this game has to offer. Brand new, beautiful and unique areas open up to you even many dozens of hours into the game, with brand new enemy types and everything. It doesnít run out of steam or grow repetitive. If you like the game, itís the gift that keeps on giving.

This is also a very funny game, full of memorable characters with tons of personality. And just as it can be light-hearted and silly, the game can also be epic and beautiful. Itís just, all around, one of the best, most lovingly made games ever made. Itís my favourite game on the Wii, and Iíve often considered it my favourite game of all time. I canít really recommend it more highly than that.



And with that I finally wrap up this ridiculous feature I got myself into! And so now, Iíd love to hear from you (yes YOU). What do you think of my choices for best Wii games? What are some of your biggest favourites that I didnít include on the list? And have I by chance actually convinced anyone to play any of these games?

Write me comments!


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8:48 PM on 09.14.2012  

The Top 25 All-Time Best Wii Games (#10-6)

Nintendo has just announced the pricing and release date of the Wii U. Itís like, two months away! In the meantime, Iím counting down my very favourite games for the original Wii, that I played over the last six (!!!) years. Iím now into the top 10!

These games are so good I ended up writing, like, twice as much for them as for the previous games. I expect at least twice as many comments! :p


#10! The House of the Dead: Overkill



With how rarely I feel the need to replay games, and how much rarer still that I actually do replay games, itís kind of refreshing to me that immediately after I finished playing The House of the Dead: Overkill, I wanted nothing more than to play it again. And I did. And again and again. And again with a friend. The game is two hours long, sure, and the ďDirectorís CutĒ version you unlock after the first time you beat the game and the gameís general arcadey nature all make clear that youíre supposed to play it over and over. But god was I happy to oblige. In a lot of ways, playing this game over and over is like watching over and over a movie I really love. Itís the right length, itís not taxing to play or anything, and I just canít get enough of the ridiculous characters.

Itís styled after campy exploitation-type films, and in a lot of ways itís quite similar to the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse movies Ė which Iím a fan ofÖ but this is way better. Itís so fucking stupid and hilarious. I could just watch the part where Washington and Agent G are in the ice cream truck over and over. The awkward animations are so good. And I donít think Iíll ever tire of the prison wardenís delivery of the line ďYou two gentlemen smell like shitĒ. Make no mistake. This is a great and very satisfying rails shooter. But the characters and writing and stuff are what push it over the top. Way over the top.


#9. Donkey Kong Country Returns



DKCR is my favourite 2D platformer ever, as a 2D platformer. Yeah, I like LittleBigPlanet and some other games more, but they have other things going for them, like the user-made content, or whatever. As a pure 2D platforming experience, to me, DKCR is unrivalled Ė by the Mario games, orÖ anything. Granted, I was never a huge fan of the original Super Mario Bros. games, but still! DKCR is ridiculously good. Iíll describe a short sequence: where your mine cart suddenly finds itself on top of a giant egg, rolling at a hundred miles per hour, and youíre jumping over enemies, but then there are huge spikes in the ground that make holes in the egg so you suddenly fall into one of the holes and now have to jump over the spikes from inside the egg, as well as the holes that come back around from earlier spikes, while the egg ultimately gets completely destroyed. All this happens in less than twenty seconds, but it was so mind-blowingly exhilarating and hectic that Iíve never forgotten about it.

This is a very challenging game, but as far as ultra-difficult games go, it is for me unrivalled in this category as well. Never have I been so satisfied with such a level of challenge in a reflex-based game before. Every single jump you must make, every enemy you must deal with, especially in the mine cart sequences, is so precisely timed Ė the game has such rhythm to it Ė that itís never frustrating, I always feel Iím improving with each try, even when it takes me many many tries. Itís so satisfying to finally pull through on a sequence that was giving you trouble, and itís even more satisfying to miraculously get through a particularly hectic sequence on your first try Ė completely on the edge of your seat, trying to keep up your momentum. I feel like this game is kind of the pinnacle of 2D game and level design.


#8. Endless Ocean



I remember saying somewhere, if Endless Ocean was a nature documentary, it would be narrated by David Attenborough. Itís that good. This is a game with no element of danger, nothing like thatÖ you swim around and pet fish to add their information to your logs. You explore shipwrecks and ruins as well as natural formations like caves and coves. And for the most part, thatís it. Itís a game about leisurely exploration and itís completely enthralling. When you chance upon a particularly impressive specimen, like, say, a shark or a whale, thereís a sense of awe. One of my most memorable gaming experiences was exploring the deep dark abyss area in the game, and seeing a sperm whale emerge suddenly from the darkness, only a few yards away. At the bottom, thereís a ridiculously creepy shark. I remember also exploring this area with my friend, who I played this game online with a couple of times. Come to think of it, it may be my most played Wii online game, hilariously enough. We could only really communicate with our magic water pens, and some pre-set commands, but I kind of liked it, because if we were really Scuba diving, we wouldnít be able to talk to each other either. It was fun.

Anyway, there was a sequel to Endless Ocean that tried to address complaints about the lack of challenge, but I think it failed. You had a time limit on dives now, which I thought was a colossal mistake, and also there was some contrived danger where fish now got aggressive and you had to tranquilize them. It didnít work. Also, they made the encounters with huge whales and stuff happen all the time, and with more than one at a time, and it just made the encounters less special. But gosh how many wonderful hours I had exploring the original Endless Ocean. A beautiful game! Iíd love to see another instalment on the Wii U, because if any game begs for HD and photorealism, this does.


#7. New Play Control! Pikmin



The rules for this list are a little weird. Itís a list of my favourite experiences on the WiiÖ as I experienced them on the WiiÖ I canít list Pikmin 2 here, because even though itís awesome and I bought it for the Wii, I played it first on Gamecube and havenít really played the Wii version at all. But even though itís a port, I can totally include New Play Control Pikmin 1, and not even take into account the fact that itís a port in my ranking. Yeah I make up the rules here Ė deal with them! Anyways, I actually prefer the first Pikmin to Pikmin 2. Itís got way less content, but then Pikmin 2 had all that below-ground stuff which isnít as good as the above-ground stuff, and, as much as I love the multiple-character mechanic in 2, thereís something about the original game, presentation-wise, with Olimar stranded alone on the planet trying to rebuild his ship, thatís just so extra memorable and special and that I really love. Theyíre both incredible, must-play games, but the original has the edge over 2, for my tastes.

Anyway, Pikmin invented a wholly original gameplay style which has been borrowed to great effect in a tiny handful of other games since, and which I personally just canít get enough of. If you can call it a genre (I refer to them as Pikmin-style Ďfauxí-RTS games), then itís probably my favourite genre. Itís absolutely sublime, and still, though some games borrow the gameplay style, none are quite like Pikmin. Itís still something unique and special and itís one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played. And the ďNew Play ControlsĒ are perfect.


#6. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon



This game is beautiful, visually and thematically. The theme of Fragile is loneliness, and itís executed brilliantly. And I donít think Iíve ever seen a prettier sky in a game (itís such a good sky!)Ö Fragile is a game that requires patience Ė itís certainly not the most polished game around, and it can be incredibly slow-paced, but if youíre open to its ideasÖ god, I love this game so much. One of the gameís features is the presence of collectible Ďmemory-itemsí, scattered throughout the gameís levels, all with little sad stories attached to them Ė and itís a brilliant device for setting the gameís mood. And then, as you run through and explore the environments on this abandoned Earth, your flashlight subtlely bringing out the beauty in the World, and as you interact with your current companion, always pretextually, for they are only ever ghosts or robotsÖ there is never any question about Setoís quiet struggle.

I enjoy the combat well enough for the most part, but itís the exploration, and the gameís pervading mood that makes being in the world so compelling, that are really what make the game great. The story and characters too, are quite memorable, and the climax wonít disappoint. Itís a thoroughly incredible game, and one definitely not like any other. Itís most certainly not for everybody, but for me, itís one of the ultimate examples of this kind of Ďspecialí gaming experience that I play as many video games as I do in the hopes of chancing upon.



And thatís all for now. Only one post left to go! Are you excited?!?!


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