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1:23 PM on 03.04.2013  

Gaming and Emotion: Dem Feels

When I first started playing video games, it was just a way for me to pass the time, and enjoy myself. As I grew older it became more than that, I started falling in love with characters, being a part of amazing, well written stories, and it just became a passion with a neverending thirst for more, and more of that feeling of emotion. Now, I'm not talking about the anger that you feel towards your friends when they triple team you at Mario Party because you're destroying them, nor the feeling of happiness when you've finally conquered that challenge that took you ages. No, for me, this is something much more than that.

I guess I should start from the beginning. One of the first games I recall having this effect on me would be Final Fantasy X. At first, Tidus was this annoying, whiny little wimp that I absolutely despised. As the game wore on, I found myself liking him more and more, and with the addition of Yuna, Rikku and the entire cast, I just fell in love with the characters. So by the time I had beaten the game and the ending rolled around, tears rolled down my cheeks like rain down a storm drain. At the time, I was surprised (and also a little confused) at myself.. How could a simple video game invoke this much emotion from me? And why did it feel so bad, but feel so -good-?

I had to have more. I craved it. That feeling of raw uninhibited emotion. So while I was at work one day I noticed that we had a game called Lost Odyssey that had just come in. From what other friends of mine had said and some reviews I had read online, this seemed like a great game to pick up and play. And so I did. And this time I didn't even finish the game before I was hit by emotion. And this time it wasn't just sadness, it was anger. I -HATED- the villain. Not because he was poorly written or made no sense, no, it was because I felt so much anger and hatred and animosity towards him that he just needed to die. And so the last half of the game was spent powering my way through in the hopes that I would finally get to brutally murder this villainous, heinous character. And when I finally did, it felt... surprisingly good.

And this didn't just apply to video games either. I just recently finished two anime series: Angel Beats, and Sword Art Online. And my god. By the end of the former, I had used up two and a half boxes of Kleenex. And by the end of the latter, I was just a jumbled mess of eight thousand different emotions. But the bottom line was regardless of how I felt... it felt good.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is sometimes (at least for me) I like to have that emotion invoked out of me. I find that if something, whether it be a book, a video game, or an anime can pull that kind of emotion out of you, then I can truly consider it one of the best of it's craft. And for that, games like Final Fantasy X, Lost Odyssey.. Anime like Angel Beats and Sword Art Online, they all have a special place in my heart, along with all others of their craft.

What about you guys? What games/shows/books have done this to you? Do you enjoy having the feels pulled out of you?

- Grimstar   read


10:14 PM on 08.08.2011  

Collecting: A Passion

Hello Destructoid,

It's been quite a while since my last blog. Life took control for the most part, being busy with work and other side projects made it hard to get a chance to blog. This is something I've been wanting to write for a while now, and I've finally had the time to get to it, and a better time couldn't have been chosen!

WIth that said, I wanted to talk a bit about my experiences with collecting, and post a bit of my collection. It's not very large, but I'm very proud of what I have, and I'm very proud to say that I've played most of the games that I'll be posting here.

Gaming has been a hobby of mine since I was a young child. And though until I was 16 I only considered it a form of entertainment, now it is much more to me. And it wasn't until a chance encounter with an old friend that I started learning more about the games I loved, and about games I'd never even heard of.

It all started back a few years ago, when I was working in the Gaming department at my local Best Buy. I'd been there a year and a half, and it was a way to pay the bills and eat, so I didn't complain to much (plus the staff discount was ok). I'd just come in for a shift, and looking in the manager's office, I see none other than our very own Funktastic sitting in on a training session. It had been a while since I'd last seen him, Funky and I go quite a ways back.. to Junior High. Those were the days, when I'd offer him Oreos for his Magic: The Gathering cards, and we had good times. Sadly, we didn't end up going to the same High School so we lost contact for a long time. Anyway, over the next few months, we started catching up, and I eventually found out that Funky was an avid collector of games, and he'd shown me his "setup". I was immediately envious, but I was also very intrigued. I eventually got to go see the collection in person a while later, and let me tell you it is one of the single greatest things I had ever seen. I started asking a lot of questions, there were so many things I'd never seen before, and things I'd never even have hoped to see in my lifetime. It was then that a seed had been planted in my mind, that one day I would hope to own some of those games.

During my time at Best Buy with Funky, I learned a lot about the Super Nintendo, N64, PSX, PS2, and all the games that go with them. I even learned a bit about a lot of the Sega consoles, which I had no previous experience with (minus a bit with the Dreamcast). I actually started checking out Kijiji and Craigslist for things that I thought might help increase his collection, and through that we started talking about pricing and values and he helped me get an idea of what to pay, and what things were actually worth. I credit him for a lot of my knowledge, and I also credit him for giving me the fire and desire to keep on gaming and collecting.

Funky actually ended up selling me my "first" game to help me get started. He had a spare cartridge copy of Secret of Mana, and we talked a lot about the game, and I had a huge desire to play it. $20 later, I had a new game, and I spent countless hours playing it. It was, and still is one of the best games I've ever played, and it was the game that put a burning desire to find more games which I could enjoy and love like I did Secret of Mana. OgreBattle is my favorite series of all time, so I started asking him about some of the games besides OgreBattle 64, and I found out about all the other OgreBattle games, which I immediately started searching for.

Every day I would check out Kijiji, Craigslist and other websites for some good deals, and rare games. I've found quite a bit through there, and I've also found some nice stuff for Funk once in a while, helping him out with his collection is something that I'm very proud of being able to contribute to. He has also done the same for me, and I appreciate that very much. He's taught me that patience is extremely important, a lot of video game vendors that mark their stuff up like to take advantage of 'desperate' people. If not for that advice, I probably would have spent way too much for games I shouldn't have.

Here's a little bit of my collection, I may post a Photobucket link at some point in the future for the whole thing. This is just some of the stuff that I enjoy the most :)



The Tales series is fantastic. One of the best I've ever played. Here, we have a complete in box copy of Tales of Phantasia, three copies (2 sealed) of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Tales of Rebirth (imported from Japan), Tales of Destiny, Tales of Destiny II, Tales of the Abyss, and Tales of Symphonia. Not shown here, I just recently picked up copies of Tales of Vesperia, as well as Tales of Legendia. The only two Tales games I'm missing (to my knowledge) are Tales of the New World: Radiant Mythology, and Tales of Eternia.



Moving on, we have the Persona series. Revelations: Persona, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Persona 3 Portable, Persona 3: FES (sealed), Persona 4, and Persona PSP. I'm hoping to round out the collection when Persona 2: Innocent Sin comes out on PSP in the future.



Lunar: Silver Star Story on the original Playstation. Another fantastic game, which leads me to..



Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, complete with everything! I was pretty excited when I found this, I actually got both Lunar games together at a very fair price.



Some of my favorite Playstation games. Vandal Hearts, Vagrant Story, Xenogears, Suikoden, Chrono Cross, Parasite Eve, Brigandine: The Legend of Forsea, Legend of Mana, and Megaman Legends.



Lastly, my Ogre Battle collection. Ogre Battle is hands down my favorite series of all time. I absolutely love it, and have been endeavoring to find each game, complete in box/case, including the one not released in North America. Here we have Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen on the Super Nintendo, both a Complete and cartridge only Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis, Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Calibur, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen on PSX, Tactics Ogre, and both the regular and European special edition (which is sealed) of Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together. This brings me to my next picture:



This is the Ogre Battle not released in North America. I believe it's called Tactics Ogre: Legend of the Zenobian Prince, and it's for the Neo Geo Pocket. It's complete in box, and I would have paid about 25 dollars for it, if Funktastic didn't buy it first and surprise me with it later, after I was feeling down about not being able to buy it. Thanks, buddy!

Lastly, I'd like to finish with (in my opinion) my greatest find. I've been searching for this for so long, ever since I've heard of it's existence. I found it yesterday while at a convention out of town, and I couldn't believe my eyes..



A complete copy of Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen on Super Nintendo, with the manual, as well as the two "posters" which are weapon/armor/item lists, and a class/monster list respectively. I think I needed to change my pants about three times in the first hour I held this in my hands. After finally finding this, I can complete my collection with a complete copy of Ogre Battle 64. This is definitely my new favorite piece in my collection, I'm extremely happy to have it!

Six years ago, I probably couldn't have told you anything about any of the games I own today, nor would I have played them. Thankfully, that isn't the case, but because of this newfound passion for collecting, I have had the chance to play some of the best games ever made, as well as the chance to share these games with my friends, and the chance to play gems that I've never even heard of is an honor, and a priveledge. So, before I post my collection, I'd like to thank first and foremost Funktastic, for his help and support in finding some of these games, and his patience with my stupid questions and impatience. I would also like to thank my friends Chris and Dan, who have also helped me track down a lot of games, their knowledge and awesomeness has been very helpful, and also my friend Heather for being super awesome and letting me borrow some of her rare gems to give me a taste of how awesome they were, much appreciated! I'd also like to thank the rest my friends for giving me someone to play with, because it's always better to share the love with others, and the memories of kicking ass/getting my ass kicked at games are the best in my mind. Without all of these people, I would probably never have started doing this in the first place.   read


8:30 PM on 04.09.2011  

Aaamaazing: Did that just happen?!

This month's monthly musing has really given me a lot of food for thought. There are lot of games I've played over the years that I could say have truly and definitively taken my breath away. OgreBattle 64, for instance, with it's unique gameplay style, branching storyline, and great character development. Or Super Mario Kart, with it's stunning yet simple gameplay amounted to hours upon hours of racing goodness, and where the asskickery handed out by my mother to every single person who tried to end her reign of terror as Koopa Troopa was so enormous that to this day she remains undefeated.

But sadly, there can only be one, and indeed there is only one game that stands out above the rest in my mind...



It all goes back to my High School days. My friends and I would argue for hours upon end about which Final Fantasy was the best. Generally the unanimous decision was FF7, and at the time I was inclined to agree with them. I had enjoyed the game thoroughly, and I had preferred more of the characters in that game as opposed to Final Fantasy 8 (which I still enjoyed). Any arguments I had towards FFIX however, was met with laughter, as if it were a joke.

Anyhow, at this point, the only "older" Final Fantasy games I had played were Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II, which I enjoyed, but not as much as their PSX counterparts. How could we argue about this, if we haven't even played half of the titles yet, I wondered. None of us had played Final Fantasy III, IV, V, or VI, and my friends did not like X or X-2, we were effectively missing out on a whole other generation of games!

I eventually started checking around the farmer's markets, online, wherever I could get my hands on some of these games, and the first one I ended up finding was Final Fantasy III. This was a week or two after our final exams ended, so I had an entire summer to soak in and enjoy what I thought was going to be an enjoyable experience. Turns out, I got a lot more than what I bargained for.

From the get-go, the game got me hooked. I pretty much was instantly emotionally hooked on Terra. Her circumstances and what had happened to her made me pretty sad. And then as more and more characters joined, the more and more I loved the game. There was not a single party member in that game that I did not like. Not only that, but everything that I did in the game, just felt right. Emperor Gestahl just sounded like one evil bugger, I instantly hated him. I wanted to mess up his plans pretty much any way I could, and everything I did just was one more thing to interfere with his evil plot.

And then when you add in the hilarity of his Lieutenant Kefka, and the awesome comedy of reoccuring Octopus Villain Ultros, the game was turning out to be AWESOME!

And then finally, when you confront that evil bastard on top of the floating continent, that, my friends, is the biggest 'WOW' moment in any game for me.

After finally making it to the top, your party sees Emperor Gestahl and his Lieutenant Kefka standing near three statues, or the 'Warring Triad'. Gestahl plans to use the power of the Triad in order to rule the world. When your party approaches the Emperor and his right hand man, Gestahl uses the power of the Triad to paralyze your entire party, save for Celes, a former Imperial General. Gestahl hands Celes a sword and tells her that if she slayed the party right this moment, she could prove her loyalty to the Imperials and take her place at their side. Instead, Celes chooses to stab Kefka, who in turn gets extremely angry and begins to activate the 'true power' of the Warring Triad. At this point, Emperor Gestahl, knowing what would happen if the true power of the Triad were to be unleashed, attacks Kefka in the hopes of stopping him, only to be met with a Lightning Bolt, followed by his corpse being tossed off the continent. Immediately after this, he then moves one of the statues, which essentially causes the world to be destroyed.

Yes... destroyed.

At this moment, it took me probably 15 minutes to realize what the hell just happened. Going through the game, thinking that Gestahl was the bad guy, he was the one that we were supposed to stop. Everything we did, was supposed to be to stop him from ruling the world, or what is now left of it. Playing the PSX games, I was so used to having a definitive bad guy, a definitive evil to stop, there weren't many twists or turns or surprises. You knew who you had to stop, and you stopped him. Not the other way around!

That moment was the biggest twist in a video game I have ever experienced. And to this day remains my favorite video game moment of all time.

The fact that Kefka actually destroyed the world, and was now a God of Magic and the ruler of what was left of the world was just... a brilliant story arc.

Of course, you eventually recover your lost party members, scattered around the ruined continent, and finally prepare yourself for a final assault on Kefka, fighting your way through his last, and most powerful servants, and eventually come face to face with:



Even the final battle with Kefka himself was very well done. Everything from his mad cackling, to Dancing Mad (which is one of the best themes out of any Final Fantasy game) playing in the background, to his quotes, all perfectly complimenting his insane character.

This video is GBA version of the final boss battle with Kefka (in addition to Dancing Mad!):

[embed]198517:37591[/embed]

All in all, Final Fantasy III was the most memorable gaming experience I've ever had, and even though my friends still deny its greatness in favor of FF7, I know the gem of a game that is Final Fantasy III.
And the memories it has brought me that I'll treasure forever.   read


10:29 PM on 03.30.2011  

What does being a gamer mean to you?

I don't know why, but this question has been sitting in my head for the last week. All I could do was think and think and think about it. What does being a gamer mean to me? Why?

Even as I sit here typing this blog, I ponder it over and over in my head, because there are literally hundreds of things that I could say, thousands of examples over the course of my short life, millions of people on Earth that resonate with the aura of a Gamer that possibly share these exact same thoughts.
And yet, as jumbled as the thoughts are in my head, they type out so fluidly that even I don't know what the hell is going on as I see these words appear in front of me.

Passion

There is nothing in this world that I am more passionate about than gaming. It has become a bigger part of my life than I could have ever imagined when I started some odd 16 years ago. When I see gamers, I see passion. It's everywhere! Hell, even last week on Destructoid's front page! None other than Isaiah 'Triforce' Johnson. To him, passion is lining up outside of a Best Buy a week in advance so you can get your 3DS before everybody else. Myself? Passion is screaming bloody murder at the TV because that perfect pass you sent to Funktastic in Super Soccer was all for naught because HE MISSED THE NET! Actually, speaking of Funktastic, I don't know any other person in existance that is more passionate about Super Mario RPG than him. Every time I hear him talk about it, the pride and joy in his voice speak volumes. I feel the exact same way about the Ogre Battle series. I've been looking low and high, in every nook and cranny, every corner of the world trying to grab the Japanese games that don't exist here. That series is my goddamn favorite of all time, and I WILL own them all one day. And I'm sure that every one of you has that one game, that one series that you talk about in the same way.

Even when gamers are arguing with each other, "Consoles are better than PC's", or vice versa, for example, you can see the passion in their arguments. These people give a damn, and they may not agree with your stance, but goddamnit they have passion. No matter if it's a matter of distance or opinion that separates us, the one thing we all have in common is that we are goddamn passionate about what we do, and nothing will ever change that.

And lets not forget the excitement that comes from gaming. Looking back at the time I opened my first ever Nintendo 64, I couldn't believe it. My parents had rented one from the local video store for my sisters and I every so often, and it was my favorite thing in the whole goddamn universe. I wasn't as excited as the infamous Nintendo 64 kid, but boy, was I ever jubilant. And we're not even mentioning the fact that when a new title is announced (Diablo III, anyone?), SHIT HITS THE FAN! There are so many upcoming titles coming out that I'm going to buy, I have no idea how I'll have the time to play them all (God forbid anything stop me from playing them all).

Nostalgia

I know I already kind of went through this on my First Blog Post, but the feeling of nostalgia is just amazing. Going back and playing a game from my younger years brings great joy and memories to my mind. Anything from popular titles like Earthbound or Chrono Trigger, to something not a lot of other people (that I know of, anyway) enjoyed like Re-Volt (awesome N64 RC racer) or Wave Race 64 (Wave Race is the shit man!). Heck, I ordered Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey and Eye of the Beholder a few weeks ago and have been playing the crap out of them.

Heck, as I type now I have an urge to play the original Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, because I want to run around in a loincloth and shoot the shit out of a T-Rex with a goddamn exploding bow and arrow.

Friendship

This aspect is the most important to me. I've met so many different people through gaming, and I've made more friends than I could have ever imagined. Not only have I made many friends IRL through gaming, but online as well. My Real ID friendlist grows, my Steam ID and PSN accounts grow, and it gives me more people from around the world to forge friendships with. Why enjoy a good thing alone when you can do it with friends! Sometimes, some of your most epic gaming moments can come with friends, or in my case, some of the most epic fails:

Playing Left 4 Dead 2, there's a mutation called Last Gnome, in which you cannot complete a level or finale without carrying a lawn gnome into the safe room. We were playing the Parish on Advanced, and had made it to the bridge finale. I think in the end the final time was about 2 hours and 79 deaths, but on our last try, I had the gnome, and I was running and avoiding zombies like I was playing Madden 2011 or something, and me and another friend had made it to the end (we left our other two team-mates to die to preserve ourselves), and I was carrying the gnome into the Helicopter when BAM! Shotgun to my back and I was dead! My friend picked up the gnome, hopped into the helicopter as the sole survivor and that was that. We all had a good laugh for about half an hour, and though I got owned pretty bad, it'll be one of my fondest memories.

Passion, Nostalgia, and Friendship:

I don't really want to what my life would have been like if I didn't get into gaming. There is not a single thing in the world that I would trade for that choice. All the great games that I've played, all the amazing memories and friendships that will stick with me for the rest of my life.. all of it is priceless.

That is what being a gamer means to me. What does it mean to you?   read


12:23 AM on 03.06.2011  

Sakuracon 2011

The date for Sakuracon looms ever closer, and prepping for next month will be a fun adventure. Putting aside thousands of dollars to spend on vidja games, and eating things at the cheesecake cafe across the street from the convention center, and then the lovely Gameworks arcade just as closeby. The 12 hour drive seems like nothing compared to the amount of fun waiting for me there. This will be my second Sakuracon, my first one was last year and now I'm making an attempt to go yearly.

Also, itching to get me some games that I've been wanting for my collection. I'm hoping to find me some March of the Black Queen for SNES as well as PSX, and the original Persona on PSX to complete those series (In English, anyway).

Conventions are always an exciting thing for me, to be able to see people's costumes and the amount of effort (or sadly, the lackthereof) put into them. And meeting new people is always a huge bonus. The majority of the con-goers in Seattle were very friendly, and I talked to a large amount of people, and ended up leaving with many new friends and adventures had (also 2nd place in the Pokemon Tourney, aww yeah), so I'm excited to get away from home for another nice vacation.

And let's face it: Cheesecake Factory + Gameworks/Bar across from the Convention Center + Raves on Friday and Saturday night? I don't think sleep will be had?

Anyone else going to Sakuracon?   read


9:51 PM on 03.02.2011  

Pokemon Giveaway... Part 1!

Hey everyone!

With the release of Pokemon Black and White in a mere 4 days, I've been catching Pokemon fever yet again. As I've stated in a previous blog, my total time from RBY till HG/SS has clocked in over 14,000 hours, and I've collected many many Pokemon over that period of time. Anyway, I popped in all my DS pokemon games to start organizing my boxes and start breeding a few things that I had put off when I realized that goddamnit, I have a LOT of shit. Like.. seriously, boxes and boxes of Pokemon. You name it, I probably have it in a box somewhere. My next thought was Oh god, now I have to start deleting everything when a much better idea popped into my head: Why not give some of these away to the community?

So, here goes nothing:

I have about 60 boxes (meaning roughly 1800+ Pokemon) full of Pokemon that I do not have any need for, and I'd like as many as possible to go to a good home. Whether you need them for breeding, battling, or just for your Pokedex log, please please please take some of these off my hands.

Here's how Part 1 of the giveaway will work:

In the comments section below, please state any non legendary, non event Pokemon you'd like (please don't be greedy, in fact, I'll limit it to 2 Pokemon per person for now) and I'll try and get back to you on whether I have it or not.

If you want a specific nature, you can ask for it and if I have it then it's yours. If you want an item or TM attached to it, you can ask, but please don't ask for Master Balls, Choice Bands, etc. I don't really have any of those to giveaway ><

I don't care what I get in return, you can give me a level 2 Pidgey, it doesn't matter, just give these poor failed rej- i mean great lovely Pokemon a new home!

Once Part 1 is over, I'll PM the appropriate people the proper Friend Codes, and then we can figure out a time to make the trade.

- Grimstar   read


8:31 PM on 02.23.2011  

The Legend of John Stamos

Hello Destructoid!

A lot of you may know the name John Stamos from the old 90's sitcom Full House, where he starred as Uncle Jesse, but what a lot of you may not know is that he is LEGEN- wait for it.... DARY! in the world of turn based tactical RPG's.

Confused? Let me explain.

The Legend of John Stamos: An OgreBattle 64 tale.

It all started a while back, when I was around 13/14 years old. My best friend had found a copy of Ogrebattle 64 in the grass at the local park, and had brought it over to show me. We didn't know what kind of game it was, we assumed it was some sort of side-scrolling fighter where you battled with Ogres. (I mean come on, what else would you assume from the title?) So we ended up popping it into my N64, and thus began our first taste into the world of tactical RPG's. Now, since we were quite young, we didn't really understand how the game worked, but at the same time, it was something that intrigued us. We played and played and won a lot of battles, and lost a lot more battles, but it was a fun experience.

Eventually, as we grew older and matured (hah), we found the game in the box of random N64 stuff that was hidden away in the closet, and decided to set up the N64 once again, and play this game another time. And that's when we discovered the glorious feature that was being able to rename your soldiers! Now, we had all kinds of silly names going, but then I had a somewhat random idea. I would go to Wikipedia, hit random article, and name my soldiers after the articles that would pop up (yeah, it sounds stupid, but it seemed like a good idea at the time!). After starting the game and getting to the point where I actually had 4 or 5 groups of soldiers that I could start renaming, I fired up the laptop, and hit Random Article....


Look at that stare! Enemy soldiers were intimidated by this man!

And the first article to pop up was John Stamos. My first thought was Who in the fuck is this idiot? Little did I know that he was to be the greatest warrior that ever graced an OgreBattle 64 save file. But, true to my word, he was my first new conscript into the Blue Knights (the default name for your squad I believe). The only other names I remember from those squads are Harmsdorf (some random place in Germany), and Erginus (no idea wtf it is). Anyway, after renaming my entire squadron, we headed in for our first battle. I don't know why, but I was pretty nervous. After a few minutes, my forces engaged the enemy, and it was horrid. My soldiers were dying left and right, and eventually only two squads remained.. that of Magnus (the main character of the game), and John Stamos. I had to send Magnus back to the main camp so that the enemy couldn't take it, and with no other choice, I pushed John Stamos and his squad into the heart of enemy territory.. and by god, was it ever glorious. With sword and shield in hand, John Stamos and his half deceased squad single handedly decimated an entire enemy force, as well as the boss for that level. And this would continue for the rest of the game. I ended up beating the entirety of Ogrebattle 64 on the broad shoulders of John Stamos and his loyal squadron (that changed like 8 times because half of them died quite a bit, but I eventually found the perfect partner to go with him, Bob Saget!).


Don't mess with these two, they'll fuck your shit up!


So because of this, my little tradition for all turn based tactical RPG's (or at least the ones I can rename non main characters in) is that I will have one character named John Stamos, in honor of his heroics. In fact, as I play Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together at this very moment, John Stamos the level 10 Warrior is about to crush some random Cleric on a hill.

So, fellow Destructoiders, before you facepalm at this post, I'd like to ask you guys something. Can you remember a point in time in one of your tactical RPG's (whether it be Ogrebattle, Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, whatever) where one soldier completely changed the outcome of a battle/the entire game?

And on that note, what kinds of random names have you named your characters?

Thanks for reading!

Grimstar

P.S: To this date, not one of my characters named John Stamos has died.   read


7:12 PM on 02.14.2011  

Happy Valentines Day, Destructoid!

Hello Destructoid!

Hope everyone's Valentines Day is going well! I spent the day working and will be home alone tonight, but it's no big deal. I get to spend the day with the one true love who has never broken my heart or betrayed me, my N64 (lol)!

I'm not going to lie, being single on Valentines Day used to suck. It bothered me a lot when I was younger, but not really anymore. You don't need to have a significant other to celebrate it. So with that in mind:

My love today goes out to all of my friends, to my family, as well as all of Destructoid for being so motherfucking badass. It also goes out to Hudson, for the childhood memories of you gave me before you guys so sadly went under, to Atlus, Square Enix, and Bioware for providing me with 14 years of solid entertainment, to Ronaldo and Peter Forsberg in honor of their retirements today and for what they have done for their respective sports, and lastly to Funktastic (no homo) for his great friendship, our great Super Soccer battles against the AI and his never ending support in my everlasting search for retro video games.

And with that, I leave you with some awesome nerdy Valentine's Day Cards.







Have a Happy Valentine's Day, Destructoid!

- Grimstar   read


3:59 AM on 02.05.2011  

Super late intro post.. and Music!

Hello Destructoid!

My first blog post was a little bit of an insight on how I got into gaming, but I never really introduced myself... so here goes!

My name's Yavuz, I'm 21 years of age, I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, and I was introduced to the site by a great friend of mine, Funktastic.

As my unorganized little sidebar to the right may tell you, I have quite a few different hobbies that I enjoy, and I like to think of myself as a bit of a "jack of all trades" kind of nerd. I also enjoy sports, mainly Hockey and Soccer (which I also play). I'm also big into computers, I enjoy putting them together, taking them apart, and working at a computer parts shop helps me fuel my thirst for knowledge and awesome computer parts :).

I'm also an avid reader, especially into fantasy novels, some of my favorites being The Sword of Truth series, as well as the Runelords series.

Pokemon is also one of my hobbies, I enjoy breeding, training, battling them, and I like to battle competitively. I've logged over 12,000 hours into the Pokemon games (from R/B/Y up to HG/SS) and as dumb as it sounds, I don't regret a single second of it!

I look forward to meeting and talking with all the Destructoiders, so far I've enjoyed the time I've spent perusing blogs and reading articles, and the community seems very tight knit and friendly.

...

And now that my boring intro is over, I want to talk about some music! As an avid music fan, I've got a decent variety of music in my library right now, everything from ACDC to Rascal Flatts.. to Nightwish... to Phil Collins. I always enjoy great lyrics, a catchy beat, or any combination of the two. I'm always also discovering new music, whether it's from youtube links to similar artists when I'm blasting Nightwish, or hearing a new song on the radio that's pretty catchy, bursting out into song (Funktastic is really notorious for this). But really, I'm always interested in discovering new artists and bands and their styles of music/lyrics.

Recently, I've just discovered (yes, I cower in shame for only discovering this recently) Lacuna Coil, Hammerfall, Sirenia, and a lot of other European metal/symphonic metal/call it what you will bands, which has kind of been my binge lately since I've been listening to way too much Nightwish. I don't know what it is, but everything about these bands just fits together so well, and I'm always a sucker for the lyrics the songwriters of these bands pump out in their songs. And generally, they don't always play the same style of music. For example, Lacuna Coil has some dark, dreary, almost depressing songs, but also some nice metal/rock music, like "Spellbound" which by the way, is an amazing song.

I also enjoy video game music because well... let's face it, there are some really great tracks out there, but I usually use those as my travelling tunes, or for when I'm reading/writing/playing Pokemon, and I guess when I play DDR that counts too, and sometimes, when I'm sure nobody's watching, I'll bust out the old Street Fighter II Turbo tracks while I'm playing Starcraft 2.

So, fellow Destructoiders, what kinds of music do you guys like to listen to? What do you like to binge out on when you're bored? And any recommendations for myself? I'd love to hear some of your guys' music!

My next blog will be the first part of an ongoing project that I would like to share with you all, that I hope you will all enjoy, but we'll save that for the next time I write ;)

Thanks for reading,

- Grimstar   read


9:52 AM on 02.01.2011  

New PC... finally!

So, after god knows how many years of my old AM2 chipset and 1.2GHZ processor (don't get me wrong, this thing was pretty reliable and served me well over the years), I finally upgraded my system today..

AMD X4 965, runs at 3.4GHz stock, 4 gigs of ram and 880GM-UD3H motherboard to go with it. It's a pretty decent upgrade, not top of the line obviously, but it will run all the latest games without a hitch, since I've already been running a GTX 460.

My framerates in World of Warcraft have gone from 20-30 up to around 55-60, which is pretty awesome. And Starcraft 2 runs even more smoothly than before. I still have a few fans to install, but the temperature is running 40-45 Degrees on average, so pretty smooth. A lot less blue screens now, especially since I have good parts and not old, failing RAM haha.

I'm pretty stoked to reinstall everything and get all my games and programs back up and running, and who knows, maybe I'll get in on a FnF or two once in a while.

For all you PC enthusiasts out there, what kind of systems do you guys (and gals) have running? I'm interested to hear what kind of stuff people are running.


Thanks for reading!

- Grimstar   read


7:36 PM on 11.21.2010  

What's your Inspiration?

Inspiration. Something that one almost always finds inadvertently. You can't go looking for it, it always finds you. Being in this world for 21 years has left me with many sources of inspiration, but as new inspiration comes, you tend to forget about the old. This holds true for many things in life. I find that for whatever reason, people (and even I make this mistake) will take things for granted, whether it be their material possessions, their spouses/love interests, and even their friends.

I take a lot of inspiration from books that I read. I like to be engaged with characters in a story, I want to feel their emotions, I want to feel like I'm the one facing their trials, and taking the glory in their victories. There isn't a whole lot that beats that feeling.

Video games are another source of my inspiration. As silly as it sounds, they have done a lot for me. All the stories of characters that I've played as, all the memories of multiplayer madness with friends, heck, even all the friends I've made because of video games. Nothing beats relaxing with your closest friends and playing something like Pokemon Snap, recalling all the memories of childhood whilst throwing a Pester Ball at Jigglypuff while it's trying to sing and laughing with hilarity at the angry face it makes at you. Though sometimes there are awkward moments, thanks to Mario Party 8 and the can shaking game.

Friendship for me has always been an integral part of my life, as a youngster in elementary school I was always bullied by my peers, for reasons unknown to me. I sought acceptance and respect from my peers and it was not given to me. And though I was too young to understand it at the time, the few people who did stick with me and gave me that respect and acceptance, they were huge sources of inspiration for my moral choices. Junior High and High School were no different, I had my close group of friends, and I still received the same treatment from my other peers. It hurt, not knowing why I was harassed constantly, not doing anything wrong and just wanting respect and getting poor treatment in return. Those people that helped me through the tough times, the people who were a part of the good times, they are all a huge source of inspiration for me. Everyone deserves a good friend, where would our lives be if not for those people who are always there for us, who have our backs when we need it the most. The ones that we share our triumphs and sorrows with, the ones that we destroy (or get destroyed by) at video games, have late night nerd marathons for fun even though you have to be up at 8 am for work the next morning. Those are the people that make life worth living, I will never have enough breath in my lungs to thank them, and my life would not be the same without them.

When it comes right down to it, all the inspiration I draw takes some sort of shape or form in my life, whether it be in my writing, my morals, or my hobbies. Without my sources of inspiration, I think my life would be very dull, I wouldn't have as many good memories over the course of my life, and most importantly, I wouldn't have met the greatest friends a guy could ever ask for.

And as a final note, I would like to remind everyone never to take anything for granted, it might come back to bite you later.

So, now I ask you, fellow members of the Destructoid community.. Where do you draw your inspiration(s) from?   read


5:50 PM on 09.22.2010  

What's your Gear Score?

World of Warcraft

I've played since Day 1, and I've always enjoyed the game. Maybe not all the players who I have to deal with on a weekly basis, but I really enjoy the lore, and some of the raids that have been released throughout the lifespan of this MMO.

I really liked Vanilla WoW (or for some of you know may not know the term, it's the Original game). Though there were a lot of things that needed to be fixed early on, I made myself a Dwarf Warrior, and I really spent a lot of time exploring places (sometimes a little too high for my level :P) and just taking in the lore and scenery. I did do a bit of PvP, but it wasn't something I was interested in at the time. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to experience a lot of the raids that Vanilla WoW offered, not until the Burning Crusade came out anyway.

I didn't really start heavily raiding until the Burning Crusade expansion came out, and I really found that I enjoyed the content in Burning Crusade. First, Karazhan was released, and that raid was definitely quite fun, and then you had Gruul's and Magtheridon's Lairs respectively, which were challenging to people who didn't have any coordination or proper setups.

I didn't really end up doing much of Serpentshrine Cavern, but Tempest Keep, Mount Hyjal, and especially the Black Temple brought not only a great level of difficulty, but many unique, and amazing encounters. It was around then I started to PvP more and more, enjoying slaughtering hordes of orcs and cows and blood elves and getting the same treatment in return.

With the announcement of Wrath of the Lich King, I can't lie to you and say that I wasn't excited for it to be released. All of the lore from Warcraft III finally brought to some end and tied together with the upcoming expansion, what more could I want?

And as I write this now, I can honestly say that I wish that Wrath of the Lich King never came out.

Don't get me wrong, the lore, the content, was everything that I could have hoped for and imagined. With the release of Naxxrammas as the first raid, and up until a bit of Ulduar, players had to work, blood sweat and tears to earn every piece of gear that they wore. The experiences in those raids were definitely satisfying (to me anyway) and the lore behind Ulduar was a lot of fun to experience. And then everything went wrong. Blizzard decided that they wanted to cater to the casual raiders. So in comes the Trial of the Crusader raid, along with a 5 man instance that would drop gear equal to what was in Naxxrammas. Emblems of Triumph would effectively gear people enough so that they could skip the hard work and just get straight to the "top tier" raids. That made me extremely angry. All the work that I had to do to get to where I am, and some fresh player can do 1/4 of the work and be better than I am.

But at the same time, it made it easier to gear alternate characters, and as much as I complained about it, it didn't really bother me as much as I made it out to be. But then they started making encounters easier, making it so easy that even a pick up group could go in and start clearing raids like they were nothing.

The biggest thing of all that bothers me, is with Blizzard making all these changes and effectively "babying" their players, it has made people's attitudes so much worse. Back in Vanilla WoW, you would have to put together 40 people, to go in night after night into Molten Core, to wipe on trash, week after week, and when you would finally down that boss that you were going for, it would feel like a real achievement. And now, with 10 and 25 man raids, you can't put together a group without at least one player complaining about something. Whether it be the loot rules, or the fact that a mistake may have caused the group to wipe on the a boss. I can't count the number of times that 40% of a 25 man raid left because of one small mistake leading to a wipe. If people can't be babied and carried through something, it isn't worth their time anymore. I absolutely hate it.

And don't even get me started on this Gear Score crap. No matter how much skill you have, people expect you to have a Gear Score of roughly double what you need for a raid to get in.

I mean really, a 5k gear score for VoA, or the Ulduar weekly? Think about it, people probably had maybe a 3.5 or 4k gear score when Ulduar first started, and by the end of it, probably around 4.2k. What could have possibly changed between now and then (besides raids becoming even easier) that has made the requirement jump up so high?

And again, don't get me wrong. You obviously aren't going to bring somebody who isn't adequately geared for a raid to said raid, but 99% of people overexaggerate the requirements needed for a raid. Personally, my warrior is sitting at 6k right now, but I always keep a mental note of skilled people that I may have grouped with in earlier randoms, pick up groups, etc, because I've seen someone with a 4k gear score outperform someone around 6k, because of pure skill. And besides that, everytime you ask to join a PuG, the first thing to come out of the leaders mouth is "What's your Gear Score?" rather than asking about your experience in the raid itself.

And now with the upcoming cataclysm, I'm hoping that the changes that Blizzard is making will hopefully at least make the raids somewhat difficult. I'm excited to see what they have to offer, but I'm hoping (though I don't think it's going to happen) that players' attitudes will start to improve. Everything that has been revealed so far looks awesome, and I'm still gonna play the game, but with the Old Republic looming ever closer, plus a thousand other games that I have to get and play through, I dunno if it's worth the money anymore.

So my question now, to all you WoW players out there, what are your thoughts and opinions on the game now? And what are your thoughts and cataclysm?

Thanks for reading, everyone.

- Grimstar   read







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