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1:10 PM on 06.27.2012

Eww, Brown People In My Videogame?!

I’m a very dumb person. Maybe my multiple, extended stays in federal and state prisons are to blame, but my poor brain just can’t…do…good…think. In terms of cognitive capacity, I’d say I’m below the average bear.



Because of my inherent lack of intellect, it’s been tough trying to “do school” and “play video games” at the same time. I beat a grand total of around three full games in the last year. However, that didn’t stop my squirrel brain from making profound observations and drawing ingenious connections that sent my brain to overheating.

The three the games I am speaking about are Dark Souls, El Shaddai, and God Hand. All three were great games, and all three were developed by Japanese companies.

However, something more significant they shared was their individual inclusions of “Brown People.” What I mean by the potentially politically incorrect term, “Brown People” is, “People that aren’t White.” The term “White” can also mean many things, but for this blog pretend you are smart and understand that “White” just means a person with low levels of melanin pigment in their skin.

All three games had some inclusion of characters that were specifically not White, or included the choice of many non-White characters. The way each game used said “Brown People” also varied. The way Brown people were represented ranged from positive to negative to downright indistinguishable from using a White character. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Positive: God Hand



While it seems like this game would be the least likely to have positive portrayals of any group of people, I thought it had a fairly respectable character in one of the main villains, Elvis. One can safely guess that Elvis is meant to be Mexican from his use of luchador-like henchmen, poisonous Chihuahuas, and the appropriate use of the cuss word “mierda.” Despite the fact that those are some egregious stereotypes used to associate him with Mexican culture, they aren’t malicious by any means, and his character probably has the most development out of everyone in the whole game.

Elvis may be a demon, but it is slowly shown that he gains a respect for Gene - the main character - that keeps beating him in fights, instead of growing resentful and bloodthirsty like a typical villain would. It is shown that he may actually resent having to fight Gene in the final showdown with him as both characters seem to develop a playful friendship as they fight each other numerous times. It can also be seen that Elvis seems to have a fairly playful and possibly romantic relationship with one of the other demons, the succubus Sharon. It may not be much development, and it doesn’t seem very deep or original, but it is more than can be said for the other villains of the game, and it is a very surprisingly profound thing to be found in such a “dumb” game.

Indistinguishable: El Shaddai



This game uses the darker-than-the-usual-skin-tone-of-other-videogame-protagonists protagonist, Enoch. He doesn’t talk, and he doesn’t offend. He hardly has any character whatsoever, but it’s rare to see a “Brown Person” play the protagonist in a video game. Even if it’s just a palette swap of what could’ve been a European rendition of biblical figures, it’s still a Brown person. Take it or leave it, I guess.

Negative: Dark Souls

One need only to spend a few minutes in the character creator to see this:


Need I say more…

This isn’t malicious or anything, and it’s not on the same level of Mr. Popo or anything, but this does look kinda goofy, especially in such a gloomy game like Dark Souls. I guess it might be a bit racist, but one might say that Japan’s racism is kinda cute since it’s childishly ignorant and silly.

The way your character looks also doesn’t really matter since they are covered in armor anyways…

What should you think about this?

So, the question is whether any of the three representations of brown people are better than the other. My answer: not really.

The point I’m trying to make is that being a little fearless in designing a game can never hurt anybody (unless you are trying to hurt somebody). Including “Brown People” in video games won’t blow up in your face, so long as there is no malicious, hurtful intent in any accidental racism. These three games have prominent Brown characters in them probably due to the fact that they were developed by Japanese companies, and they had less fear of being “politically incorrect” and they aren’t in jail or being ran into bankruptcy (Clover closed, but their geniuses still live on in other companies).

In fact, taking some of that brown from a game’s environment, and putting it on the protagonist may end up making your game more interesting just based off aesthetics. Don’t you want interesting games? No? Oh, okay. What do I know? I am very dumb after all.

My constant incarceration has prevented me from playing many video games since youth, so I am also ignorant. Is it actually uncommon to see “Brown People” anywhere in video games as I think it is? I know Shadows of the Damned featured Garcia Hotspur, and the new Assassin’s Creed has a half-Native American protagonist, but are there older games out there I don’t know about? Is this something worth talking about? Are Japanese purposefully racist? So many questions left unanswered! Thanks for reading. All two of you!   read


1:48 PM on 12.19.2011

Sorcerer 4 Lyfe

I don’t know at exactly what point I realized that investing all my level ups on Intelligence was a bad idea in the game of Dark Souls. Maybe it was in the middle of the incredibly long animation required for using a Soul Arrow, or maybe it was the moment after I had to drill three spell casts into an armor-less grunt character to kill it, but at some point I realized how ironically un-intelligent my strategy was. However, I’m a man of steely resolve and my convictions left me unwilling to admit I am wrong, so I stuck with my plan to the end and it was glorious.

Since I recently beat Dark Souls after two months of moving at a snail’s pace through the game, I thought I might write about my play through in a blog so that nobody will read it and I can get off on all of the self-inflicted pain I’ll cause myself. Riveting, right?


This may be the least creative blog I’ve ever written, but I’m sure my legions of fans will still lap it up…

When I was making my character, I had an important decision to make: I either go with a heavy melee character or a cowardly magic wielder. There was no middle ground between the two because everybody knows a balanced character in Dark Souls is the most boring path to take. The mage build had treated me well in Demon’s Souls, so I decided to go the route of the physically challenged sorcerer once again.

The first thirty minutes seemed forgiving enough. The asylum never threw too many enemies at me, and the plunging attack made the Asylum Demon laughably easy. It was when I got to the part after the first bonfire in Undead Burg that I realized I was going to need more than a dagger and a slow-as-molasses soul arrow spell. I spent most of my early game running away from mobs of enemies instead of fighting anything.

I bought a long sword, and I was only able to beat the Taurus Demon and the Gargoyles by summoning somebody to help me online. I had to use the magic shield spell to beat the Capra Demon, but it took me the better part of two days to do so.

I don’t want to chronicle every insignificant step I took in the last two months in Lordran, but I will say that I spent way too much time grinding up souls to buy enough titanite shards to upgrade a useless long sword. Then I found out about the Drake sword and it completely invalidated around three hours of work!


Get it? Drake Sword? Apparently, I'm the only person who was once a fan of his terrible music... :(

The Gaping Dragon was the first boss that was slow enough for me to use magic as my primary means of damage, but it wasn’t so easy the first time because I didn’t kill the Channeler that was launches magic from a platform above. A week of my life was then spent conquering Blighttown afterwards because I kept getting eaten by the monsters and toxic-poisoned by the a-holes with blow darts. I actually had to buy a bow to “pull” enemies – something I never had to do in Demon’s Souls. By the time I reached Queen Kellog, I had died in and replayed Blighttown enough times to drive a sane man crazy.

I believe it was my blind fury and hatred that killed Kellog because I doubt it was my swordsmanship. However, now that I had gotten to the Blighttown swamp, there was no longer a need to be using the flimsy Drake sword and blaming my failures on my lack of Strength because I began farming the (literally) magical green titanite from the slugs. I then killed the merchant in Undead Burg for his Uchigatana because it went along well with the Eastern Armor set I found in Darkroot Garden, and I raised it to a +5 magic weapon. My ascension to glory as a spell casting samurai soon followed and I never slowed down.

The only boss I had a problem with afterwards was Seath the Scaleless since (being the “father of sorcery”) he had a pretty large defense against magic. I actually got cursed twice, but it was all worth it afterwards because I got the crystal powered sorceries from Logan afterwards. Who knew that crystals made magic ridiculously stronger?

Ummmmm… Well, I suppose I should share some thoughts instead of just talking about stuff I did. I don’t have any thoughts that will carry more than a paragraph, so get ready for a couple of random things I’d like to say about Dark Souls.



Armour

There’s a ton of different armor to choose from in this game, and I can now understand how women can stand around in stores looking at clothes for hours because that’s exactly what I did with the armor in the game (I don’t even care how sexist that last sentence may seem). I was constantly mixing and matching the armor I’d find, and it took me until the very last boss to decide on an armor to stick with and upgrade. My favorite thing to do was to make sure my character was not wearing two things that were from the same set of armor, but still looked good. Even though the world was ending, it didn’t mean my character had to look bad!



Jolly Co-Op

I never actually did any co-op in Demon’s Souls, but I thought I might lend a helping hand to others with Ornstein and Smough since I felt it was my civil duty as a strong magic user. I got addicted to doing co-op and ended helping about 6 people in their fight against Bert and Ernie. This soon led to a foray into competitive play as well. I won the first three invasions, but then I never won again. Maybe I had gone soft, but I couldn’t land a hit on anybody anymore and everybody had elemental weapons that ate through my shield. I still look forward to getting invaded every once in a while, though. It gets the blood pumping. I also like looking at what armor other people have their character wearing because – as I mentioned earlier – I love looking at armor.

Nobody ever seemed to want to help me at the end of the game, though. I remember I got invaded about three times before I started fighting the Demon Firesage, but there wasn’t a single summon sign for somebody to come in and help me! One thing I really wanted to do was to get a friend, find a means to speak with one another over the internet, and play the majority of the game co-operatively. I was quite excited to do this, but then I remembered I have no friends… Oh well! Maybe I’ll just get two copies of the game, and play co-op with myself and Solaire.



Comparisons and Conclusions

I noticed that maybe Dark Souls is actually a bit cheaper than Demon’s Souls. For one, there seems to be a lot more mobs of enemies. I just thought it was lame every time there was a group of enemies chilling together in a room, waiting to jump me. Aren’t the enemies supposed to be mindless, soul-thirsty zombies? When did they develop the ability to strategize and formulate ambushes together? I don’t remember that happening much in Demon’s Souls, but it seemed to be in every area in Dark Souls.

An even worse offender of this case was the boss battles. Remember when the bosses were tough enough to fight their battles themselves? There were more than a couple of bosses in Dark Souls that needed to bring in people to distract you while they kill in one shot. There was the Gargoyle(s), Gaping Dragon (if you don’t kill the Channeler earlier), Capra Demon, Four Kings, Pinwheel, and Nito. Two of these (Capra Demon and Pinwheel) are so weak all alone that they come back as regular enemies later on! I mean, what’s up with that? I will say that kicking the crud out of the Capra Demons in the Demon Ruins was very satisfying now that they didn’t have their dawgs backing them up.

The last two paragraphs makes it seem like I may hate the game, but I don’t. I loved it. Those are just my least favorite things about the game. My favorite boss was actually Four Kings despite the cheap ambush that you may have to suffer through. Since it was late in the game, my character was a monster with 50 Intelligence, but the fight was still incredibly exhilarating. From the fall into the abyss to the moment you kill the last “king,” the fight has the best blend of action and atmosphere of the entire game. I remember landing and thinking I needed light, so I was about to pull out my sunlight maggot when the music started blasting and I immediately freaked out. I saw the king far from me and it zoomed in on me in a matter of seconds! I remember I managed to kill one with a few seconds to spare before the next one came out, and I could hear myself breathing hard while I waited. When the match was over, I knew that it was the best part of the game up until then, and it remained the best part. It has a lot going on and I could probably write a whole blog solely about it, but I don't want to bore anybody, so this medium sized paragraphed should be enough for now.

When it comes to the overall experience, I'd say Dark Souls is the better between itself and Demon's Souls. I heard a lot of people complaining about the Metroidvania-esque open world design when the game first came out (including myself), but I believe it ended up being the best way to play in the kind of worlds that Demon's Souls and Dark Souls set up. The interconnectivity and less linear structure definitely lent a more immersive feel for the world. The subtle change to the physiology/physics also took a while to get used to as well, but it definitely made the gameplay deeper by adding something as simple as making three rolling speeds instead of just two. I think all the changes were the best directions to go instead of just making another hub world with 5 new archstones and the exact same progression, and they may actually be the way From Software always wanted things to be.

I think that about sums up everything I wanted to say about Dark Souls! I really wanted to write something while I was in the middle of playing the game, but I kept getting swamped with school work. I will say it was a blast talking about the game with knutaf on twitter, and I'd love to talk to other Dtoiders about the game right here! Thanks for reading this blog. All two of you! I'd love to hear you people's thoughts! What did you think of the mobs? What was your favorite fight? Please leave a comment and help validate my existence! D:   read


5:40 PM on 10.04.2011

Villains: Is This Deep Enough For You?

Everybody knows that your first time playing Demon’s Souls is tough. If you you are like me and have an undying commitment to un-funny jokes, you spent all your time harvesting all the sticky white stuff in the game and didn’t spend enough time increasing your endurance or strength for the climax of an archstone’s world, so all you had was a leather shield and wizard's clothes against the flamelurker. Luckily, soul arrows were put in the game for losers like me.

However, in my bumbling and stumbling through the land of Boletaria, I came across a profound moment I'd like to share with the three readers of this blog. If you haven't already clicked the link to get back to the blog roll, get ready for some super-deep* reflection on one of the villains of this great game (which I recently beat).


*super-deep for an elementary school student

When people mention Demon’s Souls, everybody always mentions how wonderfully miserable the world is and claim it as one of the game’s strongest elements. One world, however, stood out the most to me for being the most miserable, and making me feel horrible after killing the Archdemon; that world was the Valley of Defilement, and the Archdemon was Maiden Astraea. I want to explain why this is an indisputable fact, while also asking how others felt about it.

The first two sections of the world do a great job of giving you a good idea of what the Valley is all about while also giving you an uneasy feeling of guilt as you easily kill the weak inhabitants who appear to only be defending their home. The collapsing walkways, a giant poison lake (which you must traverse to advance in the level) and inhabitants with giant-clubs-which-you-can-not-block are thrown in the mix, and start to grind on the player’s nerves by the third or fourth death. By the time you beat the dirty colossus, you have developed a small-to-large amount of contempt for the world, and may or may not want to demolish the person behind this damp, nasty place called the Valley of Defilement.

However, when you enter the fog gate behind the Dirty Colossus’s archstone, stuff gets real, and this is the part that made me feel like a monster.


This is where it goes down

The scene opens and you see that this boss is different from the other bosses in that you fight in a place that looks as miserable as the rest of the world. Other boss battles have you fight the bosses in areas specially made for them, earning them a sense of entitlement and making you feel as if you are taking them down a peg, thus empowering you when you ultimately take them down. However, the decision to place the person in charge of such a horrible place in the same setting as the grunts of the world begins to make you feel a bit less heroic.

The scene then cuts to the Maiden on a filthy “throne” near a pile of corpses, and reveals her appearance as the most normal looking human in the game (especially compared to my character that looks like a frog). She is just chillin’ with her body guard (and possible lover?), and bids him fair well as he goes off to fight you, the invader as some tragic sounding music starts playing. At this point, my level of uneasiness has reached astronomical levels as I expected my contempt to be able to be channeled through an epic fight with a giant, slimy monster, but I got some little lady and a soft-spoken man in armor.


That’s the evil demon in charge of this place?

I tried to justify my actions by thinking that Garl Vinland was the evil mind behind the seemingly innocent looking Astraea, but then I found him in a defensive stance, blocking the only way to the Archdemon he was trying to protect. I attacked him, feeling a little guilty as he always returned to defend the path to the Maiden after each of my cheap sword slices. Then he started talking, and his line “You abandoned us long ago; what right do you have?” made me start to realize perhaps I was the villain in this fight.

The music and the subtle voice acting definitely add to the tragic atmosphere, and you definitely feel as if you are gaining nothing when you finally dispatch Garl Vinland and approach Maiden Astraea. While you can choose to attack the archdemon, you can also talk to her instead, leading to one of the most depressingly unsatisfying moments in gaming I’ve ever experienced (in a good way). When you talk to the Maiden, she talks to you in a very well executed, and subtle despair, and kills herself as she tells you take the demon soul you are after.


This isn’t my game. I got the picture from vMoonSTERv on youtube, dawg

At that point I felt quite terrible for doing what I did, and realized how great it was. It reminded me of playing Shadow of the Colossus, even though Demon’s Souls fight was less morally ambiguous. I think that proves that the design behind the entire sequence is even better, since it got me to see what the developer’s may have intended me to see, without having to have me fill in ambiguous blanks with my personal preferences like SotC did. The entire “boss fight” is a testament to the level of detail From Software put into the design in this game. I can only hope that Dark Souls can deliver as great as an experience as the whole of Demon’s Souls.

Now this is where I ask if others saw what I saw. Is this deep* enough for you, or am I just dumb? As a man of science, be they social or natural, I have low confidence in my ability to analyze anything plot related. When I finished playing the final part of the Valley of Defilement, I knew I really liked it, but I wondered if it’s just because of my mental deficiency or something. I’d really like to hear others’ thoughts on the fight or the Valley, or if they had a boss battle that they thought was even better experience! It doesn’t even have to be from Demon’s Souls! Maybe writing this was a bad idea , but I just wanted to share my thoughts with the two of you who will read this! :D   read


11:59 AM on 04.26.2011

Bioshock? More Like Bio-suck!

This game is overrated. The 1950’s were stupid, just like this game. There’s not even a multi-player mode! Never before have I had the misfortune of playing such a repugnant game, is what I would’ve said if I was in bizarro world!


Sorry if I angered you with my sensationalist headline and my primitive use of the English language, but us bottom feeders gotta eat too, ya know?

Now that I’ve lured you in with my sensationalism, you cannot leave. Don’t try to escape! I've disabled all of the links!

Since Bioshock is pretty old now, there’s not much to say about it that hasn’t been said. However, I like to think I’m unique and special, so if I say something, it will blow people’s minds! So, here’s my patented three-topic-review of Bioshock and some top-tier reflection:

1. Gameplay
The genetic powers were cool (INSECT SWARM!!!!). Most of the guns were dumb. Lightning Bolt and Wrench. ‘Nuff said.

2. Story
Garbage. Would you kindly tell M. Night Shamal…Shamalama-ding-dong to stay away from video game scripts! (Nah, I’m just kidding. Story was pretty cool, dawg)

3. Visuals and Music
Loved the art style. I read on wikipedia that it’s called art deco. I call it lame-50’s-style-that-might-actually-be-60’s-but-what-do-I-know-I’m-not-a-historian-I-just-know-I-like-it style. I wish they would’ve played the ol’ timey 50’s music throughout the whole game, though.



Other stuff I’d like to mention…

-This was the first ever First-Person-Shooter I’ve ever owned. Flashing my license at the Gamestop when I bought it was a milestone in my life. I also realized what the “Mature” rating truly means. Any kid can play the game and maybeenjoy themselves, but you truly have to be “Mature” to fully enjoy this game. I believe only a mature person will fully appreciate all the atmosphere and stuff going on in this game.

-After beating the game, I went online and looked at some play through videos of Bioshock because I didn’t have to worry about spoilers anymore. I saw all kinds of videos that showed how to kill the Big Daddies in creative ways, and I realized how uncreative my play through was. All I did was get a bunch of armor-piercing auto rounds to take down the Big Daddies. People come up with some pretty cool stuff, and now I want to start a new game just to try it all out.

-Although I don’t plan on playing Bioshock 2, I am super excited for Bioshock Infinite. I love the 1920’s setting even more than the 50’s setting, and Colombia looks just as interesting as Rapture. It will be a pre-order and first day purchase for me…!



Well, this brings me to the sad realization I stumbled upon halfway through my game: I’m super late to the party! I’m so late, I’m not even fashionably late anymore.

I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody read this blog because everybody moved on to bigger and better things since Bioshock came out, and they don’t want to read another mediocre blog about it. Not only am I late to the Bioshock party, I’m late to the HD console party, too!

By now, everybody has friends they play online with, and they have tons of games to play on PSN and Xbox Live. I only have one game, and nobody wants to play it anymore. I really missed the train, and with the 3DS and NGP coming out, coupled with the rumors that all Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are all working on new consoles for next generation, I may never catch up!

I was planning on getting myself a PS3, but then the 3DS came along, looking all sexy and multi-dimensional. It’s like every time I get some fancy technological device, something new comes along that I want to get so I don’t ever fall behind again. (It’s also like I’m an old person complaining about how new tech keeps invalidating old technology).

For a while, it seemed like this vicious cycle would never end, but then I realized why I fell behind. I never got an Xbox 360 or PS3 because I was still pretty young when they first came out. The mature games didn’t interest me as much as Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess and Super Mario Galaxy, but most importantly of all: I had no money!

I’m a bit older now. I actually have a respectable amount of money to spend on my leisure activities, and I can appreciate more mature themes in video games now. Being a full-time student, the money’s not as lucrative as the dough I was pulling down as a professional male model, but I now have enough to get a few video games. However, being a full-time student also means I don’t have much time to play video games, but that’s beside the point.

What I’m starting to realize is that I no longer rely on my parents to fuel my hobby any longer. The reason I fell behind the times was because I didn’t want to have my parents spend the money.

Knowing that I’m starting to grow up and starting to get the money to buy all these consoles and gadgets, I’m a bit less afraid of coming late to the next party. In the mean time, I can still try having fun with all the leftovers and trying my best to catch up. I will eventually get a PS3 because there is some stuff on there that I want, and I may get my hands on a 3DS when a decent game releases for it. This will, hopefully, get me caught up with 5 years of missed opportunities. I also need to get a more recently released game to start getting in on an FNF around here, but I keep school keeps taking away the motivation to buy a newer game that people are actually playing! *sigh*

Well, at least I only have to pay $20 for older games right now! That’s one good side about coming late to the party!   read


11:16 AM on 04.12.2011

Aaamaazing: Improving School Since 1999

Back in the day, my friends and I used to hang out after school and play games with each other in the school yard. We would physically interact as we developed our ability to cuss and nailed each other with dodge balls in the 90 degree southern California weather. Despite the fact we would smell like dog by the end of the day, it was lovely. However, there was always one thing everybody would rather be doing: playing video games!

The Gameboy Color was released around 1998, but only the very privileged children got theirs right away. So 1998-2000 saw me and my chums being forced to actually exercise and get fresh air! Can you believe that!?

Well, it was near the end of the run of the GBC in 2000 when the prices started to lower, and we all became older and more responsible. We all got our Gameboys by the end of Christmas and we finally got to do what we wanted all along: to play video games with each other at school. It was aaamaazing!


This is my GBC. I got the Turqoise one because that's how I roll.

Because everybody was scared to death about getting raped (or something), children didn’t just go to each others house. Kids only got to hang out if they lived close to each other; otherwise, school was the only time we got to see each other. (I’m pretty sure this was the case for the majority of people, not just where I grew up in.)

Therefore, we never got to play video games with each other. We all loved video games, but we never got to enjoy our favorite activity together. When we all got our Gameboys, not only did we get to play video games together, we got to make school enjoyable for the first time in our lives.

As fairly smart, dorky children, school was a joke by the third grade for my friends and me in the lousy Los Angeles Unified School District. Afternoons were spent doodling and discussing t.v. shows instead of learning how to add and subtract for the third year in a row. With our Gameboys, afternoons were now spent helping each other beat the harder worlds in Super Mario Land and trading copies of Pokemon; you know, doing important stuff.

It was amazing being able to turn gaming into a social activity, instead of something that “fried your brain.”


This is the kind of thing we’d doodle, but with far less skill

When people started to get games that others owned, the GB Link cable took things to another level of amazing-ness. Instead of hovering over a person’s shoulder and talking about how much better you are at Pokemon than them, you could sit across from them and prove your superior Pocket Monster skills. There was also some fairly epic Tetris matches that were held at the lunch pavilions thanks to that magic cable.

So many great moments were had with the Gameboy, and they were made much better because their portability allowed these memories to be shared with good friends. I still remember the awe I felt when I first saw a friend perform the Mew glitch in Pokemon Red Version, and the jealousy I felt when I saw how much better some friends were at other games than I was. Everytime I hear that chime when I start up my Gameboy, I'm taken back to those younger days of mine. Great times were had doing one of my favorite things of all-time (playing video games), and improving the worst thing in my life (going to school).

It is because the Gameboy Color allowed me to play video games at school with my friends that I thought it was so aaamaazing. The GBC was a way to share my love, and it helped form great memories about being young and careless, and that's why I think it's so aaamaazing. (See what I did there?)   read


4:56 PM on 03.07.2011

Cool Story, Bro: knutaf's Booty

Amongst the waves of skater/gangster hybrid freaks that stalk the asphalt plains of the Bear Flag Republic state university system, our hero, HandsomeBeast, trudged along under the weight of a thousand books and a million pieces of loose leaf paper. He and thousands of others had somehow been tricked into trading their green linen currency in return for indentured servitude and subjugation to harsh judgement. Our hero had been seeking the magic scroll, Batch O‘Lore’s De Grie, which is said to improve one’s wealth tenfold.

Sadly, after 6 months, he seemed to have only reached the 1/8th mark of the path on the map which the village elder’s had passed on to him. His back muscles contracted, his eyes were shot with blood, and his synapses fried as he wrote thousands of seals and decrypted hundreds of archives. It didn’t help that he had to drown out the clamor of dozens of vagrants and vagabonds with gallons of shoegaze and wutang.

Then, one day, a message arrived in his lightning-powered stone…

“Have you played ‘The World Ends With You’?”
-knutaf

This “knutaf” was one of his correspondents from the information trading post De Structoid, an excellent source of information regarding lightning-powered devices used in recreation. knutaf offered to send a cartridge of metal and lightning for our hero to play. Needless to say, HandsomeBeast became very excited for he couldn’t find this particular cartridge near his abode. This knutaf misjudged his own strength, however, for when he threw the cartridge from his kingdom in the Sea of Attle, he applied enough velocity for it to orbit the earth for days before it reached HandsomeBeast’s cottage in the holy lands of Saint Bernard. All was forgiven, though, as it arrived unscathed by the blistering speed at which it was thrown days later.



Our hero felt great to know he had friends, even in the far reaches of the northwest region of the federation of united states. His outlook on things is now bright as he sets out on the rest of his arduous journey. What will he encounter next? Will he learn how to decrypt the manuscript of Phizz Icks? Will he finally defeat his nemesis, rexwolf2? Will he succumb to the siren songs of licentious women who plague the land? Tune in next time! (P.S. There will most likely never be “next time” so relax)

So yeah, knutaf sent me a game! I am pretty excited about the whole situation because it’s the first package a person from the internet has ever sent me.


Here was the actual package. This picture is completely unedited, so feel free to send me stuff at this address.


Amazing! A disc-sleeve-thing with yellow note paper?! I didn’t even know paper came in that color!


Wait! There’s a game in this paper! The World Ends With You. I’d been looking around local Gamestops for this to no avail, so I’m looking forward to finishing this.


There’s a personal note in here too! It’s full of inappropriate language, so I won’t type it out, but let me assure you, it’s steamy stuff…


A hand drawn masterpiece was etched out in the back. Little known fact: I’m actually not dead!


I’ve put about an hour into the game already, and it’s pretty darn good! Boba Fett agrees with this sentiment whole heartedly.

Thanks a bunch knutaf! I can’t type out the happiness I feel when I know that a friend thousands of miles away sent me a game out of the kindness of his heart! (I want to send you a game now, but all I have are Wii and DS games that you might not take an interest in… We should talk about that! ;))   read


6:10 PM on 02.18.2011

Bringin' Dat (Celica)Crazy Funk(tastic)... And Also Elsa

Alternative Title: “The Blog That Only CelicaCrazed, Funktastic, Elsa, And Maybe rexwolf2 Will Read.”

So, the other day (about a two months ago, to be precise) I noticed that it had been 6 months since I’d written my first two blogs. A half-year of terribly unfunny comments, poorly constructed blogs, and poorly executed rabble-rousing. Time flies when you’re trying to win the approval of people who hate you!

So to commemorate this occasion (which nobody cares about), I decided to do a second part to my second blog. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you either accidentally clicked on my blog and are now leaving, or you are rexwolf2, waiting for me to slip up; either way, I’ll keep you up to speed with the following statement: My second blog was about how I suck at guessing how people look, and it is painfully unfunny.

This time around, though, you – the reader – have a vested interest in my ridiculous misperceptions (assuming that rexwolf2, CelicaCrazed, Funktastic, and Elsa are the only ones reading this; if you’re not them, bless your soul for putting up with my words so fa– oh you’re leaving now? Okay).

Your reason to care this time around is because this edition of People Who Ended Up Looking Different Than I Imagined is about some members of the C-Blogs who ended up… well, Looking Different Than I Imagined. (What a creative title, 6-month-younger-version-of-HandsomeBeast. *sigh*).

By now, you must be thinking, “Who do you think you are? Where do you get off? What gives you right?”

And to that, I simply reply, “That’s right! The people I’m talking about are rexwolf2/CelicaCrazed, Funktastic, and Elsa!” as I dodge your hostile questions and stare at the floor to avoid eye contact with you.

Here we go*double-sigh*

rexwolf2/CelicaCrazed


rexwolf2 is on the left. CelicaCrazed is on the right…What? I’d like to see you do better with paint and a touchpad!

I’ve never seen pictures of either of these guys/girls, so what you are seeing is pure, unbiased speculation. This started when I read that rexwolf2 was from Ohio or some place like that. To me, Ohio is suburbia-land-squared. I’ve never been there, but I watch a lot of television, so, believe me, I’m an expert at stereotyping. If you live in Ohio, chances are you:

1) Own a gazebo
2) Are a racist
3) Are no longer a Cleveland Cavaliers fan

All these things coupled with the fact that rexwolf2 had the audacity to appoint himself as my eternal nemesis had me imagine him as the above image. Since I exude dominance and charm, I assume only a foolish little kid would challenge me in any way. What says “foolish little kid” more than the “I like turtles” kid? Nothing. That’s what.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know exactly why I imagine CelicaCrazed as a brunette palette-swap of rexwolf2. I just know he is Canadian, so I assumed that he developed darker hair to help him absorb more sun in the harsh Canadian winters. (Maybe he is secretly allied with my nemesis, and my instincts are trying to tell me something…)

Well, whatever. I guess that means CelicaCrazed and rexwolf2 can stop reading here. On to the next one.

Funktastic


It’s hard looking for pictures of Polynesian and Filipino people, so I settled for athletes of these races and made them “fat”

The only interaction I had with Funktastic was through reading his blogs about his terrible hoarding obsession. The way a person writes and the way a person looks can be very… unrelated. Just because he used the word, “mate” a few times, I assumed Mr. Funk was Australian. Because his avatar was DOMO, my mind formulated that Funktastic was also a bulky, brown person. Naturally, I assumed he looked like those Polynesian warrior guys from New Zealand.

After a few more blogs, I read that he is Asian. He also used “Dag yo” which sounds like what I imagine tagalong sounds like. My vision soon shifted to “kind of bulky Filipino guy.” Guess what? Both were wrong. Turns out he’s some regular-looking Asian guy living in Canada. (How does an Asian end up in Canada?)

Enough of my rampant racism! I sound like somebody from Ohio! ROTFLMFAO! Next is:

Elsa


You guys don’t know how eerily similar this looks to the person I’m describing…

The undisputed champion of Canadia, Miss Elsa is a special case. One of my mother’s good friends was named Elsa, so I imagined they were similar in appearance, but… yeah, you saw the picture.

As you can see from the picture, this other Elsa was a lot different from the C-blog Elsa we all know and love. Since the only lead I had about Elsa was her rough age and her name, my pea-sized brain associated her image with the real-life Elsa that I already knew. It turns out this Elsa looked like a red-headed Ursula from The Little Mermaid. It also doesn’t help that Elsa kind of sounds like Ursula to me. So yeah, Elsa was a victim of bias because I already knew an Elsa in real life.

There! It’s over. I’m going to end all your suffering now because this is the end of the blog. You can leave now! YAY! This blog will soon wash away with the wave of fail that usually accompanies the weekends. A fitting punishment for an offender of multiple copyright laws.

Well, if you don’t mind, I also want to write a reflective paragraph here regarding the last 6 months. *ahem* They have been great. Destructoid is a cool place on the internet. I regret nothing. (Three sentences is a paragraph, right? What do you mean that was lame? I bare my soul, and this the reaction I get?!)   read


10:35 AM on 02.01.2011

How Do I Sports?

When you finally cave in and buy a brand spankin' new console late into its lifespan, it's hard to pick what game to begin your collection with. If you're anything like me, though, you'll cave under the ambivalence and just end up getting something "dumb" like NBA2K10. I would know because this actually happened; I got an Xbox 360 last month, and the first game I bought was a used copy of NBA2K10.

This wasn't against my common sense, though. While many would consider games like Halo, Uncharted, or Bioshock the games that define this generation of "HD gaming," I hold the opinion that sports games are what take the most advantage of this generation's hardware and gaming potential.

"Wait a minute? Sports games? Is this just Samit Sarkar incognito?"

Well, I have no way to disprove that I'm really Dr. Sarkar, but I can give you some reasoning behind my crazy opinion regarding sports games. Try and hear me out. In fact I'll give you THREE reasons why I'm right and everybody else is wrong (A list? How original. I know, right?):

1. Visuals (or "graphics" as it's usually referred to)


Two generations ago, gaming started moving into the third dimension. Those of us who had been playing since the days of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis (and before) began to see the potential for realistic settings and "graphics" unfold. Talk around the school yard often led to discussion along the lines of, "Imagine in, like, a hundred years, the characters'll look, like real, and stuff?"

Well, it only took about ten years, because nowadays - well, I don't think I need to explain to readers of a video game blog about how modern video games look!

Back during the days of the N64, I imagined that one day, graphics would become capable of producing realistic images. The driving force behind the visuals of sports video games is just that; realistic images. There is no other goal other than having the screen produce an image that is as similar to a real life sporting event as possible. Since all the men that were in the house walked into my room saying, "Oh, I thought that you were watching a real game!" when I was playing, I think it's safe to say that they have reached that goal of realistic images.

2. Content (or replayability/longevity/etc.)


Now, I don't want to sound like I'm out of touch. I don't think "graphics" are the most important thing (or even important at all), but when video games were in their adolescence, I think everybody thought the capability for realistic visuals was the next step on the ladder of evolution for video games. Of course, there were other more important things people probably wanted too, things like longevity and content.

I'm not talking about the kind of content and longevity that you find in a JRPG. I'm talking about a more abstract concept. I'm saying that each person should approach the game in different ways. The “content” is more like a personalized experience. Each individual has numerous ways they will go about seeking victory. It has hardly anything to do with how long the story mode lasts or whatever.

I liken sports video games to chess, in that each player has numerous methods to go about beating their opponent, and execution of said methods only increases in proficiency as you play more. Sports video games add to the basic concept of chess by allowing you to shape your weapons to favor your strengths as you learn more about your attacking style. You will pick teams and play structures that better suit your techniques as soon as you learn of their existence. It's like letting you change all your chess pieces to rooks if that's the best way you can attack.

You see how the experience becomes one generated by the user, and you can basically get exactly what you want out of the game. The “content” is basically a personalized experience that is generated out of your own interest. It's like a program that generates exactly what you want out of a game because that program is you! I don't know if "Content" is the best heading for this but, before I start rambling in a circle, there's one more very important factor that I want to mention.

3. Is It Still A Video Game?(In a more “classical” sense)


There are games out there that probably have better "graphics" and "content" but they probably also fail to fulfill the requirements of what I consider a “classical” video game. These “classical” games of the NES and SNES era were “clean.” The only stigma they held in households was the addiction they induced in people of all ages. Now video games can be too controversial, or even uninteresting to many.

I love me some Gears of War and the occasional RPG, but I wouldn’t let any of my numerous, illegitimate children play the former, and they probably have no interest in the latter. I don’t think there is one person on this site that would disagree with me that too much of a violent game has potential to be bad for a child, and no kid takes an interest in the morality behind his/her choices.

It is this lack of universal appeal that has me exclude pretty much any FPS or story driven game because a “classical video game,” to me, is something that is universally appealing, and involves pressing buttons connected to electronic stuff.

When you are playing a sports video game, all you are doing is pressing some buttons to make your character move around. There’s not much critical analysis of anything, unless you want to analyze a playing style or something. There’s no worry about lack of immersion or other lame gameplay mechanics that have become mainstays in this generation of console gameing. There is basically only unadulterated button pushing and timing.

What I'm saying is that pushing "X" in real life doesn't really let you drain 30 foot three point shots, and I think sports games do a good job of letting players know this. The game makes people feel like they are playing a video game and not "an experience" or something silly like that.

A whole review or analysis can be given to support this and argue against it, but to keep it short, sports video games seem to give the player the general assumption that you are controlling your team, not that you are the team; you are playing a video game.



In case you were smart and just skipped to the last paragraph, my thoughts can be summed up in, like two sentences: That is why I think sports games do the most with the capabilities of an Xbox 360 and/or PS3. The first two things I brought up were dreams or concepts that finally actualized in this generation, and the third is one that was retained from previous generations. I guess this whole blog could have been condensed into this last paragraph, but then you guys wouldn't be able to read all the amazing things I have jumbling inside my head. Riveting, no? Well, I'm aware that this is my opinion, but if you disagree, that's cool. Everybody has their own expectations about what video games should do, and this just so happens to be my perception of what a game should do, and I think sports video games do the best job of trying to live up to those expectations.

Thanks for reading my lame, poorly organized stuff, all two of you! Sorry if you hated it and vomited whilst reading, but I'd like to whore out my gamer tag here as a means to get more friends. It's DJ PAPABEAR 909. Add me if you want, but I understand if you don't want to....:(   read


12:49 PM on 12.13.2010

Happy Holidays: My Presence is a Present

Year after year, work and school come to an abrupt halt around this time of the season. It is during this downtime that I find myself with more free time than I need, and with this free time I do a lot of thinking. I think about my life; how things turned out, how happy I am with stuff, what keeps me waking up every morning, and then things get dark and heavy, and then I question the very meaning of life. Then, I wake up crying the next morning, and keep crying until around 12:00 p.m.

After I give myself an awesome black eye from slamming my face on my head board and wall out of sheer madness, I find I am too flustered and out of breath to do anything but lay on the carpet. It is whilst laying in this sea of pubic hair and food crumbs that I find a light; some kind of red, iridescent dot off in the distance. It turns out the light is housed by a gray, plastic box with purple buttons and a gray cartridge protruding from the top.

The cartridge has a picture of a pudgey, mustachioed man in a red hat and yellow cape, flying through the air on top of a dinosaur. A smile soon forms across my face, and all the cynicism in the world ceases to exist in my head. "Super Mario World" is inscribed near the top of the cartridge with many colors. The box housing the cartridge and iridescent light says "Super Nintendo."


Ahh the old box art back then...

When I slide the power button to the "on" position, and the coin chime rings on the television, my mind regresses to that of my 8 year old self. All the things I've learned in the past decade(s) fade away as all I can focus on is getting my blue yoshi to eat enough koopas so I can use him to beat the Star Road.

Things like school, work, alimony, child support, and life failures don't exist in this simple state of existence. Holding the most ergonomic controller made of plastic and wires gives me the ability to submerge myself seamlessly into this world devoid of sadness. I'm flying through the sky, taking in all the colors and shapes, and reaching a familiar plateu of simplicity and happiness.

My brother soon wants to get in on this. He gets the second controller, and he's swimming in a ghost infested pirate ship under water. Him and I hold interesting conversations without having to say anything. We soon switch out the cartridge and assume the roles of two monkeys who are trying to save their ape friend/uncle from an obese, gold-plated crocodile who wears a crown.


Did anybody guess what game I was describing?

In the mean time, things have been happening in another room. Members of my extended family have been slowly appearing to visit, and I couldn't be happier to see them after such a long time. I'm reminded of my childhood, playing Super Nintendo with my brother, and spending time with my wonderful family. My and brother and I play all day (with considerable amounts of break times because of endearing warnings from my family that I'll "fry my brain" if I play too much.) and spend time with loved ones. My current self soon recognizes a familiar feeling that my eight-year-old self always felt: endless happiness.

It is this moment of bliss that makes the holidays such a wonderful time. Unless you have no soul, you can find that thing that reminds you of when you were young and the world didn't seem to have any problems with it. For me, that thing is playing video games. In the process of finding my eight year old self, I reach the resolution of my conflict. Every year I realize that there is no way someone will be completely happy with every aspect of their life, so the most important thing is to try and enjoy it all as much as you can, the same way you did when you were a kid.

Kind of an off-topic side note; Is anybody as enamored with CelicaCrazed's holiday themed avatar as I am? I think that's super cool. I kind of copied him/her with mine, changing all the colors to only green and red hues. I think this should be something more people do around this time of year. [EDIT] I see rexwolf2 has also joined the party. See? All the cool kids are changing their avatars to holiday themed versions! Don't you want to be cool?[/EDIT]All right, thanks for reading this all!   read


11:19 AM on 12.03.2010

Love, I Don't Get Enough of it

Video games are a cruel mistress. I recently got a hefty stipend of money, so I spent most of it on video games. Never before have I juggled so many addictions at once. I will admit it's easy for a guy like me with no friends or personality, but it doesn't make me any less depressed. I got Tetris and Cave Story on my DSi, and Donkey Kong Country Returns for Wii. I found a copy of Mega Man X Collection for $20, and had to resist picking it up because of the commitments I've already made.

Including Rune Factory Frontier, I have 3.5 games I'm currently juggling (Tetris doesn't count as a full game, since I don't play it for more than 10 minutes a day). I have experience in multiple commitments, having juggled as many as 7 women at a time, but never have I been as tortured with ambivalence as now. I never can get to all my games in one day and be fully satisfied. I either play one for a day, or play all three in segments. Neither fulfills my needs fully.



When it comes to choosing which game to play on a given day, it depends on whether or not I have someone to play DKCR with. On days my brothers are at school, I play Rune Factory Frontier or Cave Story. The way I choose between the two depends on how I feel. If I feel like a platformer, I play DKCR, but if I'm up for some handheld, whatever-genre Cave Story is considered, I go with Cave Story. This week has seen me playing mostly Rune Factory cuz I have nobody at home to play Donkey Kong with. As a matter of fact, I've only gotten in one session of Cave Story since I got it...

On top of this juggling act, I've been very careful to not overstep my boundaries. My last blog dealt with my over-consumption of vidja games, and I've been very wary of my hours. I don't spend more than an hour and a half a day to regulate myself, so this further stifles my fulfillment. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, since I'm in a rare position of having too much games, but I probably shouldn't care about what you think either ;)

I know a common gripe of gamers is not having enough money for games, but I'm fairly sure this isn't the first time in the history of history where a gamer fell on a windfall of games. I guess you can see the paradox in how people want more games, but can't get full satisfaction when they commit to more than one. You either won't get to play one at all, or you don't get to play enough of all of them. Video games prove to be my Achilles heel every time.



P.S. A lot of Dtoiders have been saying that the blogs have abandoned in favor of Twitter, so I kind of wanted to write a blog, but my poor writing ability only yielded this sad excuse of a short blog. I've been feeling fairly good about myself, so when I see that nobody reads this, it'll put me back in my place: in the lowest level of the dungeon. I kind of want to write something between now and my next planned blog, which will most likely be a contest I want to put together. The only thing is, I don't know how to send things over the mail yet. I also wanted to write about video games instead of the cynical crud I have to write in English all the time.   read


8:47 PM on 11.17.2010

The World Only HandsomeBeast Knows

My last real blog was about how I liked playing Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility, even though I thought it wasn't that great of a game. A fellow Dtoider by the name AngelEena suggested I get Rune Factory Frontier, so I got it. I had been wanting to get one of the Rune Factory games, but was torturing myself over which one to get, so the advice was appreciated. The Rune Factory series is a spin-off of Harvest Moon, and features dungeon crawling along with the traditional farming and ranching mechanics.

The game, like its predecessors, has taken over my life. My daily schedule consists of the following:

1. Wake up at 7:00 am
2. Finish up any school-related work by 4:00 pm
3. Play Rune Factory until 11:00 pm

Then I sleep, then start all over. Weekends are even worse. I play about 5 hours on Saturdays. I do all this, and the game isn't that good. Like Tree of Tranquility, I find myself playing for hours on end, fully aware that this game is destroying me.



But enough about my self-destructive tendencies. I wanted to talk about how the game seemingly affected my attitudes in real life.

Specifically, it's the farming process and courting sim the game utilizes. You can choose between 12 bachelorettes to marry, and it's deceptively easy to get someone to "fall in love with you." All you do is walk up to them, "talk," and maybe give them a present everyday. Farming is as easy as putting seeds in the dirt, and watering them everyday.

Like all other aspects of the game, I initially thought, "If only it really was that easy..."



I think I've been playing too much to the point where the game is warping my mind, because the more I play, the more feasible the whole system seems to me. I saw an attractive young lady walking and I greeted her with a lustful, "Hi." (sadly, she did not greet me back...). The other day, I planted some vegetable seeds in my backyard. (Nothing has appeared out of the ground. I think my dogs dug it out...).

So yeah, I guess this blog is meant to bring up how there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. Sure, the guy with the Star Fox shirt, or Legend of Zelda wallet seem like a person you'd like to talk to, but they probably aren't playing past their need for food or human interaction. I crossed that line, and I'm slowly returning. I tried to make Harvest Moon real. Luckily, I had the right state of mind to know that the video game world and real world shouldn't be mixed, and nothing cataclysmic happened.

There had been numerous times in the past this happened to me, with different games. My brother and I had a game we'd play when we were young where we were in a television show where we had all the powers of our favorite video game characters. (This severely stunted our creativity, and now I can barely pass any English amd Art class I take...). Sadly, there are people who aren't as lucky, and end up stuck in the video game world. That's why I try to be as un-judgemental as possible to everybody nowadays. It scares me to think how close I got to being the typical basement dweller that mass media portrays gamers as....

So it's like my good friend, Tony Sinclair always says...

ALWAYS IN MODERATION

I guess I'll close by asking if anyone ever felt like they crossed that line. Has anyone ever gone against Tony Sinclair's sage advise and had too much cocktail? Hasn't everybody had that obsession they outwardly expressed for a time, but now are ashamed to say they did? If I'm alone on this one, then I guess that explains why I don't have any friends...   read


7:20 PM on 10.31.2010

Self-Loathing and Harvest Moon


Now, it's obvious that everybody loves me. I have a great personality, I'm polite, smart, wealthy, and incredibly good-looking! 



Despite all these qualities, school has had me generally miserable the last few weeks. So, like in the past, I used video games to help me get my mind off of the stress of the real world. I don't know if that's healthy or not, but I just don't care anymore. I also wrote this blog...

My escape from reality this time around has been Harvest Tree of Tranquility. I played and beat it about two years ago, so this was my second time playing it. I have to say I get quite addicted to it, and don't wanna stop unless I've sunk at least 3 hours into my session. The only problem is; I don't understand why I don't stop.

Harvest Moon is a fairly niche series, but fans don't seem to like recent games in the series. I find that funny, because I actually got into the series because of the Gamecube installments. I sunk h   read





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