I never took the time to fill this out because when I first joined I didn't think there was much to talk about...and I still think so!
Cerealy, I'm currently almost done with college and pursuing a career as a veterinarian (yay more school!). Started gaming pretty young with the Genesis and SNES thanks to my mom. I love anything that intrigues me or provides a challenge. I've been into fighting games for the most part, but tend to drop off when people get too...projectile spammy (fist fights anyone?). I also play RPGs, tried some MMOs (Mabinogi?), tried RTS's, played first person shooters (CoD sometimes), and everything else in between.
Loves me some good pixel art and old school gaming now and again.
Watched too many cartoons, and still do. Favorites include classic 90s cartoons (Street Sharks), everything Looney Tunes (Bugs specifically), classic CartoonNetwork and Nickleodien (Dexter's Lab and Hey Arnold) fare, and Animu (Champloo).
Movies are similar to my gaming interests, a little bit of everything. True Grit, zombie flicks, summer flicks, action flicks, comedies, you get the idea.
Music is more geared to Hip-hop and Nujabes type sounds, but also a bit of everything (except Country...).
Interesting Side Note: I'm Brazilian! No I do not go around saying, "BR?" everywhere.
Level-5, I love you. As a company you’ve been responsible for some great games in the last decade. Right now you have some of the most anticipated titles coming out in Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney and Ni No Kuni and in the past you have developed a wide range of games each unique in their own right like Rogue Galaxy and Inazuma Strikers. I also know that you love me back, these quality games have been made with me and the rest of the fans in mind, but I’ve got to level with you…Level-5. We’re hungry. I know, I know…you know exactly what I’m talking about, but it has to be said Level-5: give us Dark Cloud 3.
You've hinted at this thing back in 2009 and you still haven’t put out any word of it since. I’d be surprised at this point if you guys are actually working on it, I would probably throw up from disbelief if you had a build of it at the Tokyo Game Show. I know you guys have a lot on your plate. I’m not demanding the game be done by the end of the year, not at all. I just want to know that it exists, just give me that. I remember hearing that you guys would be starting this thing after you finished the White Knight Chronicles series…yet nothing has surfaced. It wouldn’t be hard either; the tools are there all you need to do is put them to good use Level-5. Here, let me share my ideas with you, in case you’re having trouble getting started.
Let’s start with the game itself. I’m sure you guys have thought about this, but a direct sequel to [/i]Dark Cloud 2[/i] is not the way to go. It should be like the Final Fantasy series, a new realm, characters, and story; the only thing that is sequential here is the number in the title. I’m sure you guys will come up with a clever idea to incorporate the Georama system and I know I’m in good hands when it comes to town building. Having worked on the Professor Layton series, I’m sure you guys can come up with some fancy new mini-games, but keep spheda please. In a 2009 interview you pleased us with news that Akihiro Hino, the designer from the previous games, will be onboard this project and I hope this is still true. The only personal idea of mine that I’d like to see implemented is a darker story perhaps, the other two games were great, but give us a more adult protagonist and story. Your fans have grown Level-5; we are not kids like the protagonists from the first two games.
In terms of art and music, you have amazing tools at your disposal. In terms of art, get Studio Ghibli back. I can only imagine the creation of a world for a game like Dark Cloud with that much creativity on the team. Having Ghibli will add a whole new level of charm and character on top of what was presented in the first two games. As for music, I’m sure you guys have already spoken to Tomohito Nishiura and he is composing madly as I write this. The game absolutely needs him at the helm for the music, no question. I’m looking forward to anything he has planned for us in the new game. Here are a few songs from different games to give you a quick refresher: Dark Cloud, Dark Cloud 2, Professor Layton, Rogue Galaxy, Jeanne d'Arc, and White Knight Chronicles.
I think that’s it really. I have faith that the fighting system will be a mix of the first games and maybe bring in some ideas from White Knight Chronicles. Also there is the issue of including online connectivity or keeping the game single player. Something similar to White Knight Chronicles' system would be nice, visiting other players’ towns not just as a lobby, but maybe a connected world would be cool. I would also love to see how you guys utilize Yasumi Matsuno in the game’s creation, a joint development between him and Hino perhaps? There's still sadness in our hearts over the loss of True Fantasy Live Online, but we have faith that this project will come to fruition in the near future, and when it does we will be there on the first day. Anyway I hope everything is going well and wish you luck in your future endeavors. Hope to see you at E3.
Back in 1998 there was one thing on most kid’s minds: to be the very best, that no one ever was. Back then when Pokémon Red and Blue released, every kid on the block and in class was the so called best. Every kid was a master because they had the level 100 legendaries, the strongest moves, and the words to back their play. I was one of those kids. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized how rusty I was when it came to Pokémon.
Let’s start from the beginning with Pokémon Red and Blue. The proverbial “bees knees” of the franchise for most gamers, but in my elementary school it was the end all be all for glory. You were either the champ or the chump. Things were fast back then, no time for strategy and thinking. Whoever had the faster, stronger Pokémon was the victor. There was no time for Sleep Powder followed by a surprise super effective move. You had to be quick, the moves are still ingrained in my head: Blizzard, Hydro Pump, Fire Blast, Thunder, Psychic, and the end all be all Hyper Beam. The Pokémon were always the same – Legendaries, Dragonite, Gyarados, Starters, and for some lucky bastards Mew. I was the lucky bastard. I somehow managed to procure a Mew from a kid who used a Gameshark to get him; however, I was different from the others. I didn’t load my Mew with all powerful death dealing moves. My set was simple – Recovery, Psychic, Thunder Wave, Horn Drill (with more PP using PP Up). The start of my strategic career in Pokémon, no one expected it. Paralyzed with Thunder Wave then hit with a Horn Drill, an instant KO. Did it always hit first time? No, but it did make me different, I began to think outside of the box. I learned that it did take more than just strength and speed, it took skill.
Pokémon Gold and Silver followed a few years later. With the second generation of Pokémon came new moves, types, and of course Pokémon. I also had grown a little older, well into my middle school career. The transition to the next stage of Pokémon brought my favorite Pokémon, Houndoom, and a new way of thinking about the game. As I learned by the end of my Red and Blue years, it took strategy to win. I learned this with the new egg system, trying to craft Pokémon with innovative move sets learned from their parents. It came with the new moves, giving my team moves that they could fend off their superior element with, for example my Houndoom with Solarbeam. I also became conscious of a Pokémon’s stat strengths and weaknesses, for example Houndoom has a massive amount of points in its Special Attack stat, but an average Speed stat.
I also had the Pokémon Stadiums to practice with. These were great at helping me establishing a “battle range”. The Poke Cup was my favorite, a Pokémon League sponsored event that was made out to be similar to the tournaments in the Pokémon show. I loved the idea of only being able to use level 50-55 Pokémon, no Legendaries, and a total Pokémon level of 155 for the three Pokémon chosen to battle. This level range was great in that most Pokémon had not learned all of their moves yet and some had not fully evolved. Again it added to more strategy finding, level maxing, and move optimizing.
The third generation was probably my weakest outing into the Pokémon universe. I had no Gameboy Advance and was unable to partake in Ruby and Sapphire. It distanced me from the series a bit. I did not fall behind in terms of what Pokémon were new and what new techniques were available, but I couldn’t practice. I didn’t have the game in front of me to actually try out combinations of Pokémon and see what move worked best with the new Pokémon. I would peek and listen to younger kids on my bus play the games and talk about the new Pokémon, trying to gain any knowledge I could, but also trying to maintain my “cool” as a high school student. It wasn’t until late into this generation’s life that I jumped on board, but it was too little too late because the next generation would soon be making its debut.
As with the other iterations, Diamond and Pearl brought more of the same new fare to the table. This time I was much older and wiser. I learned of something that completely changed the game for me: Effort Values. Effort Values, or EVs, had been in the game since Red and Blue; they are attributes that boost a Pokémon’s stats and increase depending on what Pokémon is fought. This meant that years of using Rare Candies were pointless, as Rare Candies offer no EV upon a level increase. EVs and Pokémon Natures, personalities that boost and decrease stats, added an unexplainable amount of depth in terms of raising Pokémon. I had to essentially beat the game and start raising Pokémon from scratch once I had access to the entire map. I also had to pick and choose which Pokémon would be the best EV fodder for my competition team. I feel these values and depth are what make Pokémon similar to a Pixar movie, they are both accessible to children, but adults can also enjoy them for the nuances a child cannot catch.
This brings me to present day, a new generation same old spiel. I still haven’t acquired the new Black and White games, but I have been looking into them. This time I have gotten practice with a few of the new Pokémon unlike my Ruby and Sapphire stint. Pokémon Showdown is a site where one can jump on and battle people over the internet with their own made team or random battle with random Pokémon and random moves. This, to me, is the best way to train. You are given a random team and are thrust against an opponent with an equally random team and are forced to make on the fly decisions to win. I can’t say the move sets and squad selection always end up in a fair outcome, but I’ve surprised myself with what some Pokémon can do in a tight spot. You might have to use a Pokémon who’s at a type disadvantage, but is able to take a hit, only to be able to use the one move in your whole squad that can damage the opposing Pokémon.
What does any of this have to do with training? Out of all the games I’ve played, I feel like I’ve put the most time and effort into the Pokémon series, almost 14 years. Memorizing names, type matchups, strategies, moves, items, and ways of obtaining Pokémon, I’ve done it all alongside following the show (I haven’t watched an episode of the show in a few years, it’s pointless) and collecting the cards (I recently obtained the Charizard from the first set of Pokémon cards). Every generation was a new learning process, a reconfiguration of old methods and new ideas. The only other games I put that much energy into are fighting games, but Pokémon still beats those out by a landslide. I feel like an aging sports player, trying to keep up with the times and adapting to the new styles the young guns throw at me. At this point the only thing putting me ahead of them is wisdom, who knows where I’ll be two Pokémon generations from now...
[Disclaimer: First, spoilers will be found here. I want this to be read like a journal you would find in the game; therefore no pictures will be included because I feel it takes away from the effect. Since I can’t write in the game this will have to be my character’s “journal”. Here is a picture of the inspiration for my character: Mittens. In any case, enjoy!]
I was born in Elsweyr and lost my parents early due to clan rivalry. A caravan, lead by Ahkari, heading to Skyrim found me on the side of the road hungry and abandoned, so they took me in. I traveled with them and learned the art of trading, but most importantly I gained a hunger for adventuring. During my travels I became interested in books and other writings left behind by the people of Tamriel. I learned to appreciate all kinds of writing and the elder Khajiit taught me how to read and write. I loved collecting the notes and journals of others because it is like having a piece of history in your hands, a way to forever remember the person who took the time to write something down. Currently my houses around Skyrim are filled with such books and personal writings. In Skyrim I learned about the racism that plagues the land. Throughout my life I have been associated with a mere house cat, threatened to be made into a rug, and always looked down upon as a common thief. In one instance I received a scar under my right eye from the mace of a Nord in what was called a “misunderstanding”. I was merely trying to help the Nord’s wife locate her ring, when I found it the Nord believed I had stolen it and swung his mace at me in punishment. The elders told me not to involve myself with such trifles, but I could not resist. I felt my life had more purpose than a common caravan trader, I knew I was destined to change the way the world viewed the Khajiit. I was to better the name of our race and bring honor to my ancestors.
After having spent many years with Ahkari's caravan, I left to seek my own fortunes. I believe they still travel around Skyrim with their wares; I recently helped Kharjo recover a stolen amulet from a band of thieves (an easy enough request). I had little successes alone. I was in dire need of money and looking for any kind of work. One day a man offered me a job: to keep look out as he stole a horse. It was against my morals, but I had no choice. So I agreed to earn a meager 10 Septims to keep watch. The Imperial soldiers began marching through not long after, and seeing an idle Khajiit they became suspicious. They saw the stables and the horse thief and easily put two and two together. I was bound and thrown in a cart with other prisoners, a famous one, Ulfric, was gagged so as not to speak. I was told we were all to be executed. Although I did not want to die, I was not afraid. I felt upset that I accomplished so little, but I was glad to leave this world full of prejudice and hate. The dragon gave me a second chance though. I was nearly killed in the process, but was glad the Gods permitted me life. I ran as fast as I could and left with an Imperial named Hadvar. I believe I chose him because I wanted to begin with a fresh slate, to return to the world anew. I gathered all the food and alchemy supplies I could as we left Helgen and headed toward Riverwood.
Early Travels and Being Dragonborn:
Upon arriving in Riverwood and finding help amongst Hadvar’s family, I decided to help the townsfolk. Due to my travels I had come into contact with most of the towns in Skyrim, but was unable to help the people. I went to the inn to discuss the latest rumors and undertake any jobs that needed to be done. One in particular, which set my destiny in motion, involved finding a Golden Claw for the general store owner. It was located at Bleak Falls Barrow, not too far from the city. I was happy to help as the trip was a short walk from Riverwood. I arrived and cleared out the bandits residing there only to find that the task, and what I found inside, was much greater than a simple retrieval request. Battling my way to the depths of the crypt I came upon the claw and came upon a door that needed opening through a clever puzzle. After reading the note of a fallen adventurer, I looked on the palm of the claw to find the solution. I fought the “master” Draugr and defeated him through a ferocious battle, using every ounce of strength and all of my resources. While recovering from the battle I happened upon a stone tablet and a wall of writings. I had never seen such writings, but I was able to decipher a word from the wall, which I later learned meant Force (Fus). Upon returning with the claw, I set out for Whiterun.
There I was told the meaning of the tablet and explained what I had seen at Helgen to the Jarl. I was soon told to help the Jarl’s men investigate a recent dragon attack on a local watchtower. We arrived upon smoldering ash and burnt bodies when the dragon appeared. It was in the middle of the night and had to use my keen night vision to properly fight. The battle raged on for the entirety of the night with our side basking in the spoils of glory. As the sun rose, a flash of lights and sounds converged upon me as the others stared in amazement. I learned that I had absorbed the beast’s soul and was a “Dohvakin”. The soldiers were in disbelief and we hurried back to the Jarl with news of the battle and my new title. I was told to travel to Ivarstead to learn more from the Greybeards. Before my next journey I joined the Companions to see if I could learn anything whilst traveling in the company of other brave adventurers. Instead I ended up becoming a werewolf (to my annoyance) and found myself in the middle of a small war between the Circle and the Silver Hand. I hope to rid myself of this curse in the near future...
My Current Affairs:
After gaining the wisdom of the Greybeards and their master as well as the Blades', I understand what I must do: stop Alduin. The Greybeard’s ways are just, but I do not want the world to end. Perhaps when this is all over I will return to them and study their ways in further detail…For now I am working for the Thieve’s Guild. It’s strange, this conflict inside me, I want to help, but I am currently fulfilling my own stereotype. I try to justify it as a way of getting back at all the hate throughout my years. Hopefully I will be able to satiate this hunger of mine and return to helping the people of Skyrim, regardless of the hate. I have become the thane of a few Holds throughout Skyrim, it shows how hard I've worked to help the people of Skyrim and allows people to see me in a different light. Each time I become a thane, it is one step closer to my goal.
I have undertaken various tasks for the Daedra, with some more…interesting than others. I am currently helping Azurah (Azura to non-Khajiit) and have helped others like Sangiin (Sanguine) and Sheogorath. The Daedra for the Khajiit are represented differently than to others. There is no bad or good divinity and most represent important ideas related to the world and our lives. Sangiin’s was perhaps the most entertaining, traveling around Skyrim reveling with a divinity was more than one could hope for. Sheogorath was testing - delving into the mind of a madman was no easy task, I yearned for Skooma upon my return. Seeing the statue of Azurah for the first time was amazing, the caravan never had time to visit due to the strict schedule. I hope I am able to come out of this task having met and becoming familiar with the great Azurah and possibly learning more about our great ancestors.
There are too many other events to describe in words, my adventure has been a grand one and being able to reflect upon my trials and tribulations in the comfort of my Whiterun home makes me believe in a greater tomorrow. I have not given up hope in bringing honor to the Khajiit and creating a more unified Skyrim. I hope to write more if I ever find myself idle.
Is it too early? Maybe I’m delirious from school or Organic Chemistry is starting to get to me. I played the Sonic Generations demo today and yes, I am optimistic. It’s a different kind of optimism than I’ve had with previous Sonic titles. It reminds me of how I felt about seeing Sonic 3 after carrying around the Sonic 2 booklet everywhere I went, learning about the enemies to each stage…and coloring them in (I was little). This optimism scares me. I mean it’s only the first stage that I’ve played, who’s to say the rest of the game is good?
First let’s talk about the game. From my 8 or so play throughs the game controls very well. The controls are tight, the movement is much more respectable than the looseness that was Unleashed. They modified the rail switching button from the bumpers to moving the analog stick left or right, a minor inconvenience that can be adjusted to. The controls are the same from Unleashed, except for the “trick stick” feature instead of QTEs. The game throws a few automatic sections at you, but there is enough variety when it comes to the different paths you can take to keep you active.
The audio and visuals are great as well. The level looks gorgeous in HD, with lots of colors and a nice looking background. The remixed version of Green Hill Zone fits in great with the pace of the "faster" Sonic. Omochao is back from the Sonic Adventure days and gives you advice if you run by him. It gets a little annoying but his voice is easy to tune out as you’re blazing through the stage (he’s also in pudgy Sonic’s area).
Overall I’m satisfied with what they’ve brought to the table so far with the demo. I know its early and I’m still a little hesitant, but I hope that the game does well. Signs of demise are on the horizon with Rival races, the inclusion of Silver sent a shockwave through the community, but I don’t want it to bomb. I want to be able to enjoy this Sonic game as much as I did with the Sonic games of old. Although the Night stages in Unleashed were a bore, the Day stages were great fun. Unleashed was the most modern Sonic affair I played since Adventure 2 Battle, maybe that’s why I’m this optimistic…Regardless give the game a try, and let’s hope that Sega will come through! Thoughts? Comments? Bueller?
Related side note: My roommate had never played a Sonic game before this and enjoyed fast Sonic’s stage.
It is without saying that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Call it what you will, a “child’s game” or “3rd world country sport”, but at least someone you know has played it in some form or another. This summer, as an avid watcher and follwer of soccer, I feel that there have been a large amount of important tournaments and national games being played like the Under 17 and Under 20 World Cups, the Women’s World Cup, the Gold Cup, and the Copa America. In particular I’ll be referring to the Women’s World Cup as I try to make an argument for why EA should make a women’s soccer game/DLC.
Mascot is...a cup of coffee? Actually...its a parrot.
As I was saying before, this summer had a surprising amount of national soccer games for a few different tournaments. Currently the Under 20 World Cup is being held in Columbia, while the Beach Soccer World Cup is coming in the first week of September in Italy. The most noticeable of all the tournaments this summer was without a question the Women’s World Cup. I usually tend to not follow women’s soccer, but due to national pride for two countries, USA and Brazil, and my own soccer drought I decided to follow along. The games were great, with the group stage providing some interesting games. As always, the knock out stage was where the tournament got interesting. Japan defeated the 2 time reining champion and home country Germany and the USA defeated long time rivals Brazil (heart breaker for me). With the hype train at full steam and national pride and emotions at an all time high, Japan and America squared off for a rematch of epic proportions dating back to Pearl Harbor and WWII…or so the various Facebookers and Tweeters called it. In the end Japan won, a much needed morale boost for a country with recent issues with Mother Nature, and the USA women’s soccer fandom was furious.
Good day in sports.
How does this relate to gaming? I believe EA should make a Women’s Soccer title. I bold claim that many won’t agree on, but I’ll try to defend my case with honor.
For one, many might argue that women’s soccer isn’t all that popular in the US. This is true, as I stated earlier although I follow soccer I have no idea about the inner workings of women’s soccer aside from the World Cup and my college’s team. Let’s take a look at some facts from the recent tournament: It has the 6th most views of all soccer matches with 13.45 million. The game wit the highest amount of views: the Women’s World Cup Final of 1999. ESPN provided coverage on multiple platforms including its X-Box Live service. On the Twitter front, the Japan vs USA game holds the record for most tweets per second with 7,196 (followed by the Copa America match between Brazil and Paraguay with 7,166). Names like Hope Solo, Abbey Wambach, and Alex Morgan became huge in just a few weeks. To say that the game isn’t popular is rubbish.
Secondly, FIFA as a franchise is one of EA’s most internationally known titles. Even in the US the sales numbers don’t lie when they cause a 5% jump in EA’s stock values after its opening weekend. In the US and Europe alone the game sold 2.6 million copies earning the title as the fastest selling sports game ever (couldn’t find any US only numbers). The title is familiar to soccer fans and if the women’s version sold under the same franchise name as DLC or a stand alone title it would do well. Personally the game could be DLC since EA has a soccer “engine” there and would just need to create new skins and rosters, but I feel a stand alone title could work as well (maybe at a 30-40 dollar price range?). It wouldn’t have to include the various leagues and individual clubs, just the national teams from the recent tournament and qualifying rounds.
Finally, why EA? As a publisher, developer, and marketer EA has an influence over various demographics of gamers and even people who don’t play games have seen an EA ad somewhere in their daily lives. I’m sure that EA could muster up a PR campaign and bring in some solid sales numbers, while bringing in more new people into the varying demographics it has an influence on. The only other game that could do something similar is the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise, but as it is not as well known and is not as well received by gamers and critics alike.
So, what do you think? Can EA do it, should EA do it?