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11:40 AM on 10.02.2015

Toucharcade, let’s pray mobile does not “dominate” PC and consoles


To the staff writers at I love the site. I really do. I check in daily for all my mobile gaming news, and Shaun Musgrave's RPG Reload column is consistently excellent week after week. I fancy myself a mobile, console, and PC gamer, and I have no hat in the ring in regards to any form of console warfare.

I say the above so that you know the following statement is made with love and admiration: These three articles discussing the "irrelevance" of PC and console gaming are insane.

Don't get me wrong, there are some good arguments to be had. In fact, Eli's article is a rather insightful look at what the future of gaming could be like. However, the problem with proclaiming the dominance of mobile is that it's either entirely premature, or it paints a dystopian future for gaming that's straight out of our worst nightmares.


You can't disconnect the mobile platform with the state of mobile gaming.

In his criticism of a satirical/sarcastic/allegedly comedic video put out by IGN, Carter Dotson boldly claims:

"we can certainly look back on this and laugh at how wrong-headed people like him were five to ten years from now when Nintendo's printing money from their mobile games, Sony's pushing streaming games through PS Now on the Apple TV, and Xbox is the new Games for Windows."

When he wrote that, I'm sure he was imagining a future where Super Mario Galaxy 3 can be played on the go, and Final Fantasy XVI is looking better than ever on Android. Except if the studies are to be believed and mobile gaming is asserting its dominance, then this is not the future you're advocating for.

The game industry is a bit weird and anti-consumer these days, but mobile gaming is a mess all on its own. This isn't me with a chip on my shoulder: Toucharcade reports on this regularly. What started as a perfectly ordinary gaming platform quickly became a price race to the bottom, and now free-to-play and cheap console game knock offs are the star of the show. Many gamers may dislike these trends for a multitude of reasons, but the most unsettling part of all this is that it's obviously working. If developers follow the money, and this is where the money lies, then we shouldn't be surprised when companies keep giving us money-grubbing stuff we claim to hate.


Eli Hodapp makes it clear in his article that he's talking strictly about the evolution of mobile devices and not necessarily mobile gaming, and obviously there are many excellent mobile titles that elevate themselves among the filth and cash grabs. Yet just as console gamers don't "specifically [enjoy] gaming on the PS3 because of Sony's cell processor, or prefer gaming on a PC because they specifically like the way their NVIDIA GPU crunches all those 1's and 0's," mobile gamers aren't flocking to Clash of Clans because they can't wait to plug into an Apple TV. It doesn't give me hope that the only paid games on Apple's "Top 100 Grossing" list are Minecraft and PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist, and the results are no different on Android. Yes, the next generation of gamers is growing up with mobile as their platform of choice, but that ostensibly would mean that those games at the top of the list are their equivalents of Mario and Metal Gear Solid.

On a platform where a game costing more than $10 needs a name like Bioshock or Monster Hunter to succeed, it's easy to see why console and PC gamers haven't taken kindly to the rising popularity of mobile. It's not just about the platform: the evidence speaks equally for mobile and the gaming culture it fosters. If a mobile assimilation of gaming does indeed happen, then our favorite $60 release will change to compete with their new ecosystem. Hell, we already see it happening with mainstream console releases. Yes, it's true that devices like Apple TV are on the horizon and could change gaming forever. Yet we need to base our expectations on the reality we live in, not the promises on the horizon.


Everything evolves, and the future is uncertain.

It's weird to think that it's been slightly less than a decade since the Nintendo Wii originally came out.

Back in 2006, motion control seemed like the next big step for gaming. The hype from E3 onward was crazy, and sales for the system would continue to skyrocket years after its release. It was so successful that both Sony and Microsoft got into the motion control market with Move and Kinect respectively. Gaming was experiencing a resurgence of enthusiasm from gamers and non-gamers alike, and by all accounts the future seemed set in stone.

Alas, hindsight is 20/20. Microsoft boosted Xbox One sales by stripping the Kinect from its hardware, and critics say that motion controls were a lie that produced few good games during their run. Sure, Wii Remotes still work with the Wii U, but what was once called the future became just a fad.


Eli claims in his article that mobile will catch up to console gaming, arguing

"Once we get there, what is the purpose of having something like a game console when you already own device [sic], that's in your pocket, that has the hardware capable of providing a similar experience with a few accessories?"

It's a compelling argument, but it doesn't take into account that console and PC gaming will also evolve and become more powerful over time. I'll grant that mobile devices have the advantage of being rereleased every year, but you better bet your bottom dollar that the major players in console gaming will try their damnedest to keep their products competitive.

Besides, can we honestly look at mobile devices and think we're approaching the point of throwing away our consoles? The iPhone 6S may be faster than ever before, but it still costs 200 extra dollars to afford one that could hold more than a single console game on it. How far into the future do we have to look to see a gaming capable mobile device plus accessories being more cost effective than just owning an console? Eli claims that getting hung up over details like poor MFi controller adoption rates seems "incredibly myopic," but these are real considerations that need to be addressed if PCs and consoles are becoming "irrelevant." The trends as they exist aren't pointing to assimilation, but rather diverging industries feeding very specific markets. Discussing how things could change without concrete evidence in the present is myopic in and of itself.


Aside from that… hell, look at all the news about Oculus Rift that pops up every day. Look at the fact that 3DS sales are somehow still climbing when that's the system that makes the least sense to exist in this day and age. I mean I get that's mostly the power of Pokémon and Nintendo's other IPs, but still. It might be cliché to say, but the future is so vast and so uncertain that it's hard to say what will succeed and what will fail. Remember how the Ouya was hyped to revolutionize console gaming? Remember how that turned out? If there's one thing we should assume, it's that we shouldn't assume anything.


In a best case scenario, mobile and consoles will continue to exist as fierce competitors.

To restate what I said at the top, I like mobile games. I review Kemco's RPGs on the regular, and I'm even having a pretty good time with Order and Chaos 2 these days. I am also one of the only people brave or stupid enough to defend All The Bravest, a game so widely hated because it represented a nightmare scenario of Final Fantasy finding its future on mobile devices.

I know no one at Toucharcade was arguing that PC or console gaming would go away completely, but let's be reasonable: we should want both of these industries to succeed. We shouldn't want any gamer's preferred method of gaming to become a niche, as all evidence shows that competition is good for the industry. The more mobile games chase console level visuals and experiences, the more console and PC games should be raising the bar and exceeding our expectations. Let's not settle for achieving assimilation, but rather root for the continued evolution and health of gaming across all platforms.

I'll end with an anecdote: My niece loves videogames. She loves mobile games like Temple Run, but she loves her 3DS too. Just this year, she finally became curious in trying Smash Bros, and now she's finally warming to console gaming as well. This is the future generation: gamers who won't settle for what they're used to, but who are hungry for new experiences on new platforms. For as much cynicism and skepticism exists within the industry today, I have every hope that the next generation of gamers will lead this industry in the right direction.

Even if the current trends of gaming can leave us reeling, it's the unforeseeable innovations of the future that will keep this industry alive.


7:08 PM on 08.31.2015

The RPG Maker Buyers Guide

For those of you just tuning in, I recently started an RPG Maker Workshop series to help aspiring RPG developers become the game-making experts they’ve dreamed of. Yet in writing that, I assumed that my readers had already purchased RPG Maker, while others may not be at that point yet. After all, with the numerous iterations of the program available to purchase on Steam, how is a potential buyer supposed to know how each one stacks up to one another?

If you have been asking yourself this question and are hesitant to make a purchase, then fret not! Below you will find my thorough descriptions and reviews for each version of RPG Maker readily available in English. With this guide, you will gain the knowledge you need to make an informed decision on which product is right for you.

That said, if you’re impatient and just want a quick summary, then…

TL;DR: Each version of RPG Maker has unique qualities, but pound-for-pound RPG Maker VX Ace is the best iteration of the program for newbs and vets alike. For more details, read on.

The following list is in chronological order of each program's original release. This list will only cover the PC versions of RPG Maker released in English, as the console RPG Maker games are a significantly different beast.

RPG Maker 2000


Summary: A groundbreaking game design tool for its time, bringing unprecedented depth and ease of use to the RPG Maker series. Though this is not the first version of RPG Maker to arrive on PC, it is the first iteration powerful enough to create complex, commercial quality RPGs.

What it’s like: RPG Maker 2000 is a hard program to write about objectively. For many, this was the program that got them into RPG Maker or game design in general, and the robust community it created could put a nostalgic tear in anyone’s eye. Though its graphics and features may not stand up to current iterations of RPG Maker, the underlying program remains competent and user friendly to this day.

From the friendly user interface to easy to understand commands, aspiring game designers will have no problem making something technically playable with an hour of using the program.  Within a week it’s possible to have a first town or dungeon, and within a month a designer could have a ~30 minute game demo to show their friends. That isn’t to say it will be any good, but this is the type of simplicity that kicked off the RPG Maker series so strong. Whether the user decides they want to make a new item to add to a treasure chest or wants to throw a mysterious merchant in the corner of the town, they should have no problem finding whatever they need using this program.

All the tools for making a simple RPG are there, but the program isn’t natively designed for things like custom menus or nuanced combat systems. While these features are technically possible with a deeper understanding of the program, new users may feel a bit underwhelmed at the dearth of options in things like spell creation and status ailments. It could be argued that RPG Maker games of this era were more inventive given the limitations they were forced to work around, but regardless the program was clearly designed with basic RPGs in mind. Some may also find the 320 X 240 resolution of created games to be unacceptable, but anyone fond of SNES era visuals should feel at home in this regard.

Verdict: RPG Maker 2000 stands the test of time and is a good budget alternative to those that can’t afford the new versions or just like the retro graphics. That said, those who are looking to someday make complex games will eventually want to upgrade to a newer version, so it may be better for new users to just learn a more recent RPG Maker and stick with it. Still, there’s something to be said about the beautiful simplicity of RPG Maker 2000.

RPG Maker 2003


Summary: An updated variant of RPG Maker 2000. RPG Maker 2003 changes the front view battle system in RPG Maker 2000 to a side view system reminiscent of Final Fantasy titles, complete with an ATB bar. The default tilesets are also slightly modified, but overall it’s clearly built from the same foundation as RPG Maker 2000.

What it’s like: Of all the PC RPG Makers available, none are more similar than RPG Maker 2000 and RPG Maker 2003. Anyone who is familiar with one will have no problem jumping into the other, as the two share the majority of their assets and resources.

Having said that, RPG Maker 2003 definitely packs more complicated options under its hood. Most of the additional features pertain to the new battle system, but features like custom battle commands and expanded status ailment options can let the user get really creative in combat. RPG Maker 2003 also comes with additional songs and other resources, though these can all easy be imported into an RPG Maker 2000 project if so desired. Either way, it’s easily a more robust program that offers more than a battle system fit for Final Fantasy fangames.

This isn’t to say that RPG Maker 2003 is a wholesale improvement. For new users, the additional options in the database may make it more intimidating to learn, and there’s no option to disable the ATB bar in combat either. Also, while the program contains appropriate battle graphics for all of its main hero sprites, players will be on their own to create battle graphics if they want to add their own custom heroes into the game. At the time of release, this actually drove many users to learn basic sprite art and create their own battle graphics, but nowadays new users may just find this to be another barrier between themselves and their dream game.

Verdict: RPG Maker 2003 occupies a unique niche in being the only version of the program to offer side view ATB combat out of the box. If that is a game changing feature for you, then I would give this one a recommendation. For everyone else, it’s a bit less user friendly than RPG Maker 2000, and its advanced features still don’t compare to what the most recent versions of the program are capable of. It’s still a great program, but most users will likely prefer the other RPG Maker titles.

RPG Maker XP


Summary: The true generational leap from RPG Maker 2000/2003. RPG Maker XP doubles the resolution to 640 X 480, comes with all new graphics and sounds, and is the first RPG Maker title to allow custom scripting in Ruby. As always, RPG Maker XP offers new features and mechanics under the hood as well.

What it’s like: To be honest, RPG Maker XP is the version of the program that I’m the least experienced with, so I may upset some fans with my potentially inaccurate analysis. I digress.

Although RPG Maker XP is a clear technological leap from its predecessors, it still uses the same database and commands skeleton of its predecessors. This is something that would be consistent in the RPG Maker series, but it’s surprising how familiar it feels with all its changes. The games made in the program feel different, but more on that later.

Nowadays, the biggest feature RPG Maker XP holds over other versions of RPG Maker is its mapping options. While most iterations of RPG Maker keep their default graphics simple and feature two “layers” on which tiles can be placed, RPG Maker XP features a surprisingly robust variety of tilesets with three layers that tiles can be placed on. To put this in layman terms, the graphics are bigger and more complicated than they were before. For mapping aficionados, this was a huge new feature; Even the current versions of RPG Maker don’t match up to RPG Maker XP in this regard.

It goes without saying that the addition of Ruby scripting would change the landscape of RPG Maker forever. While custom systems in RPG Maker 2000/2003 required some intricate work-arounds to achieve the desired results, RPG Maker XP lets game makers dive right into the guts of the game to change exactly what they want. The scripting community flourished and produced a myriad of plug-and-play scripts that even novice users could utilize. In other words, if you’re looking to add side view combat or an integrated quest log to your game, there’s probably a script for that. Ruby scripting is a major feature that would become a mainstay in the series, but it got its start with RPG Maker XP.

One thing that oddly took a hit is the speed that games run at. While previous RPG Makergames had no problem operating at a smooth 60 FPS, RPG Maker XP games run noticeably below that and can feel floaty to those used to other RPG Maker games. Even the new front view combat feels a bit slower, with more emphasis on animations and a lack of battle messages that defined combat in RPG Maker 2000. These may seem like nitpicks, and perhaps they are, but these traits make RPG Maker XP an anomaly in the series.

Verdict: RPG Maker XP rightfully deserves its niche with its unique default graphics and mapping options, but it’s probably the least user-friendly of all the versions of RPG Maker currently available.

This isn’t to say it’s not user friendly, but I imagine most new users might look at the seemingly obtuse tilesets and get a little intimidated. It’s clear that RPG Maker XP catered to advanced RPG Maker users, which was actually smart at the time but puts the program in a bit of a weird place now. For those who like the detailed graphics and the larger default sprites, RPG Maker XP is a decent enough buy. For those who still don’t want to pay top dollar (at MSRP anyway) but want an RPG Maker capable of scripting, I’d also say RPG Maker XP does the job. Other than that… well, Pokemon Essentials  is made for RPG Maker XP, so I guess those who dream of making a Pokemon fangame have a version of the program just for them.

RPG Maker VX

Author’s Note: RPG Maker Web has not made an updated promotional video for RPG Maker VX. This leaves us with this video, which can only be described as a thing of beauty. You too can understand why the RPG Maker Community thinks pixel art is awesome.

Summary: After catering to advanced RPG Maker users with RPG Maker XP, Enterbrain went in the polar opposite direction and created RPG Maker VX. Not only is RPG Maker VX the origin of the persisting chibi RPG Maker art style, it drastically simplified the mapping and reverted the default battle system to an updated take of RPG Maker 2000‘s combat. RPG Maker VX also added shortcuts that automatically create treasure chests and basic dungeon layouts in the game, which further cements the first-timer focus of the program.

What it’s like: The RPG Maker series has generally been taking two steps forward and one step back with each installment, and RPG Maker VX is perhaps the poster child of this problem. To its credit, it does succeed in winning back fans who didn’t warm to RPG Maker XP, but in doing so it causes some bizarre problems.

As always, the interface is equal parts fresh and familiar, and the games made with the engine once again run at a brisk 60 FPS. The before mentioned shortcut options are handy for new users and veterans alike, and the layout of the database is the neatest and easiest to understand yet. It’s actually so easy to use that I was able to create a small game with the original Japanese demo, and yes I have no idea how to read Japanese. It’s hard to convey just how clean RPG Maker VX feels in words, but anyone who jumps from an older RPG Maker to this one will see the difference immediately.

The problem with RPG Maker VX is that it went too far in its simplification at times and wound up gimping its mapping capabilities. Make no mistake, the actual tiles included in RPG Maker VX‘s default graphics are much easier to learn and construct into fully fledged maps. The problem is that all of these tiles are contained to a limited number of tilesets, and it’s impossible to add more tiles to the engine without removing ones that are already there.

In previous RPG Makers, it was easy to import your own custom tilesets. Whenever you made a new map in the engine, you were given the option to choose which tileset you wanted to use for that map, so the sky was the limit for custom graphics. RPG Maker VX has essentially one mega-tileset that is used for every map in your project, so you’re effectively prevented by the editor to use the default graphics in conjunction with anything else. This approach does have extremely niche advantages, but new users may feel a bit overwhelmed with the sheer volume of graphics in their face when they just want to make a house, dungeon, etc. After all, given that all the parts are technically mixed together here, it can be a bit harder to find what you’re looking for.

These mapping limitations can technically be overcome by implementing some custom scripting, but unfortunately it’s a clunky at best solution that doesn’t actually improve the interface of the editor.

Verdict: In truth, even with its faults, RPG Maker VX was my favorite iteration of the program upon its release. I loved the good new features it did bring to the table, and the neatly organized interface was a ton of fun to use. I would perhaps recommend this one, had it not been completely outclassed by…

RPG Maker VX Ace


Summary: Enterbrain decided that they wanted the RPG Maker community to die of euphoria, so they put out a massively improved version of RPG Maker VX that addressed the program’s major issues. While they were at it, they also included phenomenal new features that let both newcomers and veterans alike go crazy in customizing their games.

What it’s like: I can’t say enough good things about RPG Maker VX Ace. The combination of accessibility and power here is unprecedented in not only the RPG Maker series, but in game development software in general.

Want to make a weapon that attacks an enemy nine times in a row? You can. Want to make an epic boss fight in a nightmare background that is one part hell and one part space? You can. Want to make a skill that does damage equal to how many top hats you have in your inventory? You can. All of this without using custom scripting or resources, mind you, though that’s still an option if you want even more customization.

It’s amazing how feature complete RPG Maker VX Ace is out of the box. Even new to intermediate users will have no problem realizing fairly complex ideas in the default battle system, which also has undergone a few changes. The addition of specific Magic Attack, Magic Defense, and Luck parameters open new doors for character customization, and battles themselves feel snappier and more energetic than they did in previous RPG Makers. There’s also an optional limit break style mp bar that can incorporated into combat as well, so it’s never been easier to make that Omnislash or Erupting Burning Finger finisher that you always wanted. There will inevitably be some limitations depending on how crazy your ideas get, but what’s possible here is simply fantastic.

I suppose all the added features may make the database a little intimidating, but there are some great new features for newbies in here as well. Users can automatically load one of over 100 sample maps into their games, which can then be freely customized to the user’s content. I’d argue this to be one of the best ways for newcomers to learn how to map in RPG Maker, and including this function into RPG Maker VX Ace was a genius idea. The interface also separates its basic and complex commands fairly distinctly, so new users can just enjoy the clean and easy interface carried over from RPG Maker VX if they so desire.

Oh, and by the way, the default soundtrack is arguably the best one yet too.

Verdict: Get it. It’s currently the best RPG Maker by such a wide margin that it’s no contest if you only plan on getting one version of it. If price is an issue, or you just aren’t sure you’re committed, then you still get a good product in any of the previous editions of the program. Just make sure to snag this one somewhere down the line.

RPG Maker MV


Summary: The new, upcoming version of RPG Maker! So mysterious!

What we know so far: According to, here are the new features that RPG Maker MV will bring to the table:

  • Javascript support.
  • Support for Mac OSX, with the ability to publish games to mobile devices.
  • Native mouse and touch support.
  • Support for Front View and Side View Battles, making this the first RPG Maker to natively support Side View Battles since RPG Maker 2003.
  • The return of a third mapping layer. This feature has only been seen in RPG Maker XP to this point, though the teaser indicates this feature might be integrated a bit differently.
  • A higher resolution, though it retains the chibi art style established by RPG Maker VX.

There are a few other additions as well, but these seem to be the most prominent features.

I would presume there to be other minor tweaks under the hood as well, but it’s hard to tell with the available footage. The interface appears to be by and large similar to RPG Maker VX Ace, which isn’t a bad thing. Anything beyond that is speculation at this point.

Is it worth waiting for?: Who knows!? I will say that the advertised features seem to cater more towards developers publishing commercial games using RPG Maker, so I’m not sure how relevant this one will be for newbies. Mac users (or those who have friends who are Mac users) will be thrilled by default, but otherwise I don’t think you’ll go wrong by using RPG Maker VX Ace for now.

That’s a wrap folks!


There were so many details to discuss with every facet of each program, but I hope these summaries will help put you on your way to finding the software that’s just right for you. If there is demand, I would be happy to talk more in-depth about any iteration of RPG Maker in the RPG Maker Workshop.

No matter which version of RPG Maker you buy, remember to have fun making your dream games a reality! A world full of dreams and adventures with RPGs awaits! Let’s go!


8:40 AM on 08.17.2015

RPG Maker Workshop 01: What to expect as an RPG Making Newb

I asked about it, you* asked for it, and here it is. Welcome to the pilot episode of the RPG Maker Workshop, brought to you by and**

*By "you" I mean a couple people this one time.

**Destructoid doesn't even know I'm writing this.

First of all, who am I and do I even have the credentials to teach RPG Maker.

As some of you may have read here or there, I have a long and storied history with RPG Maker. My first experience with RPG Maker was all the way back in the year 2000 with its first English release on the Playstation, and by first experience I mean I played Gobli's Adventure a lot and danced around when I finally made something playable. I started using the PC RPG Maker titles in 2003 by using, well, RPG Maker 2003. From there I lived and breathed RPG Maker, and that's how I got my start with posting on internet forums.

I wasn't a celebrity in the RPG Maker community at large or anything, but I was considered a "vet" on GameFAQs. I served as a mod on a large RPG Maker website, and I was even a review editor and administrator of a small site that unfortunately has since changed hands and is now defunct. I was well known for a couple of games that sadly were actually super bad and stupid, which is the only reason I don't link them here as samples of my work. More importantly, I played an absolute boatload of RPG Maker games, and I was even involved in the creation of a few tutorials and a couple "starter packs" that contained sample code for aspiring game makers to use. My activity in the community fizzled out around 2008, as at the time I felt the RPG Maker community had become too toxic and I was heading off to college anyway.

I say all this only in part to toot my own horn, but I also want to frame the perspective I'm going to offer. My experience with RPG Maker is primarily with the older editions, and I reflect a mindset that learned RPG Maker in the years prior to its official English release. Nowadays, there are tons of official tutorials and scripts that will help you build your game exactly the way you like it, but back in my day things weren't so easy.

Rather than wax nostalgic, let's move on to more important things.  

So, you just got RPG Maker. It's time for a pep talk.

And I mean it. Whether you got any iteration of RPG Maker in a humble bundle, or you just picked it up on sale recently, you now have your hands on one of the most beginner friendly game creation programs on the face of the planet. That said, if you don't want to crash and burn before you even stop dreaming of your ultimate Dark Souls X Hatoful Boyfriend RPG, then listen up.

As user friendly and awesome as any RPG Maker program is, you're not going to be making master-class RPGs right off the bat. In fact, even if you set your expectations low, you likely won't even complete your first, second, third, or even fourth game you make with it. Even with the numerous tutorials that will show you the basics, the best way to learn RPG Maker is through sheer attrition.

Think of learning RPG Maker in the same way you would play an MMORPG. You probably got into the game with dreams of overcoming insurmountable challenges and making your name known across the land, but you're going to have to start out small. By accepting small quests with easily accomplished goals, you'll learn new skills and gradually learn your strengths and weaknesses. The grind to the endgame will be long and brutal, but it's a trap to think that the game starts at endgame. By enjoying and taking in your leveling process, you'll grow to be more incredible than you ever thought you could be, and you'll be entering that endgame when you're good and ready.

Understand that you'll be seeing incredible games made with RPG Maker that employ advanced mapping techniques and unique game engines, but your first few games may wind up looking like this:

That's okay though, that's to be expected from a new user! Don't worry so much about making the perfect game at this stage. What's important now is getting your feet wet with the program, and just doodling and having fun is your best possible course of action. Remember, RPG Maker isn't about being a celebrity, RPG Maker is about being a game designer without programming knowledge.

Yes, I'd like to take a second to reiterate this. Do not purchase RPG Maker with the intention of making money off of your games. Let me be clear: I have no problem with RPG Maker games being sold commercially, as professional quality games have certainly been created with it. The problem is when game creators clearly put the cart before the horse. Buying game making software to make money leads to garbage like Victim of Xen and The Slaughtering Grounds, and neither of us want you to be the person behind those. Make games because doing so is an exciting process for you, and then eventually you may have the skills with which to produce a professional quality game.

In summary: the first step of RPG Making is to have fun. Don't worry, if you someday get super serious and take on an ambitious project, you'll have loads of opportunities to not have fun later.

I also highly recommend playing other RPG Maker games, especially ones made in the same version of the program you are using. To go back to the MMORPG analogy, you can play solo and have a good time, but it doesn't compare to making friends and helping each other achieve common goals. Playing even the most amateur RPG Maker games can help you realize what the program is capable of, and these games will help you develop a sense of what to do and what not to do as you move forward with your own projects. If you need a place to start, Destructoid's own Marche100 has released two games based on the site, and I'm sure he'd love to hear your feedback.

And finally, to all of those who may tell you that RPG Maker is an awful program that produces bad games - screw those people. RPG Maker is a tool, not a generator. It's up to the designer to make a good game, and using RPG Maker doesn't not inhibit that goal in any way. As a wise man once said, "Never give up, trust your instincts."

That's it for this episode of RPG Maker Workshop! Tune in next time where I'll discuss the pros and cons of each edition of the program, and let me know what kinds of topics you'd like me to cover in the comments!


10:02 AM on 08.12.2015

I have found the greatest RPG character of all time.

Look at this guy.

I'm not even an hour into Covenant of Solitude, and I am floored. Not because the game itself is that great (it seems pretty mediocre so far), but because little did I expect to see the classiest man in the world fight alongside my protagonist on his quest for redemption.

I can't even handle it. Look at this guy.

While everyone else faces the player and waves their arms around to indicate how proud they are of winning the battle, this guy's just sitting at the bottom all like "ah, what a jolly old time that was, mayhaps I fancy a crumpet and tea over the carcasses of my opponents."

Here's what really gets to me though. I haven't been calling this guy "Rod" because he's actually one of many generic monsters that you create at the beginning of the game to fill out your party. That's right, Covenant of Solitude follows the Final Fantasy I "make your party" formula for the most part, so it's not like classy tophat guy has some ridiculous backstory to justify his appearance. In fact, it's even better; he's one of an entire race of classy tophat people.

Sure, the game calls them vampires, but there is literally nothing about the class that indicates that they suck blood or do anything that even relates to vampire lore. You can also see how the other monster types might actually qualify as being monsters in some fashion, but "vampires" have absolutely no animal features that would make them particularly stand out among actual humans. In other words, aside from pointy ears (in a fantasy game where pointy ears are not exactly uncommon mind you), the only unifying trait of this race is being generally good at magic and dressing fantastically. This is a world I want to live in, and no one can convince me otherwise.

I don't care what developer Magitek is working on right now, because they absolutely must make a game centered around the majesty of this character. Whether you call it Tophat Adventures, Grand Hat Fantasma, or Gentleman of the Heavens and Earth-Depths, I promise to preorder it and/or back it on kickstarter. Though part of me is sad that Covenant of Solutude probably won't have any other characters that draw this reaction out of me, I for one commend the artists for creating such a magical character. Spread the word. #IStandWithTophats

Fun fact: I originally drafted this up to try out quickposting because I thought they could be miniblogs. I was sorely mistaken and I haven't stopped crying.


1:13 PM on 07.28.2015

The FFXIV vs. TESO debate, settled once and for all

What do you get when two MMORPGs based on two giant RPG franchises are launched within less than a year of each other?

Arguments. Lots and lots of arguments. The ongoing debate over whether Final Fantasy XIV or The Elder Scrolls Online is the superior MMORPG has become so fierce and so common that you'd think there are no other MMORPGs on the market. With the official console release of The Elder Scrolls Online launching within a month of the Final Fantasy XIV expansion Heavensward, the fires of the argument have reignited with increased fervor as fans unceasingly fight to the internet-death in honor of their favorite franchises.

Now that I have played both games for myself, I can indeed confirm, once and for all... that this debate makes about as much sense as comparing Final Fantasy X to Morrowind.

On a fundamental level, Final Fantasy XIV and The Elder Scrolls Online are radically different games.

I'll be frank, I went into The Elder Scrolls Online under the impression that it wouldn't have a lot in common with Final Fantasy XIV, a game that I like quite a bit in case you didn't know. Even with that pretense, I was shocked at how dissimilar the two games are. To demonstrate, let's look at a few foundational features of each game.


Final Fantasy XIV uses "tab-targeting" found in MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. It's not uncommon for players to have more than 30 skills on their hotbars, many comboing off of each other and relying on relative position to the enemy. Macros are often utilized by the playerbase.

The Elder Scrolls Online plays like an action RPG, with simple point and shoot controls. All players have dedicated light and heavy attacks, as well as a block command and slots for up to 12 skills. Macros are only possible through third party addons.

Character Progression:

Final Fantasy XIV lets players swap between all available job classes on one character. Stats and abilities are by and large determined by the job class with only a few stat points and "cross class" skills to allocate. Tank/Healer/DPS role is predetermined by each job class.

The Elder Scrolls Online locks player characters into one of four classes upon creation. Players earn skill points through leveling up and finding "skyshards" throughout the world. Players can invest points into skills learned from weapons, armor, guilds, world skills (crafting, thieving), and each class' individual skill trees. Every class is capable of performing Tank/Healer/DPS roles.


Final Fantasy XIV starts new players in one of three cities depending on their initial class. All paths converge into one story early in the adventure, and players pick a city's "grand company" to join around level 20. Grand companies primarily determine PvP alliance and can be changed by spending ingame gil.

The Elder Scrolls Online locks players into one of three factions depending on their race. Each faction has a unique storyline; travel to other faction territories is forbidden until the core faction storyline is completed.


Final Fantasy XIV features a myriad of crafting recipes for each of its crafting classes. An item's success of being crafted and its quality are determined by a small crafting minigame that utilizes skills learned by each crafting class. Crafting classes have their own gear sets as well.

The Elder Scrolls Online features passive crafting skill lines, but no dedicated classes. Each item has a 100% success rate of being crafted, and the level of each item depends on how many materials are used in making it. Crafted items can then be enhanced to increase in quality, with success rates similarly influenced by how many materials are used.

And the list goes on. There are numerous additional talking points, but you probably get the picture.

In a way, none of this should be that surprising. Final Fantasy and The Elder Scrolls are poster children for jRPGs and wRPGs respectively, so MMORPGs that channel the traits of their heritage will naturally turn out wildly different. What this does mean, however, is that debate between the two comes almost entirely down to preference. While comparisons between the two games can be made, it has become quickly apparent to me that both games target different audiences and cater to them accordingly.

Both of these games have the right to coexist in the game industry, and we should be happy that they do.

Competition is good for the consumer, and that applies as much to videogames as it does economics.

If there's one outstanding similarity between Final Fantasy XIV and The Elder Scrolls Online, it's that both were not favorably reviewed at launch. Both then went on to make radical changes leading to a rebranding, which then led to critical acclaim and greater respect among gamers. If either of these games had a monopoly on the MMORPG market available on current generation consoles, it's entirely possible they could have gotten by doing much less.

Some gamers are quick to say that Final Fantasy XIV should drop its subscription fees and stop being "greedy," and others will say that The Elder Scrolls Online has already died because it lost its mandatory subscription fees. Claims like these completely undermine the reality that gamers have two new, exciting, big-name MMORPGs to choose from, and each offers gamers unique experiences and caters to different needs. That, my friends, is awesome.

In an industry that likes to oversell promises of innovation while putting out the same old thing over and over again, we should be happy that Final Fantasy XIV and The Elder Scrolls Online are so different. We should want these games to do well. It doesn't mean that you have to like both of them. In fact, it doesn't even mean you should play both of them. But at the very least, we shouldn't be wishing for the death of either of them.

As it stands, I'm enjoying The Elder Scrolls Online, and I feel I've gotten my money's worth out of it. I also have enjoyed Final Fantasy XIV for many months and believe it to have been absolutely worth the subscription fees. It feels great to play videogames and enjoy them for what they are, and respecting others for playing what they enjoy feels even greater. And if nothing else, fans of both series can find unity in addressing how I am a traitor of both franchises by writing this blog.


12:51 PM on 07.26.2015

I'm back, and I made my own website too!

Have you ever been away from home for a really long time? Do you know that warm fuzzy feeling of seeing old friends and family for a week after being away for months at a time? That's kind of how I feel writing this post.

It's good to be home Dtoid.

Alright, maybe I haven't been totally afk for 2015. I've still managed to sneak in a few posts here and there, and I did post a couple blogs while I was at it. Still, that's a pretty minimal amount of involvement compared to the past couple of years, and I'm hoping that my silly green face will be appearing more frequently throughout the site.

So what have I been doing this year, you may ask? I'm glad you asked.

First things first, now exists.

Yes, that's right, I am now the proud owner of my very own website, filled to the brim with my original content that I have printed - and will print - on the web.

Let me be clear: this website is currently 100% out-of-pocket and is no way a competitor to Destructoid or any other gaming blog. As I say in my opening post, I will continue to write Destructoid community blogs and shape my content accordingly. Beyond this post, I don't want to get spammy in advertising it unless it makes sense in the context of my writing.

That said, I sincerely hope you all check it out. Putting this together has been a labor of love, and I've even gone through and re-edited and updated all my articles to fit with my current standards. If you loved my opinions on All The Bravest, then you'll love my new expanded edition of the post! It's like getting an HD remake without having to spend 30 bucks on something you already experienced!

Seriously though, I'm prepping a lot of content to populate the site in the upcoming weeks, and I really hope you all enjoy it. And if you like what I'm doing, you could even... subscribe.

I did it. I asked for a subscription. I have officially crossed over.

That game my avatar is from has risen from the dead! Kind of!

I have been waiting long for the day when I can write a post proclaiming "my game, Driving Shadows, is finally available for download!" That day probably won't be coming anytime soon, but it has gotten a slight bit closer.

Okay, yes, it's just an RPG Maker 2000 game that dates back a generous amount of years at this point, but a chance reigniting of creative fires with its other devs has resurrected the project and put it back in development. Sure, it's a bit of a slow burn, but it feels great to be working on it again.

For my part, I recently went through the entire script with a fine tooth comb to do some editing and revision. Many hours were spent running my dialogue through an external tool that fits text into RM2K's textboxes, only to find that RPG Maker 2000 would get an official English release that is actually equipped to tell you that right in the editor. I am equal parts happy and sad.

I beat Final Fantasy XIV.

Yup, that's right, I finished the whole game. I did everything and have no reason to go back.

"JoyfulSanity, you beat an mmo?"

I certainly did.

"But even the best FFXIV players in the world haven't cleared Alexander Savage yet, how could you-"


Real life stuff

You know your year is off to a dynamite start when your grandmother falls and breaks her hip a month into it. You also know your grandmother is a badass when she's miraculously on her feet and walking four months later. Sure, she needs help going out of the house, but still.

I joke about it now but it has actually been pretty stressful. Not even in a "wow I'm so worried and stressed" way, but seeing your whole family scramble and disrupt their lives to figure out what to do from here on out is pretty taxing. A lot of responsibilities fell from one person to another pretty quickly, and before I knew it I was marathoning roadtrips all around the northeastern part of the United States just to do all I needed to do.

More recently, my dog that I've had since I was 12 years old was put to sleep during the same week that Iwata passed. Yes, it left me sad as hell, but it also kind of hit me that I'm not a kid anymore. I figured I can either mourn what I could only see as the death of my childhood or finally embrace the difficulties that come with adulthood at the ripe old age of 26, and I want to ride that momentum of motivation for as far as it takes me.

It's the most jRPGy optimistic outlook on life that I can think of, really, and I'm not planning to change my name to PityPartySanity anytime soon. In truth, I debated whether I wanted to include these details in this blog, but if my silly little epiphanies and triumphs have any chance at helping someone else inadvertently, then it's worth including. I want to be there for those who care about me, and I don't want to lose myself in the process.

So I guess all I'm trying to say is to stay strong, keep your chin up, and make sure to subscribe to for all the latest DAMN IT I'M ALREADY SPAMMING IT.


9:42 AM on 06.20.2015

Let's objectively talk about Heavensward. (WARNING: 100% objective)

I had it all figured out yesterday.

I had most of the day set aside to play the brand new Final Fantasy XIV expansion Heavensward, and I was ready to binge on it until I saw enough to write up a comprehensive first impressions blog. Then along comes Chris Carter - the man who is at least 70% machine - who not only manages to write two articles about the Heavensward launch, but also was able to make it even further into the game than I was even able to get after continuing into the wee hours of the night. This makes me almost as angry as seeing a game in my most beloved franchise get a 6.5 on a major gaming website.

So rather than talk about the content of the expansion and what it brings to the table, I decided to do an in-depth analysis of what makes Heavensward enjoyable. As always, I am literally the most factual person on the internet and am known to singlehandedly cease online controversies with my irrefutable and subjective opinions. Do not read this blog if you are unable to procure a Pulitzer Prize to impulsively send me upon finishing.

Number 1: Look at this onion.

Do you see that onion? It is lovingly rendered and is the reward for helping a guy bring chocobo feed to the otherside of the town. Oh, and prior to the expansion it was only one of the most valuable items in the game.

To explain, a Thavnairian Onion is an item used to enable your chocobo to break the level cap. Being that this is an item with high demand and some players don't even have the means to obtain one, it was common to see onions go for upwards of half a million gil on the market board. To be fair, this isn't an unreasonable amount of gil by Final Fantasy XIV endgame standards, but either way it's an amount that requires some dedicated saving to even afford. Oh, and if you have dreams of grinding your chocobo to the "true" level cap, you're going to need ten of those bad boys.

Then along comes one of the first sidequests in Heavensward in which a guy goes "Hallo thar, walk for five minutes because I'm lazy" and then you just get one of these items unceremoniously. It's like the game is saying "yeah, no big deal, we're just going to blow your mind and everything you know just for giggles. Enjoy the expansion."

Seriously, damn.

Point Two: Holy crap these maps.

I've merely traveled to the two starting areas of Heavensward, and they're individually as big as any two zones in A Realm Reborn put together. The scale is so intense that even walking to that little red circle in the screenshot isn't a quick jaunt to get to. It's that big.

I look forward to exploring these wide open zones and uncovering all the secrets that lie within them, but at the same time it's not all a bed of roses. For example, let's say the shortest distance between you and your destination requires you to jump off a cliff in a mountainous area, but the moment you jump some bastard monster decides to look at you. You're now engaged in combat and therefore unable to survive falling damage, forcing you to return to your homepoint and realize that you didn't activate the fast travel marker in that area like an idiot. To clarify, this happened to a friend I know since I'm obviously too smart to do that shit.


The Sea of Clouds is love. The Sea of Clouds is life.

Look at this zone. It's perfect. You are in the sky, there are beautiful ponds and wildlife everywhere, and new areas stretch as far as the eye can see. The music is charming and jumpy and the local beast tribe is a group of owl people. As a bonus, it kind of reminds me of Skies of Arcadia, which objectively makes this zone the closest we'll ever get to a Skies of Arcadia II. That's right, Heavensward is the successor to the Dreamcast, and I understand that you can't comprehend that because it makes too much sense.

I really don't have anything else to say, but... I mean. Look at it. LOOK AT IT.

Quatre: The writing is better, and the entire plot so far is "the good part."

I'm not going to lie, I skimmed over a good chunk of A Realm Reborn's leveling story. It's not that I wasn't interested, there were just too many lulls in the story and the excessively verbose writing didn't make it any better. This is something that started to improve upon entering the level 50 storyline, and the dynamite conclusion leading into Heavensward had me hoping things would only get better. I have not been disappointed.

Ishgard is immediately a more interesting city than the other cities of Final Fantasy XIV. The class divide between the locals becomes quickly apparent, and even the sidequests are used as devices to illustrate the city's culture. For example, one quest may have you delivering invitations for snooty nobles as they treat you like an errand boy, and another will have you retrieving firewood for the poor citizens since they aren't sure they have enough heat to make it through the night. While most players usually scoff at fetch quests in games as excuses for pointless filler, Heavensward shows how a seemingly stale convention can be used to flesh out the story and make the experience richer for the player.

The main story has also been riding at an excellent pace, and even the instanced story battles are more epic and involved than they ever were before. By level 52, my character has encountered a giant monster, made a harrowing escape, fought in a coliseum, and beaten up some bad guys in a fashion I've been waiting for since the conclusion of A Realm Reborn. Final Fantasy XIV has always sported a strong single player experience, but never before has it felt like you're playing a proper Final Fantasy game than it has now.

Conclusion: Heavensward is more Final Fantasy XIV, but even more refined.

It's clear to me that the developers have really honed their craft by this point, and it shines through in the expansion. Technically it's not that different than the content we've seen up to this point, but the stakes and the production have increased just enough for the game to keep feeling exciting.

It's telling that I had six other things to talk about and only got this far before feeling I've written too much, but that's the thing; it's that exciting. Maybe it's still the day one hype, maybe I'll be hating it by endgame, but so far I've gone full fanboy without feeling the need to tone it down. And that, my friends, is the objective truth.

That said, if I were you, I wouldn't wait on me to finish the expansion and give my final thoughts, as Chris Carter will likely have his full review up by tomorrow.


1:19 PM on 02.19.2015

Review: Bacon Club Cheeseburger



It's time to join the club


When I first heard about Bacon Club Cheeseburger, I was skeptical to say the least. Developer McDonald's is no stranger to anti-consumer practices, and the critically panned Black Halloween Cheeseburger convinced me that my days of being invested in the Cheeseburger canon were over.

Yet as new information about Bacon Club was released in the days prior to release, it started to look too good to be true. A return to form that we haven't seen since Double Cheeseburger? More meaty content not locked behind a paywall? It seemed as if it was an elaborate hoax, or the precursor to a cruel punchline intended to crush the spirits of Cheeseburger fans.

Yet now that I've experienced Bacon Club Cheeseburger in all its entirety, I can confirm that it delivers on all that it promised, and even a little more too.

Bacon Club Cheeseburger
Developer: McDonalds Corporation
Publisher: [I think it's some guy named John? - JS] [You expect me to look that up for you? - Ed]
Released: [Can someone look this up for me? Thx. -JS] [This isn't highschool, do your own work. - Ed] [Wow, passive aggressive much? - JS] [Meet me in my office. -Ed]
MSRP: $5.49 (standalone), $7.79 (combo preorder)

The first thing you're going to notice about Bacon Club is how minimalistic its narrative is. It opens up with the text "satisfy your craving," and the player is left with no clear indication of story or character development for the rest of the adventure. Tried as I might, I scoured the meat of the game thoroughly and couldn't find any other story clues, though I was surprised that there was actually a bit of hidden narrative content that can be found by searching the box.

This unorthodox approach to storytelling may seem asinine, but it lends itself well to the overarching thesis that Bacon Club seems to send: the player is the top priority, and you should have it your way. While AAA titles have been struggling to find ways to blend gameplay and story elements without alienating those who are playing strictly for one or the other, Bacon Club leaves the story as an unspoken sidequest that can be pursued by those who are actually interested in unraveling it. In truth, the Bacon Club community has already made great strides in unraveling the many mysteries of the narrative, and those who are intrigued by meta story driven games will likely remember this one alongside titles like Dear Esther and The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo.

This would be meaningless if the core of Bacon Club was not entertaining, but fortunately McDonalds has proven that they are masters of their craft when it comes to Cheeseburger gameplay. Instead of wrapping all the content together in a tightly linear fashion like previous Cheeseburger games, Bacon Club utilizes a sandbox style approach to gameplay by setting the game in an actual box. This may seem bit jarring at first, but this small change gives players freedom in choosing what content they'd like to experience while simultaneously providing a convenient venue to save other pieces of content for later. Some gamers will inevitably complain that this shift in design is an effect of videogame homogenization perpetuated by the likes of Ubisoft and E.A, but those who approach the game with an open mind will be pleasantly surprised by all that Bacon Club has to offer.

And my oh my, does Bacon Club deliver on content. Gamers have long decried McDonalds for withholding the popular Bacon expansion pack behind a paywall in previous Cheeseburger games, but true to its title, Bacon Club ships with both a full featured Cheeseburger and Bacon without needing to shell out any extra cash. Though reviewers are usually not asked to take price into account when reviewing a videogame, I'm going to do it anyway and state that $5.49 for all the content Bacon Club packs is a great deal. The Bacon expansion virtually doubles the amount of meat contained within the game, which is saying a lot given how much content is there to begin with. Though Bacon Club's content may not reach the euphoric heights of other Cheeseburger style games from other developers, there's still an impressive amount of quality for players to sink their teeth into.

That said, Bacon Club still has an edge over the before mentioned competitors by being equally as viable to enjoy both portably and in a home environment. The bite sized nature of the gameplay in Cheeseburger games has always lent itself to excel in this area, and despite all its changes Bacon Club is no different. In fact, a gamer could in theory enjoy Bacon Club while playing another videogame altogether, so gamers can experience the thrill of purchasing a new product while simultaneously working to minimizing their gaming backlog.

As a videogame reviewer, I'm always looking for a paradoxical combination of videogames being an entirely new experience while being something I'm familiar with so I can play and review it quickly, and in this regard Bacon Club met my expectations in spades. Some gamers will inevitably argue whether Cheeseburger games can adequately count as videogames to begin with, but the reality is that Bacon Club is an enjoyable package filled to the brim with content that should appeal to anyone who owns an Xbox or a Nintendo Playstation. To be concise, it's like what would happen if Mass Effect and Skyrim had a illegitimate child with Assassin's Creed and Final Fantasy with slight influences from Braid and Thomas Was Alone also God of War Dark Souls Super Mario Bros Dragonball Z badass shooter FPS shoot 'em up Candy Crush only with epic robots and zombies and crafting. Also it's a Cheeseburger.

8 /10 Great: Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.

[The Search Engine Optimization in your last paragraph is still inadequate. Please resubmit this review to me after revising and don't do something stupid like post it with all my comments included. -Ed]


1:56 PM on 01.28.2015

Ask me questions and I will at worst verbally accost you with love


Confession: I wrote the title of this blog as a silly excuse to jump on the anti-badger bandwagon after the not-quite-stellar Q&A session that recently happened. However, after rereading all the badger-related posts and perhaps realizing that a blog with just a title would probably get fail-blogged, I realized an important question needed to be answered.

Who the hell is The Badger?

I don't mean that in a literal sense. There's a few intriguing clues in The Badger's words that might lead an internet sleuth in one or many directions, but that's the opposite of the point I'm trying to make here. Rather, I think we're seeing a kind of fascinating phenomenon unfolding that may or may not be what has been intended from the start.

I had zero idea of what I wanted to do for a picture here but here's the source at least

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I think there's at least some merit to some of what The Badger has said thus far on Destructoid, even if it hasn't been elegantly conveyed. We can also ascertain that The Badger probably is at least a little privy to what he/she/it/they are talking about thus far, even without any clarified credentials. Yet beyond that, this persona that has taken on a public stage on Destructoid technically isn't inherently different than you, me, or any random commenter talking about videogame culture in a way that anyone outside of videogame culture wouldn't care about. The Badger is, by their own admittance, "shit posting" under the mask of anonymity that technically doesn't give them any more credit than a 4channer who claims his uncle works at Nintendo. Technically speaking, The Badger is nobody.

Yet even if The Badger was someone, would it even matter? Check this out; some of you may know this already, but I'm actually a game designer. Look at all these videogames I've designed using the highly advanced RPG Maker engine:

So tack that onto all of my blogs. Don't agree with my views on Final Fantasy? Well sorry son, I'm a game designer, and I'm a front page Destructoid writer, so I guess that makes my opinions more valuable than yours. Obviously that's not how conversations work, because otherwise Phil Fish wouldn't get even a 10th of the hate that he does now. A person's alleged background is only a framework for what's truly important: the quality of that person's words. No amount of expertise in a subject qualifies you to be a dick unless specifically being a dick is going to accomplish something that couldn't be done without being a dick, and that's something that's rather hard to quantifiably prove.

What's interesting here is that The Badger seems to show contempt for everyone. Commenters are nerds, Journalists are nerds, everyone's a "garbage fucker." If The Badger had even a little concern for what any of us thought of The Badger, they probably would not have made blatant jabs at community fan favorite Brittany Vincent. The Badger is the anti-Destructoid; In a tight-nit community that values an intimate staff and jokes about sexing each other just about every other hour, The Badger is an anonymous and strange mass of negativity that will speak to us but will under no circumstances want to be among us. To The Badger, the world is shit, and The Badger seems to believe their posts will perhaps make it less shit. Or something.

To an extent, there is value of a voice that runs as a counterpoint to the culture of Destructoid's Gardevoir fantasies and shutting up in order to just play videogames. Perhaps the plan from the start was to create a character that everyone would find reason to hate, regardless of ideology. As ShadeOfLight has observed, it's entirely possible that The Badger could just be a staff member screwing with us and we'd be none the wiser. I don't neccesarily believe that's the case, but obviously it's been effective, considering that the page views are allegedly higher than normal and all this nonsense has propelled me to write a dissertation on the subject. But in the end, the internet doesn't need another "shit poster." In case it hasn't been obvious, the internet is full of shit posters, and the last thing we need is another one. Until I see the snitnami dowse the shit flames in its shitiness, I will stand opposed. We need more people who can clean up the shit, not make more of it.

That said, ask me anything. I'm just another community member in the grand scheme of things, but at least some of you know my name and have chatted with me before. If The Badger is both anybody and nobody, then take heart that I'm at least somebody and will at some point remember you are a human being when I respond to you. Perhaps the world is shit, and perhaps I'm just an idiot among idiots acting like an idiot so some other idiots can feel less like an idiot.

But at the very least, I can take comfort in the fact that I'm not acting like an awful person.

So ask me anything.


9:44 AM on 10.08.2014

JoyfulSanity's top 10 objectively best fetishes of all time!!!!

How does one write an intro for a blog about something as shameful and private as their fetishes?

Seriously, someone tell me please.

1: Elizabeth

When it comes to Persona girls, some guys like Chie for her legs, Yukiko for her laughing fits, Yukari for her OUTSTANDING B-B-B-BOOOOOW AND ARROW, etc. Then there are some people who like Persona girls who look like they might kill them in their sleep. I belong to neither of these groups but I like Elizabeth anyway.

Elizabeth's theme song in Persona 4 Arena is a final boss song from Persona 3, also she wants to turn the Velvet Room into a nightclub. Best girl.

2: Humans

Out of all the people that I have felt attraction towards over the course of my lifetime, 100% of them have been human. I've talked with my doctor about this, asking questions like why I was never confused by the likes of Knuckles the Echidna or Rainbow Dash, but he just told me that he wasn't my doctor and asked if I'd like to pay for my groceries with cash or credit.

Someday, I will find the reason why I have this shameful orientation.

3: Hitting the damage cap

The most exciting part of hitting the damage cap in an RPG isn't the moment of climax, but rather, the anticipation leading up to it. All the careful preparation, shouting buffs and debuffs when necessary, trying not to unleash too early while surviving a passionate onslaught, all leading to that one incredible moment that leaves me breathlessly whispering one phrase:

"Ninety-Nine-Thousand-Nine Hundred-Ninety-Nine"

4: Using Jigglypuff in Smash Bros.

Jifflypuff is a joke character who traditionally hangs around the bottom tier of any given Smash Bros. game, but you know what they say about tiers: tiers are for quetotal amateurs.

It's one thing for someone to lose a game in Smash Bros., but losing to someone playing as Jigglypuff results in a loss of self worth, the questioning of the existence of God, and an erection that lasts longer than four hours. I actually didn't know what to put for that last point so I just drew a Cards Against Humanities card and tossed it in.

5: Seeing Occams and Wrenchfarm some guy named Nic Rowen on the front page of Destructoid

I've been tempted to try to word some heartfelt congratulations to these two for their newfound promotions on Destructoid, but I said to myself "How can I intensify this sentiment and also make it kind of creepy at the same time?"

Nailed it.

6: Battle themes

The battle theme is the quintessential genre of music. In fact, some people don't know this, but all music is secretly a battle theme. Don't believe me? Well, J-Pop is a battle theme, American Pop is a battle theme, Classical Music is a battle theme, Jazz is a battle theme, and even Deep Purple's Ian Gillian is a battle theme.

Yes, Ian Gillian is a battle theme. I used all of those words exactly the way I meant to.

Oh, and even that super sad song used as Aeris' theme is a battle theme after she gets a sword through the back. Warning: This article contains spoilers.

7: Receiving death threats for my controversial views on Final Fantasy XIII

Warning: Graphic Violence, Strong Language, and Excessive Stupidity

I have to admit, I totally baited people on this one by not only occasionally criticizing Final Fantasy XIII, but also saying things like "I think it's bad but I enjoy it anyway," "I can see why people like it," and writing a blog that says lots of good things about Final Fantasy XIII. It's good to see that this hard work has paid off, as one look at my blog history shows that my main motivation for writing blogs is to intentionally make people upset.

8: Jokes that I get but feel kind of ashamed to admit I get so I just kind of chuckle to myself but try not to draw too much attention to it

Believe it or not, this list has taken a while to write. In fact, as I wrote the above, two years worth of thoughts made a glopping noise as my words flowed endlessly onto the page.

9: Key changes

This actually wasn't my original pick for number 9, but while writing this I was listening to the theme song from Persona 4 Arena Ultimax and the key change near the end happened so suddenly that it scared the shit out of me. Perfectly valid reason to add it to my fetishes list.

Never mind that I apparently just claimed that key changes to me are like Slender Man to creepy pasta fans.

10: Pretending to have poor knowledge of what a fetish is as a thinly veiled excuse to participate in a meme and make a list about arbitrary bullshit

This is what happens when I keep trying to break my blogging hiatus and I can only ever write up to the intro.


6:59 PM on 01.25.2014

Random battles aren't bad, they're just misunderstood.

Image Source: Kotaku

If you ask just about anyone what they hate the most about old school style jRPGs, there's a very high chance they'll say "random battles."

It's an idea that has been parodied to death and has been the subject of ridicule among gamers for years now, which is why many gamers consider random battles to be an "outdated" game mechanic. And the fact of the matter is, developers seem to agree. This is why we're starting to see "touch encounters" in once random battle laden series like Final Fantasy and Persona, and gamers everywhere have been showering praise on Bravely Default for including an option to reduce or even turn off random encounters at will. As I recall one person saying back in my days as a regular of the RPG Maker community, "random battles are like watching a movie and having it be interrupted every two minutes with someone bashing pots and pans together."

Yet the worst thing about random battles is that there is actually nothing wrong with them: it's actually everything around them that's flawed.

I'll always remember the dungeons in the original Final Fantasy as some of the most tense experiences I ever had as a young gamer. If I was entering a dungeon for my first time, I would never consider traversing all the way to the end in one go. Trying to do that would be foolhardy and stupid. Instead, the objective would be to explore the first floor or two, open as many treasure chests as I could, and then make a run for the exit to recover my resources and perhaps upgrade my gear if I hadn't done so already. If I got cocky and went too far in over my head, then I ran a very high risk of getting ambushed by some powerful monster and being stuck in the middle of a monster laden maze with my team either badly wounded or majorly compromised. If I didn't have enough potions or just got really unlucky with the run command, then I was looking at a bad end.

Final Fantasy I is far from the paradigm of excellent game design, but it is an excellent demonstration of what random battles can add to an RPG. Dungeons were tense because battles were unforgiving and inevitable, not little glowing orbs on the map that I could either fight or pass by if I felt like it. Although old RPGs ran wild with random encounters to pad out the playtime with grinding, random encounters were one of the main challenges to overcome in these older RPGs.

The problems with random battles really started in the SNES/PSX era of RPGs, when the RPG genre was moving to be more user friendly but retained old mechanics that were no longer being used properly. Since developers likely figured that most gamers didn't want to dedicate the better part of their week to finishing a single dungeon, the difficulty of RPGs started to drop and once scarce resources - like gold and recovery items - were given more frequently to the player. While there was nothing inherently wrong with these decisions, they made large strides in nullifying the tension that random encounters once brought to RPGs. Your heroes would be able to overcome the average group of enemies handily, and even if significant damage was dealt to the party, it was easy to buy 99 potions and just dump them on your heroes until you reached the end of the dungeon.

When random encounters don't actually threaten the player, their significance as an actual game mechanic is reduced to little more than a monotonous war of attrition that the player probably was never in danger of losing to begin with. It's not that the concept is fundamentally flawed, it's just that many games weren't well designed around the concept of random battles. It would be like if you played first person shooter games where your enemies either rarely shot back at you or were virtually incapable of actually causing you to lose the game (insert your Call of Duty joke here), and thus proclaimed that the FPS is an old and outdated genre.

For a perfect example of everything wrong with the design around random encounters, let's consider the recent remakes of Final Fantasy I, particularly the PSP version (the same could probably be said for the GBA version, but the PSP version is the one I most recently played). Square Enix changed the fundamental rules of the game to allow for a traditional magic point system and a save-anywhere feature, which are both convenient features that totally conflict with the way Final Fantasy I was designed. Enemies give the player so much EXP and gold that it's more of a challenge not to become completely overpowered, and even if a rough enemy group does appear to crush the player, it's only a few button presses away to either use some of your many healing items or reload a save point from only a few steps earlier. With a White Mage in tow, you might not even need to buy items, as it would be entirely possible for some regular cure spell spamming to keep your party healthy for an entire dungeon.

All of these changes to the foundation actually nullify the game that was designed to be played in Final Fantasy I, and the experience of playing it becomes little more than just something you kind of keep playing and eventually win at. It's sad really, especially when considering how Final Fantasy Origin introduced many excellent tweaks to make the game more player friendly without compromising its essence. The Final Fantasy I PSP remake indicates to me that the developers did not have a firm understanding of what random battles were intended to actually add to the game, and with that in mind, it doesn't surprise me that Square Enix would design Final Fantasy XIII to be completely without the random encounters and resource management that was so prevalent in the series' roots.

For the record, just to offer some contrast, I personally found the SNES and GBC remakes of Dragon Quest I to be wonderfully more accessible versions of the game while still keeping random encounters relevant threatening.

Fortunately, many RPGs in recent years have been either using random battles correctly or opting to not use them at all. Series like Etrian Odyssey and Shin Megami Tensei have made great strides in utilizing random battles for the benefit of the game and not just for the sake of bloat, which makes it no surprise that these games have found their own niche audiences so easily. Despite all the clichs about jRPGs and anime tropes, the genre has become diverse enough to appeal to many different types of gamers, and it's only good for the industry that there are plenty of jRPGs out there to appeal to people who vehemently hate random battles no matter how well they're used.

But at the same time, while I eagerly await Bravely Default and welcome its various difficulty settings, let's not pretend that this is some kind of cure-all for the problems with random battles. If we are so eager to suggest how to wholesale fix a classic convention of the jRPG genre, it would be best to understand what is actually broken in the first place.   read

6:28 PM on 12.05.2013

December is the month I go somber (99% NVGR)

Ever since I started blogging here around the beginning of the year, I've been thinking I should keep away from talking about personal drama or struggles for the sake of my own (joyful)sanity. For this month, I think it's for the best that should change.

Keep in mind that this blog is not actually where I'll go into detail. I just wanted to give a casual "catching up with JoyfulSanity" since I frankly burnt myself out with my Ys Buyer's Guide last week. I mean, I'm happy I've written it to refer to when I don't feel like repeating myself when people ask about the series, but that damn thing wound up being over 3,500 words, man. That's more words than four Top Ten Sexiest Dtoiders right there. So yeah, I wanted to do something a little more low-key just so no one will think I've fallen off the earth.

Anyway, last December, a lot of small things happened to be me that, individually, would have been bearable, but all together they broke me and my usually cheerful demeanor like you wouldn't believe. As much as I hate to admit it, these things still affect me a full year later, so I guess what I thought were flesh wounds have turned into full blown scars. I don't want to build this up as a tale of unprecedented misfortune, because in the grand scheme of things, what I've gone through is relatively trivial and perhaps even common. Yet with the anniversary of all this personal baggage looming closer, it has been all I've thought about.

I've actually become so caught up in my angst that I've been having trouble keeping my wit sharp enough to post comments on blogs and news stories around here. I don't know if that sounds conceited, but I actually can't bring myself to post something if I feel a mental fog is keeping my words from being as funny or informative as they should be. I guess there are benefits to having a perfectionist approach to even little things like internet comments and blog posts, but it is kind of crummy from the perspective of being an active member of a community. I apologize to any peeps who have written stellar blogs that should have gotten a fap and a comment from me, and I hope to make up for the lack of ego stroking at some point in the future.

So basically, I figured that, instead of falling off Dtoid until my funk passes, I should instead at least attempt to do something about it just to see where it takes me. To be more specific, I hope to deviate from my regularly scheduled programming and write two or three blogs about stuff that's been happening in my life and how videogames and even Destructoid have kept me from descending too far into madness. I want to clarify that I'm not in trouble or anything, as there are plenty of others on this site that are in much more need of prayers and support than I am. But at best, I do hope to at least clear my head and ideally give a forum for some people who might be having a hard time with these trivial-except-secretly-not things that I've been dealing with. I know that feelings of isolation and solitude have been the biggest culprits of what has gotten me down all this time, so seeing even a random stranger go "hey, me too!" can be strangely comforting. Hell, even reading this Onion article made me feel better about a lot of things.

Of course, on top of all of this is the Christmas season, which really has no right to be as stressful as it is. I mean, it's easy to do holiday shopping for friends and family who are gamers, since I basically live and breathe game sale prices on the daily. But otherwise, figuring out what's useful and in a budget to give someone can occasionally be like finding a needle in a haystack that's also on top of an erupting volcano. This also is probably another symptom of me putting way too much thought into little things, so I should get that checked out or something.

While I'm writing about miscellaneous things, I'd like to give a heartfelt, long overdue thanks to all you guys who have been reading the things I write and leaving nice, intelligent comments. I still feel like a newbie around here just because of my relative time being active, but at the same time I've always felt part of the proverbial family and I'll eventually go into detail about how amazing that's been for me. I'd also like to give a shout to 4th sexiest Dtoider Mr. Andy Dixon for putting my glitches blog on the front page. Seeing my words all dolled up and edited under the Destructoid banner was incredible, and knowing that my silly thoughts might have brought some form of joy to a wide audience was just incredible. Really, I've been in and out of many communities in my time, and while there are always some guys who make me shake my head, most of y'all are the nicest people I've ever talked to.

That's it from me. If you've been following my work, I hope my change in tone won't be too alarming or anything, and I promise that I'm okay and probably much better off than I might have sounded. If you haven't been following my work, well... like, comment, and subscribe? Or don't. That's like, your opinion man.

Until next time,

Joyful "My momma called me Joyful and married into an excellent last name" Sanity   read

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