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4:13 PM on 05.06.2012  

Thoughts: Dustforce

ďOr I knew I would love it after I saw the the first trailerĒ

Steam , PC

Some of you might have caught me ranting about its amazing soundtrack on twitter, seriously go and have a listen, you wonít be disappointed.

Hitboxteam, where have you been my whole life? After completing Super Meat Boy almost obsessively while enjoying it throughout I thought to myself that few games would match that delicate balance between being tough-as-nails but also super rewarding as you progressed, giving you that addictive incentive to keep on trying like the one Super Meat boy pretty much nailed (fuck you I want to be the guy stage). Well I was wrong. Presenting Dustforce, in which your task is to sweep one of 4 distinct and environments (forest,city,castle,laboratorium) clean from all of that icky dust(or leaves / goo depending on your location). This is however more tricky than it seems as the filth (as always) manages to get to the most hard to reach places (for example the freaking rampart of a castle) and itís you job as one of four unique and beautifully animated and highly acrobatic cleaners to make it go away.



To achieve this wonderful dust-butt-kicking you have to maneuver increasingly bizarre and difficult 2D-levels as you do with your arrow-keys. Z makes your character jump and X, C is for your light and heavy attacks and CTR makes your character do a horizontal or vertical dash (or just use your own custom controls). As you dust your way through levels you will find filth infested objects (the leaf covered bear is adorable!) that you have to dispatch and when enough ass whopping and dusting has occurred your dust-meter will reach its peak and youíre allowed to perform a super attack (by pressing light and heavy attack at the same time) clearing a whole room worth of dust and any baddies unfortunate enough to be in the area, this dust-kicking is presented to you in stylish slow-motion fashion which never fails to satisfy. In the earlier levels this super-technique is mostly reserved for a stylish ending to the level but in harder levels knowing when and how to use your super attack becomes essential for seeing it the end of the level as killing enemies in mid air recharges your jump/dash ability, making those impossible jumps possible. The controls handle very fluently and once you get a hang of them and you start to you figure out the levels and how the developers intended you to move trough them itís pure bliss to try to beat that super-hard level or shave off seconds from your previous best-time.

While the level design remains top notch throughout the games levels I found myself at a sudden stop as the difficulty-level skyrocketed when I attempted the harder levels and unlocking new levels previously required me to beat a level with 100% of the dust removed and without losing my combo-meter that starts ticking down when you havenít been attacking or sweeping anything in a little while. This was a major problem. Thankfully this has been addressed in a recent update making so that if you improve on old completed or just make it through a harder one ( thank god for checkpoints) a meter fills up granting you a key if filled so that you can potentially unlock every level without being a ninja. Seriously, some of the later levels had me beat even before I reached the first checkpoint.

Thankfully the game shows leader-boards of the top players so if you ever find yourself stuck you can always look at the proís how they traverse the level, donít beat yourself up if you canít measure up though , the guys topping the charts are insane!



Lastly I wanted to write a little something about the presentation which is pretty damn good; the characters are all fluidly animated and varied (watching gramps as he uses his vacuum to glide on ceilings while spinning around never gets old). The palette of most levels isnít vibrant instead itís pretty brown and dark which kind of works seeing as your goal in the game is to clean up a filthy world, to nitpick the foreground could have been more distinguished as it can be hard to make out whatís a wall or whatís in the background at times. The soundtrack is nothing short of stellar and managed to capture my imagination like few soundtracks has done before it, like the game's presentation it focuses more on atmosphere and manages to excellently portrait say the desolation and sadness of a abandoned castle as the moon shines in. Yet it still packs some of that NES era catchiness with songs like (Cider time) cheering you on as you (hopefully) blaze trough the levels , the first time I saw the teaser trailer for the game with that song in it I knew that I would ejaculate all over this soundtrack. To make things even more insane he mentions that this is his first completed musical project, seriously give this guy some cred!

Enough masturbation letís wrap this up!

With the newly added level editor and a website for the community to share and rate player made levels (some stellar and super-imaginative ones have already been popping up!) and a patch fixing my only complaints about the game itís hard not to give Dustforce my highest regards, if you love challenging yourself and feeling like a ninja Dustforce will not disappoint.   read


5:08 PM on 02.13.2012  

A dream-traveling, money & real-estate grubbing man's gameboy-memoirs

Hello peeps, whatís up? (Is that how you behave? I wouldnít know)

In the good news Iíve finally found my mortal enemy, this guy. If you are a regular BF3 player mortar enemy could also work as a fitting replacement word seeing as they are equally evil. People need an imaginary treat to live their life the fullest, no?

In other delusions that's partially influenced by all the talk about locations Iíve been thinking about buying a house at Float islands, you know the area before Castle Lololo (that game was way before memes!) in kirbyís dreamland for the Gameboy. The area is gorgeous and the soothing music is spot on, -- ahh , the refreshing sound of waves rolling in -- Even a spastic man like me could get a tan in a place like that! Even though I would most likely call in sick for the beach-cave exploring I could just pay a visit to Castle Lololo , I hear thatís a great neighborhood. God, I canít get enough of the waves of nostalgia and bliss the music of videogames channel is providing me with. Also, when I first got the game as a kid (which I replayed a billion times) I though the manual told about Kirby being a bird or something, lovely weirdness! Whoa, the ending music just started playing, ENJOY IT , HARD!*gets all wet in my eyes*



Those composers really knew how to rock that squarewave lead on the gameboy , no wonder chiptune artists use that divine gameboy soundchip.

In other musical news, Koholint island , right? Thatís a weird place, playing music for fish? Pft..I do however find it highly believable that Link has a really strange subconscious after everything he has been trough, people walking backwards, going to sleep in a dream? I call Inception before it even was thought of! I remember being so scared when thinking about that dreambed and everything it made me experience. Also, the shopkeeper,the horrors! I promise, show this to a kid and he shall never think of stealing again!



Another thing worth mentioning is how the game tells you that youíre happy when you receive a lot of rupees. It delivers the same message in a Link to the past where the huge fairy tells you that money makes you happy and if I remember right thatís also the message in Skyward sword. I love dreaming up scenarios where this is Myamotoís only intended message with his Zelda games. Itís just that he canít make it too obvious, that cheeky bastard! After all, the internet proves me right!. I guess Linkís awakening also was the first Zelda game to include the popular fishing minigame but I might be wrong on that one.
I remember beating it as a kid, the only problem being that the game was in German, which I barely could read. That is a huge problem seeing as there are loads of clues on what to do told to you, in German. Somehow I beat it though, screw you Zelda, Iíve got the power of finding the right way trough elimination, and as I kid I donít care about time, muahahaha! * No Mom , of course Iím sleeping! Wink, wink*



I guess a editor here posted about the Linkís awakening remix album , or? Anyway, itís pretty cool, atmospheric and tries it hardest to convey the feeling of a dream which it does pretty darn well! My favorite track as it also is in the original soundtrack is the masterful re-arranging of the Zelda theme that is Tal tal mountains (note : when I was a kid I lived in a area that can be translated to Tal mountain! Also super Mario 64! Remember? Tal tal mountain?)The slightly melancholic Koholint Island track ranks just behind it, and let me tell you, it will make you go *HNNNG* as the familiar melody is sparely used but when it is , oh boy.. Itís used right! So do yourself a favor and feast on this lovely collection of music you know and love.

Also, I never remembered the first command and conquer having this funky music, just, j..j..j..ust, just do it .. up?

Well this was on the short side but short isn't always a bad thing , right? I also wanted to tell you that I'm working on graphics and sound for a game I'm making with a classmate right now. It's going to take a while before we can actually show you guys something because of the initial learning curve that comes with using a new program, getting all the settings right and stuff, but I'm finding it extremely fun to work on it nevertheless. My little baby is starting to move and look like something that isn't shit, and I'm so happy because of it! We are currently working with Construct 2 , check it out, it fairly easy to use and the amazing Konjak is using the previous (classic) version of it to make the Iconclasts which brings endless amounts of comfort to me , because if he can make such a beautiful looking, sounding and what looks like amazingly fun game with Construct, I'll try it too! Also the guy behind Minitroid also used Construct classic, amazing!

Take care and stuff, I love reading all of your blogs in the morning, I don't know what else that could bring me up from bed that effectively! -- Ahh, go away shower-hose , I hate showering in the morning! --   read


3:58 PM on 01.20.2012  

Dark Souls - Fighting the "good" fight

Weekend after weekend watching and listening to my friend and my brothers agonized screaming, hair pulling and teeth grinding itís finally my turn to prove my worth. And with that though i grab my semi-broken PS3 controller (the left analog stick is iffy as hell, works wonders on those narrow beams!), wipe off my pre-sweat from my forehead as I fully submit myself to this marathon of agony, bliss, emasculation. Letís play Dark Souls, itís the funnest game on the block!

But this time Iím not alone, Iíve got my science loving ateist PC gamer friend with me too, he only plays console at my place and I was curious how he would react to a game this , uh , letís go with niche.

Itís more than delightful to see that there are some people in Dark Souls community that seem to be fond of the act of giving. Watch my friends face twisting in horror as me and my brother starts screaming that he has been invaded by an evil phantom that is trying to steal his humanity and souls (note that he is still trying to comprehend how the game is played). Then something strange happens the dark shadow starts dancing and making all kind of gestures and in an instant the once intimidating shouts now slowly turn into encouragements - Heís dropping stuff, pick them up! Hurry before they disappear!


Is it wrong to want to have sex with the bosses because of reasons part vengence and part attraction?

And what do we have here? Oh , Lord Gwynís great sword + 5 , an occult club + 5 , a heap of rare minerals, the list goes on. Needless to say my friends mind was blown,fucked then in total ecstasy, all in a matter of minutes. It has been relatively smooth sailing since then, I mean obviously we have died a lot but with a complete lexicon thatís eager to share most of the time ( my brother and his friend ) coupled with my relatively experienced understanding of Demon Souls and my glimpses of when they played it have turned Dark Souls to a really enjoyable experience. Oh yeah, about that lexicon thing, it works wonders when they arenít deliberately trying to lure us off cliffs, bastards.

But what this random gesture of kindness have robbed me of in challenge it has made up for in envy and hate. Itís a guilty pleasure to watch the people around me cringe as I smash that boss they spent hours beating on my first try. And to seal the deal I sometimes blurt stuff like - What , this creature didnít die by one swing, is this game broken or something? Oh they try to hide it so well but I can see into their souls how it hurts them, ha! But I donít feel robbed of the experience in any way, I had my fair share of challenges in Demon Souls and Iím still as vulnerable as ever as I run around with my skimpy waist cloth. I seriously look like Conan the barbarian with my great-sword resting on my shoulder, and I donít even have armor to rest it on , just my bare shoulders , how bad ass is that?

So thatís it , grab a friend buy the freaking game, trow your ps3 or xbox over your shoulder or force him to then help each other or the opposite on your way towards glory!

Also hereís a poem I wrote about something that happened to me recently in game.

Oh curious little moth how beautiful your wings are, please donít impale me with your teal laser beams. Time passes by as me and my friend wait, oh where art thou little moth? Even more time passes and my friend tells me goodbye, I wait upon the castle wall as you continue to ignore me. Oh little moth what is it with the far away mountains that enthuses you so? Oh how I wish you would come back....


Troll in central park is always relevant!

When the gameís bosses get so freaking self aware that they figure out that glitching away and forcing me to take my own life is smarter than getting killed I get creative.   read


4:11 PM on 01.15.2012  

Thoughts: Persona 3,Forbidden Siren 2

Oh god, Iím so excited to write, my recent gaming experiences have been wonderful and Iíve reminisced about some great ones in the past too. Letís see here...

Persona 3 ----



I freaking love this game, or most of it at least. Beating up supernatural monsters by evoking imaginative friends who fight for you while simulating the school-life of Japanese peoples that in some cases resemble American Saturday morning cartoon characters , yes ! Iíve been playing it for the last two years though, mainly because I find it extremely repetitive and tedious to go dungeon crawling in the game, I like it the first 10-20 mins then it begins to feel like a chore, and the worst part is that Iím far too much of a coward and much to obsessive to just play the damn game as a dating-sim, what if I am to weak to face the next boss?

Anyways Iím 130 hours in and Iím finally beginning to reach the end, at least of the main scenario, thereís a extra one called the answer in the FES special edition, I wonder how long that one is? Iím loving the characters that at first seemed highly archetypical but later all evolved to something way more complicated, you know , just like in real life. Unlike real life Persona 3 gives me the opportunity to live the Japanese dream of being surrounded by robot women , helping little kids with parenting issues ( although thanks to podtoid I feel dirty for doing it now ) and fighting freaky monsters with a canine friend that cuts his opponents with a knife! WITH HIS JAWS! Now thatís what I call entertainment!

The game still looks good even today thanks to the amazing artstyle witch pervades every little detail of the game ,even the menus look sleek and stylish! One of my complaints is the sometimes unfair difficulty level where as sometimes if you dabble and the enemy get's the first strike you're basically finished. And if you're unlucky 30 minutes of grinding will be gone, and it has happened more than once for me throughout my play-trough. And add to it that your companions doesn't always carry themselves that well in combat, sure you can issue commands but that is quite the hassle and is generally only needed during harder fights and you got yourself a pretty annoying game at times, luckily it's the minority of the time. Sometimes I forget that they are only mere computer programs and I go screaming - Junpei you stupid bastard , use fire spells , THEY ARE WEAK AGAINST IT! It's your freaking specialty! Don't hit them with your stupid sword! *sigh* Anyways!

So in an effort to finally get trough things I've been just plowing trough the last parts as fast as I can, I've been going to the arcade every night, snoozing at school and neglecting all my monster-slaying even though my friends tell me that I probably should be training for what I think is the final battle, I could be wrong though since the game is made in Japan and it's been telling me that it's the last boss for quite some bosses now. I wonder if I'll make it?

I canít mention Persona and not mention the catchy as hell soundtrack, almost all songs in the game are memorable ! I used to start up the game just so I could listen to the theme while eating break-feast. There is also this song, whatís with the French rambling in the middle of it all? I donít have a clue but Iím loving it! The original intro song is pretty epic too! And the fight music almost never wears out itís welcome! And considering that Iíve been fighting for at least 30 hours thatís a feat! The Tartarus theme also deserves some attention for it's funkiness!

Also Japanese Thor is marvelous! Why does he wear freaking v-shorts and tattoos on his thighs? I donít know but I love it.




Some of this stuff is so out there, I mean just look at this incubus guy above to the right! But since the women get to be sexualized then I guess itís only fair to do it to the men as well , Iím not complaining at all! And the PSP version let's you choose if you want to play as a girl or boy, I guess the persona team is a pretty aware bunch huh? I'm digging the out there "loosely based on mythology" art, most of them really look like the concept art they are based on. Also , I just managed to summon Satan, who's the man now dawg?

Forbidden Siren 2

I got this a while ago from one of those super cheap boxes in those - we sell everything stores , youíve got them in the US right? I felt like I had to try it out because I adore PS2 era survival horror games and Iíve heard some moderately good things about it , I think Stevil might have said something good about them or something. I haven't played very much of it but this is what I think of it as of now!

The first thing I noticed was the creepy cutscenes, just look at these things! I think they superimposed real faces onto computer generated textures and sometimes it makes for some horrifyingly comical and at times just genuinely scary moments.

The game takes place on a cursed island of sorts and you get to control a bunch of people, most with unique abilities throughout a fixed time-frame constantly going back and forth between people and different places in time to find out what the hell is going on. It's like the TV series 24 but instead of going in a linear fashion from hour 1 to 24 ( or how it works) this game is scrambling the whole story.



The game seems like it had noble and ambitious intents but most of itís execution is either hit or miss, the game controls very survival horror like , kind of like Silent Hill 4 : The room. Iím not sure if itís because Iím playing it with a ps3 controller or what but the first person aiming sensitivity is insanely high, I was forced to spray two magazines on a zombie just to hit him to complete the tutorial. Then thereís the interesting mechanic that is called sight-jack ( not to be confused with the horrible mind-jack game ). It allows you to see trough the eyes of nearby enemies and makes for some tense moments but the white noise sound it makes when searching for an an enemies vision is kind pretty high pitched and overly annoying , high and annoying doesnít make it scarier , just more painful to execute, which will eventually get to you as the game seems intent at using it pretty often.

I did however get to one interesting scenario where you got to control a guy with very bad eye-sigh, and to get around you sight jacked his dog that followed him around to see better. But when I later discovered that all of this sneaking and sight-jacking wasnít really necessary because I could just outrun the zombies and sprint to the exit like some kind of suicidal bat it felt kind of unnecessary. I mean why bother putting effort into building this elaborate maze and emphasising on stealth when players can just sprint trough it? Didnít they test this thing? I hope it get's better later on!

Another daunting thing is the overly complicated menus, I mean Iím all for the depth that comes with context sensitive moves and a plethora of maneuvers but here itís pretty poorly executed so youíll constantly be re-visiting the guides on how to use all of your abilities and what combination of buttons did what. Itís pretty strange really , itís like it was intended for a keyboard and mouse setup with all of itís functions and stuff. I do however enjoy the intent of more options and advanced techniques but not when I have to go back and read tutorials because they donít make sense.

I will probably finish it just because it entertains me in the ď what is going on!? what the hell is that?! Why is that kid running around with baseball-bat that looks like a penisĒ kind of sense, and like I said , Iím a sucker for horror games. So keep that in mind if you happen to find this weird gem, but then again it will probably cost close to nothing so pick it up and enjoy itís convoluted controls and strangeness!

Also -- Super Metroid for the genesis * orgasm *   read


4:13 PM on 01.10.2012  

What's your chiptune preference? Here's mine!

Chiptunes , youíve got to love em right? The blooping and bleeping, to me itís just so infectious and appealing to me. Maybe itís because Iíve played games and listened to their chiming since I was a toddler or because of some other obscure reason, maybe my grandma made me listen to them in my sleep? Maybe they are associated with the happiness that is often associated with being a child? Who knows? I just know that I do and It was the reason why I started making my own chiptune influenced music 2 years ago, which has since both brought me loads of joy and also further made me appreciate the people who devote their time make these things.

But while my musical experiences could amount to a potentially entertaining story this blog is devoted to the people I look up to and the bands and beat creators that inspire me every day.


J. Arthur Keenes Band

This is a recent one but probably one of my all-time favorites, question , what happens when you take ingenious pop-esque distinctly chiptuniísh melodies, then add some seriously mopey and remorseful vocals on that? Heaven happens, or at least something glorious and very reminiscent of the wondrous paradise discibed in that dusty old tome. Sure you could just take the instruments and it would be superb as it is but with the lovely and at times sentimental lyrics it becomes something more, something unlike anything I've heard before. I mean when was the last time you heard the sentence - You fall short but take so long, and ten tethers pull with every motion , in a pop song? Or , uh, that at least what I think he saying , the choice of word is most of the time very refreshing!

And for the purists there is also some some songs without vocals like the upbeat Cluck or the amazingly paced Expelling Bee. Seriously that song never slows down, it just keeps going and going, itís my personal pick from their ďnewĒ album computer savvy. Get it over at 8bitpeoples here. But the victory is by inches since every track on the album is golden in some way! The album desciption covers it pretty well , ď Computer Savvy offers a hazy blend of the archaic sounds you know and love with as many other sounds as could fit.Ē

I couldnít recommend it more and I would love it if somebody was as taken as I first was when I first heard it. I seriously listen trough it once a day as I ride my bike to school , and every time I experience pain, happiness, loss, remorse , power and a whole lot of other powerful emotions all while going trough the best game ever made in my head. Gosh, when I grow up I want to be like those guys! Anyways , I could go on forever why I love these guys so letís move on shall we?



I guess everyone has heard the fantastic scott Pilgrim vs the world Anamanaguchi album by now, or? I still have it on my playlist and was my previous listen trough once a day album untill J. Arthur Keenes Band came along, since this is a given Iíll not linger on about it , just listen to it and bathe in itís greatness will you?

Another question , whatís better than Weezer album? An 8 bit Weezer remix album offcourse! Listen until your ears bleed as your favorite chiptune artists such as Anamanaguchi , BItshifter and a whole bunch of other talanted folks cover your favorite Weezer songs. Brilliant! How about Island in the sun with a Castlevania-like intro?. Or the amazingly talented Bit shifters take on The world has turned and left me here. What ?! Thatís been my ring-tone signal for a year and every time I hear it I think somebody calls me ? No? Testament of glory I say!

Pop or rock not your thing? No worries Iíve got you covered! How about some rap with your social commentary? Mr spastic has loads of great tunes but the insanely catchy beats coupled with some rhymes just does it for me every time, check out the Puppeteer if youíre one of those rebbelious types , for us craving something more nightmarish there also the ďOh god I would love to play this level just for the themeĒ song , Daymare I always imagine this in a Castlevania game. Oh , the glory!



If youíre more of a growling metalhead with a sense of humour you’ll love Rainbowdragoneyes. Besides from sporting a silly name they make some superb music with a large portion of humour, just listen to Creature of deception and youíll know what I mean! Hereís part of the chorus of the song!


IF ITS IN MY GREATER INTEREST
YOU MAY SUMMON ME TO FIGHT
BUT AS SOON AS I SAVE YOUR ASS FROM YOUR DOOM
WE FUCK ALL NIGHT

Then there's a song about cloning somebody and making them watch as you stab them in the crotch, over and over again, I don't really know , just listen will you?

So thatís a couple of artists and songs Iíve been listening to lately , most of them gathered from the 8bitpeoples amazing discography pages, which all can be downloaded for FREE!

So do you have any awesome chiptuníish music to share with me?   read


4:48 PM on 01.05.2012  

Review(ish) roundup : Wario land 4 , Saira

An open love letter to Wario Land 4 (and the original Warioland for the GB).

GBA

Bseriously! Much like another great 2D good looking amazing sounding SNES game ( Yoshiís Island) my first interactions with Wario Land 4 would be a confusing one, with no instructions to go by only relying on my seemingly innate understanding of 2D game-design and experienced trough a sticky barely working control pad in a shoddy store (Yoshiís island was actually in a burger shop, guess how long their N64 controllers worked later on?, hint: about one day).

In fact those game almost have more in common with each other than it has with Warioís much more loved rival Marioís games (yeah I know , technically Yoshiís island is a Mario game), which is pretty amusing and a huge part to why I love it so much.


( Funky fact , did you know that the guy who designed Wario also designed Samus?)

So where does Warioís appeal come from exactly? Judging by his appearance alone one could think that he was intended to appeal to the ďcoolĒ kids with his much more macho appearance and obviously his more ďbad-assĒ equipment like a motorcycle and other masculine stuff, but everyone whoís spent time with Wario knows how wrong this presumption is. Heís wackier than a Japanese pe-weeís on drugs man! And so much more entertaining and lovable for it!

He-he-here I go he shouts before he sets out for yet another adventure to further secure his placement at the top of the financial gauntlet seemingly rivaled by nobody but himself. And what did he really do with all of the dough and that fantastic mansion I got by collecting all of the hidden treasure in the original Warioland? Which by the way added a tremendous amount of replay value to the game, and is still present in the fourth instalment but be it at a less frustrating but still as exciting way. This time around your treasure total is measured by how fast you can hammer down the games bosses HP meters, watch those sweaty palms as the clock ticks down at a excruciating rate , better not loose focus, only one hit left, Fuuuuuu*k! There goes my sweet treasures. Brilliant!

Talking of bosses, theyíre as creepy and strange as ever in the 4th game , and itís not only the enemy design thatís brilliant about this game, pretty much everything graphics wise is top notch, and even at itís blown up 3DS resolution (as seen if youíre not holding down select as you start the game on the 3DS), to me the game still looks amazing. And Warioís colorful animations helps a lot with conveying the greedy self centered bastard he is, I mean, thatís why we love him right? I know I do!


Sprite mashup by
ShyguyXXL

Whatís more to marvel at here , ah , did I mention the odd soundtrack ( It should be instantly familiar to Wario ware fans) which sounds nothing like game music usually does, meaning that melodies takes a step back while ambiance and chill out sounds play the main role here. Itís definitely not for everyone but I know that I can appreciate something different and wacky as a Japanese lady singing with a distinct 16-bit voice to a chillout jazz track. Actually I pretty much adore most of it! One of my favorite aspects of the game is that the levels doesnít have a timer on them, so you can take you time and appreciate the locals, maybe plot a safe escape route for your ďoh my godĒ frantic escape that takes place at the end of every level where your (Super Metroid speed boost) hold down L button running technique comes at handy while the stage is collapsing and youíre desperately trying to escape from it whilst another amazing and frantic track plays to please your ears. Itís just so stressful and wrong in most aspects, but itís so good at conveying what it sets out to do so it doesnít stick out , rather , blend in perfectly with the rest of the game. Which also could be described as odd in many aspects, but so stupidly charming and well crafted at the same time, and thatís a combo you donít get very often. And thatís perhaps why I treasure these games so much. Because even if the Wii tried to substitute my 2D platforming needs (Warioland : Shake dimension and so forth) this is where itís freaking at.



Saira ( or Iím in love , again)

PC - steam,fastspring,gamers gate

Proof that Iím a proponent of Nifflas games can be found in almost all of my blogs and even though I know this I still had trouble justifying the 9£ price-tag after reading about people on the Nifflas support forums complaining about how short the game is. This feeling of uncertainty was completely abolished when I noticed that Saira was part of the Gala indie bundle , I payed 5 bucks and excitedly started playing.

The game revolves about Saira, a freelance interstellar photographer that once day experiences a teleporter malfunction and suddenly sheís the only human left in her galaxy. And itís your task to find out what went wrong by gathering parts to fix the now broken teleporter.

Saira's past and her feelings are shown to the player in cozy or sometimes scary surreal dream imagery, which adds quite some personality to the character. And it's hard to not think of another videogame heroine when you're running around on distant planets with your space helmet complete with a green visor. *shudders*

Fans of Nifflas previous Knytt games will immediately recognize how Saira moves and others will soon be dashing trough otherworldly fields and jumping between walls to gain altitude. Itís has the same mentality as the Metroid prime games with itís greater focus on atmosphere and puzzle solving but plays more like Super Metroid. And manages to strike a satisfying balance between you avoiding environmental hazards and solving a diverse bunch of logical puzzles. Some of which at first can feel almost a bit too straining at first but give them some though and approach them in the right way and you'll be handsomely rewarded, simply put some of them are genius in their design.



The game is pretty nonlinear and sports 7 planet clusters with usually 2 planets each wich can be visited in almost any order, one of them is often visited first to gather information with your super handy camera that can later be reviewed on your PDA, which you can dual wield with most interactive consoles making for seamless and fun puzzle-solving even for us with a short memory span, and it also makes so you donít have break the immersion of the game because you felt like you had to write something down. Brilliant game design right there! All of the planets also have different gravity and environmental dangers to adapt to which makes for a varied experience.

Speaking of immersion, this game is easy to get lost into with its gorgeous vistas and fancy and mighty imaginative backgrounds. Most planets have multilayer backgrounds and sometimes even high res photos of fauna and other beautiful real life objects spliced into them , and it fits perfectly. Itís appealing visual style is only trumped by itís meticulously sound design, Sarias footsteps pans with the camera as she moves trough the snow and every planet has itís own atmospheric often electro flavored ambient theme, it really shows that Nicklas Nygren did loads of electronic music before this.

There's also a couple of minigames and extras to flesh out the experience, there's a addicting pinball game reminicent of the pinball levels in Nightsky and a ship radio with a couple of stations showcasing Nifflas friends and his own music.

Itís hard to recommend Saira for the 9 dollars asking price since itís a fairly niche game that doesnít quite live up to the standards we are used to with the content healthy market we have today, I've managed to squeeze 5 hours out of it and I'm at the last planet. But yet Saira managed to ensnare and immerse me in itís beautiful world in a way that few games manage to do, (Metoid prime did this for me). And it has me marveling at itís design around every corner. So if youíre as me a Nifflas supporter and you feel like few games manage to give you that magical feeling of immersion that comes with total desolation, by all means try the demo , it just might be the thing youíve been missing in modern games. For all of you people who arenít as euphoric about the idea of the beauty of desolation and puzzle solving as I am I suggest you wait for the next indie bundle or a steam sale.   read


5:46 PM on 01.02.2012  

Things Iím thankful for , past year edition!

So yet another year has flown by and itís time to look back and reminisce about all the fab things that has been. Focusing your thoughts can be hard enough without Beasty boys blasting at full volume behind you so letís get into it!

The Dtoid Community

Who knew that so many interesting and nice people could gather at one place in a realm where being a grand asshole is just an impulse away? No doubt the biggest reason why I keep coming back here to share my thoughts and get your opinion is because of all of you wonderful people here. And hopefully you guys acknowledge this, I know I do, every morning begins with reading the ambitious recaps and checking all the blogs I can manage before I absolutely have to run off to school. Stay classy Dtoiders!



Giving things a second chance / looking at things from a different perspective

Whatís better than expecting something atrocious and be given the absolute opposite, seriously? This year for me was a struggle well worth it because I managed to turn that frown upside down on many titles that I had unfairly labeled as ďnot for meĒ. Effectively turning this whole year into a pleasant surprise. Spelunky was way to unfair for me , now instead of going into it with the speed-run mindset I approach it with a way more laid-back attitude where I take my time and really plan my moves, and now itís one of the games that I would have loved to make, and will probably never disappear from my desktop.

Fallout 3 was a game for smart people and yet now a couple of months after I finished it I still reminisce about how many beautiful moments I experienced as I the sun rose and set over the oppressive Wasteland. Even in the latter parts of the game I would find myself marveling over the fact that I was watching the monuments of a once great nation now turned into a mere shadow. I also love Fallout 3 for reminding me that beauty is indeed a relative thing because in something as haunting and depressing as the corridors of a former factory even the sight of faint sun rays desperately trying to squeeze trough the muddy windows can be breathtaking.

Even a daunting thing like really long loading screens for no apparent reason can be acceptable as long as you skip all of the dialogue in the game because itís nothing fascinating anyway. Hours have been spent matching soldiers of 3 to make attack formations to beat the opposition sitting next to me, and many long nights have been turned into fascinating mindgames between two friends. To topple the last guy in an epic tag team match of two brains will always be remembered and treasured, Clash of Heroes on PSN will always be accepted as a wonderful pastime between friends. And to think that I couldnít stand those loading times at first, imagine if I had not pushed trough? How much joy would have been lost?



Coming fresh from the Fallout universe I was initially disappointed with Skyrim, the character personalization was dumbed down to two choices, do you want to have a mustache/wig or do you want to look like something that the 3D art intern barely managed to put together? Wasn't this supposed to be a immerse RPG? Itís inhabitant's mostly consisted of neurotic maniacs constantly repeating things like ď You should go to Mr.Xís StoreĒ which would be find if I wasnít in fact standing inside of it. Others would tell me their inmost secrets to me just by the sight of me and it all just felt very unnatural. But instead of complaining about it I embraced it and laughed at it, and instead of dwelling on these to me shortcomings instead I was enthralled by the beautiful environments and the open ended combat system. Because who can feel nothing but bad-ass when youíve exploited the shoddy AI by shooting them from a super long distance then taking down their leader with fireballs and a zombie saber-cat?

Other noteworthy happenings this year include:

Giving Cave story + Ďs Hard mode a whirl and making it to weapon X, seriously , people have made it to the sanctum with 3 lives and no rockets , I couldnít have more respect for these people. Also it makes you appreciate and analyse the game way more when you just canít run trough it with without much challenge like I can on normal difficulty. Give it a try if youíre brave!

Making it further in Amnesia, a game that I appreciate almost too much, because it almost does it job too well and after two equally scary half game runs thanks to a not working Steam save sync, I have my eyes set on making my way to the finish this year. And not only that , I have a pretty rad blog Iíve been working on about it for when I do manage to finish it.

Watching my brother playing Killer 7 and trying to make sense of it!

So thatís some of the past years hilights , hopefully you found them as fun to read as I did writing them. And who knows maybe it inspired you to give a second chance to a game youíve rejected? Only to find out that it was really good. That would be amazing, hereís for another great year!   read


2:40 PM on 12.26.2011  

Modifications : Mod-craft


Bogus!

How could I not think of writing about the single thing that I find most enthusing about Blizzardís RTS giants Warcraft and Starcraft and many other games too. Both me and my friends can agree on how fascinating and admirable we find people who play those games the way that they are meant to be played, but we can also agree on that we find that type of gameplay utterly exhausting and not suitable at all to our semi-weekly LAN parties where you will find people watching movies , crawling on the floor and otherwise doing all sorts of things but concentrating at one thing. Which is off course highly recommended if you want to experience some kind success in any of previously mentioned games. And thatís were player made custom maps enters the frame.

Itís weird to think that so many now big titles owe their success on fan made modifications, Cave storyís translation brought one of my favorite indie games ever to the rest of the world and Counterstrike which is a mod to the original Half-Life is still going strong with thousands of people playing despite it being 8 years old. DOTA a hero arena map from Warcraft 3 has breed a whole new genre with games like HON, LOL , Demigod and upcoming Dota 2 , which now is Valve property and one of their big up and coming brands. Even the Tower defence genre which is nowadays flooding browsers and smart-phones has their some roots in Blizzards way popular RTS games.

The idea of making something more or different from an already established game is brilliant and mostly covers those creative blind spots that the big devs might have missed. Hide and seek in Counterstrike / Starcraft or Team fortress 2 ( which also is a mod to half life ) is a brilliant idea and a great example of this. And if you yet to experience the thrill a game of hide and seek in a mod friendly game I highly recommend that you do, few things can match the thrill of assuming the form of an occasionally dancing light-post while Tauren space marines are searching for your fanny with flamethrowers as bait.



Or how about a match of Counter strike surf , the game where you exploit a gravity (or something) glitch to gain massive momentum by sliding on leaning surfaces trough increasingly difficult terrain? Or maybe you prefer a match of the Left for dead CS mod or any of the other zombie survival mods thatís found plenty around counterstrike servers? Bored of the realistic CS experience ? Then go play The Warcraft 3 mod that letís you experience all the magic and doodas born from fantasy lore all while being sniped by a invisible Human and rooted by a Nightelf. Argh!

If you seek you shall find!

And who can forget the classic tough as nails ďoh god this is impossible to beatĒ Wc3 custom map ďescape from weed-worldĒ in which you had to navigate tight corridors while avoiding incredibly ( when compared to your speed) fast critters longing for you guts. All while listening to an almighty and forever etched into my mind speed-up version of Puff the Magic Dragon. Now in Starcraft 3 thereís a similar one called ďRun Viking run!Ē and instead of the classic Peter Paul and Mary song the more modern tune Numb by Linking Park takes the spotlight, thereís just something endlessly entertaining with ďangryĒ and serious songs speed up , I guess Iím just to fond of old wacky cartoons to let those slip eh? Fun times! God that speed up version is catchier than the original one!

If youíre more of a chill out person Tower defence custom maps might just be the thing youíve been looking for (I know most of the people I know are), then thereís loads of well done and entertaining maps to chose from. Random TD is a great way to spend the night with some friends and due to itís always varying map layout (hence random) will most likely not wear out itís welcome anytime soon. In WC3ís and SC2ís Poker TD youíll play texas holdíem for new towers and gain bonuses if you can match pairs or manage to get a flush. And thatís just a fraction of the tower defence maps, there are thousands of them!



Me and my friends wil constantly boot up some poor looking random map just so that we can laugh at how buggy they can be when suddenly the most undernourished hero gets way ahead thanks to finding one strange looking item, and if we are lucky well find a good one.The list of random maps goes on and on, want bejewled in SC2? You got it, how about a ďachtung die curve ď aka tron lightcycle game? ! Itís yours. Want Pokemon in your Warcraft or a Kart racing game in Team fortress 2, it's there! Theoretically endless content for the price of one 40 $ game? I think I can justify that even though Iím probably never going to play it the way it was meant to be. How about you?

And without custom made maps I don't think I ever would have experienced a LAN party where a friend of mine had to sheathe his computer screen from my "not so sober" Mom because we where playing a very amusing round of hentai TD where the winner got to see a very "not safe for family" picture. Guess who suddenly started winning all of a sudden while my Mom was observing him while she frantically tried to figure out why everyone in the room was rolling around on the floor laughing?

Oh, I just remembered another great custom game, in WC3 it was called Warlocks but now in SC2 it's called Magecraft, it's an arena fighter where you try to knock your opponents off the constantly shrinking arena with a plethora of spells, fun without limits i tell you!

Any dtoiders who's been playing custom maps on Wc3 or SC2? I'm Kaggen at battlenet , add me!   read


3:42 PM on 12.17.2011  

Convention Madness - Gamex 2011


Looks like as Anthony Burch isn't the only one craving Snake (sorry Henrik but it was inevitable)

Sweden's sole gaming convention ďGamexĒ came and went and ever since then Iíve been catching myself reminiscing about it quite a lot so I figured that I might as well write the blog I promised to write a while back.*Ahem*

So was it as glorious as I imagined it to be or did I catch some of that journalistic pessimism thatís inevitable going to turn me into Old Snake with my only purpose in life being sneaking up on kids in the street telling them about the horrors of conventions? Hell if I know! Letís see if I can remember what went down at Gamex 2011!

There are loads of pictures in the bottom of the blog if you want to brush your eyes over a bunch of photos consisting mostly of my friend Henrik posing in what to me then seemed like ingeniously hilarious scenarios.

Itís the truth!

So hereís a rundown of what I think happened at Gamex2011!

Diablo 3



So I was a pretty avid Diablo 2 player back in the days but I wasnít nearly as dedicated as some of my friends where. With of them having multiple max leveled characters on the nightmare difficulty level while keeping several bot servers up to farm for the best gear available I couldnít hope to compete with them. And now with Diablo 3 on the horizon most of my friends , even my not so videogame interested ones are going around telling everybody how their lives will come to a halt when Diablo 3 launches. I would be lying if I where to say that this enthusiasm wasnít contagious. And judging the lines to the Diablo 3 booth at Gamex Sweden seems to be experiencing a Diablo epidemic. Blizzard is once again head to head against an enormous hype wave , could they possibly live up to expectations this time around?

Itís hard to judge the game with my 20 minutes I had with it, which to me felt like 5 seconds. But from what I experienced it did retain the drop in and in seconds you will be clicking on monsters instant gratification mentality that was part of the earlier games success. I changed the settings so that others could join my server hoping to play with my friend that sat beside me, but this turned out to be a great misstake. This enabled a hoard (3 players) of snotty preteen brats to join my game and before I realized what was happening I got be showered with XP as they where just clicking on everything and completing quests at an insane rate. Making for a *chough* fairly rushed experience as my Witchdoctor would sprint trough fields of deceased corpses following the trail that would lead me where I was needed. Playing the Witchdoctor felt a bit like playing the Necromancer in Diablo 2 with his summon undead dog spell which produces 3 allies to attack your enemies, and his otherwise ranged attacks.

Unfortunately and facepalmworthy I never figured out how to get my new spells down in the action bar so I never got to try out any other stuff than his wand attack and his dogs. In the town of the area you could enter a tavern and from there enter others rooms which to me hinted to a more character driven story, as I presume that you could go there later and get quests from there, but also worried me a bit. It seems foolish to make separate rooms for some characters if it results in a loading screen, I would rather see them all gathered together. But this is just taken from one town in a early part of the game so I guess Iím getting a bit too worked up over a small detail. But If it happens and everyone complains about it you heard it here first !

The demo ended in a gigantic boss fight against the first real threat of the game which was a giant skeleton that appeared just as you where to save good old Decard Cain from his captures in a underground tomb. And while my run was kind of a lackluster thanks to my own stupidity I remain confident in that Blizzard will manage to pull off another amazing Diablo game.

Mass Effect 3 ( Co-op)



When they announced that ME3 would get a co-op component I wasnít all that excited mainly because it just sounded like a cheap tack-on that some high up director had issued because he once saw a popular game that had co-op. And though Iím not complaining that we are getting more for our buck Iím fearing that they will take out some of the horsepower from making a great single player experience to insert into a half hearted co-op mode. Samit was pretty much spot on with his preview of the mode, while it feels pretty nice, itís just that, pretty nice. Nothing special here just the typical horde mode with a few objectives thrown into the mix like activate nearby terminals or other stuff like that. What bugged me was the lack of a proper radar , because more often than not I would have no idea where the enemies where until they where right next to me. It didnít help that I got to be my least favorite class the solider either, a class who just wields guns and had just one biotic-power that was boosting the power of your bullets and giving you a steadier aim. I also received a pretty weak bolt action sniper rifle that couldnít even come close to the overpowered automatic sniper rifle in ME2.

So thatís that, itís a fun diversion but if youíve played any kind of hoard mode in a modern shooter youíve pretty much already played it. And while Iím not very excited about it Iím still eager to see if they can manage to make it more interesting by adding stuff to it.

PS VITA

I did play my 3DS in the PSP VITA line, If only Scoville was there to witness the glory! Can I get my holofoil rebel card now please? No, but seriously if youíre going to one of these conventions standing in line is going to be a huge part of it, so if youíre not a god at making small talk I suggest you bring one of those handheld gizmos or just a smart phone that doesnít suck, trust me time will fly away! To my despair there wasnít a lot of other 3DS users who wanted or could battle me in Street Fighter 4 so most of the time in line was spent honing my skills in Street fighter 4ís training mode (I really suck at pulling of those circle motions, how are you supposed to be able to do them without just spinning the nub round like crazy?! ARGTH!). I barely had 5 minutes with the Vita so I canít really make a definitive judgment but Uncharted was, well Uncharted and you could climb up walls by tapping on ledges which is cool I guess, but pretty unnecessary too. So thatís that letís move on!



I forced Henrik to stand in line with me for Mw3 which mostly consisted of 13 year old kids which I found endlessly entertaining for several reasons as I would mock my Henrik in the same manner that a 13 year old kid would. What was even funnier was that I had accumulated ungodly amounts of gas thanks to many pit stops to the "help (read:weasel) yourself to a cup o coffee" stand. Said gas was unfortunately leaked just as we were herded into a cramped area minutes before it was our turn to play. I didnít even know that you could make faces like that!

MW4 Was, well, Call of duty modern warfare. We played the co-op horde esque mode which is always fun if you play it with a friend, I hired a bunch of mercenaries to help me and Henrik fend off the rude men and rabid dogs that tried to infiltrate our beautiful summer vacation house, speaking of men, where is the women in MW3? War never changes I suppose, or something like that. The most heart wrenching moment though? That I never got to show the Activision people the note that I got from Mom that said that I could play Modern Warfare like the rest of the kids. Oh life, youíre so harsh to me!

One night I and my friend Henrik was sitting around watching Swedish TV (which is an unexplored dimension of entertainment for me, for good reasons) and playing games. So I was once again honing my skills in Street fighter 4ís training mode when I suddenly heard some super sweet 8 bit music and went Ė Woah , whatís that sound?

Enter Tecmo Cup Soccer. Basically the sports game Iíve always wanted to play and itís only been out for 20 or so years before I discover it?! Bah! It has a rocking 8 bit soundtrack, which is slightly reminiscent of Capcomís Duck-tales games. I swear, every time I hear this attacking theme music starts my head begins bobbin, it will never go away! It plays like a RPG where you choose what to do next at certain points such as, pass, shoot etc. And certain characters are better fitted doing certain tasks so youíve got to have that in mind too as you make you decisions. There is also a wide range of wacky personalities and teams to face off against each with their own superpower! Ever met a team of werewolfís in soccer? Didnít think so! Now whoís the pansy one American football? Hah!



I also got to play the new Ninja Gaiden game Ninja Gaiden 3 which was probably the game I had most fun playing on the con. If youíve ever played one of the previous 3D Ninja Gaiden games youíll be instantly familiar with it, thereís a light medium and heavy attack button (if you hold the heavy one youíll charge a attack that makes you go into a small cut scene killing people, which I abused like hell). You can also use ninpo magic if your bar is high enough and throw shirurkens, and when your demon arm thing is glowing after youíve slaughtered enough people you can execute a super attack. You know standard stylish action game stuff. I played it on the hardest difficulty they had on that build which was apparently higher than the one in the build they used on the Eurogamer con in London, but did pretty well despite. It was obviously one of the earlier levels in the game (you were killing stuff in Britain) which may explain why I didnít get my ass completely (raped).

Then I went to a Gaming concert and it was magical!

Gamers Xmas is a slightly Christmas themed concert based of the noble idea that gamers should come together during the holidays to rock out to wonderful , oh so wonderful video game music. Luckily they were present at Gamex with a short piece of their concert to give people a taste of whatís to come in their even grander full concert that takes place sometime soon. Probably my favorite part of anything considering how close to my heart videogame music is Gamers Xmas really blew me away. One of the main guys David Westerlund did also set up Castlevania the concert a while ago here in Sweden, now thatís dedication!

I think the whole thing started with Donkey Kong country favorite ďGang-Plank GallonĒ which never fails to get a crowd of nerds jumping. Also present was an awesome performance of Kenís theme from Street fighter 2. And to my big surprise portal 2ís ending song ďnow I only want you goneĒ which I voted for in the poll they had pre-show and it did make it into the performance, with a surprisingly sweet vocal performance. I just have so much sympathy for that song because of how it inevitably will be compared to the beast of catchiness that is the original Portalís ending song ďStill AliveĒ, what a terrible (night to have a curse) fate huh?

I jumped like a maniac and cried like a baby, videogame music concerts is where itís at! Seriously , how can playing The Moon Theme from Ducktales with a orchestra not send you shivers down you spine? Not your cup of tea huh? Well how about some awesome metal Megaman music?

Indie representation

According to the ďwhat do you want to know about GamexĒ blog I posted before the con you guys wanted to know more of the Indie stuff happening over here and I got it! -Kind of. One of the more amazing happenings at the con where when I and Henrik got the privilege to check out a small project from a student called Clockwork , a game that had you controlling 2 dials ( 1 for each clock ) in order to maneuver time (forward or backward momentum) and the seasons which was necessary in order to progress further. An example would be that you had to make it winter to cross a lake or make it summer to grow a log that you could use to advance etc.

Then came the last room of the game, and it had us scratching our heads overtime, whatever we tried we couldnít relieve the poor man at the other side of the room from his terrible fate of being crushed by the wrath of a lone crate passing by. And soon found ourselves clinging to the producer of the game for hints. Ė He told us, is there another thing on the cabinet that you can interact with? Both me and Henrik looked at each other and almost in tandem realized the obvious, and as we did we both smashed the stopwatch looking device in the middle of the cabinets control area. Time froze and we could safely rescue our loving sketchy looking man. Brining that AHA! - Feeling that you got when you first started comprehending the mechanics in brilliant and complex puzzle-games such as Portal or Braid. Oh god, it was magnificent!



I played Neva which is a strange little indie game featuring a big busted Gaia from Captain Planet lookalike. Seriously , look at those pillows!

We got to play a pre-alpha build of Fields of Glory which is a team-based 3D arena brawler currently in development ( think , WOW arena but in real time). You could select different abilities and attacks during your wait between spawns to use that in combat making for some a nice balance between frantically clicking the mouse-buttons to attack and strategic planning , better stuff was more expensive to buy than the ordinary ones and currency was accumulated by killing others.It was fun and pretty frantic due to the fact that there was a score boosting area in the middle that everyone wanted a piece of as it would appear from time and time making for some good o'l mayhem.

I tried a Machinarium looking platform puzzle game that had you controlling a cute little robot doing stuff called Unmechanical, looks promising , no?


Here is some random stuff that happened, not arranged in any particular order!



-There was a Doom clone but instead of blasting demons you where blasting psychotic reindeers (If I remember correctly). And the gruff solider has been replaced with a gruff Norse man complete with liquor powerups!



-I played the original Pacman arcade game ( I think ) and I pretty much sucked at it, the winner got over 100,000 points (I think ) and I barely managed to get 36,000 points or something , but it was my first try, so I wasnít expecting a miracle. I really see why people like that game so much though. It seems as youíre fucked if you donít collect as much points as possible in the earlier levels though. Ah well, maybe next time.



-There where some truly epic E sports battles in everything from Super Street Fighter 4 to Starcraft 2, constantly running on a huge projector screen while people would scream and cheer from the huge crowd, I like it!

And thatís about it, overall we had a pretty damn "happy fun-time" at Gamex 2011, here, take some pictures, just keep your distance from giant freaking psychotic rapist Mario!


No sugar?! What is this which craft?


Henrik being moderately awfull at Megaman 9 , god, Splashwoman's theme is the stuff!


We beat Metalslug , uh, 1? This is the secret behind our victory, HURRY MASH THE CONTINUE BUTTON!


Damn it Nintendo of America , you ruined my mocking material!


Paint your own Locust maquette, wait WHAT?


Hey Fox, where's slippy , oh .. I see , I'm sorry for you , uh , loss..? Wait, what are those people around them doing`?


I couldn't contain myself, Well EXCUSE ME......


Just watch it will you? It's amazing!


This is what I meant with Henrik posing by random stuff.


Gimme!


I guess I should read one of these one day, recommendations ? The freaking Ico book was outsold :(


I have no idea who the blue meanie is but I kind of want this


Getting there Henrik.. getting there.


God, I need that Murlock suit to scare my neighbors even more than I already do!


Another GIMME! - moment.


There's just something I find really unsettling with this guy, he also did play super loud (hey let's blow the speakers up!) Nintendo music which was pretty freaky too!


Now that's what I call art!


Want overpriced video-game art? We got you covered!


Want! Somehow this got me thinking about Occams, good times!


Meatboy looking indie game, can't recall the name though :(

Ugh I'm pooped , Dtoid really needs an "upload tons of pictures and select all of them feature". Good thing that I'm currently taking a HTML course :) Niero....fix it fix it fix it!   read


3:09 PM on 11.27.2011  

Seeing things from a different perspective : SoTC



Spoiler alert!

Last year I finally got a hold of Ico, a game that to me had received a holy grail status thanks to itís generally positive reception and limited amount of copies. I played it and I pretty much loved it, sure there where some minor inconveniences like the floppy camera and floaty steering but it still came across as a great experience to me.

Naturally my second quest was obtaining Uedas second game Shadows of the Colossus and luckily my friend bought a copy of the newly released HD remake of both of Uedas titles so I begged him to lend it to me it as soon as he was done with it so I could try out this even more elusive and even more praised game that Iíve read so many great things about over the years Iíve been searching for it.

And while I wholly enjoyed it there some grievances I felt like discussing with you guys.

Unfortunately the protagonist ďthe wandererĒ in SoTC controls just as slippery and floaty as Ico did , which can lead to some fairly frustrating and unfortunate leaps to your demise. But the core controls would have been no problem at all if not for the stubborn camera that insists on panning back to the direction it favors instead of where you want it to go. So if youíre making a jump against the camera your pretty much screwed as the camera controls are very sensitive , also good luck with reaching that jump button when both your thumbs are on the sticks. And while that is a minor inconvenience it is a constant one, as you climb the games iconic beasts youíre constantly fighting the camera as well, which is unfortunate seeing as itís otherwise a stellar game.

There is one part that I remember in particular where you had to swim to the middle of a lake to scale a huge disc that was built over the center of it. However there was quite the gap between the broken pathway that lead up to it and the disc itself, which ended up in quite a few marathon swimming sessions as I would fall down time after time just because the stubborn camera wouldnít let me align it so that I could see the destination of my jump. Yeah itís also a minor complaint but in a game so well though out why wouldnít you go the extra mile to assure that a rudimentary and super important thing like the camera feels good to control? I really hope they took this issue seriously and fixed it with the Last Guardian, which Iím really looking forward too.



Like so much else in life this problem is a tricky one, while Iím usually a sucker for ambiance and atmosphere the barren landscapes of the Forbidden Lands of SoTC really didnít speak to me that much. While they are great for building atmosphere which I love, there is still a restlessness residing in me as i traverse them because just like when looking at a painting Iíve got this immensely beautiful and tranquil valley in front of me but thereís nearly noting that's compelling me to interact with it. And as the game progresses it teaches you that itís very formulaic, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it never made me want to stray off the beaten path to explore this magnificent valley.

You could argue that there are lizard tails that you can collect and collectible fruits that increase your grip power, but in my playtrough I never realized or noticed any of this. Which to me feels like a shortcoming on the directors side of the fence, my brother even told me about these collectibles as I was playing the game so I started looking for them but even then I never managed to get a hold of these objects. But enough ranting about minor annoyances letís get to one of the bigger factors that made me question how I felt about the game. The characters and the story.

So A and B in making a player feel emotionally attached to a game is creating a character that the player can understand and relate with, at least thatís one commonly used technique . So with all of these people praising the game I guess that some of you guys really must have identified with the main character or Wanderer and understood his motivations or applied your own ones to his actions. I however I wasnít able to relate to him or understand him. And that prevented me from caring about him. Let me explain.

The Wanderer steals a sacred sword and takes off to the Forbidden valley to revive his dead lady-friend with a forbidden technique. To further make an ass out of himself (my opinion) he makes a pact with a evil sounding godly being known as Dormin (not to be confused with Garmin the gps company although they share some similarities) and starts killing off giant, majestic beings known as Colossi, because Dormin tells him that if he does this his lady-friend will be revived. Most of these Colossi doesnít even attack the Wander other than in self defense. All I wanted to do was to cuddle up in those huge fuzzy giants hair and tickle them then take a nap on them. To me he might as well be going around killing the Iron giant or Totoro. All of this foolish violence and stupidity just to achieve his own selfish reasons, not exactly the guy I would want to be.



And what about the Girl ďMonoĒ that heís trying to resurrect ? We know nothing of her, she may as well be the bitchy girl who cut her wrists only to be abducted after her death by this ďWandererĒ stalker freak. Itís all left for you to fill in. Which I just did. Though I have to give them huge credit for including probably the most useful. likable and loyal pet in any game, your wonderful horse Aggro. Epona eat you heart out.

So in the thrilling conclusion where the Wanderer ends up being reborn as a baby with horns and Mono wakes up I really didnít care that much. I mean people are born into this world with unfair conditions every day, the Wanderer nearly doomed the world and still he gets a second chance to suckle those heirlooms that he craves so badly. That doesnít seem that harsh a punishment too me. Especially since if he manages to hold out in 16 years in this Garden of Eden that he is now living in he can still do the baby making-business with her, everybody wins!

I then told my friend who also recently finished the game about this and he said that he totally understood how one could think of it like that but he also told me that one of the reasons that made him love the game so much was because he did connect with the main character and he really wanted to save the sleeping beauty Mono, because he respected the Wanderer and his to me foolish decisions and he also said that he would do exactly the same thing for his girlfriend. Which I totally can understand and respect but I would never think or do it.

And all of this we owe to what some people call lazy and others call brilliant, these intentional or unintentional plot holes allow for these kinds of wildly different speculations , and even though it can seem as the director was assuming that you would agree with the Wanderers motivations itís still an wonderful thing that two somewhat leveled individuals can get such a dramatically different experience from a game based soley on their own past experiences in the real world.

And I totally get it , I mean I love Silent Hill 2 really much, but a large part of it comes from the fact that I really could relate to the protagonist ďJamesĒ (on the depressed part , not the felony one). And so I can fully understand how people could think the game to be mediocre and annoying if they couldnít relate to the characters in the game. And thatís partly what happened to me with Sotc.


Pic found @: http://sexuallyviolentdisposition.tumblr.com/post/9551298101

I love my friend because how open minded and accepting he is, when others would be defensive or aggravated he goes - Cool, tell me why you like this and that , or why you didnít like x or y. And both of us agree on that itīs sad when we see people liking stuff only because others do or because itís cool to do so. Because having a own critical view on things is really important both for you and others. And I think that the gaming community would benefit enormously if people would just for a second put themselves out of their own self and think about how maybe not everyone thinks and has experienced the things you have, or has the same view on things that you have.

Itís ok to have a different opinion, just ask the person why he thinks that way and instead of starting hate wars, then youíll instead be engaged in a (presumably) interesting discussion which might end in you or your friend learning to look at things from a different perspective, which inevitably will lead to a better understanding of people. Which is probably one of the more valuable things that you can poses. So instead of acting defensively or angry the next time somebody questions how you think, how about explaining why you think that way rather than harass that person for having the ďwrongĒ view on things according to you opinion.

And lastly I wanted to wrap up my thoughts on SoTC , at first I thought - Woah, the game gave me some of the most epic boss-fights and beautifully environments Iíve ever experienced in a videogame. But I couldnít really care much about the Wanderer and Mono, but now I can see why people praise it so much , obsess over small details and how people could write massive and passionate documents analyzing the plot of the game. Because for all the great releases of this year , no other game has made me think so much about it as SoTC has made me think about it. Iím already looking back on the game fondly, and after writing this I kind of want to replay it again. So if you havenít played it yet , go do it, it comes highly recommended! And stay open minded folks!   read


3:01 PM on 11.19.2011  

Keyboard drumset fu**ing werewolf!



So my following of psychedelic indie developer Cactusquid has been sloppy lately, I missed his adultswim debut which was a racing game gracefully named "hot throttle" featuring ďinsaneĒ people only wearing skin colored underwear that more than anything believe that they are in fact motor-vehicles, because why the hell not, reality is what you make it, right? While playing the game my face didnít really know what countenance to take on so my face kept shifting from a distorted smile to something that resembled a grin as I would laugh at the idea that people actually would run around making engine sounds in the streets but the hideously disturbing yet entertaining cut-scenes would sometimes make me uneasy. Anyways itís a freaky time waster, play it if you want here!



Then comes the star of the show, and with a name like keyboard drumset fucking werewolf it has to be good, right? Based on the band with the same name it manifests itself as a short but super intense punk rock mini-game fest with more than a few retro throwbacks in it. So if youíre into retro difficulty and sucker for crazy nintendo-punkrock music and fast paced Warioware-style minigames that will test your reflexes this will most definitely please you. Play it here

I desperately want to explain the entire game in detail because of itís chaotic and hilarious nature but like with the Wario-ware titles that would ruin the randomness factor that is a huge part of why I enjoyed it, so Iíll just tell you a small part of it.

As I said Keyboard drumset fucking werewolf (Iím never getting tired of writing that) is great because of itís insanity, you start off in a ice-climber like level where you have to collect enough items to be able to transform into a werewolf , which is achieved by mashing the x and y buttons as hard as you can, makes sense right? After the 10 seconds or so that is the transformation scene youíre thrown into a chase scene in which you have to avoid crates and slice as many people in half as possible with the help of your werewolf-cut (videogame logics), and while all of this is happening youíre listening to one of the best video game Punk-rock bands I ever heard (which aren't many but these guys are pretty damn good!). While I donít approve of lyrics that are presumably using ďgayĒ as a demeaning word this time they get the slip because of lovely and chaotic their music is. Their singer is credited as Dennis which is a male name over here, if thatís true itís definitely a feat to make your voice sound like he does, youíll know why when you listen to them, which you of course intend to do with you more sophisticated chaps here!



The game reminds me of one of my dream games which is a rhythm platforming game which perfectly syncs to my favorite songs but with much more freedom to move your character than in a game like Bit trip runner. Iíve always thought that combining music and interaction would make for the perfect game. Which is why I commend games that tries to take it a level further.Granted that this is not the most polished example itís still a fun distraction and itís nice to see that game-developers and bands are teaming up to create a highly entertaining collaborative interactive experiences! Hooray!

So thatís all folks, and be sure to try the games out if you want to switch up you ordinary ďdullĒ skyrim routine with some insane Nintendo punk and people who believe that they are cars. Kind of like the disney film ďcarsĒ only backwards huh? I would gladly go and see it if that was the case. Again, you can get keyboard here and play hot throttle here, and donít worry macintosh people , I think thereís versions for you too! And remember kids, stay in school, or something like that!   read


6:27 PM on 11.16.2011  

MMO Stories:WoW the adventure of a lifetime

(In an attempt to create a ďbest of Ē collection where I gather some of my more interesting MMO experiences in one blog I created this. While not all of them are completely self sustained, I think you will find yourself understanding most of them even if youíve have had very little or no experience with the subject matter, enjoy! )

This was first planned to be a part of the MMO "bloggers wanted" call but I didnít have the time back then so Iíll just post it now *runs away*



My first MMO

I remember the first time I came in contact with something that somewhat resembled a MMO , it was at one of my first LAN parties at a town locale in the bushy regions just outside the town where I live in. In my generation ( I was born 1990) LAN parties was this huge thing and we would throw them as often as we could. I was probably about 14 or 13 years old and it was early in the morning. My friend was playing something that looked like a poor-mans legend of Zelda complete with the top down view and seemingly stolen sprites , it caught my interest.

A couple of minutes later I had downloaded the client and I was ready to go, I walked trough several different rooms and was generally confused because of the lack of direction, also the layouts of the rooms seemed awfully random. I saw knights in fancy looking armors on big steeds rushing trough a fairly large town. My mind was all over the place and it the fact that I had been up over 12 hours didnít exactly help my condition. Then I met her.

The fair lady was Labeled as a guide so started typing phrases in order to uncover some directions or perhaps fetch a quest or two, some phrases seemed to work and I was curious on how these NPCís worked. But soon I realized that she was no NPC, but a living breathing human, just like me! Fast forward 30 minutes that felt like seconds to me and we had been chatting about pretty much everything, I was astonished, how did this work ? What was this witchcraft? I wanted more.

My hometown , the WOW town



Then High-school came with all of itís ups and downs, I remember one day more than others, or actually, I donít remember it well at all, but I think it went something like this. A good childhood friend of mine came to school telling me about Blizzards new game that heíd been beta-testing. The game? World of Warcraft, he explained how when the beta ended giant flowers came chomping down the remaining players, then he proceeded to tell me more about the game. Despite wondering if previous statement was true or not the other things he explained stuck a chord with me, a interactive enormous world based on the immensely popular Warcraft series? Hell yes!

Then came the boom, to say that WOW was huge in my town is undermining it , everyone was playing it and wherever you went in my school you could hear something from itís vocabulary being uttered. It soon became socially accepted to talk about the game, not that the girls liked it but we couldnít care less. The daily routine of an ordinary student in my friendship circle went something like this, go to school , talk about WOW, get home , get on voice chat , talk about WOW while playing WOW. Wow, thatís a lot of wows.

I started my journey somewhat before the boom came on my friends recommendation so I was already pretty skilled player when the bomb dropped, which measured up to the huge impact that Pokemon had on my town, and thatís one hell of a boom.

I remember the first time I entered an instance as the games dungeons are called. It was early in the morning since Iíd been up all night playing with my friends and as the sun rose outside of my little concrete chamber in the cellar I remember that from on that moment my mind was blown.

The quests and evens that required a group of five to collaborate in order to face of against enemies that would be impossible to conquer on your own was endlessly exciting to me, and the fact that we where handsomely rewarded for doing these dungeons didnít make them less compelling. My mind simply couldnít comprehend it, it was glorious. I soon began running instances with all of my friends and before we knew it it was routine.

Fast forward some months or so and Iím getting the hang of this MMO thing, everyone I know is on our voice chat channel chatting until the late hours. And I mean late hours... it wouldnít be an exaggeration to say that I didnít often go to sleep before 2pm in the night under the period of the middle of high-school to the end of college. Which brings me to...

The telltale heart



Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look on it my Mom soon learned of my late night adventures in Azeroth and therefore tried to put an end to them by pulling out our Internet-cable located in the closet near her bedroom at nights. But I decided that my great endeavours wouldnít be thwarted that easily, so I got myself an extra Internet-cable. Never underestimate the will and wits of a addict!

Most nights I would say god-night to my Mother with a shining gloria around my head, but as soon as she walked out the door I would lie down to watch TV or something restlessly waiting until I was sure that she was asleep. Then I would very carefully and without so much as a sound make my way to the closet containing the key to Azeroths magical wonders, our Internet router. Sometimes it felt as ages before I was sure that she was sleeping, and equally long as I ever so slowly made my way trough the hall towards the closet with the router in it. One sound and it would all be in vain. Eat your heart out Solid Snake.

After that was taken care of I enjoyed hourly sessions lasting until the sun dared to show itís shining face again. I remember listening to the ďadultsĒ of my guild who was about 35-40 years old as they where talking about how they would burn down the Orcish Strongold Ogrimmar with their newly acquired fire enchants while being super drunk. Stay classy WOW players!

Most of these men where also parents of small children which they while clearing big raid dungeons would call off because they claimed that they where doing more important stuff. I still laugh at it today when I think of how horribly irresponsible they where. But on the other hand , maybe it was all a desperate call for attention? I mean you can be whoever you want to be on the internetz right?

But nothing lasts forever, my brother caught on to this facade as he noticed that somebody was using the bathroom in the middle of the night and he too wanted a piece of the pie. Unfortunately he was never the sneaky type so he would nearly always wake up our mother which aggravated me to no end as he destroyed my chances of exploring Azertroth and rendered my time consuming recon missions fruitless.

My stealth missions always reminded me of a short horror story by Edgar Allan Poe called the Telltale heart, which I read quite a few times due to the fact that I never found interesting books in the school library , have you read it?

My avatar



I was the exploring type, often found in Western Plaugelands with my trusty undead frost mage clearing fields of the undead with a then pretty fascinating exploit that was tricky to execute but super rewarding if you pulled it off. There was something very hypnotic and satisfying to calculating xp/hour or gold per hour and the trying new methods of optimizing it. When you where always striving for higher numbers things rarely felt like a grind.

And when the meticulous achievement system was implemented I completely lost it, I would spend countless hours exploring every nook and cranny for the exploration achievements and my friends always knew where to find me as I was often seen flying around the frozen mountains of Storm peaks desperately looking for the ultra rare flying bronze drake mount that you could stumble upon if you where extremely lucky. I also found comfort in fishing for the also super rare pet in the lakes of Terrokar forest. Those achievements would be mine.

Since then I made several different characters on many different servers but I was most commonly know as ďKaggenĒ or ďSmulanĒ which respectively and roughly translates to the beer-belly and the latter to the crumble on the Shattered Hand (EU) or the Stormscale (EU) server. Maybe youíve seen me around?

My brother the speed-hacker, Aquaphobia



In the beginning me and my brother shared an account , which produced several ďIím going to kill youĒ moments as he would log onto our account, disconnecting me at the most inappropriate of times. That bastard. My brother soon found a bug which allowed him to speed-hack WOW, it was a strange process and required a speed-up windows program to increase the speed of the game. Anyways...

Thanks some peer pressure from a couple of his friends he placed my beloved Mage at the edge of the world in the middle of the sea. Which would be fine for most people but I have a severe Aquaphobia when it comes to some games *ahem* Mario 64 , Banjo Kazooie (those darn sharks!) and WOW. When I logged on to the game I noticed that my character was stationed in the Trisfall-glades area and I immediately knew something was wrong since I didn't remember putting him there. And as the loading bar progressed, my mind in a similar manner realized my brothers evil scheme. I was in the middle of nowhere in the deepest seas Iíve ever seen. As I looked down I saw nothing but murky waters. Without even thinking I went over to my brothers room and forced my him to put my character on solid ground again , he took one look at me and knew I was dead serious. Things where resolved... for now.

My brother soon became overly fond of this speed-hacking glitch that he found out about which soon ended in a banning of our account, I was devastated, a year of work, gone, forever. I tried writing to blizzard but in my despair I accidentally stated that my brother was the culprit , which was against blizzards user agreements ( the ones you never read) so I basically hammered down the last nail in my own coffin.So after accepting defeat I threatened my brother to get my a new account so I could start over anew. And apart from some accidental save overs which has ruined some of my longer games my brother hasnít been bothering me in that department since. Yet I still save on several save slots on games that we share, If anything would happen to my 120 hour persona 3 save file I donít know what I would do. *shudders*

The Warlord ďFirrenĒ



I made friends with a guy from High-school that was now in the same class as I was in College who was ďprettyĒ into WOW, and his goals where sky-high . You see for back then every server had ranks that you could achieve by partaking in battleground battles which put your faction against the other in player versus player battles (PVP). And by doing so you where rewarded honor-points. Basically the one in your faction with the most honor-points at the end of the month was given a higher rank. Up until the highest rank , High Warlord, then and only then where you allowed to buy the last part to your mighty High warlord armor-set that so many players sought after, including my friend.

But seeing as you had to compete with people who spent every hour of the day to farming honor, this was a amazingly hard task. Therefore my friend soon began to spend time idling in battlegrounds even at school on his laptop. Watching him cringe and bend as he tried to hide the fact that he was playing games on school-time was always amusing to me, and before I knew it he had developed advanced techniques to avoid detection.

Sadly he never became the best on our server, though he did reach the second highest rank, which is impressive enough to me. Devotion is a beautiful thing ain't it? Speaking of devotion...

The arena and I

Later on WOW would incorporate a new mode in which PVP matches would be fought 2v2 3v3 and 5v5 matches , bringing on a more personal experience than the huge 10 players or more battlegrounds.

This mode was dubbed the Arena, and in it players had to skillfully co-operate with each other to bring down the opposition. The Arena is by far one of the most entertaining and exhilarating multiplayer experiences Iíve ever encountered which is saying something. I would compare it to the likes of a fighting game, in which players have tweak and alter their routines to throw the opposition off in order to achieve victory which is mighty satisfying. My only complaint would be that the class combinations that where topping the charts when I stopped playing about 3 years ago are pretty much topping the charts today which is as discouraging now as it was then. There is nothing more agonizing than realizing when engaged in a high end battle where victory can cost you a days worth of effort that you basically canít beat your enemy if they arenít clumsy as hell. But that being said with each patch where they changed just the slightest thing people would have to re-evaluate their strategies and lineups making for a multiplayer mode that never felt old to me.

Raiding Christmas



This is kind of tragic to admit but you have to see where I was coming from, let me explain. Itís Christmas day and all of your family is gathered to do to me then boring activities. I log on before the party arrives only to see that Iíve been selected to prove myself in the Molten core raid dungeon. This was basically my ticket to epic loot and glory, how would I be able to eat the cookie while keeping it? Simple, I tried multitasking and I did it pretty poorly , see my family was fast to pick up my hasty visits to my sealed off room and my raid leader was equally fast at noticing that I had just selected the follow command on a fellow raider. Sigh * so I was scolded on both fronts, thatís what you get for biting off more than you can chew I guess.

Conclusion / Looking back

While many people look back in resent on their time spent in Blizzards MMO giant I often find myself almost longing back or at least looking back with a smile on my lips. Sure Iíve could have done other things with my time but what's done is done. I can honestly say that I had loads of fun playing WOW and I don't see the point in re-visiting the low points.

When I played WOW it was a game that rewarded you for all the time you spent on it, more so than any other title I can think of now. And thatís with the monthly fee considered. There was always something to do , always something to achieve or find, it just never ended. I think Tara Long put it pretty well when she defended it on podtoid or if it was on the Dtoid show, she just said "itís a great game for passing time". And if you want it to be more it can, you can have all your friends with you and experience all sorts of things with them. Or get lost by yourself and meet new people in a truly huge and fantastic world. Alll I know is that I remember all those days In Azeroth , Outlands and Northrend, and I donít regret a thing.

How do you look at these things? Do you hate / love the time you spent on WOW? Or maybe you longed to play it but never did? I dunno , post something in the comments if you feel like!   read







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