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11:32 PM on 04.07.2012

PAX East, pics from Sat.

Hit up the link below for more cosplay and gender ambiguitiy goodness!   read

10:13 PM on 04.24.2011

Remember Me?

Hey there, this blog contains some ***SPOILERS****. Although the main focus of this is information that was available pre-Portal2, it does contain informations that is somewhat pertinent. You have been warned. Also, forgive me if someone else has already mentioned this recently.

Cave Johnson here ... er, well, not really. In any case:

Some time ago, I don't recall exactly how long ago now, contained something very different from what it does today. It contained a fake terminal. A flash file that was interactive. You could login as a guest and take a test, or login as the admin if you knew the username and password. The information was available, if you paid attention. I'll save you the trouble though.

The admin login was CJOHNSON. At the time, it was mostly guessing as to who CJOHNSON was exactly. Some though he was the g-man from Black Mesa, but that is decidedly wrong. Now we know.

Once you logged in with the password TIER3, you were shown two files: apply.exe and notes.exe

APPLY.EXE was the test. NOTES.EXE was exclusive to CJOHNSON. This is what was contained in the file.

1953 - Aperture Science begins opterations as a manufacturer of shower curtains. Early product line provide a very low-tech portal between the inside and outside of your shower. Very little science is actually involved. The name is chosen to make the curtains appear more hygienic.

1956 - Eisenhower administration awards Aperture a contract to provide shower curtains to all branches of the military except the Navy.

1957 - 1975 Mostly shower curtains.

1978 - Aperture Founder and CEO, Cave Johnson, is exposed to mercury while secretly developing a dangerous mercury-injected rubber sheeting from which he plans to manufacture seven deadly shower curtains to be given as gifts to each member of the House Naval Approrpriations committee.

1979 - Both of Cave Johnson's kidneys fail. Brain damaged, dying, and incapable of being convinced that time is not now flowing backwards, Johnson lays out a three tiered R&D program. The results, he says, will 'guarantee the continued success of Aperture Science far into the fast-approaching distant past.'

Tier 1: The Heimlich Counter-Maneuver - A reliable technique for interrupting the life-saving Heimlich Maneuver.

Tier 2: The Take-A-Wish Foundation - A charitable organization that will purchase wishes from the parents of terminally ill children and redistribute them to wish-deprived but otherwise healthy adults.

Tier 3: 'Some kind of rip in the fabric of space... That would... Well, it'd be like, I don't know, something that would help with the shower curtains I guess. I haven't worked this idea out as much as the wish-taking one.'

1981 - Diligent Aperture engineers complete the Heimlich Counter-Maneuver and Take-A-Wish Foundation initiatives. The company announces products related to the research in a lavish, televised ceremony. These products become immediately wildly unpopular. After a string of very public choking and despondent sick child disasters, senior company officials are summoned before a Senate investigative commitee. During these proceedings, an engineer mentions that some progress has been made on Tier 3, the 'man-sized ad hoc quantum tunnel through physical space with possible applications as a shower curtain.' The committee is quickly permanently recessed, and Aperture is granted an open-ended contract to secretly continue research on the 'Portal' and Heimlich Counter-Maneuver projects.

1981 - 1985 - Work progresses on the 'Portal' project. Several high ranking Fatah personnel choke to death on lamb chunks despite the intervention of their bodyguards.

1986 - Word reaches Aperture management that another defense contractor called Black Mesa is working on a similar portal technology. In response to thise news, Aperture begins developing the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Opterating System (GLaDOS), an artificially intelligent research assistant and disk opterating system.

1996 - After a decade spent bringing the disk operating parts of GLaDOS to a state of more or less basic functionality, work begins on the Genetic Lifeform component.

Several Years Later - The untested AI is activated for the first time as one of the planned activities on Aperture's first annual bring-your-daughter-to-work day.

In many ways, the initial test goes well...


I believe that this information was placed before much of Portal 2's story was pieced together. As stated in the commentary playthrough, the story was altered at least once. So not all the information is exactly applicable, but that makes it no less interesting.

Were you wondering why that shower certain trophy was in the case besides Cave Johnson's portrait? Now you know.

And knowing is half the battle!

Want to take a look for yourself?

The old website is no longer available but you can still access the archive of it.

Follow this link:

At the prompt, type LOGIN.   read

12:41 PM on 04.03.2011

Capture The Babe Mode Not Sexist: Historical.

From Wikipedia:

Wife carrying (Estonian: naisekandmine , Finnish: eukonkanto or akankanto, Swedish: kärringkånk) is a sport in which male competitors race while each carrying a female teammate. The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time.


There are many thoughts to how this sport first originated in Finland. Tales have been passed down from one person to another about a man named Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen. This man was considered a robber in the late 1800s, lived in a forest, and ran around with his gang of thieves causing harm to the villages. From what has been found, there are three ideas to why/how this sport was invented. First, Rosvo-Ronkainen and his thieves were accused of stealing food and women from villages in the area he lived in; then carried these women on their backs as they ran away, (hence the “wife” or women carrying). For the second idea, it has been said that young men would go to villages near their own, steal other men’s wives, and then have the woman become their own wife. These wives were also carried on the backs of the young men; this was referred to as “the practice of wife stealing." Lastly, there was the idea that Rosvo-Ronkainen trained his thieves to be “faster and stronger” by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs, which could have eventually evolved to a sport because of the hard labor (endurance), and muscle strengthening; which most sports ensure. Even though this sport is considered a joke, competitors take it very seriously, just like any other sport. Wife carrying is now practiced in the United States of America, Hong Kong, and other parts of the world besides Finland, and has a category in the Guinness Book of Records.

Curious to see it in action?

Yes, between rounds, they are pounding beers. Yes, it's awesome and manly.

Granted, there's no slapping on the ass, which seems to be a major concern (though I'm still not sure why), but other people in the world don't seem to lose their shit over stuff like this. What's wrong with us?   read

1:13 PM on 03.26.2011

Keyboard Controls And You!

The following is part rant, part info-graphic, all for fun.

We as gamers know that there's many things that can very quickly make or break a game. For some it's graphics, others it's the quality of sound and sometimes it's the core mechanics of the game. All of these are very understandable, but there's one that I left out, which I sometimes think Quality Assurance does as well ever now and then, which is the control layout.

Fortunately, computer gamers will almost always have a reasonable means to adjust the controls to their liking either in game or through some kind of workaround. Consolers aren't always so lucky. This isn't a post about Consoles though, so I'm going to largely skip over that facet.

When the controls are wonky,it because just about immediately apparent. Within seconds a game can go from a pleasant experience to something worthy of fits of rage that send Cheetos and empty Mountain Dew cans scattering across the desk and floor. No Mom, I didn't die in Counter Strike again, I'm just sick of shitty controls! Suddenly your basement suite isn't so peaceful anymore.

How could they get bindings for such a common piece of hardware wrong? This is why I developed a guide, a visual sort of guide to this quirky thing: the QWERTY keyboard!

Here we are, face to face with that all to familiar interface. It does more than just help you enter your passwords, type emails to the grandparents and reward yourself for your thoughtfulness by helping you browse porn. It also controls your in game character and collects Doritos crumbs. Let's have a close look shall we? No, not at the crumbs or those weird sticky spots that you swear must be from "soda". The layout is what we're here for.

Where do we start? Well, if you take a typing class, the first thing they'll teach you is where to find the Home Keys. These are the keys where your fingers will spend the majority of their time and where you can most easily reach the rest of the keys with minimal strain. For typists, these are ASDF and JKL; or some shit like that. Gamers have a very different set of home keys. We also generally only use one half of the keyboard, the other hand remaining on the mouse. For the purpose of this demonstration, we're going to focus on the most common scheme, which is referred to as WASD. Let's highlight those home keys now...

Hey wait a tick! Didn't I say the Home Keys are W, A, S, and D? Why is SHIFT and the SPACEBAR highlighted and why not S? What happened here?

A couple things. First, place your middle finger on W. Now place your ring finger on A and your index finger on D. Where does your thumb and pinky finger land naturally? If you're like me and a large majority of five fingered humanity you'll find that the thumb naturally lands on the SPACEBAR and the pinky finger finds the SHIFT key. The reason why S is excluded from the highlight is that at a normal resting position, the middle finger does not land there. You'll use it, probably often, but it's not the starting position. The S key is also excluded from the rest of this guide because it is something of an exception. While not part of the Home Keys, it's not part of the other key sets that I will discuss later either.

When setting up the control scheme for your game, this is where players are going to start, it's what they will expect and if you do differently, you may have already made a bad impression. It's highly recommended to start here. Something of note, as a general rule, proximity to these home keys plays a major role in the classifications. Closer is better but again, there are exceptions.

So you've got your basic movement keys down. You're moving in two dimensions, three with the help of the SPACE BAR if it allows you to jump, and you're sprinting along happily with the SHIFT key or something like that. Naturally, those keys don't necessarily have to work as a sprint and jump key, but you get the picture. It's really a matter of what the player will be doing more than anything else and if that's sprinting/jumping or dodging/farting it makes no difference; but I digress.

Now you're ready for some other controls. You are ready to start switching weapons, crouching, throwing grenades, picking flowers and singing songs - whatever it is that your going to do almost as frequently as running and jumping. These are what I call the Accessory Keys.

You may have noticed that not all the keys one over from the home keys have been highlighted. This is because the human hand does not always move like that and in fact some keys are just plain old inconvenient. Let me show you:

Exercise 1: Place your fingers on the home keys. Now, without lifting your middle or ring finger, reach for the keys E, R and F. Pretty easy huh? Now move your ring finger up to the Q key. You'll also find that the pinky finger slides easily to the CTRL key without moving your ring, middle and index fingers from your home keys.

Exercise 2: Now place your fingers back on the home keys. Move your index finger down to the C key. Feel a little cramped? Return to the home keys and try to hit X without moving your thumb.

See? Proximity != ease of access.

Keys 1,2, and 3 also do not make the cut because to access them, you must remove your finger from W, which is normally used for moving forward. In order to access these keys easily without standing still, you must use your other movement keys. Not everyone has an issue with mashing the number keys in the middle of a firefight, but there are a lot of gamers who will fumble, particularly casual gamers.

There is a fine line between these keys and the next set. It can be largely subjective based on how mutated you are or how much practice you have but on average, these Accessory keys are the most convenient to use after the home keys.

Now we have the keys that I will refer to as the Info and Options keys.

These keys are best suited for the third tier of usage. This includes things like switching between weapon slots, active powers, going prone, and setting up your bipod before you mow people down like they are overgrown weeds. These also include important functions like chatting, checking scoreboards, checking the overhead map, etc etc. These are sort of things you can do when you aren't in the middle of the action or in the case of the number keys, things you can do relatively quickly.

They still aren't as fast as the Accessory keys for the most part, but they are still convenient and accessible within reason. Again you'll notice that keys Z and X are still not included. While close to the C and ALT keys, they are not worthy of being with the Info and Options keys.

This is an important point. Developers take notice: Even at the third tier of control convenience, the Z and X keys are not included.

So what should they be used for and why stress this point? Well, let's get on with it then.

These keys fall into what I call the Zone of Despair.

I call it this because in almost all circumstances, it is not a viable option to lift your palm to wedge a thumb in to mash those keys. It's also a poor move to lift your finger from one of the home keys to try to press X and frankly, I'm tired of playing pinky-finger-twister to hit that Z key that is just out of reach.

X and Z have no place acting as a secondary or even - god forbid - primary usage key. These keys, though right below the home keys, are a task to access in high-action events in games. However, it is also important to note that this fact can be exploited in some instances for an almost favorable use.

Example A: Your game has some thing to do with space marines and aliens or some shit. You want the player to experience what it's like to fumble a bit with your equipment in a panic. The player can whip out his trusty welder and seal heavy metal doors shut. To do this he must put his gun away and focus on the task at hand. Instead of being able to quickly switch to the welder, you could have the player take his hand off his all important home keys to hit the Z or X keys. This makes the player think twice. Is losing that split second of maneuverability worth it?

Example B: Players are able to setup proximity mines and disguise them for other players to stumble upon to their doom. One can't expect even a professional to just whip out a mine and set it up in half a second. Have players press and hold X or Z to set it up.


"Sir, I have a question!."
"Why is it that the ALT key has not also been included in the Zone of Dispair when it is directly below the X key?"
"Good question, Timmy. I'll show you why. Here, place your fingers on the home keys."
"Like this?"
"That's right. Now without moving your pinky, ring, middle or even the index finger, swing your thumb inward and place it on the ALT key. Notice how there's plenty of space in the arch of your fingers for this to happen?"
"Wow! That sure is swell mister!"
"It sure is, boy! It sure is..."

No matter what manner you wish to use the X and Z keys in, if at all, let it not be a function that anyone will need frequently.

There is another reason to not use Z or X as well. It places the fingers in a dangerous position, far too close to the Key of Death.

The Key of Death is notorious. It's unforgiving, relentless and doesn't give a shit about your fun. It's purpose is to ruin a perfectly good gaming experience and it is otherwise known as the Windows key. It has other names for other operating systems, but that's not important. What is important is that when possible, it's not a bad idea to disable it entirely. I don't even have to explain why it's so bad. This is a gaming website and I'm sure you all know very well why it's so bad.

So there you have it - wait what? Oh right! I almost forgot. In Figure 5 we have another key being highlighted right there in the top left corner. See it?

This is what you could call the Utility key. It rarely gets any credit for being as useful as it can be. In many instances, particularly with games based on the Quake and Source engine, it brings up the console. The console is a handy dandy tool you can use to change system variables, run commands, find information about the game and the current server etc etc. It's wildly useful for things like troubleshooting.

Sometimes we forget that though access to information can lead to hacks and pirating, it also is very appreciated when a user is able to find exactly what they need or fix something without messing with a bunch of menus. It's fast, sometimes efficient, and in many cases lets the host of a server or game control their environment for the (hopefully) better experience for everyone else.

It's not important in the usual gaming scene, but having the option available is better than any support ticket system

Now, let's bring it all back together and put it all into perspective.

As the colors go from cool blue to red along the spectrum, they go from very accessible to rage-quit.
If you're a game developer and are looking for some tips on how to setup your control scheme to match what players are generally going to want, I suggest following these examples.

Happy gamers are happy consumers and happy consumers keep you employed (and happy).   read

8:46 PM on 03.13.2011

PhotoBlag: Pax East

Kintaro here again with another "Blag"

I won't do much typing here since the pictures are what I'm sure most (if not all) of you would ever be interested in.

Album Link:

note: bbc code is apprently broken or some shit.

In any case, I was only able to attend Pax East this sunday, so unfortunately I did not have a chance to meet up with any of my fellow D-toiders or anything cool like that. Mostly I just walked around and made my shy friends pose with lovely women (these pictures I've omitted from my gallery for their privacy.)

That and get lost... like constantly. I randomly stumbled into the Q and A with Tycho and Gabe, as well as a few other panels. I didn't get the chance to play much of anything, since I was mostly exploring and picking up the swag.

What was particularly interesting was the dominance of free to play games at Pax. Of the largest and most active booths, the top three probably belonged to Firefall, Vindictus, and Dragon Nest (Vindictus and Dragon Nest both being Nexon games.) The wait for Portal 2 was about 2 hours long, so I didn't bother, and I couldn't be assed to deal with the wait for other booths like The Darkness II and that Pokeshit.

Best in Show has to go to Duke Nukem Forever though. Nexon gave me two free shirts, but the Nukem booth gave me something to gawk at in sheer disbelief.

It was a good experience for anyone that missed it - Ha ha! - and I'll definitely be attending again next year.   read

6:50 PM on 03.12.2011

VideoBlag : Role Model - Fiona

((Available in 720p))

This is my first VideoBlag of what could be several.

The purpose of this was the introduce a character that I have been playing with for somewhere around a month now. What makes Fiona of the Vindictus video game so worth pointing out? She's much closer to what I'd expect of a female warrior who is ACTUALLY going to see combat.

She wears heavy metal armor, wields a shield, and isn't blatantly regarded as a sex object like most female video game characters. Developers, I know you get a lot of money out of your sexy, bouncy cute femme fatale but it's very refreshing to see a strong female character again.

Fiona is from Vindictus, a Freemium game by Nexon.

What is Freemium?

A Freemium game is a game type that is free to download and free to play but with perks for people who want to pay for premium content, thus Free-Mium.

Cut and edited this together while killing time before PAX East.   read

8:14 AM on 03.06.2010

Portal 2: Speculations

So with Portal 2 being an official game set to release this holiday season, I'm sure every forum and game-related comment box is being overloaded and crammed full of speculation, cautionary concerns, and rage. Being that I like telling people what I think, and since this is [color=darkred]my[/color] blog (thank you Dtoid) anyways, I'm going to spout off some off my opinion and speculations for this title.

Now, there are a lot of people who seem to think that a sequel to Portal could be anything but a spectacular, magical, and jaw-dropping experience and they are justified in worrying. It's easy to completely ruin a sequel. Sequels inherently suck, but here is what I think Portal 2 will be like, which will very much not suck.


In my head I can picture Chell painfully regaining consciousness outside the now razed Aperture Science Laboratories. Freedom at last, freedom at last! Thank God Almighty you are free at last. Or atleast it seems like it is all well at first. What we soon learn is that while Chell has been in the test, sedated and waiting to begin her trial, the earth has been ravaged by the combine after the events of Half-Life 1, 2 and both episodes.

Finding only the portal gun as the last remaining heap of functional Aperture Science technology, she must find a way to survive - avoiding combine troops, antlions, headcrabs and their zombie variants. During the gameplay you also discover that the test chambers you worked your way through in Portal 1 were only a set from a collection of tests, some of which you must work your way through as you do everything you can to survive. Meanwhile you actions have significant plot effects on Half-Life 3 (or Episode 3 or whatever), and though you never meet up with Gordon, Alyx, Barney, Kleiner etc, you still effect them indirectly. You then see the effects you have in Portal 2 in the story of Half-Life 3/ep3 when it is released. This would be a bit like Blue-Shift, but if Blue-Shift came before Half-Life.

So what do you think will happen in Portal 2?   read

2:48 PM on 03.02.2010

Gripe: Motion Based Controls

Yes, we've all had our fair share of them by now. Motion-based controls have been in use far longer than our seemingly innovative Nintendo overlords might have us think. Indeed, motion control has a rich history of fun, but also one of heartbreak, frustration, and money sinkholes. Everybody seems to love their Nintendo Wiis and some people actually enjoy the six-axis garbage shoved into the PS3 controller. Now Project Natal is coming along with it's own twist on motion controlled gaming. But am I sold on any of these as being fun? This is a resounding no, and here's why.

"Now look what you did!"

I've had enough time on this planet to be able to tell you with a fair certainty that if there's one unreliable piece of technology that has been in every household ever, it would be the remote. Sure, the incredible flexibility that comes with not having a wire running to your TV/Electronics is a wonderful thing in theory. How many times have you had to beat the living hell out of your remote to get it to work though? And how much more convenient would it have been to simply get off your ass to change the channel?

So now let's take this wonderful little peripheral and make it the entire purpose for having your console. This is what we have in the Wii.

This little gadget can be a great friend or an immeasurably evil adversary. Even exempting the times when the infrared sensor did little more than spasm across the screen in an unusable manner (since that is not the topic of this post) this device causes more frustration than I particularly care to handle. Motion is the highlight of this controller and as far as I'm concerned, I've had more pleasurable experiences peeling dried skin off a sunburn than playing with this thing. Fortunately most vital game controls involve simple flicks or turns of the remote.

So help you god if you dare try anything fancy though. Wii sports, Wii fit, Wii Sports Resort all contain a variety of activities for you to play with that involve putting the motion sensor to the limits of it's functionality. Sure, these games were fun for a short time - I'll give them that. After the initial impression, everything falls short and the motions just become boring and feel plain un-fun.

This one is no better, but at the very least it doesn't try so hard to be a motion-based controller. I am extremely thankful that even though Sony decided to put Sixaxis into their controllers, it wasn't an enormous aspect of the game play experience. Sure, there is a pretty good list of games that can utilize the motion controls ( but having played a handsome amount of these, I have found that none of them really require it's use.

If I had to twist or thrust the controller to dodge while playing Ninja Gaiden Sigma, I more than likely would have thrown it directly out the window and returned the game promptly. Worse, if Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 required me to swing that remote like the Wii version, I might have done something to leave my reputation absolutely trashed.

So now we have Natal. We have done away with all this messy physical controller junk and moved on to the best "peripheral" known to man - man himself. By capturing your own motions and voice, Project Natal offers the abillity to use nothing but your good old arms, legs, head, and anything else you happen to use to interact with games. Surely this must mean that there will be no more communication struggles between man and his in-game avatar, right?

Case in point:

Now, we do have to be fair here. This was old technology and Project Natal is very new, much more accurate technology. Still, I can see some things causing problems. Do you own a pet? Do you live with more than one person? Are you playing anywhere close to what may even in the most vague terms be called a window? Any of these could cause your in-game avatar to flip out in theory. Going for that new record breaking score you've worked so hard for? Here comes your drunken roommate to stumble by and ruin that for you.

So are all motion-based games and systems absolute shit? Yes, of course they are! Thankfully we shouldn't have to wait too many more years before someone invents a motion based control scheme that doesn't make me want to heave chunks in the direction of my technology. I atleast have that much faith in game developers.

So you can take your malfuntioning wii-mote, your never implemented six-axis and your EyeToy - I mean Project Natal and have fun getting frustrated. I'll be having a blast beating heads in with the tried and true.   read

1:40 PM on 02.25.2010

Dear Destructoid Readers: This is Samus

Despite the title of this blog post, I'm going to try to make this not into a right/wrong post, but instead an example of differing opinions.

That said, I decided to give this post a go in the wake of the recent pictures and descriptions here on Destructoid surrounding Metroid: Other M. I have enjoyed seeing these screens again even if they have surfaced quite some time ago, but what I find intersting is that people have often pointed out that Samus should not be depicted the way she is, that it does not fit with her initial character concept. I'm going to take a look at the ways Samus has been depicted by varying titles, and point out some of the ways she has developed and how it reflects on her initial concept. So let's begin at... well, the beginng.

Ok, not quite the beginning, but the first two metroids don't really allow for much detail for her looks. Now, from this perspective we can see that despite being created by a japanese man, Makoto Kanō, she looks fairly western. She's not small, given that her character description sets her a just over 6 feet tall, and with that blond hair, it's clear that she was not intended to be very asian. Supposedly anyways. At this point also, it was arguable whether or not she was intended to be seen as a sex-object.

Here's two sides of this argument:
She's tall, which is a common sexually attractive trait.
She's got long blond hair, a common kink for asian men who live with mostly black haired women.
She's barely wearing anything under that suit and it's bared for all when she dies (or you complete the game in a certain time.)

She spends most of her time in her suit.
Her background suggests a mostly militaristic lifestyle.
It was initially only revealed that she was female after completing the original game.
You'd probably wear that much clothing too in that suit if it weren't air conditioned.

So, let's then move on ahead in time out of the pixelly side-scrolling era into the 3-d era where we get a much better look at Samus.

Here she is as she appears at the end of Metroid Prime 1.

She's looking quite a bit more like a real woman now. It's uncertain if she's wearing lipstick or if that's just part of the graphics engine. Otherwise she does not look very gussied up, which is to be expected for someone who spends almost all of their time in a helmeted suit. She also looks very much unasian in this version. Again, you could argue that this was intentional, to meet the kinks of the asian gamer demographic, but this product was very much marketed for the US and all those other countries that don't matter as much. Metroid Prime, unlike Super Metroid, was released first in North America after all, and second in Japan.

So in this instance, it almost seems that Samus was really being marketed as even less of a sex object. Things get a little strange after this though. We take a brief lapse in graphics back to 2d platforming for Metroid: Zero Mission.

Now for a girl who's so pixelated, she's starting to get some real curves on her, as one would expect from a western warrior woman. There's also no denying what color her hair is now. This is the first instance of the now famous Zero Suit. No matter where you are in the world, someone you know has fapped to these. It only gets "worse" from the sex object point of view for Samus. Nintendo did not help these things at all.

Here we start to see Zero Suit Samus show up everywhere possible, in every possible position. Google for Zero Suit Samus images and you'll see more tits and ass than Lara Croft can shake even with her immense following.

Metroid Prime 3 also cemented this new look for Samus.

Super Smash Brothers. Brawl did nothing for this image of Samus either.

And now with Metroid: Other M coming along, she's starting to look a little japanese. Or at the very least a little more like pre-pubescent boy.

Is there hope for a more badass, less sex-tastic Samus Aran who doesn't look like she polishes her nails and power armor every ten minutes? Perhaps. With any luck Nintendo may suddenly just start taking inspiration from artists who depict Samus in a more believable fashion, for example Ivan Flores.

But I wouldn't count on it happening any time soon.

As for the argument that Samus is not intended to be depicted as a sex object and has been straying from her initial concept with every passing game: Well, this is both true and false. True in the sense that she has been more and more of a typical female game protagonist, but false in that she was never not intended to be sexy, even in the slightest bit.

Edited at 4:16 pm EST (2/25/10) for typo correction and addition of missing "not" on the last line.   read

10:58 AM on 02.13.2010

A Dimebag of Allods Online

The fourth closed beta of the Free To Play game Allods Online has ended, and with the open beta set to come into effect in three days (February 16th), there's a much to be excited about. For those who have not been aware of Allods Online, here is a brief review of some of the things you are missing out on.

Here's an exerpt from the Allods Online website.


Allods is a revolutionary massively multiplayer RPG from Gala-Net, publishers of Flyff and Rappelz, and Astrum Nival, developer of Heroes of Might & Magic V and Rage of Mages. The largest game development project in Russian history ($12 million), Allods features state of the art graphics by top award-winning artists and a cinematic soundtrack by Mark Morgan (Dexter, Fallout 1 & 2, Planescape: Torment). The game is one of the largest and most comprehensive MMORPGs ever created, featuring a vast and gorgeously realized world, astral space exploration, and flying ships which can be crewed by multiple parties to explore new realms and pillage other astral travelers. Allods won the Best Game 2009 & Audience Choice awards from the Russian Game Developers Conference.

The game features an unprecedented level of detail for an MMORPG—2 warring factions, 6 races, 8 archetypes, 28 classes, hundreds of skills, and over 1,500 quests. Its visuals were designed by artists who won the 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 10th place awards at Dominance War, one of the most prestigious global art competitions, in both the 2D and 3D categories. All of the animations are motion captured, and the Allods 3D game engine was developed entirely in-house. The orchestral soundtrack, composed by Mark Morgan and rising star Vladislav Isaev, was inspired by classical, electronica, new age, and tribal musical genres. An immense amount of content is featured in the game: raiding and dungeon instances, pets, balanced PvP, a crafting system designed as mini-games, dozens of astral islands (Allods), and numerous other features. The story spans a series of games published over 11 years beginning with Rage of Mages, featuring a background history remarkable in its complexity and depth.


Now, you may be thinking to yourself "Wow! 28 Classes!?" or even "What the fuck is an Allod?" So I'll help clarify some of this for you.

Let's start from the beginning.

When you start up Allods Online and log in for the first time you will be given a splash screen of characters of different archetypes and races. This splash screen will give a brief description of the classes as you highlight these different characters. You can chose your class/race from here and go on with your life, or you can click a character of the faction you wish to play and customize it to your liking.

Of the races available there are:

On the "League" (Good) side:

Kanians (Humans)
Elves (with wings)
Gibberlings (Plural for a good reason)

And on the Empire (evil) side:

Xadaganians (Humans)
Arisen (Undead)
Orc (lolcraft)

Each of these races has their own unique racial abilities and only a few of the archetypes available to them. These Archetypes are as follows:

Warrior - a Melee DPS and Tanking class
Paladin - a Melee DPS and Tanking class with magic.
Scout - this is generally the Rogue-type class.
Healer - a misleading class. While it performs well as a healer, it's also capable of ranged and melee DPSing.
Warden - a ranged DPS class with a pet.
Summoner - a ranged DPS class with a pet that uses magic.
Psionicist - a controling class focusing on mental prowess.

Allods considers all of the archtype+race combos as a class, so they all have different names, which is why there's "28" classes.

A note about classes in Allods - While three are archetypes that have obvious purposes in the game, one of the most notable differences in Allods is that there is less of a clear cut in what a class can and cannot do. For example, a Healer class will be able to heal but also melee DPS and ranged DPS. Not only this, but at end game the otherwise cloth and leather Healer will be able to wear heavy Plate armor like Warriors and Paladins. Likewise, most if not all of the classes have some form of healing capability.


Allods Online has an interesting twist to the way abilities are gained and improved upon. Players will start out with the familiar linear tree list of abilities to allot points into per level, but also starting at level 10, characters will have three grids available to them.

These grids are similar to the talent grids seen in Final Fantasy 12. However, instead of gaining experience points in order to unlock new tiles, the Allods team has implemented a system of Rubies. Rubies are items which can be purchased from your class trainer at each level after 9. One Rubie = one tile unlock.

Like the tiles in Final Fantasy 12, there are tiles that will boost stats and existing abilities, but there are also tiles which will unlock brand new abilities depending on your class, of course.


Controls and handling is generally similar to most other MMOs but there are some new mechanics here as well. For example, the Mage Archetype has a mechanic called Magic Entropy. As you cast spells of a specific element, you will receive stacks of a "buff" corresponding to it. If you go over five stacks, there is a 70% chance that a beneficial effect will come into play, such as mana regeneration, health regeneration, decreased casting time etc. There is also a 30% chance that something bad will happen, such as mana degeneration, health degeneration, and cooldown increases. Later on the mage can use these stacks for different spells, which can be found in the talent grids.

Death has serious consequences in Allods Online. Upon dying, you will find yourself in a state of Purgatory.

You will have to spend a small amount of time in Purgatory every time you die. Even so, you can bride your way out of this time with Myrrh, an in-game item. Once out of Purgatory, you will be given a debuff called Fear of Death. This debuff will reduce all of your stats by 25%. This effect can also stack, throroughly debilitating you. Thankfully this debuff only lasts a short time at low levels, and there are ways to mitigate it. It is currently uncertain whether or not this debuff mechanic will be in the full game, as it is currently the subject of much debate.

The last detail I will touch upon in this brief look is the Astral. At late game, every character will be able to pilot their own airship. These airships are similar in design to the airships found in some other games, but I think they most resemble the airships from the art in the Collectable Card Game Magic The Gathering (Search for Weatherlight on google). These air ships are fully constructed 3d models which your character must run around to operate. Naturally you will have a much easier time handling an airship with the help of friends to form a crew.

While navigating the open Astral, you will come across Astral Demons, which you will have to fight off to protect your ship and it's crew. This is done by manually operating the cannons, repairing your ship by dragging on-board engineers to damage sites, and sailing away in haste when possible.

Astral Demons aren't your only threat out in the Astral. While drifting, you will need to be on the look out for ships from the enemy faction. And you'd better be good at defending yourself. While adventuring in your ship, all of the loot you accumulate from the floating islands is stored in your ship until you dock at a city. If you are hijacked by the enemy and they manage to make their way to your loot, they can effectively play the role of a pirate and steal all of your loots!

Finally, I'll leave you with a link to the screenshots I took. I batch uploaded them and didn't bother to sort any of it out. Have fun with that.   read

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