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Kyle MacGregor's blog
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1:50 PM on 04.01.2013

Bath time for videogames!



Videogames probably aren't real life. Link never has to worry about smelling terrible after jogging halfway across Hyrule. Diddy Kong eats plenty of bananas, but never has any poop to throw at anybody. (Sad, I know.) I think we can all agree, unless there's a zombie hiding in the tub, bathrooms are pretty irrelevant to videogames. (Oops. Sorry! Spoilers for Resident Evil 1 on the GameCube, y'all.) This makes Mario and Luigi pretty sad. If they weren't otherwise occupied saving princesses whilst moonlighting as professional baseball players, race car drivers, golfers, etc, etc, they'd be pretty damn unemployed because nobody needs a videogame plumber. Absolutely nobody.

Videogames need to be more like real life. And real life shoulb be more like movies probably. I think I saw a man use a toilet in a movie once. Also, a lady shower scene with frosted glass below the clavicle. I broke my clavicle once while skateboarding. That is pretty irrelevant actually. Anyway, videogames should be more like real life movies probably which David Cage said is good. We need more bathroom using. Like as did Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy with shaving and urinals. Urinal cakes. Mmmmm cakes.

Luckily, innovation is happening in this sector. Earlier this year I did reviewed a game called Corpse Party Book of Shadows (picture aboved) which did feature some ladies doing the hygiene. There was another Corpse Party which did also did the bath time except it was brother and sister instead of friends.

Croixleur also referenced bath time between friends, which is good for the environment as it does conserve the water. This theme is also present in The Last Story, where protagonist Zael can choose to peek on his friends Syrenne and Calista while they are also conserving water. Except Syrenne and Calista did not seem to appreciate the peeking. Don't peek, you guys!

Other innovation games include Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, God of War 2, teh Witcher 2, Persona 4 Golden, Prince of Persia Sands of Time, and Dishonored. So freinds, get INNOVATION, and scrub a dub dub in the tub.   read


4:46 AM on 01.01.2013

My 10 favorite games of 2012

A few weeks ago Destructoid staff submitted lists of our ten favorite games to release in the past twelve months. Those lists were concentrated down to just five nominees. And Telltale's The Walking Dead emerged the victor. Now that it's past midnight and the calendar gods have decided it's a new year, I figured I'd share my picks because of REASONS. Too much beer probably. Also, Hamza did it and I endeavor to be more like Hamza. I've even purchased some Rogaine for my arms.



#10 Code of Princess

It's been a long time since I enjoyed a side-scrolling beat 'em up. For some reason though Code of Princess really struck a chord with me. Its colorful cast of characters, role-playing elements, bite-sized missions, and gratifying combat really won me over. Code of Princess is very much worthy of being billed a successor to Guardian Heroes.



#9 Persona 4 Arena

Fighting games. I love them dearly, but I'm so bad at them. It might be a while before I defeat anybody online, but at least I can trounce a computer. And hey! P4A lets me spend more time in this awesome world with these lovely characters. That's enough for me.



#8 SSX

Ever since I got my hands on SSX at E3 2011 I've been in love. The asynchronous multiplayer, the bright visuals, the techno soundtrack are all wonderful. But what I really dig about it is that the game evokes the feeling of the older entries in the series while delivering something very cutting edge.



#7 Lollipop Chainsaw

Lollipop Chainsaw is probably my least favorite major release from Grasshopper Manufacture since Killer 7. And yet, I still had a blast playing it. Something about that studio's style and Suda 51's humor really resonates with me. I really appreciate how saccharine and arcade-y this game is. Short and sweet. (With some foul language) That's Lollipop Chainsaw in a nutshell. I'll play it over and over and again.



#6 The Unfinished Swan

I'd recommend this one to just about anyone, but it seems like a whole lot of people don't seem to terribly fond of it. I'm not sure why exactly, it reminds me of Portal crossed with Flower. That can't be a bad thing. It just can't. It also got me a bit misty-eyed at the end there. I went in expecting a decent first-person puzzler and walked away with a storybook tale that warmed up my cold, stony heart.



#5 Asura's Wrath

I still wonder how I fell in love a game that's made up of QTEs but it happened somehow. The episodic anime-style of the whole thing was so incredibly strange but managed to be very wonderful at the same time and I really appreciated how absurd the whole thing was. Very much one of this year's visual treats.



#4 The Walking Dead

How in the hell is a point-and-click adventure game on this list? A really strong narrative, that's how. It made me cry. Like a baby. That's never happened before. Not on account of a game anyway. Stupid adventure game logic aside, Telltale really did do something special with that story and those characters.



#3 Far Cry 3

As the follow up to one of my favorite games of all time, Far Cry 3 had some pretty big shoes to fill and I think it did so admirably. Sure the story leaves a lot to be desired and it's a whole lot more linear than I'd like, but I really dig the combat and role-playing elements Ubisoft Montreal added to the equation. I can definitely see why some are calling it this year's Skyrim.




#2 Binary Domain

In addition to just being a lot of fun, Binary Domain really made me reflect on society and what it means to be a person. I think Sega and Yakuza Studio really did a wonderful job at making what could have just been another dumb shooter a very cerebral experience.



#1 Journey

Journey harkens back to an era where things aren't explained in mind-numbing detail. It points the player in a direction, sets them on a path and says GO! Everything else just kind of unfolds from there and it's pretty magical. Also as well also, in an age when every game has a dull, tacked-on multiplayer mode thatgamecompan makes me really hopeful for what multiplayer experiences can become.


Honorable mentions: The Last Story, Sine Mora, I Am Alive, Q.U.B.E.   read


7:16 PM on 11.11.2012

The Goozex experiment continues



Several months ago I wrote a blog expressing my discontent with the current state of Goozex. The videogame trading community served me well for years. But recently the bottom has fallen out. The bubble has burst. The market has taken a turn, rather decidedly, for the worse.

Currently there are 740 trades going on. In years passed that figure would have been several times that number. A remnant of those better times is the tagline "Thousands of games available," displayed prominently on the splash page. That was very true once upon a time. Now it's an ironic symbol showing how far the website has fallen since the its launched six years ago.

What's the problem? Well, that's simple. Nobody is trading. But why is that, exactly? The rise of digital? Is it GameFly? Should we blame GameStop? Or has Electronic Arts killed the trading scene with its Online passes? I'm sure it's all of those things and more. Regardless, things have been going poorly as of late.

And the problem has snowballed. Trades are increasingly harder to come by. As they become more rare, the community becomes increasingly reticent to invest in the market. How does one invest exactly? Well you drop a game into the stream of commerce. For that you receive points that can be used to effectively purchase games from other traders. The big issue is that pretty much everyone has wallets bursting at the seams but there's nobody stocking the shelves.

It's a lack of faith, really. Nobody wants to sink more costs into a venture that isn't likely to net them any profits. Now this hasn't happened overnight. There's a gradual curve going on here. The good times led to greed. Greed led to skepticism. And since then we've experienced fear, panic and despondency.

After I expressed my fears here back in July, I decided to purchase a few tokens to see if I could something out of this sinking ship before it's totally submerged. Goozex gets a $1 or $2 cut for every trade that goes on, so I had to kick in a few extra bucks in addition to the currency I've acquired from putting games into the pool over the years. And it hasn't turned out well.

Despite widening my net of games I'm possibly interested in acquiring I've yet to get so much as a nibble. A quick glance at the forums there will tell you that pretty much everyone is doing the same. Once upon a time we could be selective. We could pick and choose what we received. But now there's an ever expanding penumbra. Do I really want this? Not really. Oh well. Why not? Click.

Today I checked the nets once again. Empty. Time to get a little more broad. A little more desperate. The water is almost neck high. This might not be the treasure I was looking for, but hey it's something I guess.   read


9:49 PM on 11.05.2012

Battling the Backlog: Asura, Ico, Skyrim, Resident Evil 5 DLC

I've been working on some reviews lately and got into the Monaco beta so I haven't been digging into my backlog much lately. In fact, aside from Asura's Wrath I beat all of these months ago and just forgot about them. But I still have opinions, so here goes.



Why I put it off: I played the hell out of this game back in December and eventually got bored before I dug into the main questline.

Thoughts: Skyrim was great. For a while. I really enjoyed the Assassins, Thieves and Civil War quests. The main story was kind of terrible though. And that ending. AWFUL. Awful. Awful. Awful. After a while I realized the gameplay basically consisted of go here, do this, kill that, bring it back, rinse, lather, repeat. It had its moments but once I realized what it was, I only kept playing to see the credits roll.

Rating: Pretty damn good, until you see past the veneer and realize you can never go back again,



Why I put it off: Never had a PS2. Picked up the HD collection even though I had already played Shadow of the Colossus because it was on sale for less than Ico HD was by itself as a digital download on PSN.

Thoughts: At first I was kind of let down because I didn't have anywhere near as meaningful an experience with it as Shadow of the Colossus but it grew on me by the end and I realized why its so special to those that have played it...

Rating: ...but it's still overrated.



Why I put it off: I bought it on sale and it sat on my self while I was busy with other things.

Thoughts: This one is making my GOTY short list for sure. I've never played a game quite like it. It's truly a sight to behold and I really liked how it styled itself after anime. Somehow a game largely made up of QTEs made this QTE-hater fall in love with it. Weird, right?

Rating: God Hand meets El Shaddai. (High praise for me, but definitely not for everyone)



Why I put it off: Funny story. I used to live in the UK and was visiting family for the holidays. On my way back to CA I wound up buying Resident Evil 5 in an airport because I had some extra cash and knew the PS3 was region free. That worked until the DLC came out and I learned that games and DLC from different regions don't work with one another. Eventually I picked up a US copy so I could play the DLC I paid for.

Thoughts: Lost in Nightmares is really awesome. It's more similar to classic Resident Evil while maintaining the action control scheme and all of that. I wish Resident Evil 6 went more in that direction rather than heading into teh suck territory.

I didn't really appreciate the Desperate Escape DLC as much. It was a lot more on the action side of things the main Resi5 campaign. Still, Jill is my favorite character in the series so getting to find out what happened with her was worthwhile.

Rating: A roller coaster of enjoyment and lack therof.   read


4:25 PM on 10.14.2012

Battling the Backlog: Non-backlog games edition

Last time on Backlog: Kyle played God Hand, Lollipop Chainsaw, Valkyria Chronicles and Binary Domain.

Guys, I have a confession to make. I fell off the wagon a bit and have been playing wayyy too much Puzzle Fighter and Ikaruga over the past few months. Then there was that Demons' Souls new game plus kick. Also, I've been reading a lot of books. And watching movies! Ugh. Yeah, I've been kind of bad lately. And most of these games are things I've purchased recently or played for review so it's more of a blog about recently completed games. Oh well, shut up and deal with it.



Why I put it off: I've never really put Valkyria Chronicles 2 off. I've kind of just been plugging along with it steadily over the past two years. Sometimes I forget my PSP in my car and forget it exists for weeks at a time.

Thoughts: There's some subtle differences that make VCII's gameplay superior to the original. However, the love-sim, highschool, friends forever BS could have been dialed back a tad.

Rating: I need more. Localize VCIII, Sega!



Thoughts: I recently reviewed a PC version of Half Minute Hero that should be going live here any day now. It's a lot like Half Minute Hero for PSP, which I liked quite a bit, but a little different.

Rating: I guess you'll have to find out.



Thoughts: A couple months ago I reviewed this for Gamer Limit, a website Chris Carter, myself and a bunch of current and former Dtoid staff have worked for over the years. It's an inventive concept, a hybrid rhythm-shmup, and it's pulled off well. Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem very "special." I can't quite put my finger on why, though.

In retrospect I feel like I may have scored it a tad high. It's good but it's also kind of meh. I hope someone takes this as a proof of concept and really runs with the idea.

Rating: Fleeting fun.



Thoughts: Tokyo Jungle is exactly the type of game I'll never "finish." I'm not a completionist. I have no inherent desire to unlock every animal or collect every bauble in Donkey Kong Country 64. Give me a 6 hour linear campaign, I'll be all over that. That said, Tokyo Jungle is great. It's just so awesomely bizarre.

Rating: A pride of lions just got in a turf war with a pack of small dogs? This is why I love Japan.



Thoughts: I initially heard good things about this and then I reviewed the thing. It's pretty terrible and is just more fuel for the licensed games are terrible* fire.

Rating: Avoid at all costs.



Why I put it off: I bought it on Steam. I never play any of my Steam games ever.

Thoughts: I went in to this not expecting much of a game, but I was astounded by how non-interactive it actually was. I suppose it's no different than a painting or book. There's some mild physical exertment involved, but it's basically there to induce thought and reflection. There's definitely some deeper themes and messages going on, but I didn't really think it was worth the time I invested in a single playthrough, much less any additional time spent on further analysis.

Rating: Not sure if videogame or...

---

Next time on Backlog: Maybe Kyle will finally beat Super Meat Boy. Oh and Asura's Wrath will probably be discussed as well. As always, suggestions are welcome. What should I play, dudes?

*Except SNES-era Disney games. Those are AMAZING.   read


12:58 PM on 07.18.2012

PONYTA 2012: Re-elect Ponyta to the Kanto Presidency



President Ponyta was born in the tall grass of route 17 on October 15, 1996 to a father from Johto and a mother from Kanto. Growing up, he was also raised by a young human boy named Red who worked his way up from a quiet life as a child in Pallet town to become a Pokťmon Master.

After working his way through gyms with the help of friendship and love, President Ponyta moved to Cinnabar Island, where he worked as an organizer to help rebuild the fire-type community.

He went on to Victory Road, where he became the first Pokťmon to beat the Elite Four single-handedly. Later, he took a job teaching fire TMs at the University of Kanto. He also remained active in his community, frolicking in the fields with the mares, as any good stallion does.

Ponyta was first elected to the Cinnabar Island State Senate on October 19, 1999. During his time in there he cut taxes for working Fire-types and expanded health care at local Pokť Centers. Elected to the Kanto Senate on September 7, 2004, he reached across the aisle to work with Water and Grass-types on combating the nefarious works of Team Rocket.

As President, Ponyta has dedicated himself to putting Americans back to work and restoring economic security to middle-class Pokťmon. Heís been driven by the basic values that make this land great: Kanto prospers when we're all in it together, when hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, and when everyoneófrom Fuchsia City to the Indigo Plateau ódoes their fair share and plays by the same rules.

Take the first step to join Ponyta for Kanto, the Presidentís 2012 campaign, by commenting here and checking Destructoid for updates.   read


3:22 PM on 07.15.2012

Goozex: A lack of confidence in the market



I used to be an avid fan of Goozex. During my college years money was tight and I liked the idea of skirting around corporate middlemen and exchanging games with a community of players. I was actually introduced with Goozex through the Dtoid forums' trading community -- which never seemed to fully take off but netted me a couple gems and let me interact with some kind and generous folks.

Goozex cost a little more, but it seemed like it was worth it. Over the course of a couple years I unloaded pretty much every game I no longer wanted and acquired a bunch of great titles I likely wouldn't have spent actual money on. That was all well and good for a while there, but the honeymoon is over.

I feel like it's 1929 (or 2008) and I have stock in a market that I'm not terribly confident in. I'm not sure whether to pull out and get what I can before it keels over or ride it out and hope that I can weather this storm and see a return on my investment.

I still have enough points to net myself a few games but the community doesn't seem to be there anymore. My requested games list has some incredibly long waits and I've recently run out of tokens. Recently these tokens have increased in price and I'm not entirely sure I want to invest more in a market that looks like it's going down the tubes to reclaim equity.

There are plenty of prophets on the site's forums spelling doom for the website because people like me are losing confidence in the site. They're not willing to trade away games because they're afraid they'll never see a return in kind. I'm at a crossroads. Do I cut my losses and just give up the chance at two, three, four potential games? Or should I invest more cash into something that I'm far from confident that I'll see a good return for?

Makes me long for the innocent days of my trading days in the forums.   read


6:21 PM on 07.01.2012

Battling the Backlog: Episode 2: Girls & Guns

Since getting rid of The Bigs 2 and forcing myself to stop playing shmups all the time I've been surprisingly effective at knocking games off my list. Feels good, man. This time on my personal adventure to cut my backlog down to size we have Lollipop Chainsaw, Binary Domain, God Hand and Valkyria Chronicles.

I'd like to say I'm on less of a masochistic note than last time with Demon's Souls and BloodRayne Betrayal, but a couple of these proved to be pretty challenging as well. Luckily none of these games are complete shit like BloodRayne is.



Why I put it off: I didnít really, but at least it hasnít been added to the massive pile of unfinished games. Iím eliminating the problems of tomorrow today.

Thoughts: After No More Heroes Iíve had pretty high expectations for Suda 51, so I expected to fall in love with Lollipop Chainsaw from the moment I laid eyes on it. Though I enjoyed the game, for whatever reason it didnít feel special in comparison with Grasshopperís past work. I canít really explain why. I had fun with it but it really didnít click with me the same way the NMH games or Shadows of the Damned did.

Rating: Pretty good, but disappointing.



Why I put it off: I decided to finish Demonís Souls before Atlus turned them back into a pumpkin and put it on the back burner for a little while.

Thoughts: If I had to place my vote for Game of the Year right now, it would be Binary Domain hands down. While developed by Segaís Yakuza Studio, the game has some serious Mikami vibes to it, distinctly giving me the feeling of a hybrid of Resident Evil 4 and Vanquish. Enjoying those games quite a bit, the blend of cover-based action shooting with a deep emphasis on character and political commentary on a world overrun by technology really won me over.

Rating: Absolutely fantastic.



Why I put it off: I actually bought a copy back in the day and played it occasionally on my roommateís PS2 but never finished it. Once we went our separate ways I had a game and no system to play it on until I picked up a digital copy when the game hit PSN recently.

Thoughts: I love it. The graphics are a bit dated and could definitely use some smoothing out. The gameplay gets a little repetitive and it can definitely get frustrating at times, but playing this on the heels of Lollipop Chainsaw made me think about NMH a lot. With the amazing soundtrack and humor, Grasshopperís fingerprints are all over this game even though Clover put in most of the work on it. So yeah, great game. Itís a bit of an eyesore at times but definitely check it out on PS3 if you didnít before.

Rating: Great.



Why I put it off: Kind of the same deal as God Hand. Was borrowing it from the same roommate and he didnít like it and sold the game when I was about a third of the way through. I bought it a while back and got about to the halfway mark and got frustrated and put it down and I tend to prefer SRPGs on handhelds anyway.

Thoughts: Itís breathtakingly gorgeous, has a gripping and emotional (if a little clichť) narrative and engrossing gameplay. Not really sure thereís much more I can say. Allistair summed it up pretty well the other day.

Rating: Brilliant.

Tell me Destructoid, what should I finish next? If you guys suggest one of these I'll try to prioritize experiencing that game. Off the top of my head, I have these kicking around in various states of completion:

Ico HD, Dead Space 2, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Deadly Premonition, Splinter Cell HD, Skyward Sword, Other M, Outland, A Boy and His Blog, Disaster Day of Crisis, Parasite Eve II, Super Metroid (LOL), Mega Man 9, Lit, Metroid Prime 3, Okami, Recettear: Item Shop's Tale, Lone Survivor, Gish, Half Life 2 (doubleLOL), Trauma Team, Conduit 2, Cursed Mountain, Lost in Shadow, Read Dead Redemption, MGS Twin Snakes, Killer 7, EDF Insect Armageddon, Fallout New Vegas, Skyrim, Dead Rising 2, Mario Sunshine, Mario Galaxy 2, Killzone Liberation, Corpse Party.   read


9:52 PM on 05.28.2012

Battling the Backlog: My Foreverquest: Episode 1

Ah yes, the infamous backlog, that dust-covered stack of games sitting forever unfinished in homes of gamers everywhere. Last week I decided to do something about mine. Sure, that's an annual New Year's resolution that never seems to come to fruition, but I've managed to make some headway.

After discussing the subject with SideQuesting editor and sometimes Joystiq contributor Steven Strom late last week, I decided to attack mine head-on. He then went ahead and renewed an EVE Online subscription.

And now I've decided to chronicle that journey here. Since I've been writing for the front page, I've been neglectful of my old Cblog home and I figured this would be a good way to get back in the swing of things. I envision these being something along the lines of short reviews. So yeah, here goes.



Why I put it off: I got stuck on a puzzle about halfway through the game and couldn't find an obvious solution. After staring at my television for ten minutes I got bored, turned it off and never played it again.

Thoughts: I didn't really find it as compelling or spectacular as so many made it out to be. It's a morbid little puzzle game with an interesting aesthetic, that'd I'd probably skip if I could rewind the clock and get my money back for something else. Still, it was the talk of the town for a while there and I'm glad I can spew apathy at the next person I meet who says it's the best thing ever.

On the Molis Scale of Apathy: Meh.



Why I put it off: Due to the difficulty factor, this is a game I've played in bursts. I've obsessed over this game for days at a time and for countless hours only to put down in frustration and move on to something else. But I knew the servers were going to close down at the end of May (or at least they were supposed to before Atlus decided against it) so I figured I would finish it while I could still play online.

Thoughts: Honestly, it's up there with osme of my favorite games of this generation. Now that I know what I'm doing it's taking everything in me not to play through it a second time so I can finish other games on my list. In general I usually dislike most RPGs, but something here clicked for me. Whatever it was, I loved it.

On the Chad Concelmo Scale of Amazing: AMMAZZZINNNGGGGG!!!!



Why I put it off: I didn't actually. But I'm proud of myself whenever I buy a digital game that I don't let it sit untouched forever. Maybe when I clear off my backlog shelf and move those titles over to the one with the finished games, I'll take a long hard look at all the Steam games I've acquired and maybe do something about those.

Thoughts: I really admire thatgamecompany and enjoy the games they make. They're a total breath of fresh air in an industry full of shooters and action games and I always appreciate looking for that deeper message.

On the Anthony Burch Scale of Art Games: Beautiful.



Why I put it off: I received the game for free, so I didn't feel much of an impetus to play it -- having already had some hands-on time with it at E3. Reading Jim's scathing review of the WayForward title didn't make me want to pick up the controller either.

Thoughts: Wonderful visuals and music. Everything else is dreadful. Hard in all the wrong ways. Unforgiving. Infuriating. Hand-crippling. I wouldn't have finished it hadn't I been on a quest to check off the boxes. It felt oh so good to delete that piece of shit off my PS3's HDD.

On the Scale of Frustration: Kill me now.

Next time on whatever I name this blog when I eventually wind up back at the subject line: Dead Space 2, Outland, Valkyria Chronicles, maybe Skyward Sword. Who knows? Who cares?   read


11:31 PM on 09.10.2011

Brothers! It's been too long!



I figured itís the end of my first week writing here at Destructoid so I might as well do one of those re-introduction things. Everybodyís doing it so Iíll just jump off that bridge too. Iím a real sucker for some peer pressure -- the drug that kills.

Alright so some of you know me as ye olde community member Cadtalfryn. Others donít, but thatís okay because Iím talking at you now regardless. Iím new contributor here. So, if youíre on the front page you might read things that I did type with my fingers onto a keyboard about real gaems what you can play. Like that Megaman game where you rescue the princess from Dr. robotnik made by Nintendo for Japan.

Anyway... If you would have told me four years ago that Iíd be writing for my favorite website Iíd haveÖ not believed you, actually. But lifeís funny sometimes. I was at the gym many moons ago when I received an email from Niero saying ďFuck yeah you're hired!Ē I almost the treadmill in surprisement. It was like there an AMAZZZZING yardsale. EKANS.

I donít think Iíd ever have had this opportunity if it werenít for a trio of Dtoid community members I bumped into by chance one night. The night Sean Evanís business card graced my wallet was possibly the most important night of my blogging life. But for him, it was a Friday. Albeit, the Friday after a long week at E3, the same Friday that the Lakers won at sports and set the place on fire. BTW the Dodgers are BLATANTLY better than the Lakers. LOL TROLL BIAS



So long story short I met walkyourpath, Kauza, and SilverDragon1979 at this E3 kegger thing. It was supposed to be for that Scott Pilgrim game, but a lot of Dtoiders totally crashed it. Great night. I hugged Jim. Wore this. And met Niero (he's so nice!) all for the first time. It was almost as great as finally getting to meet Jonathan Holmes at PAX after missing him at this Bit.Trip event (Screw parking meters). Also good times. I guess that wasnít short and I never actually got to the point but STFUAJPG itís my blog damnit. Forums are that way >

So after talking to Shawn, Sean, and Andrew (Shaauuun! Jaaason!) I ended up writing with them over at Gamer Limit. We'd all previous met for discourse via these here wonderful Cblogs -- which I joined because God told me I sucked. Anyway, I learned a lot writing at Gamer Limit. I don't think I'd ever have this opportunity or fulfilled childhood dreams of attending E3 if it weren't for meeting those guys and that site.

I really can't thank them enough and I think my life would have been really different hadn't I bumped into them. Maybe once SilverDragon1979 isnít too busy being married to beautiful women in paradise and carrying boxes into brand new houses heíll write another review for us to read or something.

The opportunity to write at GL is an amazing, invaluable experience. But it also tore a lot of my attention away from this community over the last year. Finishing off my degree didn't help matters either. I've missed this place and am really looking forward to jumping back in. So yeah, hi.

In concrusion...Happy Birthday Samit.



PS. Weird, obscure Japanese games are better than those AAA Western games and if you don't agree....Pancakes.

Also, Cocks.   read


5:34 PM on 06.29.2011

Journey Beta: Tale of a Lonely Traveler's Road



Four times now I have made this journey. I have voyaged across a sea of glittering sand, dotted with the scattered remnants of my ancestorsí world. Here once stood a grand civilization. Now, all that remains are but ruins. Pillars line the horizon of this once great place. Between them lay the headstones and the burial mounds of my forefathers.

As I pass, I call out to them. It may seem odd, but they speak back to me. No, not in words, but I know they are there. Speaking with the spirits and seeking out the hidden treasures of the land has granted me knowledge of my ancestors' past and the uncanny ability to soar through the air. How incredibly exhilarating it is to be raised towards the heavens by a gust of desert gale, even if for a fleeting moment.

Yet, I am dissatisfied. I have heard tales of others, such as myself, making this same journey and happening upon other travelers. Here I am, nearly at fifth journeys end, by myself. Iíll stop to search the horizon once more for another soul. Yes, I am alone in this desolate place.



There is a broken bridge ahead. I know how to mend it. I need do little more than speak out to my ancestors and they will aide me in my travels. They can restore the way ahead so that I might continue on the last leg of this passage.

Falling to my knees, I collapse in the sand. I give up. This desert wasteland once had some strange beauty to it. I once walked alongside every gravestone, every piece of rubble, examining the rare magnificence of this landscape. Now, my focus is fixed on the emptiness of the desert. What good is this wondrous scene if I have no-one to enjoy it with?

Just when I am resolute to abandon this quest, I look out to see the bridge. The ancestors have begun to repair that which was previously broken! The spirits of my forefathers have begun to sew the rubble together with magical crimson cloth. That meansÖ There is another. I climb the bridge and look out on the valley below, spotting someone, someone like me.



I run out to the person. Though we speak not the same language, we have found a way to communicate Ė through song. It appears as though this other wanderer is heading towards that mountain gleaming in the distance. I have found a companion for this pilgrimage.

My new acquaintance introduces me to aspects of the world previously unseen. Together we speak to every ancient in the valley, leaving no stone unturned. In return for the company they grant us abilities which we couldnít imagine. Though we have sailed on the wind before, now we fly as though birds.

Time passes, yet my friend and I stick together. We traverse the dunes on the long road towards that shining peak. We happen to stumble across carpets that dance in the sky like kites. They will even let us soar with them for a few moments, playing in the air.

Oh no -- the last dune. Below is a valley shrouded in darkness, from which a great, ancient monument rises. This is where the journey ends. I call out to my friend in vain, in hopes that we can turn around. From the crest I watch as my comrade slides down that last dune towards the dark place. I know that our time together has come to a close.   read


2:08 PM on 06.03.2011

Portal 2, Fanboy Psychology, and Review Scores



So last night I received this text message from a good friend of mine. He asked why I gave Portal 2 an 8/10. I replied that I thought it was a great game and most of my reasoning was contained within the review, if he wanted to give it another look. He responded, telling me that the score just seemed low.

Now, when I reviewed Portal 2 I was in the midst of finishing up my senior thesis for my undergraduate degree. So I played the game, wrote the review up, sent it off to my editors, and really pay much attention to many other outletsí reviews or the response my review received. I was more concerned with getting my diploma rather than what people on the internet thought about my opinion.

I took a look last night and I found out the review was one of the lowest scores on Metacritic and garnered a pretty negative reactionÖat least from the people that commented. Funny thing is that most people didnít seem to respond to much of anything I had to say Ė but the score at the end of the review.



I guess I shouldnít be too surprised. It seems as if most people really only read reviews to see if their opinions match those of the reviewer. People love both Valve and the Portal franchise and I was one of the people shitting on their new favourite gameÖexcept that I wasnít I was saying it was a pretty damn good piece of software that could have been a tad better.

I find it incredibly interesting that people have such loyalties to companies. Unless you work for one of those companies, or own stock I donít really get that sense of fervor. Why is it that fanboys love the PS3 and hate the Wii (or vice versa)? Is it because they think that the PS3 has all good games and the Wii doesnít have any? Well, I doubt that. I own both consoles and have a decent number of awesome games for both. I grew up playing games on a Nintendo console but eventually broadened my horizons because you just canít get all of the fantastic experiences the industry has to offer with a single console. I think Iíd get a Xbox too if I had a little more disposable income, and didnít have thousands of dollars of student loans hanging over my head, but I digress.



I suppose one of the only aspects of my life I can sort of relate with that mindset is in the realm of sports. I like the Dodgers because Iím from LA. I like baseball and I have some sense of civic pride for my city so thatís pretty natural I suppose. Then again, I donít really understand it when people heckle me, or donít want to be friends merely because theyíre Giants or Angels fans. It doesnít make sense to me, but maybe itís comforting for people to buy into or identify with something on a really extreme level.

Another interesting thing to note is that people think 8 is a low score. Thereís a full ten point scale and people seem to think 9 or 10 is good, 8 is mediocre and 7 is bad. Iím probably preaching to the choir here at Destructoid, where people are more or less reasonable, but by my way of thinking a 5 would be mediocre or middle of the road becauseÖitís in the fucking middle.

And come to think of it, I almost gave Portal 2 a 7. That middle bit was really shit. It was kind of like a sandwich that had really gross fillings, but this bread that was fucking awesome.   read


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