hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


KyleGamgee's blog

3:21 PM on 05.06.2011

P2 Press Start: Blargg! or The Heart of DtoidLA

I played Guitar Hero for the first time at my friend –and sometimes P2- Tom’s house. Guitar Hero was the reason I bought a PS2. It was a console exclusive at the time. I loved it, and I was pretty good at it. With practice I got even better. I had no idea at the time what role it would have in the direction my life would go.

I joined Destructoid.

Around E3 ’07 Dtoid partied with at Akbar. I wanted to go, but Donna wasn’t keen on me going to a bar which I’d never done in a part of town I’d never been to to hang out with people I’d never met. I was bummed.

3 weeks later Chad Concelmo invited Dtoiders in LA to come play Rock Band at his house, even though there was No Apparent Reason for this Party Donna was okay with it because Chad… was one of the ones who ran the site(?) or whatever.

I got to Chad’s house, and Chad’s great. He’s one of the best most welcoming people. I was still way way nervous. People were playing Rock Band and others were playing handhelds on the couch. I got some food and drink and hovered nervously. Introductions were made, and that was cool.

Pardon me while I grab my magic happiness wand

The person singing was done singing and a spot opened in this new game I’d never played before. Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash sounded familiar. It opens with a loud high “Wooo!” which I terrifyingly realized… a couple of measures before it happened. I can sing, so I went for it (all kinds of crazy nervous though). People were surprised, maybe impressed, maybe that was wishful thinking. The song went fine. Rock Band is FUN! I sang another. I got on guitar my first chance. I started on Hard because I didn’t know how it compared to Guitar Hero. No problem it turned out, so I went to Expert. There were some murmurs from the other players about failing the song, but I was okay. I might have needed saving once or twice (and it really helped that we were only playing the easy stuff as no one had unlocked the harder songs.

It was so much fun at Chad’s that Dexter345 had a NARP at his place. (Donna came this time! SW33T!) Again Rock Band was the staple for 4-player gaming with easy drop-in/drop-out players. Again I played Expert on Guitar/Bass. Afterward, Dexter345 popped the question: Would I be in a Rock Band band with him? He’d watched me play on Expert. He knew other players much better than me, but we lived close by and could meet most Sundays and get through the game… together. I was very happy to say “Yes.”

“The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.” – The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain

Dexter345 became one of the most important P2’s in my life. We named the band Blargg! and on our Sunday sessions we would advance in the game. I was getting better and better. Dexter (the superior player) was on Guitar and I on Bass. Sometimes we would switch it up for variety, but our plan was to conquer the Endless Setlist.

We didn’t just play Rock Band. Dexter played L4D on 360 with a pretty regular Dtoid group. I was welcomed and though my skills were sub-par I had a lot of fun. I hear the horror stories of online gaming and the raging derogatory remarks from Haloteens and Call-of-Duty-Dootieheads. I never had that experience and I never want it. Instead here was a great group of people all being cool and having fun. I remember a specific time we each in turn started singing Disney songs and the others on their headsets would join in. Okay, not when I started singing. They just all burst out laughing at my heartfelt start to Out There from Hunchback of Notre Dame. After L4D came L4D2 then Borderlands. I even tried Gears of War 2 and 1 as long as Dexter was my P2. I’ll admit: when a fun co-op first-person game comes out, I sort of count on him to be there for me. When I was looking to pre-order Portal 2, Dexter was a factor in deciding which system to get it for. He was getting it for the PS3, so I did too.

Apparently my song choice was ‘out there’ indeed. (bah-dum CRASH)

In the meantime, almost every NARP seemed to feature Rock Band. It was the ultimate game for a party. Whether it was your first NARP or you're a Dtoid Editor in town for some gaming event, jumping into a familiar game and enjoying 5-star and almost 5-star success made you feel welcome and part of the Dtoid community. Even if you didn't play the game, it was like having music on while you ate pizza and drank beer and talked about sex and life while standing in the kitchen or slid down a giant slide (or whatever you did).

Dexter and I finally set the date to bring our band to fulfillment. We live streamed our 6-hour long Rock Epic and planned a NARP to start in the final hours. I was surprised there were people were interested in what we were doing, but sure enough some Dtoiders watched the stream and people showed up at the end to see KyleGamgee and Dexter345 finish the Endless Setlist. Our reward was Platinum status in the game and eternal glory in that game forevermore! (Actually, Rock Band 2 had just come out, so we were probably done with it) I expected the Xbox 360 to be turned off and the plastic instruments of sheer joy to be put away for the night. Nope. Other people wanted to play and Rock Band stuck around for a few more hours. I think eventually it got put away and we watched some porn. Maybe, I don’t remember.

is it getting hot in here?


Dexter got married (congrats, man!) and moved to Phoenix. Dtoid LA hasn't been as active as it was in previous years. There's lots of little reasons for this, but I know that this body misses one of its most important organs. Dexter is always trying to get people together to hang out and play games and drink and feel welcome. Personally,I look forward to the next time I get to go to PAX Prime. Dexter345 really makes the most of that amazing experience and I'd like nothing more than to lock stride with him there and be his P2.   read

3:46 PM on 10.07.2010

Consensual rape: Super Ghouls and Ghosts

Ronathon sure was fun, and a good cause.

Apparently you can hear me all throughout the podcast; whenever I die playing Super Ghouls and Ghosts. :P

I was telling bushofghosts about it...


how long did you play it for?!
you fucking masochist!


It was the strangest thing. I'd never played it before.
People that seemed to know what they were doing were having trouble.
Seriously, getting to the first checkpoint was so crazy.
because it took us like, almost an hour.
The game nicely shows you how long it is, 8 bosses it looks like.
but it took us so long just to GET TO the first one....
once I did I figured out a decent strategy, but it took many tries to take him down.
Other people tried the 2nd level, but eventually I got the controller
and more importantly the green armor which made my weapon more powerful and heat-seeking.
I beat the boss the first time I met him
I don't know why we played the 3rd level
The funny thing is you have limited continues.
BUT you earn more by scoring enough points before you quickly die.
It became my White Whale
I couldn't turn it off, it had to beat me. I wanted to run out of continues.
I wanted the game to send me back to the beginning before I turned it off.

I almost started begging it to

to just defeat me, to make it stop.
I got to the 3rd boss and he seemed impossible
No strategy, only death.

I couldn't get to him every time, and if I had the wrong weapon I could barely touch him
He encircles you so you can't move, then he leaves but
immediately a barrage of projectiles takes you out.
I actually beat him once, and the key showed up to move on, but
the projectiles still came and killed me.
So fucked up.

(As I'm telling the story I can't help but think how fun this all was) :D

I finally met him with the green armor on and a great weapon.
I beat him up some, dodged the projectiles like a professional ninja (everyone cheered)
and quickly killed his ass.
The 4th level I didn't touch. I wouldn't.
I didn't want to get sucked in again.
I didn't pick up the SNES controller again that day.   read

12:08 PM on 06.22.2010

Reminder: XBL titles on sale ends today

June 16th - June 22nd: "E3 Inventory Blowout" THIS SALE IS FOR GOLD AND SILVER MEMBERS

-A Kingdom for Keflings - 400 Microsoft Points
-Alien Hominid HD - 400 Microsoft Points
-Banjo Tooie - 800 Microsoft Points
-Bionic Commando Rearmed - 400 Microsoft Points
-Bomberman LIVE - 400 Microsoft Points
-Castle Crashers - 800 Microsoft Points
-Castlevania Symphony of the Night - 400 Microsoft Points
-Contra - 240 Microsoft Points
-Crystal Defenders - 400 Microsoft Points
-Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 - 400 Microsoft Points
-Magic the Gathering - 400 Microsoft Points
-N+ - 400 Microsoft Points
-Panzer General - 400 Microsoft Points
-Portal - 800 Microsoft Points
-TMNT: 1989 Arcade - 240 Microsoft Points
-Uno Rush - 400 Microsoft Points
-Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment - 800 Microsoft Points
-Zombie Apocalypse - 400 Microsoft Points

(Thanks CheapAssGamer!)

Here is my review for Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment

Other recommendations include
Bionic Commando Rearmed
Castle Crashers
Castlevania Symphony of the Night <-- a must!

I can't recommend Bomberman LIVE or Zombie Apocalypse, but I hear great things about both. What say you?   read

12:37 PM on 06.16.2010

Review: Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment (Konami) - On sale this week on XBL!

I promised I would review Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment back when it was released. It is a tactical strategy RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem. You play as Tobias Funke-I MEAN MARTIN. Tobias Martin. Caught in a war between two nations you and your band of 6 are thrown into battles with bandits, soldiers, assassins, ghouls and the occasional giant monster. I wanted to beat the game to give it a full review. Once I had done that (over 20 hours total for me, others claim to get through it MUCH faster though I don't know how) I figured out I could get all the achievements if I just played it all the way through once more. Also, being more familiar with the game I had a few strategies I wanted to try out. :)

I beat it the 2nd time and I enjoyed myself throughout. I hope you give it a try which is why I'm finally writing the review now. It's on sale for 800 Magic Points starting today. I bought it for 1200 at launch because I was such a huge fan of Vandal Hearts and Vandal Hearts II for the PS1. My review of the game is overall positive, but I would have a few words of caution if you're considering it.

The game starts off a little slow, but it's got to teach you how to play. The story and dialog are okay, but there's a bit of reading to do. What little vocal ejaculations there are aren't too grating (except for one character). They actually work during battles because it often lets you know who is giving you a bonus attack or leveling up an ability.

Bonus attacks, completely customizable characters (more on that in a bit), and obvious elements like layout, enemies and the locations of treasures provide with a satisfying strategy element. It does sometimes feel like you're playing against the game instead of your enemies when the reason you're leaving that last bad guy alive is because your teammate (who you had leave the middle of the battle) hasn't reached that far off treasure chest yet.

While some of the chests feel like you wasted your time (some not, chest are random) there are searchable locations like a big knot in a tree or crates and haystacks that you notice happen to be sparkling. The best of these each give you a map that opens up a new battle area. In that area is an especially good weapon or piece of armor. There is an achievement for getting all of them (the maps). Be careful. You have one chance only to get to the last optional battle area, and you have to PASS the next mission area on the overworld map to get to it. I made that mistake my first playthrough.

The character customization was actually really fun. Different characters have different stats, so they will use certain weapons better than others. Stats also affect MP and spell strength. Level up spells by casting them in battles. Level up attack with melee or ranged weapons by using them. One character is a natural with a bow but also has great stats for Magic. I ended up giving them the armor for mages which ups magic using stats but has lower defense. I used them as my best archer which kept them out of the fray and it was great having a second mage for buffs and healing. Paying more attention to the stats my second time through I was able to identify more characters I could use as archers, which changed my play style and strategies and it was just really really fun.

The big surprise to me came in a moment of the story that was quite moving. I hadn't expected an emotional experience, it just showed up uncharacteristically and was a really nice bonus. It helps that I got a killer sword during the scene. :P

And now we come to it: the part where I'm critical. I wasn't a big fan of the art style. I don't know if they were trying to fit the game file size in the old requirements or what. It didn't take away anything from the game, but it didn't add to it. The game's staple of a big exaggerated spray of blood that marks a character "death" in battle happily remains (death for bad guys or Tobias, 'temporarily knocked out' for your teammates).

Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment isn't a particularly difficult game. Having played through the first two entries on the original Playstation I didn't make the kinds of mistakes that tend to cost you a member of your team in battle. So that became my judge of success/failure, to not lose a man.

Actually, no I did once. I made a huge mistake and my Archer/Mage ended up right in the middle of some new enemies that were fresh from the start of the battle. I chided myself and began to do everything I could think of to save my character. Taking out weak enemies before their attack, casting healing spells if the next enemy attack was unavoidable, I actually was a little disappointed when... it worked. I saved them. I realized just how forgiving the game was, and it took a little bit away from my victory.

There are conversation choices you can make during the story and it feels unnecessary. It affects a part of the game ending, but that's all. There are two endings. It didn't feel all that important.

I have a tough time recommending things because I tend to like everything. It's great being me because I enjoy myself, but it makes my opinion worth less. I liked Vandal Hearts: FoJ. I played through it twice and enjoyed both times. But, if I'm going to give it a score on the Destructoid scale, I'm between a 6 and a 7...


7! You know what? 7. I had a good time. I love the series. There is an unexpected heartfelt story moment that was really nice. It's a style of game I don't see enough. (If you missed "Gladius" on the original Xbox, you missed out!) I got many enjoyable hours of gameplay for my $15, and I'm happy. All this can be yours for $10 (or whatever you paid for your 800 Points of Downloading Permission).   read

5:40 PM on 01.28.2010

Vandal Hearts FoJ: A review in the making.

I didn't see a review for Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement on Destructoid. The game recently came to XBL. It's like Final Fantasy Tactics.

I thought there should be a review. There isn't one that I've seen, so I will write one. Ben PerLee previewed it April of last year.

I want to play a lot of the game before I write it. My only trouble will be to be critical. I'm a huge fan of the first two, so I'm guessing I'll enjoy it. Still, others might not and I'll try to provide some good info for anyone on the fence about it.

And so, I set out on an adventure I've been looking forward to for a bit now.   read

2:43 AM on 08.25.2009

Why I love Destructoid.


You meet some of the best people in the world through this site. I can say I'm good friends with with an Aussie, a
Canadian, and a Brit, 2 of whom I'll meet for the first time in a week and a half. I love you all so much. I've felt so
incredibly accepted.

I keep answering the same question recently: "Why are you going to Seattle?" My answer doesn't seem to
make any sense. "PAX. It's a video game convention. I'm going to hang out with my friends and some other
people from this site I go to."

Also, sometimes I get to wear the helmet.

Also also, manlove.   read

4:41 PM on 04.30.2009

Those About To Die: Devil Hawk (Gun.Smoke NES)

Gun.Smoke Is one of my vary favorite games for the NES. Just thinking about it makes me want to slide it into my Nintendo at home and play with myself.


Anyway... Like all games of it's generation, Hours of Gameplay was achieved by you sucking at the game, dying and trying again. It wasn't too tough to get through the first level (as long as you could find the WANTED poster). Walk through town, shoot Bandit Bill (when he's standing), The second level wasn't all that much tougher. Rocks, cactus, bad guys, Cutter: FUN!

The Comanche Village... the third level. Home of Devil Hawk. Shit gets real serious real fast. You'd better be packing the Shotgun, the Machine Gun or the Magnum. In this level, most of the baddies take 3 standard bullets to take down. You're not even going to make it through with out them. You've got enough cash too, so go ahead and spend the money on the Horse.

Even then you might not make it to the end.

There he is. He jumps around, he throws fieballs (sometimes 3, sometimes a spread of 5) and the low-level baddies are unrelenting. Do you play it safe and shotgun him from the side? Do you still have your magnum? You can take him head on if you dare, but he likes nothing more than to jump in close and spray you with fireballs while you're distracted by gunshots, arrows and enemies. If you can endure, You take home $25,000, the 2nd biggest prize in the game. You'll be able to buy back all the guns you lost. But first, time to put down the controller and shoot up the WANTED poster with your fingers.

Aww! I hate that bullet pattern. You don't even get him good in the face!

You think you're done? Ninja, FatMan Joe, and finally the Wingates themselves await. Each level from here on is another testament to your skill at the game. But the first real test, the entrance exam to awesome will forever be Devil Hawk at the end of the Comanche Village.   read

3:06 PM on 07.27.2008

DtoidLA E3 NARP - The Past is Old! (lots of pics)

We had a party. It was over a WEEK ago. In real life this was very recent, but in internet time, a week ago is a time long gone away, the only remnants being a possible internet sensation or the rare and immortal MEME. ("Immortal" internet time < 1 year) MamaDonna and I are calling it the E3 NARP, but only because it was the last day of E3.

Ugh, typing. Here's some pics.

Yes there was a giant slide. The giant slide got quite a reaction.

Everyone was watching the sliders. It was the main attraction that night.


a ROBOT appeared! (I giggled like a little girl for like, 5 minutes.)

I couldn't contain my (ahem) excitement!

More sliding

and plenty of Rock Band

but eventually people got tired of/on the slide.

Fun times were had by all.


5:46 PM on 07.10.2008

"Thank you for calling Destructoid, this is Kyle. How can I help you?"

It's finally happened. I felt it coming and today was the day.

I leave work last. I have about an hour to myself, and for the most part I am done with what work I did have for the day. So I come to Destructoid a lot of the time. I get so in the mindset that when the phone rings, bringing my attention back to work, I have had to think and remind myself what company is paying me for my time.

Today I answered too quickly.

"Thank you for calling Destruct-"



The customer seemed unphased, but I could barely keep from laughing at myself.


3:47 PM on 07.01.2008

A Cast of Thousands: Balthier and Fran

There they are. Just look at them. He's a Sky Pirate. She's a Viera. (Vieras are part rabbit, part great ass.) What's not to like?

Okay, so maybe I should go into greater detail.

I like Final Fantasy XII. Maybe you don't, but we can still be friends. My sister calls it "The List Game". I admit, lists of spells, items, techniques, gambits, hunts... there's a lot of lists. I like the way the game plays, I like all the things you can do/places to explore/creatures to find.

But that's not what this is about. This is about the characters. Final Fantasy XII is wonderfully voice-acted. You and I both know that in games, in Final Fantasy's this is not always the case. Fortunately, the different characters are brought to life through the talents of the voice actors and the not-terrible dialogue in the game.

Fran is a Viera and as such has a life-span far greater than that of Humes (humans). It has been 50 years since she left her people, and she is shamed for having done that. She no longer hears the voice of The Wood, and she is pained by that lack every day. She has chosen to ally herself with a man who has chosen for himself a new name and a new profession: Balthier, the Sky Pirate. In FFXII "pirate" isn't so much the rape/pillage type (although there is some pillage) but is more... a man without a country sworn to the allegiance of no one. Balthier has his own ship, has left his old life, and can come and go as he pleases. Fran travels with him, further ostracizing herself from the Viera who think little of Humes.

The character of Fran fascinates me. (No, it's not just the aforementioned great ass.) She's like the old Chinese guy in kung fu movies. She's seen a lot, and has a great calm about her. She speaks seldom and she chooses her words carefully, masterfully. During the cutscenes in the game, more than Ashe's hard choices, Basch's loyalty, Vaan's brashness, what I really crane my neck to hear is Fran's wisdom. Balthier is pretty easy going most of the time, but when Fran speaks, he backs her, and solemnly encourages others to do the same. Fran's choice of Balthier as a friend speaks more for him I feel than his action or his veiled past ever could.

I wish I could go more into the specifics of the story, but this blog is about the rare find and precious jewel that this slice of video game storytelling is to me.

It's about something else too...

I'm married to MamaDonna and we have 2 kids (online names TBD). I have learned and grown so much during my near 5 years of marriage and Donna and I have been to the far extremes of life and back, together. I was raised Mormon and Donna converted. We met at church. We were married in the Mormon Church, even sealed in the Mormon Temple. I admit, I've never felt comfortable in my own skin growing up, and I always struggled to fit the mold I was trying to occupy. Through our early married struggles and the resultant until-4am-conversations that you have about life, yourself, and each other I found myself changing. Bit by bit and piece by piece we started making our own decisions about what was okay for us between us. Just us. Not subscribing to someone else's ideas but discussing and determining what we wanted, and what we thought was okay. Eventually we decided to stop going to church, and I have to say that I feel more like myself now than I ever have in my life.

What does this have to do with Balthier and Fran?

Isn't it obvious?

They each have left their previous life behind and they are themselves with each other. No show, no masks, only truth and acceptance. I haven't beat the game yet (I'm at Ragnarok), but Donna and I haven't finished life yet either. I don't know what lies in store for us, or them. But I found in this piece of fiction, this wonderful art, two characters whose lives I identify with, who I am fascinated by, and who I love.


2:55 PM on 06.13.2008

[GM]Dave on being an adult gamer

Maybe you don't know who [GM]Dave is. Maybe you read his blog starting from the beginning. Maybe you don't stop reading for hours.

Anyways, here was his entry today. I luld.

[u]The Adult Gamer[/u]

Alternate Title: "Are you buying this for your son?"

As I'm sure most of you know, it's not easy being an adult gamer.

If we can even find time in our hectic schedules to sit down and play a game, people still act like we're doing something weird.

I don't know when I crossed that line into adulthood, but I'm sure I never saw a sign about leaving all your video games behind.

You'd think there'd be a sign, wouldn't you?

And yet, every time I mention video games to one of my non-gamer friends, they get this weird look on their face.

I'm sure you know the look. That kind of confused brow furrow like you just started speaking another language.

I've never really understood that.

It's not like I'm breaking out my pokemon cards and asking them to trade or anything.

And what if I did?

If another adult looks at me and asks me about baseball, I don't look at them like they're retarded.

Well... no more than I would usually.

Apparently, there was a memo sent out about what hobbies are appropriate for "grown ups".

I didn't get it.

I can buy a full outfit of camouflage clothing, grab a gun, walk into the woods, get drunk, and shoot an animal in the face.


Try to buy a copy of Call of Duty 4, sit in a nice comfy chair, and play it.

Not normal.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love a good, drunken face shooting as much as the next guy. Throw in some hookers and you've got one hell of a Saturday night.

But how exactly does me sitting on a couch and enjoying a game become the weirder of these two hobbies?

I remember one day I was talking to a guy I know. One of those friends of a friend.

When I mentioned going home to play some FFXI, he got that look on his face.

Yes, that look.

Maybe face shooting isn't that weird of a hobby.

Then, and this is the strangest part, he started calling me Mario.

As in Super Mario.

I mean, what the hell is that about?


That doesn't even make sense.

That's like hearing someone's going to go play baseball and calling him Tiger Woods.

(note: Tiger Woods does not play baseball)

So, I asked him what he does for fun.

[GM]Dave>> So, what do you do for fun?

See? I told you.

Guy>> Oh, I'm in to rock climbing.



And he thinks I'm strange for playing some video games.

How the hell does anyone consider rock climbing to be a normal hobby?

Do you know cliffs exist?

That's God telling you to turn your stupid ass around and walk in the other direction.

If you see a sheer rock face and think "Dude, I'm totally climbing that", then there's a good chance you probably have some form of brain damage.

The good news is that you probably don't need that helmet anymore.

Save your money.

I get that gaming isn't everyone's thing.

I accept that.

But that just means those other people aren't right.

They need to accept that.

It's like a compromise. We'll both agree that one of us likes games and one of us is retarded.

And damn, I like me some games.   read

3:03 PM on 05.28.2008

The tattoo is a lie.

That's insane.

That's commitment.

I don't have the stones for something like this, but I'm GLaD someone does.

Wicked awesome.   read

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -