KyleGamgee 's blog
I've got a backlog (games I have that I still need to beat). Everybody does.

BioShock and Portal are some of my favorite games.

I love the SNES. So many great games Pilotwings, SMW, F-Zero, UN Squadron, FFIV & VI, Secret of Mana, Super Mario RPG, ActRaiser, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past... the list goes on.

I love playing the Xbox 360. I enjoy the Wii just fine, but I LOVE the 360.

Iplay Rock Band the most (probably) at parties, or in my Rock Band band Blargg with Dexter345.
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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.
Photo Photo Photo

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.

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?

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).

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.

2:43 AM on 08.25.2009


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.