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Hello there.

My name is Ryan and I work at a pretty prominent web company. I'm 24 years old, which makes me one of the youngest people at the company (out of over 100 people). I have half of a college degree, a full-time job, and now I've got a place to hang out and talk about awesome video games.

Feel free to talk to me! <3

== Currently Playing ==
FTL: Faster Than Light
Slitherlink by Nikoli

== Recently Finished ==
Thomas Was Alone
Fire Emblem: Awakening
FTL: Faster Than Light (Easy)
Hotline Miami
Little Inferno
Analogue: A Hate Story
Mark of the Ninja
Atom Zombie Smasher
Time Fcuk
Thirty Flights of Loving
Lone Survivor
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
Dynamite Jack
Slitherlink by Nikoli
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Ghost Trick
Mighty Switch Force
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords AE
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked
Mighty Flip Champs
Donkey Kong (Game Boy version)
Escapee GO!
Aura-Aura Climber
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
Shantae: Risky's Revenge
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
Elite Beat Agents (Normal Difficulty)
Paper Mario
Sonic Colors (Wii version)
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride
Mother 3 (Fan Translation)
Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Both Second Endings)
Portal (Steam version)
Cave Story (Wii version)
Spartan: Total Warrior (GameCube version)
LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias
Half-Life 2 (original Xbox version)
The Lost Vikings (Genesis version)
Pokemon HeartGold Version
Bangai-O Spirits (All 160+ Levels Cleared!)
Super Mario 64 DS
The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie
The World Ends With You
Ninja Gaiden Black (Normal Difficulty)
Chrono Trigger

== Systems I Own and Love ==
Sega Genesis
Sega Dreamcast
Game Boy Advance
Nintendo DS Lite
Nintendo 3DS

== 3DS Friend Code ==
5241 1905 5146

== Wii System Code ==
4688 2108 9135 7828

== Tatsunoko vs Capcom ==
4297 4386 7686

== Monster Hunter Tri ==
Following (30)  

Posted by: Ryan

I might be working near Level-5. Well okay, I'm under no illusion that they're developing games there, but it is a small brick building with the Level-5 logo in the corner. And I wonder if that building contains the eight people who probably make up Level-5's entire North American branch.

Level-5 seems to be known mostly in the US for their work on the Professor Layton series of games, but they were also the developers of Square Enix's Dragon Quest XIII and Dragon Quest IX. But to be honest, I've never played a Level-5 game outside of borrowing my girlfriend's copy of DQIX for a short while. And even then, I think of the Dragon Quest games more as the work of old-school Enix than Level-5.

So I'm not nearly as excited for the next game in the Professor Layton series—or even the Phoenix Wright cross-over game announced at their "Vision 2010" event—as I am for another game that they've recently announced. A 3DS game that I'm not sure will see release in the US.

It's called Time Travelers, and it looks beautiful. It's being directed by Jiro Ishii, who also directed the Japan-only game 428, the ninth game to ever receive a 40/40 in Famitsu magazine. According to the info I've been able to find, the girl in the trailer can see the future, and the creepy guy is some kind of "future" terrorist, who presumably causes the destruction of the city. It's being described as a "mystery suspense" game, and is being produced by Akihiro Hino, the President and CEO of Level-5 (who has actually played 428). Hino has some high hopes, referring to the game as something that could potentially sell 500,000 or a million copies.

In an earlier Famitsu interview, Ishii explained that his game has "the theme of the calamity that has become a trauma within me." Ishii is from Nishinomiya, a city affected by the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995 which killed over 1000 people, and echoes the destroyed city at the end of the trailer. To be honest, I can't remember any game creator hinting at putting that kind of personal touch into their game, except for maybe Shigesato Itoi (EarthBound).

And though Hino seems confident in Time Travelers and is taking the producer role, I'm still worried that I might not get to play it. None of Ishii's games have ever made it to the United States. And I don't know if anyone who has any say in the company works in that building, but I've been seriously considering leaving a note on their door for about a week now. A note politely asking them to please publish Time Travelers in the United States, and with a promise that I'll definitely buy it when they do.

Edit: I left a hand-written note under their door. I have no idea who that letter may have reached, or even if they just threw it away, but at least I tried.
Photo Photo

11:52 PM on 12.26.2010

Posted by: Ryan

I was trying to figure out how to get basic collision detection working from scratch, which is essentially getting boxes to know that they've intersected each other and to react appropriately. And while I was prototyping it out in Javascript, I was able to get some rectangular boxes to collide, and the whole thing looked a bit like Pong.

So I made a simple Pong copycat with just Javascript code and by repositioning <div> tags, and you can play with it here.

Player 1: Move with 'W' and 'S'
Player 2: Move with 'UP' arrow and 'DOWN' arrow
Reset game: Press 'Enter'

Because of the way browser inputs are handled, rapidly tapping the keys works much better than holding them down. Also, the game is only 500 pixels wide because I originally planned to embed it into a post with an iframe.

P.S. If you're interested, my collision detection function is essentially this:

var a = object1.x,
    b = object1.x + object1.width,
    c = object2.x,
    d = object2.x + object2.width,
    e = object1.y,
    f = object1.y + object1.height,
    g = object2.y,
    h = object2.y + object2.height;

if (a > d || c > b || e > h || g > f) {

    // rectangular objects are not colliding

} else {

    // rectangular objects are colliding


Note that this code depends on the objects intersecting for at least one frame, so it won't work for really fast objects (or really thin objects).

Posted by: Ryan

I gave my girlfriend a copy of Bangai-O Spirits on DS a little over a week ago. She sent me this text today and it made me smile, so I just thought I'd share it with you all:

Posted by: Ryan

Instead of doing one huge PAX Cblog, I'm gonna try to write one smaller post every day for maybe an entire week,
if I can. And I didn't take many pictures, so bear with me.

I'm finally here: the last of my PAX 2010 posts, and with TGS now soaking in the spotlight, it's just as well. I'm sure you'd all rather read about Shadows of the Damned than old news like PAX. But hey, I've saved some games that lots of you care about for last: the ones with the big crowds and the long lines.

Actually, the line for Kirby's Epic Yarn wasn't very physically long. Everyone played the demo in co-op, so people went up in pairs to play, and there were all of maybe eight people ahead of Dexter345 and me. But of course, the Kirby demo was about eight or so minutes long, which doesn't seem like a lot until you put it in context. For the four pairs of people in front of me, that translates to over 30 minutes of standing in line.

But there's something about this game when you play it: it hypnotizes you or something. I remember when my friends went to see the movie Avatar, I would ask them if the movie was good, and all I would get back was what the movie looked like. "Everything looks so organic," "the Navi look so cool," and such were responses that I got, but no one could tell me if the movie was actually any good.

That's how I feel about Kirby's Epic Yarn: it's really cute and charming, but I probably couldn't even tell you if it's a good game. I mean, in the co-op mode, Dexter345 picked Kirby, and my character was named "Prince Fluff." Prince Fluff! How cute is that? So you already know that everything's made of string, but the game has so many small things that hook into your brain. Dexter345 kept dashing, simply because Kirby's dash animation turns him into a string-car, and there's a great splitsecond wheel-spin pause before you take off. Even better, there's a bit of slide when you change direction as a car, and it feels good to just drive, press the other way, sliiiide, change direction, and just keep skidding your dashing Kirby-car back and forth.

Dexter345 and I played through an entire level, another level where Kirby changes into a tank halfway through, and we fought the dragon boss that you've seen in the trailer. It was the same stuff that all the video game reporters played at E3, as denoted by the text that read "E3 DEMO" on the title screen. And we made our way through at a relaxed sort of pace, we grabbed and threw each other, we unzipped the background, and we collected plenty of little trinkets, but I can't really tell you if it was a good game. I can tell you that when Kirby jumps into the water, he turns into a submarine, and one of his feet becomes a propellor, while his other foot becomes a periscope.

What a strange little game. It's charming as hell.

Unlike the Kirby line, the line for Portal 2 was definitely physically long, as it wrapped all the way around their booth, and then did this Disneyland-style back-and-forth line-weaving at the front before letting people into the booth to see the game.

And yes, that verb was see and not play. I swear, they let about fifteen or more people into the booth at once, and only one person out of the group got the play the game while everyone else had to sit, watch, and listen to the PR spiel about the new features of Portal 2. It was a fucking co-op demo, and only one PAX-goer got to play it with a developer. Would it have murdered them to let maybe two people play the co-op demo?

And even if you were the one lucky person who got to play it, you played the demo with a PR rep talking the whole time and telling you exactly what to do. You know how great it felt when there was a weird puzzle in the original Portal and you had to think in an interesting way to figure it out? There was no puzzle solving to be had in this demo. Look, I hate it when NPC's tell you the answer to a puzzle in a game, and note to Valve, it sucks in real life too.

I waited in line for 45 minutes to get the worst demo that I had for the entire time I was at PAX. I didn't even get to touch the game. That's pathetic. Yeah, yeah, Valve makes Half-Life, and the original Portal was an amazing game, so people love Valve. But c'mon, you can't just assume that you can give us a shitty demo and everyone's going to give you a free pass. Noelani's never played Portal, and I was thinking that we were going to go into the demo and she was going to find out how awesome Portal is. I wanted to share my excitement for the game with her. But when we walked away from the Portal 2 booth, Noelani wasn't excited to play it at all. Instead, she acted the same way that a lot of people did when the saw the first trailers for the original Portal: she thought it looked cool, but that it looked like something she wouldn't be good at.

So if you were wondering why absolutely no one came out of PAX talking about Portal 2, that's why. C'mon Valve, you're better than this.

So... Duke Nukem Forever. At any given time, the line to play this was two hours long. And this post is all about the games that had long lines, so of course, I have to write about the game that had the longest line, and that's also been the subject of the longest running joke in the video game world, right?

No way. I had better things to do than wait two hours to play a Duke Nukem game. Sorry, but you'll have to go to someone else for thoughts on this game. I didn't play it. Then again, it's not like I played Portal 2 either.

Now the line at Epic Mickey's booth was really interesting, because it had this area where a bunch of people clustered together to play a demo of the game, and then another area with a huge line that was obviously not for playing the demo. It seemed really strange that the longest line at the booth wasn't to play the actual game, so of course, we walked up and tried to figure out what the line was for.

As it turns out, the people in that line at the Epic Mickey booth were waiting for what was easily the coolest piece of swag that anyone was giving out on the show floor. Noelani's reward for waiting in that 45-minute line was that one of two Disney artists drew an original drawing of any classic Disney character that she wanted, and she could take that drawing home with her. People were walking away from that line with drawings of Mickey in a pirate hat, Donald Duck, and even the newly resurrected character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Noelani originally wanted a drawing of demented, brainless Mickey from the cartoon Runaway Brain, but the artist actually didn't remember how to draw it. (Also, Runaway Brain is a great short animation if you've never seen it.) So instead, Noelani asked the artist what his childhood was like, to which he replied that he had grown up on an Amish farm. As a result, she asked for a drawing of an Amish Mickey, which I immediately assumed was from Mickey and the Beanstalk when I first laid my eyes on it. Weirdly enough, Noelani's actually never seen that cartoon, even though I have it at home on VHS. We'll probably watch it together sometime.

Photo Photo Photo

Posted by: Ryan

Instead of doing one huge PAX Cblog, I'm gonna try to write one smaller post every day for maybe an entire week,
if I can. And I didn't take many pictures, so bear with me.

Dammit, why didn't anyone tell me that Taiko no Tatsujin was so damned awesome?! It's so cool! Okay, okay, so a little context: Noelani and I went to the Gameworks across the street and that was where we both played Taiko no Tatsujin for the first time. It's an arcade machine that literally has two big drums in front, and some drumsticks, and it's obviously meant for two player. It kind of stands out, and it's one of the first games that Noelani and I decided to play.

It's not nearly as complicated or intimidating as a Rock Band drumset: instead, there is just one huge drum that registers from being hit either in the center or on the side. So it's easy enough for most normal people to play, and there's something satisfying about the fact that your patterns are the same as your partner's, so you're both sitting next to each other and pounding the drums together in rhythm. Make sure to grab a cute guy/girl when you play this, because it probably just wouldn't be the same playing it alone.

And then the cherries on top are the completely super-cute art design and music selections. The characters are adorable, and every time they speak, they speak in that high-pitched, Japanese cutesy-speak which admittedly gets annoying after a while. But you've got to check out the music: one of the songs on Taiko no Tatsujin's songlist is the ending theme to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (which fans most likely remember for its synchonized dance sequence), and another is the terribly cheesy "Cha-La Head-Cha-La," also known as the Japanese intro theme to Dragon Ball Z. (And while writing this, I realized that "We Gotta Power" would be a great song for just banging on a drum.) Seriously, I don't even watch that much anime and I know those two songs, so I'm sure more than a few nerds definitely got a kick out of the available tracks.

If you ever get the chance to play a Taiko no Tatsujin cabinet, don't pass it up. It's a treat. When you put together the approachable gameplay, the cutesy art direction, and the shameless, yet recognizable song choices, it creates a game with the same kind of wonderful, lovable appeal as one of my favorite games of all time, Samba de Amigo for Dreamcast. As if I didn't talk about SEGA games enough in my other post.

So to mention SEGA again (:P), I was really surprised at how much SEGA was all over this arcade. I played a bit of After Burner Climax, OutRun 2 SP, and Air Trix, and Noelani played a round F-Zero AX. (Pssst, Noelani and I had no clue what we were doing in After Burner Climax, but I still thought it was cool anyway.) And I should be ashamed, but I have to admit, I actually really like the song "Night Flight" in OutRun 2. I know, I know it's a terrible song, but I still like it in all it's dangerous cheesiness. As for what others were playing, we saw a few people with plastic guns shooting zombies in House of the Dead 3, a few people racing around in Initial D, and even the Ferrari F355 Challenge cabinets were constantly in use, which I thought was kind of weird. I wasn't under the impression that F355 was popular. I had forgotten just how big the truckload of SEGA arcade games was, but man, this arcade was filled with them.

So we ate at this same Gameworks one of the days we were in Seattle, and the food was pretty decent. It's not as good as the Daily Grill, but it's definitely not bad. The service was slow, but that was by no means particular to just Gameworks. Pretty much every restaurant near the convention center had slow service and was running out of supplies, but I guess it's not too surprising when you realize that there were 67,000 of us in town. Even the server girl at Johnny Rockets was telling us that PAX had completely cleaned them out, and that they were completely packed for lunch on Saturday with a line going out the door. Also, to the girl at Johnny Rockets: my girlfriend and I both want to date you.

...wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Gameworks! Upstairs, they had a section where all the fighting games were lumped together, so we played some of the arcade version of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. I own the US version for Wii, so I seriously didn't realize how pathetically few characters that game has in it's arcade release. Not just in terms of the US-exclusive characters like Frank West, but I couldn't even play as Saki, which was kind of a shock to me. But as I've mentioned several times, I love Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, so Noelani and I still had plenty of fun with it. Jonathan Ross was playing some Street Fighter 4 at the cabinet next to me, but that game has never really been my thing. I recognize that it's not a bad game, and maybe I'll give the game another shot when it comes to 3DS, but I don't know.

Now a ton of people I know really like BlazBlue, and even though I've only played it two or three times ever, I decided to throw down some credits so Noelani and I could play it just because it was pretty. Noelani's got an eye for animation as well, so I thought it'd be something that she and I would like. But unfortunately, BlazBlue sucks. It doesn't just kind of suck, it really sucks. I'm sorry guys, but no matter how high-resolution the graphics are, we both had a horrible time actually playing it. Again, sorry if you're a fan, but we both hated that game. I needed a palate cleanser fighting game after that one.

The King of Fighters XII cabinet was in use, so I didn't get to play a game of that, but rightly so. KOFXII is an excellent, overlooked game that might have been heralded as the best in the series if it only had more characters and good online. And I mean that whole-heartedly: a 3-vs-3 game needs at least 34 characters to keep from getting stale. But I completely love the KOFXII system: the dark shading and weight of the the character's movement, the pause and zoom when you hammer home a critical counter, and the sound of every hit just make the game feel good to play, even if you don't really know what you're doing. But instead of playing that, I was luckily able to pick up a game of 3rd Strike against someone at another cabinet, and we went 2 and 2 before he took the third match and beat me, despite the fact that I was using a lot of normals. The timing on Makoto's Karakusa into HP into Hayate is tougher than I remember, so I wasn't playing very well, but my fingers just love the way that 3rd Strike feels. The collision and hit-detection in 3rd Strike feels better to me than even current fighting games now.

There were so many games there (yay Raiden Fighters!), and it's not even the biggest Gameworks I've been to. So yeah, if you're ever in Seattle, possibly during next year's PAX, make sure to spend some time at the Gameworks across the street, and make doubly sure to play some weird games you've never heard of. I think you'll have a good time.

Photo Photo Photo

Posted by: Ryan

Instead of doing one huge PAX Cblog, I'm gonna try to write one smaller post every day for maybe an entire week,
if I can. And I didn't take many pictures, so bear with me.

It's an odd state to be in when you've only got less than two hours left to play games on the show floor, because you still want to see things that you haven't gotten around to seeing yet, but you also don't want to wait in line and burn the precious little time you have left. So the last hours on the PAX show floor tends to be filled with games that are "hidden gems" of sorts. Games like Nintendo's Fluidity.

Now Nintendo certainly had it's share of long lines with both Kirby's Epic Yarn and Metroid: Other M, but Fluidity only had one kiosk where you could play it, and every time I walked by it, there were never more two people in line waiting to play it. Now from what I can tell, it seems like Nintendo doesn't give a fuck about WiiWare: they don't advertise download games at all (unless you're signed up for Nintendo's email newsletter, and even then, not so much) and instead of allowing developers to put up demos, they released demos for only five games for a limited time. I really like the content of WiiWare and I've been happy with the games I've bought, but Nintendo seriously treats the platform like a zit on prom night. So when Nintendo said that they were going to debut Fluidity at PAX, I figured it was just a half-hearted attempt to throw us a bone.

But no, I was totally wrong: Fluidity is actually awesome. It initially reminded me of Mercury Meltdown Revolution or LocoRoco, in that you're tilting the Wii remote to move the world around a blob of liquid. Except that Fluidity is a completely 2D, side-view game and your liquid tends to break apart a lot. You can shake the Wii remote to pop yourself up (also known as 'jumping') and you can hold the '1' button to try and draw the liquid all back together again. But if you hold the '1' button for too long, too much tension will build up and your blob will explode outward into droplets again.

The game has a very precarious feel, as you hop a blob of liquid that's barely holding itself together, but can't be held for too long before it'll explode and fall apart. And despite how unstable and just barely in control I was, the game felt good to play, if slightly disorienting due to constantly tilting the environment. It probably won't set the world aflame, but I was really impressed, and I'll most likely be picking up Fluidity once it makes it's way to WiiWare. When I asked the Nintendo rep about the release date, he said that he wasn't sure, but that all the games at Nintendo's booth were intended to be holiday games, and he said that, "fingers-crossed," the game should be coming out before the end of the year. So I'm thinking maybe a December or January release.

Next up was Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2, which also only had one kiosk at Capcom's booth (for perspective, Ghost Trick and Okamiden each had four), and it also only ever had two or three people in line to play it. And I really wasn't sure what to think going into it, because while I was waiting in line for the Retronauts panel with Kraid, he told me that he had felt disappointed by it. But then in the panel itself, Jeremy Parish said that he liked it and he recommended that we go play it.

To be honest, once I got my hands on it, I actually really liked the new jumping mechanic. Everyone's been pretty skeptical about it, but your character doesn't jump very high, meaning that you often just use the jump to make more daring, faraway swings. And you would think that the jumping would make the game lose some of the original game's bloody-minded precision, but that's weirdly not the case. Even if you suck at the "jump, then grapple mid-jump" thing, there's still usually another lower path that you can make it through without much jumping. Essentially, the game still feels like Bionic Commando, which is a very good thing, and the jumping mechanic really just adds to the game.

Not too far from that was the booth for Raskulls. Now apart from the fact that Mr. Destructoid is in Raskulls, I really didn't know anything about the game. For shame, I know. So imagine my surprise when I found out that the game is pretty much just Mr. Driller, except even more awesome and with race-to-the-finish multiplayer. They've made the game a bit more Bomberman-esque by including a turbo power-up and some items, but the fact that it really is just blatantly Mr. Driller came as a complete surprise to me. The second surprise hit me once I found out how much faster and way more fun this game is than yet another Mr. Driller game.

And you wouldn't think that would be a big deal, but the game has a great, cute art direction, it feels great to play, it's got some sidescrolling sections, and it's even got some boost panels thrown in for good measure. Now if you've never played Mr. Driller, it's kind of hard to explain why it's so fun to travel downward by destroying weirdly-shaped, gravity-affected blocks, but I assure you it's an addicting formula that Raskulls both apes and improves. Seriously, I'm definitely buying this game when it finally comes out. Go look up a trailer if you haven't already seen it.

Also, they gave me a Raskulls shirt, which of course means BIAS.

The next game I played was Lost in Shadow, and the people I talked to seemed to really like it, but what I played was just incredibly easy and boring. Your character moves very slowly, he jumps realistically, you can occasionally move things in the environment to a turned/unturned state with the Wii remote, and attacking was short-ranged and a little stiff. And it's not like I revel in disliking games: it's actually kind of sad that quite a few people I know really liked this game and I didn't. I dunno, maybe it's just not for me.

Not that there isn't potential for the concept: I'm hoping that later levels of games have more complex mechanics, such as moving light sources to make enemies larger/smaller, but I didn't really see any of that in what I played. I've still got some hope that the game will introduce more clever mechanics than the ones I saw as it's progression goes on.

Yeah, I didn't like that game much, and I certainly wasn't going to end my time on the show floor on that note, so I played the Castle Crashers arcade machine, which was totally cool. And then I got in a few more rounds of Super Meat Boy before they kicked us out. I couldn't help but get my hands back on that game one last time.

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