Across the street from the largest Junior College in the nation, is one of the few surviving Arcades in the state. Inside the dimly lit four walls is a smorgasboard of racers, music, and fighters. There's even a Simpsons Arcade machine tucked in the corner as you walk in, with promises of nostalgia. Recent updates included a new Tekken 6: BR machine, as well as console boxes to play Mortal Kombat and Marvel 3. Along the windows facing outside, there are HD Television screens with 360's and PS3 hall hooked to a 'Net connection to get your Call of Duty on. Down the middle aisle are the small, sitdown Japanese cabinets, housing games from Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike (still getting playtime), down to Raiden Fighters (still played). All in all, despite it's heavy leaning on fighters, it is a gamers paradise.
And as to be expected, competition is fierce.
Unless class is in session across campus, there's always a crowd surrounding the SSFIV: AE cab, which consists of a single playboard and two HD TV's. There's plenty of beatdowns to go around; only way to get in is to quarter up and enjoy the show. At the risk of sounding like a press release, Ryu, Juri, and even El Fuerte are in constant rotation. As with any arcade, you've always got the single guy that dominates across the board, until he falls to a late newcomer. No matter who it is, the excitement, the trash talk (even the venerable "ooooohs") guarantee a fun time.
When I pulled in with my friend during our break, I found luck was in my favor. I had no clue that the owners has managed to secure AE (in English no less), and at that point in time the setup was empty. I sat down on the P2 side and popped in a token. As my friend pulled up a stool, I selected Evil Ryu and got into it. 2 rounds later, I was flattened by Dan. Yes, Dan. Don't start. I took my glasses off to pinch my nose, squinting as I lamented my loss (if you're an SF fan, you know why). She (my friend) giggled behind me. I nearly slammed my glasses back on, and dropped another token down, this time selecting Yang.
I managed to last a round with Yang before getting beaten yet again. I was all set for another go at the AI, when a fellow fighter took the seat next to mine and offered to join in. I recognized him - he used to work at the GameStop I frequent before he quit. If I remember correctly, the term he used for his reason was, "Managerial BS," which sounded consistent. But even back then, we spoke consistently about fighters and were especially excited for when the first IV came out, back when they had the tournament after the game released. We said the basic dude-to-dude greeting 'What's up?", and from there the contest started.
He went with Yun, and I went with vanilla Ryu. The match was decent, as I zoned him out with Hadoukens and he retaliated with a few combos that ended with Yun's backturn. An Ultra combo came later, and the match went to him. Not one to stay down so easily, I asked for another fight - happily, he accepted.
This time around, I went with my primary main - Juri. Known across fighter circles as a "glass cannon," she had grabbed my interest even before the game was released. My opponent didn't flinch. Staying with Yun, who he admitted to be, "horribly broken," we hit up the Safari and dug into it.
I can honestly say this was one of the best matches I've ever fought in.
The best way I can describe the three rounds was a dance. My dive kick follow-ups landed with grace, as he hit back with palm strikes and constant backturns - all combos. Whiffed Pinwheels were punished by Zesshou Hohou's (lunge punch), his dives struck down by Juri's Ultra, Kaisen Dankairaku. No Focus, just evades and counters. I ended the match with a wakeup Pinwheel and the inevitable agreement was "one more go." We stuck with our characters, and as we fought talked about why we main who we main. For him, after Ryu was "nerfed," he went the Daigo route and picked up Yun, out of love for his 3rd Strike version. As I said before, Juri had been on my radar for quite some time since I first saw her.
After the third match, the best two-out-of-three went to him. I had to get to class; if not, one more go around would have been an inevitability. By this time a small crowd had gathered, watching the fight. As soon as I stood up, another player had a seat and selected his character. Life cycle of the Arcade.
As my friend and I walked back on campus, I couldn't stop talking about the fight. The fun, the camaraderie - meeting a gamer in person who's on an equal level as you...that is the greatest feeling an arcade can give out. Pure excitement. Don't get me wrong - I've met folks online, through FNF's (which I'll try to participate in more), and even through random matchups that've been, without question, truly fun people to be around. But there's something about fighting in an arcade that you can't get from online. Not to say that arcades are infinitely better (like when the guy sitting next to you hasn't showered in DAYS). But getting a group to chill at an arcade around a physical cabinet, cracking jokes and pointing out whiffs, seems much more fun than sending out Invite after Invite online.
So long as this, and other arcades can stick around in this age of online play, I'll continue to drop quarters and hit P1 or P2.
Thanks for reading.
Photo Credits (except for VS title) go to Sklathill
Some 2 and more years ago, I was sitting in this very work chair, shuddering with excitement. It was E-Day - November 7th, 2008, and I was ready to tear through Locust upon Locust with a Lancer chainsaw. The videos, screenshots, the overall GAR of it all - Gears of War 2 was my Call of Duty. The Call? To shoot aliens in the face (like I hadn't done that already with Halo). Hell, back when I was with GameSpot (shudder), I made a very...ummm...what do the kids call it nowadays? "Fanboyish" post on their Gears launch center. I'll never forget it -
"If you have an 360, but don't have Gears, than it's not a real 360."
Fun times, eh? Come to think of it, it's actually a sort "reverse fanboy" thing to say, as if to call down other folks of the same craft. Anyway...
I took my walk up to the mall from work after I got off the clock. Feeling the heavy shackles of the doldrum that is the Library release from me, I felt like "...a new man, fit and lean" (Tycho, Penny Arcade). I waltzed into the GameStop, said a hearty thank you to the gentleman at the counter, and sat at the bus stop eager to go home. In my hand was an admittedly gorgeous box. A used Lancer shined as it wrapped around the blood-red cardboard, grime filling in many of the red spots. I couldn't take my eyes off of it - even after the bus picked me up, even after I had gotten back home. I snapped out of it long enough to part the waiting plastic folds.
Now admittedly, I did do research on what was going to be in this thing (hey, for $10 extra bones you'd be an idiot not to). Of course my excitement blinded me to what was an overall dull package. I had never played the first Gears, so I guess my reasoning behind dropping the extra was to make up for missing out on number One. Shame - that $10 could've gone towards, lo and behold, Gears 1.
So - what came in that package? When I cracked it open, there was the Steelbook case - which I liked, and still like. I end the sentence of win there because afterwards, it was a downhill slide of mediocrity. There was the Dom and Maria Keepsake photo (I still ask myself what the fuck was I supposed to do with that), the artbook, which was a compilation of screenshots one could easily find on the Net (though nice that it was hardcover) and some garish DLC that, frankly, kinda made you look like a tool (Gold Lancer). There was a DVD with some extra artwork and commentary, along with a making-of vid that I watched once and didn't bother with afterwards. It was, again, the type of stuff one could find with a quick online search.
I was disappointed. I tried to psych myself out the first few days of purchasing it, waltzing around with a blinged-out Lancer rifle, telling myself I did good. That I made out with a steal provided by the good folks at Epic. I finally realized my mistake afterwards, but didn't bother taking it back. Too much of a hassle, and it was already opened either way. I know it sounds like much griping on my end (and I do apologize), and that there have been worse offenders than this. However, I like to think that this event has taught me to pay attention to what I'm getting into when I buy LE's or SE's (even [insert wacky name] editions). I've managed to watch for a balance between price of admission and content, and thus saved myself from some ridiculous decisions.
In a final word to publishers - if you're going to do a Limited Edition, do what Aksys did with BlazBlue, and what EA is doing with Battlefield - give up the extra content at no added cost. Trust me, your game will still sell. And If you must put a price tag on it, make it worthwhile (please, no Keepsake photos).
Hello, everyone! This is LegendPenguin - coming to you live from a place I wish was Santa Destroy. I've been here for a year now, and the majority of my time has been spent lurking about both the C-blogs and DToid prime, with small comments here and there. Regrettably (not really, because Zodiac and friends still commented on it and I was happy), the first ever post I made here was a copypasta from an essay I did for an English class. I was the new guy in town, and didn't know the rules of the game here. Please forgive me, and put the torches and pitchforks away. But I'm gonna start fresh, especially after Kauz's encouragement for people to hit the Blogs, so here we go. Sorry in advance for all the parenthesis.
*whisper* And also, I never got a decoder ring from Occam's. Just putting that out there. */whisper*
I'm a bit of a late gamer - I can never seem to keep up with many of the current releases (broke college students: raise hands here), and while I know I haven't completely missed out, it kinda sucks to hear the community at large talk about the current hotness while I'm just now getting up on Arkham Asylum. I keep a 360 in my room alongside a Wii and a PS2, and I've managed to keep an SNES and an Xbox around for nostalgia. Not to leave out any handhelds, I"ve been up on my 3DS with Pokemon White, and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D, and my PSP has Persona 3 Portable permanently fused inside the UMD drive.
I got into gaming when I was 5, way back in 1994 - the Super Nintendo was big, and my brother and I scored one as a Christmas gift, alongside Donkey Kong Country. While it wasn't the first game I ever played, it was the first that I had ever had to myself. Well, myself after my brother left our impeccable DK/Diddy team after a year. Something about sports, and playing outside with the rest of society. To be honest, I give credit to DKC for making me a gamer for a lot of reasons; something I'll touch on in another post. After the SNES came the PS1 and Crash, and after that the Xbox and JSRF, a game that pains me to remember that I haven't finished it yet. I mean, it's just sitting there, begging to be completed.
I am so sorry.
I've also had a bit of a personal tradition going in the sense that I've had my hands on almost all the Nintendo handhelds. However, that damned Micro eluded me.
On the side of real life, I live with my folks and brother, and an 12-year-old German Shepherd who runs around like he's Balto. I also have an amazing woman in my life who's more of a gamer than she thinks she is. She's finished all of the console Assassin's Creed's and wasn't a fan of each ending, but LOVES Okami.
As far as anticipated games go, I'm itching to get my hands on Street Fighter X Tekken. I'm big on the fightans, and these are two of my favorite franchises beating the ever-loving Hell out of each other. I've been praying to God since I saw the new trailers, asking if we can get an advance on 2012. He's either laughing at me up there, or there's some lag in the netcode. Next dream matchup? Guilty Gear vs BlazBlue.
Something else I'm hyped for is Kid Icarus: Uprising, along with Star Fox 3D. I hope these'll be the titles that'll put the critics to bed. Frankly, they're in the right with the bad 3DS PR...to an extent. Still, it's early, and my belief is that come May/June it'll be hard as Hell to find one on the shelf. Either that, or I just blew $115 (trade-ins) on a system and have solidified the fact that I have no money management skills.
So there you have it (a letter opener). I hope to strive and be a more proactive part of the community now after this, and not just post irrelevant blogs about nonsensical crap. I see more and more awesome things coming out of DToid, and I want to be a part of it all. So, allow me to (re) introduce myself: my name is LegendPenguin - thanks for having me.
...Which is what this post would be about. The feeling of finally getting to experience the possible future of console killers (not my words) was abound when I got the E-mail saying I was a Founding Member.
Then this line came up:
Internet Connection: Wired (not wireless) 5Mbps connection located inside the contiguous United States
I then backtracked, and read through the intro paragraph:
Upon completing registration, you will receive 12 months of free access to the OnLive Game Service on your PC or Macvia a wired broadband connection
I get the feeling I missed something when I read posts here and across the internets about this thing. I don't recall OnLive requiring wired 'net in order to work. Of course I was under the impression that half, if not the majority of the goddamn U.S. of A had wireless, henceforth allowing OnLive to market the beta towards that standard. Seems like the logical thing to do, you know? Try the major market first, then handle the rest later. Of course I might just be jumping the gun here, and maybe they'll slap the taste out of my mouth later with a beta for wireless connections 2 f-king years down the road. Jesus. Catch up people. You've already got a wall of folks saying this either "won't work" or, "is a waste of time." Not a good way to increase your fanbase.
This review is a look at the game's aspects on the Apple products, so those looking for an overall look at The Red Star before the port should check out Kraid's review of the game here.
All caught up? Good. On to the Apple versions. Now, while the game obviously does not exude the same graphical prowess as it's older PS2 brother, for an iPhone game it's not half bad to look at. It's no Chaos Rings at any distance, and some of the character modes do look geometric (in the sense of square blocks for arms), but there's not much to complain about. From the snow-laden mountains of northern Russia to the enemies and massive vehicles, the looks of the game do their job right.
Controlling your character falls under the 'pro' side as well, but just barely. The touch analog stick works well; moving your character around bullets is a breeze, although Makita does move a little too fast sometimes for my sake. Pulling off melee combos and long-range shots work too, but the lock-on system hinders things when you're in desperate need for those strafing attacks. When you get the lock, strafing is easy. But note that after locking on to an opponent or turret, it will disappear after a while. Many a boss fight was lost because of this and the fact that the game forces you to start over from the beginning makes this a bit more frustrating. And if there is an auto lock-on, I haven't seen it.
Despite the control issues, I would still recommend this game if it not for one major flaw. When it comes to overall stability, there is none. From the first level, the game would shudder and freeze for a few moments before slowly coming back down. It did this repeatedly, and ended up stopping some of my combos in mid-attack while stopping the attacks of some enemies as well. Hell, even the music would start to skip. This was before I downloaded the new OS, and even after it's still doing it (to the same extent). Oddly, this instability gets worse when the game goes into a birds-eye perspective that's not a boss fight. However, what I found interesting was that when comparing this to some of my other graphics-heavy games, if there was ever a stability glitch said games would shut themselves off, sending me back to the home page. The Red Star would fight through its glitches and would refuse to crash. Valiant, but by that time I was done and up on Fruit Ninja.
I'll say this in closing: if you have absolutely no other means to find a copy of The Red Star on either PSP or PS2, then for the love of Christ, please find them. For a game like this where you're dodging bullet-hell style bosses and varying enemy types, not having to worry about when it'll short out on you is key. But the lack of stability in every level is making me pray for a patch sooner or later. In short, when it works it works, but most of the time it doesn't and I don't feel as if it's justifying the $5.00 price tag. This is the first time I've been able to play through TRS in full, and it will be for other gamers as well. It's disappointing that it turned out this way, but this is a port job after all.
So by all means, DEMO IT unless you're desperate. Or have 5 bones to spare.
Joey Ansah, who people may or may not have heard of (likely the latter), has gathered some quality Hollywood talent to produce SF: Legacy, a short film who's plot still eludes me, but looks amazing nonetheless. Ansah feels the same way as the rest of us about the P.O.S. fighting game-to-movie adaptations, and wanted to do something different to combat that. You can read his thoughts on the matter over at his website, and read about the folks on his team (who, again, are some top-shit quality people).
Jesus...he's even got the triple split in Ken's eyebrows. Film of the Forever.