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7:59 PM on 06.04.2013

How I Might Outgrow My Beloved Hobby (RE:Revelations Spoilers)

Six hours into my lovely campaign of Resident Evil Revelations and everything is going great. Now to add some backstory to this lovely adventure with our favorite zombie/ B.O.W. hunters I can say that I've beaten every single Resident Evil title before; excluding RE6 because it's shit (and also why I say every). But things changed during chapter 12; and those who are playing this game on the Wii U know what I mean...

The integration of Miiverse for Resident Evil Revelations is absolutely fantastic. When you die you'll receive a a series of messages posted by others who were killed in the same place you were. It's the entire reason I picked this up for the little next-gen that could - but only if you die in the same area once or twice. And let's just say that I've died at the hands of this title's version of Nemesis (to keep it spoilerish free) way too many times. How many? Seventeen. Yep, 17 times I tried to defeat that guy, and 17 times I had failed. I couldn't understand why I kept dying; I knew the patterns and weak points. I even swapped guns around mid-fight as to never run out of ammo and score damage min-maxing. It felt like my reflexes just weren't fast enough to hit him after teleporting. And I began to question whether or not I could kill this bloke. And for the hell of it, after staring at the same death messages pop up sporting the same "OMG I keep dying!" and "How do I kill this guy!? No Fair! :(" theme, I decided to refresh the messages. This is what showed up on my screen:

I couldn't believe it. Someone else seemed to be having the same problem I had. I couldn't describe the frustration and rage I felt from constantly dying, and then taking a break to clear my head, and then dying some more. However, when I saw this message it really got me thinking. What if at some point I just can't play video games any more? Not due to death, financial struggles, or lack of interest. What about if I can't react fast enough to kill an enemy teleporting, or I fail a QTE during a cutscene, or just cannot for the life of me get beyond a certain point? What if I pre-maturely can no longer play video games because I am not good enough. This is the first time in the 20 years of engrossing myself in a hobby that I ever thought this way. We've all been unable to complete a game before for one reason or another, but for some reason after coasting through Revelations at a fairly brisk pace with lack of death and not really getting stuck this hit hard. What if I am getting older, delaying my reaction time and reflexes and I can't play video games even if I know what I'm doing? It scared the crap out of me.

Which brings up the point of interactive media and how the game industry differentiates itself from movies, TV, etc. I'm never going to be "too old" to appreciate a musical composition, or not "good enough" to finish watching a film. But to see a narrative of a game to conclusion there may come a point where you simply will not be able to experience the content ahead without proving some sort of skill. It's the reason we see games ranging from Mass Effect, to Journey, to Bioshock Infinite. All three sow enthralling narratives, however present unique gameplay scenarios where you may get gated from following through the story. It's something that proved itself very real to me today. But sure enough, after the attempts hit double digits, and minutes turned to hours I escaped by the skin of my teeth. Without any remaining herbs, and one hit away from death on trial 18, one rocket to the chest finally put the baddie down, and it made me re-appreciate how much I love video games and the reward for saving the day. Even in a virtual sense.

Thanks Leon, even though your new game sucks

3:26 PM on 05.28.2013

How Nintendo Can Fix Their Branding With Wii U

With both Sony and Microsoft now with their cards on the table, eyeing a "Holiday 2013" release schedule what is Nintendo to do with the Wii U? The console's timing was ambiguous at best. With it's November 2012 launch and a six month drought aside from Lego City Undercover, Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate, and Resident Evil Revelations; none of which should have to carry the burden of being system sellers - they're not - how can Nintendo right the ship? The obvious answer is a change in direction of the branding of the system; the easy solution? Learn from the Xbox One's mistakes.

The easiest way to win back the core audience starts with a rebranding of the Wii U system. The perfect place to start is with the Pre-E3 Nintendo Direct. Choose which President of the Company comes out, and say these 4 things: 

1. There is no fee to play pre-owned games on our systems
2. There is no fee to play games online or use our video streaming service
3. The greatest back catalog containing 30 years of titles, in addition to hardware compatibility with Wii software
4. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, Donkey Kong - all in High Definition

And straight out of an epic rap battle, Iwata drops his bananas, or Reggie spikes a ham to the ground and walks off. Queue a sizzle trailer of previously announced and unknown titles with release dates for 40 minutes and the presentation ends.

We're already beginning to see the effects from gamers across the globe in regards to always online, manditory peripherals a la Kinect, and terrible business practices only making the barrier of entry for new players increasingly difficult. Sure, the Xbox One has voice commands and facial recognition so grandpa won't need the controller to watch The Price is Right, or re-runs of Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman, but when the grandkids come around they'll have to pay $60 to pop in the next "family-friendly" dribble that MS expects Rare to waste their talents on if he's not in the room and the kinect can't scan his face to log into his profile? Ballocks.

Nintendo always marches to the beat of their own drum and it's a thumping baseline of games, games, games. No ridiculous business practices (which are anti-consumer), no online passes, no fee for online services which others charge for, none of the nonsense which caused all those PC master race folks to flip-flop from PC to console, and now increasing back to PC as their preferred platform of choice. 

The system so many thought to be dead and buried within the first year of it's life has plenty of opportunity to rise from the grave. And if Nintendo can do what Nintendo does best; which is make games. The Wii U will be the most charming, colorful, and whimsical zombie to grace our eyes.   read

8:19 PM on 10.04.2012

Therapy in the Form of Final Fantasy VIII

NOTE: This is just a reflective piece or work... sort of video game related. But not really. Just needed to get this off my chest, and if it connects with someone else who's going through the same things let me know we can help each other out maybe?

9.9.99 – The day that the culmination of Squaresoft's massive marketing campaign paid off. Final Fantasy VIII was released at the crossroads of my life. I was 13, in my first week of high school and struggling with my first bout of seasonal affective depression (SAD). While a common place in my life now and something that I sort of deal with; at the end of the last millennium it was devestating. The one thing that kept me sane, grounded was Final Fantasy VIII. Fast-forward to the year 2012 I'm a much different person than was was 13 years ago. I've been in several relationships, had different jobs, lived with different people, and had a plethora of experiences from Maine to California and beyond. While SAD has made an appearance in all of these “lives” I've had it just seemed to hit harder this year than ever and there was one thing that has been constant throughout all of it – Final Fantasy VIII. So I dusted off the old PSX and grabbed my copy to experience the story of the game protagonist I've connected to most of all – Squall Leonhart.

“Reality isn't so kind. Everything doesn't work out the way you want it to. That's why... As long as you don’t get your hopes up, you can take anything... You feel less pain.”

Playing through the game I've come to realize that the internal conflict Squall battles with mirrors much of my own, the only difference being I don't wield a gunblade. No I didn't grow up in an orphanage, nor did I have to deal with growing up on my own. However at the core both of us are introverts; regardless of the journey the destination was the same. Spending a majority of my time alone, by choice has cost me a lot of friendships and missed opportunity however it's comfortable. I don't need to worry about what other people think of me, or over think comments, looks, and the like directed towards me. Not to mention a few years back while in a relationship, the one very dear to me had left. It was crushing, I changed my job, I moved, and tried to distance myself from everyone and everything.

“Someday you're bound to lose everything. Everybody around will be gone. Then what are you left with? Nothing. Nobody... It's so miserable. And inevitable. It's so hard to recover from something like that. I never want to deal with that again. I can't. Even if it means being alone.”

It's been three years since then and I've begun to come out of my shell again. It's awkward, there's no rhyme or reason to it but just opening up to those around you can be difficult. I've spent some nights home alone but making a conscious effort to get out. In addition the introduction of alcohol to the social equation makes it a little easier. It feels like I live two lives, and they're trying to merge. It's an amazing balance act; one which questions my mental faculties at times. I know that the transition has and will continue to be difficult and it won't assimilate to my personality overnight but it's happening; slowly but surely. Am I happy about it? The truth is I have no idea. The person I am and the person I've yet to becoming will surely be different. And time heals all wounds, but it only takes the time of the year to re-open them.

Final Fantasy VIII absorbed 60-70 hours of my time during this fall and took my mind off itself when things seemed the darkest. Do I know the story inside and out, or where to acquire items for weapon sythesis, or where to draw/battle GFs? Of Course! But was it a boring experience? Absolutely not! It's just nice to know that you're never alone either in this life or a digital one. A character, avatar, or even another human being that you can relate to. If you learn some new things along the way its always a plus.

“To tell you the truth… I worry too much about what others think of me. I hate that side of me… That’s why I didn’t want anyone to get to know me. I wanted to hide that side of myself. I hate it. Squall is an unfriendly introverted guy. It made it easy for me when people perceived me that way. That’s a secret between you and me. Got that?”

Until next time Destructoid!   read

7:15 PM on 08.05.2012

Why Backlogs Are Important: A Reflection

Since Nintendo has the "fuck-all we'll do what we want" approach to letting the masses know when the Wii U is coming out; I've been feverishly going through my Wii backlog at about a game a week pace at the moment. As of this writing I've "completed" Metroid: Other M, but have to go back into it one last time to finish the epilogue. Unfortunately for the completionist in me, I now have a dreaded item completion percentage on my map in each area of the BOTTLE SHIP. I'll end up losing more hours scouring the areas to make sure I have everything, it's a horrible curse. But lets take a look at whats on the agenda until that oh so vague time of year Nintendo is calling Holiday 2012:

Not pictured: Xenoblade Chronicles (rebuild Colony 6), The Last Story (Available 8/14), and Pandora's Tower (currently on order from import)

For Skyward Sword it's only a matter of completing Hero's Quest but all together I've got at least 200 hours of gaming left in this generation of hardware (with SS, Xenoblade, Pandora's Tower, and TLS taking up the bulk of it). Most gamer's have the notion that backlogs are evil, attribute them to work in some form or another, or a monumental challenge to dredge through before spending more money on games they'll want to play later. For me its quite the opposite; not only do you get to experience new gameplay, stories, and entries in some of your favorite franchises but the additional price of admission lets you jump in on the conversations of games that you may have missed out on in the past. Augmented with the addition of the internet, where you'll always be able to find someone, somewhere, to have a conversation about a game you've been playing is an added bonus.

For example, the aforementioned Metroid: Other M. I picked this doozy up at Best Buy for the insanely low price of $5 brand new! For the 50 Club Nintendo coins I got for it, it was worth the price alone! However regardless of my previous views on the title from my albeit short time with it upon release, I wasn't sure what to expect. For the record when Other M did come out: I picked it up day one, brought it home, played about 2 hours of it and thought that it was pure shit. I didn't like the controls all that well, I thought the cut scenes while gorgeous, ruined Samus as a character, and promptly returned it. In fact I was more of a detractor to others wanting to pick the game up. Working for GameStop at the time, I encouraged others to cancel pre-orders or just choose something else when they brought it up to the counter. There was a hatred attributed to blind, immature, fanboyish rage that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Now that I've completed it, I want to apologize to all those folks who I steered in the wrong direction.

I know baby, it wasn't you. It was me. I'm sorry

Other M wasn't perfect by any means. I still have some of the same issues I had with it when I originally picked it up and acted like a dick. However I've come to terms with the overarching plot/story design. There are going to be folks, like myself, who didn't want a "coming of age" tale of Samus as a character. It doesn't ruin her as a solo, kick-ass bounty hunter, if anything it adds depth and an inner monologue to the first bad-ass woman of gaming. Depth I was too blind to see during my initial play through. In terms of restricting item usage and powers until authorized by Adam, I understand why it happened. The game would have been far too easy (its not very difficult to begin with), if I could do anything and everything right from the start. Without ruining anything for those who haven't played it, the call backs, fan service, soundtrack, and nostalgia the game does offer; it was well worth the $5 price of admission. I cannot recommend this game highly enough if you get a great deal on it! Not to mention giving me the inspiration for this blog post, it was a win-win.

Remember folks, its August. The dog days of summer still have some time left before we all can jump back into gaming for the fall season. I'm sure like myself, some of you guys and gals are replaying games you've already completed, or just doing something else entirely. These are worst few months of the gaming year, and have been since the dawn of time. We know what to expect with June-Sept and every year I find myself increasing more bored with the hobby in general during this time. This was the first year I've been able to really take a step back, analyze and prioritize my backlog, and really start to get through it. Its been a positive experience so far.

Just do yourself a favor and treat it less like something you have to do, and more like something that you want to do. There are brand new experiences, stories, and characters sitting on your shelves: some you'll love, and some you'll hate; nothing is perfect. But it will shorten the wait for that big blockbuster fall game you're looking forward too and you just might learn something along the way.

Any objections, Lady?   read

4:03 PM on 06.18.2012

Mass Appeal in Terms of Casual vs. Hardcore

With Electronic Arts' announcement a few days ago that Dead Space 3 would be going for a “broad appeal”, and the title needed to sell five million copies to stay viable and competitive in the market it made me cringe. EA is absolutely mental in thinking that survival horror games, with or without the bastardization of modern gaming habits would sell five million copies. Dead Space 2 was on pace last year to sell roughly three million copies, outsold Dead Space two to one in it's first month, and included an online pass for its less than stellar multiplayer (psst... free money). The game was a true evolution in survival horror for the franchise and improved an already stellar use of atmosphere and classic gameplay mixed with modern technology. Dead Space 3 could have sold five million copies, but of the three million or so folks who bought Dead Space 2, how many does EA think would be interested in Cold Gears of Bro-Fisting War Space?

The issue at the heart of all of these problems with game development is the fact that console wars of yesteryear have been replaced by a new war. A war between game players themselves. With such a huge change in the gaming industry and the introduction of millions of gamers into the fold this current generation who play social games via Facebook and through mobile devices, the term “casual gamer” has come to be associated with the types of games people are playing, not the amount of time invested in games in general. This is the Casual vs. Hardcore war!

This is the underlying problem of the regrouping of casual and hardcore gamers. We've seen an artificial grouping of a population of gamers who are considered casual: who may not even own a console, may never even heard of the IP a developer or publisher are marketing, but are still being factored in to a game's sales expectations and setting goals that are unrealistic. A more drastic problem is the grouping of all “hardcore” gamers into a single category. Game genre's exist for a reason! Survival horror fans will buy survival horror games, shooter fans will eat up Call of Duty, RPG fans will [almost] always buy a Final Fantasy title or Elder Scrolls. These are broad generalizations but consumers who purchase certain types of games will always gravitate towards them based on their preferences. With that said here are just a few recent examples:

“So we have a number of different experiments going on, and [when] we decide that we’ve found the right one of those to really help bring Zelda to a very big audience, then we’ll be happy to announce it.”
-Miyamoto on Zelda Wii U

"Looking at the marketing data [for survival horror games] ... the market is small, compared to the number of units Call of Duty and all those action games sell. A 'survival horror' Resident Evil doesn't seem like it'd be able to sell those kind of numbers."
-Kawata on Resident Evil 6

The homogenization of games has becoming detrimental to individual markets, individual players, and the companies that produce them. Soon we'll be left with nothing but brown/grey blobs of shooters that all play exactly the same, either first person or third person cover shooters with different pallet swaps for players, enemies, environments, and guns. When history looks back at this console generation the leap into photo-realistic gameplay will be synonymous with guns, guns, and more guns. With the addition of crossbows as it's last dying breath of “innovation.”

But there's a glimmer of hope in all the dread, the one genre of game that seems to appeal to the casual and hardcore gamer as the business models, and consumers seem to see how those two terms are defined these days: platformers. Believe it or not New Super Mario Bros. is a hardcore game, Rayman Origins is a hardcore game – these two examples just have mass appeal. Since the 8-bit days of gaming the platformer has been a constant both in terms of design, fun, and appeal. Most folks in the 24-39 range (oh god we're old!) more than likely grew up on platformers like Pitfall, Mario, and Mega Man.

But what makes these titles hardcore? We'll use the Mushroom Kingdom universe as an example (since it's argueably the most recognizable). Let's run down the checklist of things that make the cut in *most* games today which are categorized as hardcore:

Boss Fights – Koopalings & Bowser
Defeating enemies – Goombas, Turtles, Hammer Bros.
Collectables – Coins, Red Coins, Stars
Secret Areas – Star World
Different Weapons/Abilities – Fire Flowers, Tanooki Suit

Nintendo seems to have laid the golden goose with the Mario franchise. One of the main reasons the titles continue to be enjoyable year after year is for one simple reason, they're FUN! Publishers and developers take note, not all games need to be the same, just make them fun. Figuring out what players like in a franchise doesn't rely on making it a muddling mess of the same thing that worked for everyone else. Do what works for you, mass appeal isn't nearly as important as the fans who will continue to buy your titles for what they are. Give Suda 51 a call and ask him how he keeps making games, games that critically are blockbusters but never reach that mass appeal. Success is what you make it, just don't make your success off of trying to be like everyone else. Because when that happens everyone loses.   read

3:06 AM on 04.21.2012

Nintendo Direct & Wii U E3 Speculation

After getting a chance to digest all of the news and trailers that Iwata showed off during the latest Nintendo Direct video there was one thing that kind of worries me, especially considering the companies track record over the last few years. I'm taking about April 27, 2006; the day that the most bad-ass codename for a system ever, Revolution became Wii. If Nintendo were to change the name or try and tweak the branding for the Wii U, this would be the time to do it.The issue isn't really the name for me, because initially when the Wii was formally announced as just that I cringed a little bit. However 86 million units later and I'm glad that I was completely wrong. If there's one thing Nintendo does well, it's succeed at being unpredictable.
Nintendo built a brand that got people playing games together. "Wii would like to play" was a great motto for them and the way they explained the name with "ii" meaning good in Japanese, and that the two characters represent the remote was pretty clever. If Nintendo wants to capitalize on customers who've invested into the Wii brand they need to do more to differentiate itself from it's predecessor, and that starts with perception. At this time the Wii U pretty much looks like an add-on, solely based on how they presented it at last years show. To the casual audience who owns a Wii they might go to the store looking for just the tablet. The conference was very similar to the Wii's where they focused a majority of their presentation on the controller. Rightfully so, it could very well change the way games are played for the future. But at this point they need to show off the rest of the hardware or they'll lose confused consumers who don't have a pulse of the industry and are "casual." Wii 2 (or if they want to be posh Wii "Squared") would put the system on equal footing in terms of brand presentation as the rumored Xbox 720 (Durango), and PS4 (Orbis). Just having that number puts it ahead or better than the previous one with little work in terms of a marketing standpoint.

Here's what Nintendo needs to do for the system to be successful at launch, pretend I know what I'm talking about for a second. I'm getting to use my business education for once to make predictions. Now I know what a bullshit analyst feels like...

Pricing: It's been reported, all rumors at this point, that the Wii U costs Nintendo about $180 to produce, allocating roughly $50 for the controller. It's still unclear as to whether or not multiple controllers can be used per system. If that's the case it wouldn't surprise me if they retailed for $69.99. It's a little more than what people are used to paying for Xbox 360 controllers that have charge kits, and there's no way that a 360 controller costs anywhere close to $50, and it won't look terribly expensive in comparison due to its large touch screen. In addition the console should be priced no higher than $299. We learned this generation that the ceiling for console prices is $300. Both Sony and Microsoft learned it the hard way, especially with lacking launch line-ups. No one is paying $400-$600 for something out of the gate. At $300 it's marginally more expensive than the PS3 and 360 but truly will be a "leap forward" in tech. Considering the specs we know of so far.

Promotion: This area doesn't have me too worried, however Nintendo needs to do this right or we'll have another 3DS situation on our hands. The system does need something packaged with it at launch. I couldn't think of anything more perfect than Super Mario Bros. 4. It's unknown at this time whether New Super Mario Bros. 2 for 3DS is SMB4, but we won't know until they say what Wii U Mario title they're working on. In addition, from everything I've read about Battle Mii and Chase Mii, they could be this systems Face Raiders. Nothing spectacular, but packaged in to get people talking about the system as a little extra.

Based on what we know so far here's what the potential launch line-up could look like (based off release dates for other systems):
Assassin's Creed III
Batman Arkham City
Darksiders II
Metro: Last Light
Ninja Gaiden 3
Pikmin 3
Super Mario Bros. Wii U

Not too shabby! That's just based off the little info we have, some of it upwards of a year old. In that list there's something for everyone.

In about six weeks we'll have all the answers (hopefully). Nintendo needs to have a strong show, being the last of the three conferences this year. Especially since Sony and Microsoft don't seem to have anything mindblowing in terms of the rumor mill at this point. Both companies have said they won't be showing off or detailing the next incarnation of consoles. Sony will probably focus on proving the PS Vita has some life in it. Microsoft will probably show us more ways to yell in the direction of our televisions and stick with the Kinect focus and maybe some integration with GFWL, Kinect PC, and Windows Phone.

So after all that and for those tl;dr folks... I've got 4 words for you. Wii U, Get Hype!   read

3:18 AM on 04.15.2012

Follow Up with Jools Watsham... Journalism!

For those of you who have owned any or all incarnations of the DS family of systems you've probably played a game by Renegade Kid. Dementium, Moon, and most recently Mutant Mudds for the eShop are just a few examples. Last weekend at PAX East I was able to sit in on the StreetPass Network panel on Saturday morning and Jools Watsham, Co-Founder of Renegade Kid was one of the speakers. Now this got me thinking... A few months back I was a little sore about The Binding of Isaac getting snubbed from the eShop. The it hit me! I thought, "Who better to talk to about what kinds of limitations, both from a techical and creative standpoint, go into creating a software title for a Nintendo system, than a man who has spent the last five years developing exclusively for the DS and 3DS systems." Below is what Jools, co-founder of Renegade Kid had to say in regards to the process. The answers might surprise you. Enjoy!

What is the process of developing a game for the eShop/Nintendo hardware? Can you explain the steps of a title's verification process?
Jools: In my experience it has been extremely simple, easy, and quick to work with Nintendo. That probably sounds like hyperbole to some, but it's true. We submit a very brief description of the game at the start of development. This is primarily to get the game into the system. With this information, Nintendo is able to issue data needed for development that is specific to your game, such as unique game IDs, and prepare their staff for submission dates and any marketing efforts planned.

Once we feel the game is complete, we submit it to Nintendo for their final approval. I think a lot of people believe that when materials are submitted to Nintendo they review the creative content to see if it is suitable for their platform. This may have been the case in the 16-bit days, but to my knowledge this does not happen anymore. That's the ESRB's job. Based on my experience with Nintendo, and we've made some mature content in the past with the Dementium and Moon series, Nintendo's focus is on whether the game functions properly in terms of not crashing and always presenting consistent information regarding the naming of buttons, save data, etc.

Was there anything that you've wanted to do but were unable to based on the stipulations (if any)?
Jools: No, the only stipulations we're required to adhere to are technical and not related to creative content.

Anything you can share about an upcoming title from Renegade Kid? Either on eShop or retail for 3DS?
Jools: We're working on the European and Australian versions of Mutant Mudds. We're also finishing up Bomb Monkey and ATV Wild Ride 3D for eShop.

Do you see the company branching out to Nintendo's new home console Wii U either through downloadable games or retail releases?
Jools: It is certainly possible, yes.

- - - - - - - - - -

There you have it Destructoid, straight from Renegade Kid, exclusive to my blog postings. Confirmed Wii U project from Renegade Kid! </sarcasm>. But in all seriousness it was wonderful to be able to get a peek behind the scenes and I came out of the whole experience, both at the panel and being able to talk with Jools about games, with more insight about companies and their products that I truly care about. So a huge thank you to him for taking the time to answer my questions!

You can follow Jools on Twitter @JoolsWatsham, learn more about Renegade Kid and their future projects here. Mutant Mudds is currently available on the Nintendo eShop, and keep your eyes peeled for Bomb Monkey for eShop and ATV Wild Ride for the 3DS!   read

1:37 AM on 04.12.2012

10 Things to Know (or not) about me + ContesTOID!

So I’m a few days late to the party but better late than never I guess. I've spent the last week recovering from waking up sick at PAX on Saturday and getting some quality time in with Xenoblade. In addition to this blog post which I feel like I should let you guys and gals know me a little bit more since you’ve all posted such great blogs lately. In addition since my Photoshop skills are shit I’m running a contest for the cover image on my blog. So here’s trying to kill 2 birds with one stone!
The contest is pretty straight forward, I’d like a cover banner/image for my blog, so you can read the post below to get some insight on me or the kind of stuff I like or am into or you could always ask me, the only stipulation is it has Mr. Destructoid or the Dtoid logo on it. Submit entries to my email address, lagechj(at) with the subject line Dtoid Banner Contest. What’s in it for you? Well the winning entry will be notified either thru PM or social media outlets (teh twittorz) and sent a code for their choice of digital cheddar aka mullah aka 1600 MS Points/$20 PSN/Wii Points/3DS Shop. That’s $20! In digital form. Pretty sweet eh? Contest ends 04/27/12!

1. I am a huge Nintendo Fan Boy (it’s kind of depressing)
Right now I’m living large with just over 500 Club Nintendo coins, my Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary poster reward coming in the mail to display in all their glory throughout my house once they get framed, and I’ve got more games for my Wii either downloadable or retail than I do for my 360. In fact if you take a look at my Wii’s home screen I have every Legend of Zelda game sitting pretty on it! Out of all of my friends I’m the only one that has any kind of love for the Big N, and I’m the only person I know that is actually thinking about buying a Wii U at launch (especially if they drop the price 6 months later and give us a bunch of free games again). I can’t explain it, but I have this distaste for this generation’s overuse of the super brofisting shooters that are Gears of War, Halo, CoD, etc. I feel like Nintendo always innovates rather than tries to make the quick buck on rehashes. (Usually 1 or 2 games per franchise per generation). I’m more than happy to pick up games like Mass Effect and Bayonetta but for whatever reason Nintendo just does things different. Rhythm Heaven Fever is one of my favorite games of this generation and the “game” requires two button presses total. Oh yeah, and that Club Nintendo membership? It used to be a Nintendo Power Club membership.

2. I have a guitar that I have NO IDEA how to play.
Back in high school a buddy of mine was in a band, they were pretty good and got a few shows and I’d always try and go to them. Then the coolest thing happened, he gave me one of his guitars. Well when I say give me he let me “borrow” it. The worst part? It was about 8 years ago! T_T
I tried really hard to teach myself how to play the damn thing but I just couldn’t get it down through any of the lessons/programs I found scouring the internet. More importantly the guitar is pretty damn special to me. We were really great friends in high school, and went to different colleges and now we don’t really see each other/talk much at all, which I guess is what happens when you get older but I’ll never get rid of the guitar no matter how much dust it’s currently collecting. One day I’ll be able to play the damn thing. At this point though it seems even playing something simple is turning out to be my version of Mozart’s Requiem.
3. If my life had a soundtrack the main theme would be “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk”
I smoke cigarettes, terrible habit I know I’d love to quit but and for those of you that currently do or used to smoke there’s nothing better in the morning that waking up having a cup of coffee and a cigarette. I feel like when the modern cigarette was invented the folks at the soon-to-be tobacco companies were all sitting around drinking coffee and realized that they’d go great together. But in the song is pretty much a perfect way to describe my sometimes self-destructive behaviors:

“Cigarettes and chocolate milk
these are just a couple of my cravings
everything it seems I like's a little bit stronger
a little bit thicker
a little bit harmful for me”

4. I am the epitome of the “Socially Awkward Penguin” meme
Around the age of 21 I went through this really weird change, I’m not sure if I spent the better portion of my late high school and college career mostly at parties/clubs/bars and just got sick of it all but if I were to see the me aged 18-21, he’d probably kick my ass and laugh about it with his friends later. I used to be way more extroverted in terms of personality, willingness to talk to people, and going out. Call it getting older, more mature (that’s debatable) or anything else but I generally am not a huge fan of people anymore, or large crowds. For as much fun as I had during the Dtoid party and meeting Hamza, Max, and Jonathan I was nervous as all hell the entire time! Maybe I just have a fear of rejection, who knows but if you ever talk to anyone I know they’ll tell you I’ve become way more of an introvert, and I’m looking to change that.

5. I believe in extra terrestrial life and all that jazz
I mean how can there not be aliens out there? I have this terrible feeling that if we ever do make first contact with an alien race we’ll totally fuck it up as humanity normally does with things it fears or doesn’t quite understand… (I’m looking at you religion!) But anyways I’m sure I’ll end up losing a whole of my humanity since it’s always been a dream of mine ever since being a youngster to travel into space, more importantly to be alive to see the day to meet an actual alien and visit their civilization. If anyone’s familiar with the show “V” I would be on the first spaceship off this rock we call home, after quitting my job, maxing out my credit limits and taking out everyone I know for a night and party like rock stars before submitting to a higher evolved/intelligent life form if they’re the ones to travel here and make first contact.

6. Water and I aren’t friends
Strangely enough I’m ½ Portuguese and ½ Italian but the way that I got programmed is anything but Mediterranean-like. I’m allergic to shellfish, something that kind of freaked out most of the family when I had some as a kid and it’s always left a bad taste in my mouth and nose in terms of any other kind of aquatic food. I hate the way fish smells, looks, feels, it’s freaking gross. But it also could have been the whole Jellyfish and Octopus thing for Christmas when I was growing up (the joys of being Portuguese) that freaked me out and wanted me to go nowhere near anything related to the ocean. And I can’t swim all that well, fictional hydrodynamic animals i.e. water type Pokémon are fine. We’re still cool starmie! Aqua Man you still suck though, talking to fish isn’t a power, but a handicap. Maybe I’m just jaded though; I couldn’t swim my way out of a paper bag filled with water.

7. I have always had dogs
Not Nintendogs! But real dogs! Ever since I was a kid I’ve always had at least one in the house. Not quite the Corgi King that our Dale North is but ever since watching Cowboy Bebop I’ve always wanted one to name it Ein! ^_^
To date I’ve had all bigger dogs, I have had the fortune of living with the following types of pooches: German shepherd, Brittany spaniel, golden retriever, German shorthaired pointer, and Red Siberian husky (I like big dogs; they’re more fun to play with… and to wrestle).

8. I love cartoons!
I have the awesome experience of being a big kid, or small adult whichever (both in height and in interest. I’m 5’7” on a good day!) But I abso-freaking-loutely love me some cartoons and anime. Old school Voltron, Thundercats, X-Men, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Ninja Turtles (stop getting ideas for more bastardizations Michael Bay) and even new stuff like Adventure Time and Regular show! My favorite anime series are Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Elfen Lied, Evangelion, Samurai Champloo, and Death Note. I like mind fucks haha.

9. I’m officially running out of things to write about because I find myself quite boring.
Not so much from a low self esteem sort of viewpoint, just from the tl;dr. If you have any questions are wanna chat more hit me up on the twitters @MagitekNiGHT (bonus points for the name reference it’s been my XBL name for 4 years and no one has asked me about it ever) or send me a PM or drop a comment below!

10. Remember there’s a contest at the top of this post so enter you’ve only got 2 weeks to potentially earn $20. Hell even if you don’t think you’re going to win my best Photoshop project looks ten times worse than Jim Sterling’s MS Paint drawings! Plus, if you’re lucky, and the only participant you could win by default!   read

10:27 PM on 04.06.2012

PAX Day 1: Dat Chicken, Dem Waffles

I'm unfortunately writing this from an iPhone so apologies in advance for any typos I'll fix them at some point I promise!

Today started haphazardly, I woke up late, ran late to the convention center due to traffic and was literally seconds away from missing the Dtoid group photo. I ran from pretty much 1/2 way down the street carrying all of my stuff to get to the photo. The only reason I knew it was going on was seeing Hamza raising his arms around not to mention a fancy camera. After the photos I really needed to make up for lost time so I unfortunately dipped out. First thing I did... Waited in line to play Borderlands 2, which in a word was amazing but more importantly I yelled "I love you" at Randy Pitchford and he waved at me. ^_^

I really am impressed with the way they switched up the abilities for classes in the game. The gunzerker can "tank" based off talent points and the new siren class can "heal" it really changes the dynamic of larger boss fights during group play. Borderlands didn't really do that for me in my opinion. Especially since you got crazy powerful and could solo the boss in Knoxx's Armory for fat lootz.

Anywho after blowing lots of time I checked my 3DS and boy was that a mistake. I got over 100 street passes just today! My total count WAS 6... And I live right outside Hartford so it's not like it's in the middle of no where. Almost completed Find Mii and finished 4 puzzles! It was a good day for my lesser used console. After some swag hunting I went to the awesome Chicken and Waffles party!

And oh man was the food good. It did turn into a chicken sans waffles party since they were gone really quick. The chicken tasted like waffles though and I got a sweet Xevious T-Shirt and autographs from the folks who did the art for Rocket Fox. I didn't get a chance to play it but from the stuff I saw it looked like a sweet platformer and the fox had 3 tails! Making him one tail cooler than Tails Miles!

But the highlight of my day and maybe even the whole weekend was getting to meet and greet with Hamza, Holmes, and Max! Plus, the best part is I now have a super limited edition DTOID 3DS! So marvel and be jealous!

Is there anything YOU, the reader (if anyone even reads this thing) want to see or want me to try and cover for tomorrow? I promise Aliens: Colonial Marines is gonna get a write up! That is if i can get photos there If not you'll have to use your imaginations I'd like to get some feedback and try and make this more of a dialogue than just a place to dump my musings. On that note I'll see some of you at Karaoke tomorrow at E&C. Tomorrow is my panel heavy day so I'll need to be drunk.

Until then be safe folks at PAX I look forward to being more fun tomorrow!


1:01 AM on 03.30.2012

Review: Kid Icarus Uprising

For a franchise that has had two entries over the last 25 years, Project Sora had a huge task in front of them. Create a game based on a universe with literally no established cannon, modernize it, and still make it fun while providing some type of connection to it's manic 8-bit predecessor. Enter Kid Icarus: Uprising.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo 3DS)
Developer: Project Sora
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: March 23, 2012
MSRP: $39.99

First off the amount of content in the game is incredible. There are over 100 weapons which can be purchased, collected from treasure chests, and fused with weapons currently in your inventory. In addition AR cards provide Idols or trophies a la Smash Bros. to be collected. In addition the game boasts 360 "achievements" which unlock more weapons, idols, music, etc. and form pictures. A single player campaign sporting 25 levels with both aerial and ground sections, online multiplayer, and a practice range to try out different weapons and powers. Interestingly enough the game's difficulty system actually encourages players to up the ante by betting hearts (in game currency) on their skills to increase the value and stats of the rewards for completing levels at the higher difficulties. At the time of this writing I had about 10 hours on the single player campaign with a complete playthrough, and have finished the first two chapters at intensity 9.0 (the highest difficulty). This game could easily have been a home console title with only half of the content found on the cartridge.

It's easy to see the amount of love and care that Sora put into the project and the game shines with its personality, however after you've completed the game you get the option to turn off the dialogue completely. But it's worth seeing all the way through at least once. The game is completely self-aware that it is a game and constantly breaks the fourth wall, providing some pretty good humor. At one point during a pretty hectic combat section Pit makes mention that komaytos look like metroids and Viridi, the Goddess of Nature completely flips out.

With that being said, the humor is somewhat distracting and I did have a few instances when shout-outs to other games, pop culture references, etc. made me to look down to the bottom screen and see what was going on and caused, at higher difficulty levels my ass to get kicked. 8 bit screen shots of old monsters and bosses were cool as well. The soundtrack augments the humor and personality of the game nicely and the added ability to change the menu music thru unlocks allows for more exploration of the sounds without having to deal with combat and voice effects, allowing the player to really appreciate the score.

The game is split in terms of the campaign with an air combat section and a ground section. I absolutely loved the air combat, especially being a huge fan of things like Panzer Dragoon and top down shooters so I felt right at home and the controls were not an issue. Since Pits wings are made of wax and he can't fly (you're welcome for the Greek mythology lesson) Palutena grants him the power of flight, but only for five minutes, and she controls your flight path. During air combat you only control Pit's firing and dodging of enemy attacks. The ground sections of the game are hit or miss. I really enjoyed a lot of the level designs but during frantic portions of combat, and especially on higher difficulty levels until you're really comfortable with the control scheme you're going to have problems. There were a lot of reviews I saw that did not like the controls, and I have a love/hate relationship with them. I use the stand included with the game when I am playing at home, but when I'm on the go it's a little bit of a different situation. I've had to play the game with some type of something in my lap, for example my messenger bag to make it a little more comfortable. After a few hours with the game though I got used to the controls. I do think twin sticks would work better than using the touch screen and maybe they'll fix it with a patch but in the mean time man up and work out that wrist!

Multiplayer sports two modes, Light vs. Dark which is a 3v3 PvP style game, and free for all. I had a lot of fun with both ad the weapons earned in single player can be used in multiplayer and vice versa. In Light vs. Dark once a team's life gauge runs out the last remaining player on the field becomes either Pit or Dark Pit and the other team must defeat the angel for victory. It's nothing superb but adds something in terms of replay value and according to the logo on the box art utilized the "Nintnedo Network." That is promising on its own at least to me since I didn't run into any latency issues or disconnects, which gives me hope that Nintendo's online infrastructure has made leaps and bounds from the mess that is SSBB on Wii.

In closing, I'm absolutely loving my time with Kid Icarus: Uprising, and if you're on the fence about it I urge you to find a friend who has it and give it a shot. If the controls are holding you back there's a wealth of options that can allow you to not even use the touch screen at all. The air sections of combat are definitely the best in the game and Uprising is a worthy successor to a game most 3DS players weren't even alive to see.

Final Verdict:
Good: 7s are well-above average games that definitely have an enthusiastic audience within their *genre*. Some might lack replay value, could be too short, or has are some hard-to-ignore faults. Nevertheless, the experience is still very fun.   read

7:38 AM on 03.24.2012

Disappointment: Final Fantasy XIII-2's DLC

I'm extremely disappointed in Square Enix for the way they are handling their DLC forecast for Final Fantasy XIII-2. So far there have been one character expansion, three boss battles, and a ton of weapons and costumes for both Noel and Sarah. Totaled up it will cost you 3180 MSP/$39.75! Forty dollars?! Really? Two-thirds of the full retail price of the game with single digit percents of content?! These numbers do not account for the planned Ultros/Typhoon retro bosses and the only other outlandish way to whore out Mass Effect 3 with N7 armor DLC. It's quite a shame really, considering how much I loved the game, I have dumped over 75 hours into it, and can say that I've done everything there is to do, now I pop it in from time to time to grind for items and level monsters. As much as I've always wanted a console Pokemon, XIII-2 feels like the next best thing.

Wait a minute...

Coincidentally enough, and this is just nitpicking at this point Square Enix has pretty much all of their digital items (steam, iOS, PSN, etc.) at 50-75% off. XIII-2's DLC? Not included. You could purchase Final Fantasy VI, VII, VIII, and IX for $20 right now, and get at least 300 hours of content out of them! The real gripe I have with it and it's the easy way out to just not purchase it and let capitalism play out but what is the purpose of creating new content which is pretty much filler, and only added for the sole purpose of making money? It was completely disheartening for this first time in a game that I have played at launch that included an area of the game accessible, however you could not interact with an object in the world, and when attempted were greeted by an advertisement. If you're still going through the game and have not downloaded the Sazh expansion go to Serendipity's casino and interact with the first roulette/card table...

My one concern is SE is going to be switching over to micro-transactions for their console series. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years for WiiWare was episodic and turned up being a $40 RPG, but for the same amount of money you're getting costumes, starter weapons, and a few boss battles, that are not that challenging for XIII-2, it makes me worried about Versus XIII, and games for the future.

So do yourselves a favor, buy classic Square Enix games, hell if you're itching to give them cash buy Deux Ex: Human Revolution on Steam for $15, just don't waste your money on this stuff...


8:05 AM on 02.29.2012

No Binding of Isaac on 3DS? It means way more than you think...

With Nintendo's recent announcement of The Binding of Isaac not appearing on the 3DS, (J. Holmes' Article), it shows the nature of the company and debunks its new mantra of "learning from it's past mistakes and correcting them." The unfortunate thing is that the Iwata and Reggie have said that they've learned many things from the 3DS launch and won't make them with the Wii U. Not to mention it also means that any potential for Steam getting integrated into the Wii U/Nintendo Network is definitely damaged. It also means that Nintendo of America hasn't learned anything at all and the regression from finally publishing Xenoblade Chronicles in North America, to letting XSeed take all the financial risk and do all the work in The Last Story, which means that Pandora's Tower (despite how good/bad it may be) will never be released and the regression is complete. We can see NOA for what it really is, a company that thinks it's going to ride on the coattail's of a system they've already taken into the backyard with a shotgun. The problem is everyone has already thrown out the corpse. This was merely a flash in the pan for an otherwise dead system over the last year. (Skyward Sword excluded)

Psst... Nintendo, you might have just burned a developer too. Remember what Team Meat's Tommy Refenes said? Lemme refresh, "If we can in the future, we'd like our next game to be on Wii U as well as everything else," WHOOPS! But worst of all you've pissed off the "core" gamers you say you want to "win back."

But at the heart of the decision, why not release it? Religious reasons? Financial risk? There are a few reasons why we can debunk the two. And they both end up ultimately in the hands of consumers. In terms of financial risks, the game has been a huge success on steam. In a recent interview, Edmund McMillen was overwhelmed with the title's success. McMillen said, " It's pretty absurd, we're closing in to 450,000 copies, it's just ridiculous, there's no reason for this game to have done well. It's nice for everyone involved." If those were all Isaac sales on 3DS it would put it just shy of ExciteBike 3D, the best selling game on the eShop! Which was free for quite a while but more importantly, made Nintendo over a million dollars! (source). Many gamers, including myself have Steam accounts, and since my iPhone can only let me buy steam games, I can't play it on the go. I'm sure I'm not alone and other people feel the same way. Plus the eShop is lacking in content for non-ambassadors anyway.

If religion is your scapegoat then aren't you just undermining the intelligence your customers? There are safeguards for content! The means are in place to protect the consumer by your rules remember? if a child tries to buy the game what parent who was legitamately worried if their child played this game would leave their credit card information and not monitor the kid's 3DS activity. Not to mention if a child had the interest in playing the game it's not going to be for it's religious overtone, it's going to be because it plays like The Legend of Zelda! If I remember correctly you're apart of the ESA right? So, if Nintendo is in the ESA, which created and funded the ESRB... Yeah. Isn't it up to the consumer to decide if they don't want content by showing it doesn't sell well? I understand if you have morals Nintendo, I do. But you're a corporation, designed to make money. Our money. The money you need to keep making games. Money clearly already spent by roughly 449k other people too. [See what I did there? :)]

Get your shit together Nintendo!

Would you buy The Binding of Isaac for 3DS? How do you feel about this decision? Sound off below.   read

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