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11:56 PM on 09.07.2014  

My Favorite Game: Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

So I'm sitting here trying to think of how to begin this blog, thinking to myself "how could I possibly convey the feelings I get when I play Castle of Illusion? Should I go the old tired route of saying 'oh, it's Disney magic!' Should I talk about how much "fun" it is? Should I be writing what is essentially a review of it?" I don't know about you, but I'd rather not have to write any of those things. None of them could possibly convey what Castle of Illusion means to me.

Here's a little background information on Castle of Illusion for those of you who may have heard the name but don't know the game. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a platformer developed by Sega for the Sega Genesis, Master System, Game Gear, and Sega Saturn. It was developed around the same time as another well-known Genesis classic, the first Sonic the Hedgehog; and it predated other platformers based on Disney properties such as Aladdin and the Lion King.

"If you're not going to talk about the game, then what are you going to talk about?" you might ask. I'm going to talk about my history with this game and the emotional ties I have to it. Some of you may have seen me talk about this before in a previous blog. I'm going to go into a bit more depth this time around.

Castle of Illusion may very well be the first video game I've ever played. I can't be entirely sure. But some of my earliest memories are of playing this game. Along with the second and third Sonic the Hedgehog games, I played Castle of Illusion on a daily basis. I think it was only when I got a Nintendo 64 one Christmas morning that my dedication to the Genesis began to taper off.

One day I was told that my grandmother on my mother's side was not my biological grandmother. My biological grandmother had died before I was born. Apparently it was only a few short weeks before I was born. My grandfather went to wake her up one morning and she wouldn't open her eyes. I can't imagine the pain my mother must have gone through at that time.

Over the years I was given bits and pieces of information on this grandmother I never knew. How she was a wonderful mother. How she would have loved my brother and I. How she would have taken us out for ice cream. And how she loved Castle of Illusion.

Apparently, the copy of Castle of Illusion that my family owned came from her. She used to sit down and play it for hours on end. She loved it. Just like me. We could have played it together. What I wouldn't give to have played through it with her just once. Suddenly, the way I saw Castle of Illusion began to change.

Castle of Illusion was no longer just a "fun" game full of "Disney magic". It was my one physical connection to this grandmother I had never known. A kind of connection I didn't share, and to this day don't share with any other family members. I have no family members who love the kinds of games I love. My dad loves RTS games. My brother prefers multiplayer games such as DOTA 2. My mom loves to play hidden object games. None are my cup of tea. Only my grandmother and I saw the true magic in Castle of Illusion. You have no idea of how important that is to me.

Since I discovered this connection and dwelled on it, the way I've enjoyed Castle of Illusion has evolved. No longer am I having fun just for myself. I'm having fun for two. I feel not only my own joy upon infiltrating the Castle of Illusion, defeating the Masters of Illusion, and saving Minnie, but my grandmother's as well. 

Now when I play Castle of Illusion-taking in the scenery, listening to the music, and seeing the raw imagination laid out on the canvas that is the game engine-it almost brings tears to my eyes. Heck, just writing this blog nearly kickstarted the waterworks. That's not something any old game can do to me. Let alone a platformer. In fact, I've never "cried" while playing a game (and believe me, I've tried), so bringing tears to my eyes is one of the highest honors when it comes to noting games that have impacted me.

So why is Castle of Illusion my favorite game ever? I must answer that with another question: "How can it not be my favorite game of all time?" To say that any other game is my favorite game of all time would be like saying that some other game has managed to elicit more raw emotion from me than Castle of Illusion. And that's not true. Nothing has. And nothing ever will.

But to answer the above question more directly: It's not Castle of Illusion that makes Castle of Illusion my favorite game of all time. Castle of Illusion is my bridge between worlds. Through that bridge, I have been able to form a bond with a woman that I dearly wish I had known. Played games with. Laughed with. Loved. And for that, it is undoubtedly my favorite game of all time.

  read


10:37 AM on 08.23.2014  

Death of a Security Guard



Hey everyone! I don't know if any of you knew this, but I just got a job this past week as a security guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza! It's a nice little pizza place for kids. It has these animatronic animals: Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy. 

The one little catch is that I have the night shift, and Freddy and his pals get a little antsy at night. Like in a murderous sort of way. But it's all good now! I made it through the first week! Even got a little overtime! I know my way around the shift! So I thought I'd document this momentous occasion! I'll cash that check and snap some pictures!





Umm...okay. There's obviously some sort of mistake here. I went to cash the check and instead of dollars I was given "Freddy Fun Bux". This is clearly not legal tender. It's like they didn't even try to conceal the fact that they were ripping me off. They could have at least colored the damn thing green!

Anywho, I stopped by Freddy Fazbear's Pizza on my way home from the bank. I figured there might be someone there who I could complain to. Or I thought at least the guard on Sundays could give me the rundown on what the deal is here. But no one answered when I hit the button on the intercom outside, so I just headed home.





So this is interesting. I just found this hanging on the wall at the bottom of my stairs a moment ago. I'd think it suspicious and call 911 if I wasn't a sane man with a dick. Might as well head on over to the basement.



Another note on my basement door. And it's a sexier one! This just gets better and better! There's no way that following its instructions can backfire!



So I get to my freezer and there's a note on it that says "open for sexz". I'd happily open it if Chica weren't CLEARLY peeking out from inside the freezer. If you can even call it peeking. I mean come on. I know you're no Solid Snake, but you can try a little harder than that. And beyond that, it's against my nature as a decent human being to obey the orders of anyone who tacks 'z's onto the end of words in an effort to sound cool or appealing.

Wait a minute...wait, wait, wait. If Chica is here...OH GOD. FREDDY AND HIS GANG ARE AFTER ME! I'VE GOT TO GET TO MY ROOM!





Alright, I made it back to my room. But not before grabbing two of those notes Chica put up around the house. Purely for the sake of research of course. I'm sure those notes contain valuable information on the anatomy of a female animatronic duck. I would have grabbed the one on the freezer in the basement, but I'd rather keep my hands. Particularly my dominant one. For science.

Anyways, I have a security system in my home. I mean why wouldn't I? I'm an underpaid security guard. So let's take a look at the camera...



OH SHIT! FOXY'S COMING FOR MY BOOTY! I knew that IF Freddy and his Gang would ever follow me home, Foxy would only enter through a window with curtains you can part. Well, only one such set of curtains exist in my home. I thought I was ready. 

I even put up a damn "Out of Order" sign! I thought Foxy might read it and go "Oh, this window is out of order. I can't go through it. And beyond that, it's immoral to break into people's homes and rip their innards out with a pirate hook." Damn you Foxy and your above-average IQ!

Well, let's see if Foxy's coming. I'll take a peek out my bedroom door.



NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE!





Man, that's awesome. So for the past hour or so I've been holed up in my room looking up strategies for dealing with Foxy. And the other guys in Freddy's gang. But mostly Foxy. He has the best fan-art. I mean look at that shit. God damn. That's one fox you'd be an idiot to try to hide from.

Anyways, I thought I had all of these guys' behaviors down, but apparently not. Their AI is set to max when they're in "break into the security guard's home, thereby violating his privacy, and scare the bejeezus out of him" mode.

Hey is it just me or do I see something out of the corner of my eye?



Oh, great. It's the greatest stalker of them all, Bonnie. Case in point, right outside of that window is part of the freaking roof. What kind of 400 pound robot climbs up on a flimsy little roof just to peek in through a single white male's blinds? Apparently this one does. 

Better close those blinds. It'd be pretty uncomfortable if Bonnie watched me while I "research" those Chica pictures from before.



There we go! Now where'd I put those pictures? It'd be nice to have one good final research session before Freddy rips out my internal organs and flays me with them.



Uh oh. Power outage. I guess I can understand, what with Foxy banging on my wooden bedroom door-that is in no way, shape, or form hooked up to electricity-for a while; running the AC full throttle for the past twenty-four hours; and keeping those blinds closed. Makes total sense.

And now I'm fucked.



Freddy you beautiful bastard. You beautiful, predictable bastard. I missed seeing that mug right before 6 AM. Right before ripping victory from your paws. You think you have me beat, huh? Well, it's almost-SHIT IT'S ONLY 12:45!!! I can't make it to six AM!

Please, Freddy, play the long jingle! Give me forty-five seconds to come up with a plan! Or better yet, why not play something other than that same old tired jingle? Why not play "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"? That'd give me a solid seventeen minutes to cheese my way out of this!

Wait a minute...that's it!



Ha ha! I'll just cheese my way out of this by setting the clock on my security camera forward to 6 AM! That ought to fool you! If not, I'll have no choice but to burst into tears and sully your already disgustingly dirty fur!



Oh good, I'm alive. I can probably get out of the little ball I curled up into and stand up now. I could probably do with a change of pants, too. And I'm going to need some new carpet. And a few air fresheners wouldn't hurt.





I'm pretty sure I'm starting to hallucinate. I mean, I don't remember much about that Sonic RPG no one played, but I'm pretty sure that Sonic didn't have the head of a horrific bear with a cute little hat. Of course, we're talking about the company that thought up "Were-Sonic", so maybe it did happen.



Okay, no, I AM hallucinating. I just replayed Twilight Princess recently, and Link sure as hell wasn't replaced by Freddy Fazbear. And the triforce was almost certainly not a pepperoni pizza. 

I've got the strangest sinking feeling right now.



Ah, yep. I'm dead.





















Five Nights at Freddy's sure is an odd bird. Beyond being a fun horror game (in the same vein as Paper's Please, where it's all about managing a bunch of things efficiently and consistently), it's spawned quite a following. 

There's been more fan-art than you can shake a stick at. People have poured personalities into these characters that they don't necessarily have in the game (see: Chica/Foxy). There have been theories about what happened before the events of the game and about the animatronics themselves.

I love it all. These-dare I call them-"exaggerations" that expand the game beyond its physical boundaries and draw more and more people in. It brings people together. Whether it be in the comments of Youtube videos or in streams, I've seen so much support for the people who play this game. People giving tips and tricks, trying to help a player understand the AI, or just encouraging a player in general. This game brings out a sense of community. Rather than watching just to see someone get scared, a lot of people are watching to support someone and see them win.

Anyways, I got a little off-track there. As others are paying tribute to Five Nights at Freddy's in various ways (such as fan-art), I thought of this blog as a unique way for me to pay tribute to it. It sure was fun to make, so I hope you enjoyed reading this silly little epilogue I concocted for Five Nights at Freddy's. It's a great little horror game. I totally recommend buying it. You can pick it up on Steam or Desura for $5.

One last thing before I end this. I know the signs in that Foxy camera image I have are nigh-impossible to read. Well, I took a picture of a picture on a PSP with a PS Vita (I used a Vita because it takes grainy pictures, perfect for a horror game). I kind of expected that to happen. Here are versions of the pictures that are legible:





That's it! Thanks for reading!



  read


1:58 PM on 07.14.2014  

I Love Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories



I'm going to make a prediction. Feel free to tell me if I'm wrong. You either:

a) Generally enjoy Kingdom Hearts as a series, in which case your favorite Kingdom Hearts game is: Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, or Kingdom Hearts 3D.

b) Dislike Kingdom Hearts, in which case you have no "favorite".

I think I'd be correct at least 80% of the time. Just take a look at this poll that I totally didn't steal from GameFAQs.



It's pretty clear where the love is. Look at the size of Kingdom Hearts II's e-peen as compared to that of Re: Chain of Memories, Re:Coded, and 358/Days. Kingdom Hearts II is definitely the one attracting all the ladies (and men). 

Okay, so this is just one graph. And from GameFAQs of all places. But I'd say it's a pretty accurate one. Well, while I do love Kingdom Hearts II and those other ones that people like so much, I'm afraid they're simply not my favorites. Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories is. Y'know. That game in the title of the blog. The blog that you're reading. Right now.




So some of you might be going, "hey, Marche, you have shit taste. What looks fun about that stuff in the image up there?" Yeah, you kind of have a point.

Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories seems on the outside like a Kingdom Hearts nightmare. You're going back through the same locations as in the first game. You'll fight your way through Olympus Coliseum for what feels like the thousandth time. You'll fight Genie Jafar. Again. And the fight will play out like it did in the first game. Again. And as if that weren't bad enough, it's not like the story is hugely important. You can jump straight from the first Kingdom Hearts into the second without much confusion. Heck, that's what I did back when Kingdom Hearts II first released.

So why even bother? What is it about Re: Chain of Memories that even makes it worth looking at?



THIS!

Wait a minute, that's not right...



THIS!

Yes, that's right. Cards. Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories has cards. Lots of them. And they alone make the game worth playing. They make the game fun. Allow me to explain. In case you didn't know, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories (and Chain of Memories) really diverged from the traditional Kingdom Hearts gameplay. And hot damn is the gameplay it has fun.

I'm not going to bother to explain the intricacies of the card-based battle system, because that would take paragraphs upon paragraphs of me droning on about it (I actually just erased six paragraphs of me droning on about it once I realized that it would be boring to read), but it is addictive as hell. It actually makes fighting Large Body #234984 fun.

I will say that it's a battle system that allows for a lot of strategy. Between creating your own deck of cards to battle with, setting up/using sleights (essentially setting up combos in-battle, which may trigger an ability based on which cards you used), and performing card breaks (interrupting an enemy's attack by using a card valued higher than theirs, or by using a card with a value of 0), and recharging your deck, you really have to plan out your attacks in advance if you want to get the upper hand. ESPECIALLY in boss battles. (Let me tell you, some of the later boss battles are HARD.)

I think this is wonderful, because you can get through quite a few other Kingdom Hearts games without any strategy whatsoever. Just attack and heal. Attack and heal. Attack and heal. Maybe use an item if you're low on MP and throw in an offensive spell or two. Where's the thought behind that? There's not a lot. Granted, higher difficulties in other Kingdom Hearts games may require a bit more thought, but I was largely able to get through those in the same manner.



A few other things to note. Take a look at that! In this Kingdom Hearts you actually get to choose what you want when you level up! No more leveling up and going "oh look, the game decided for me that I would get more health". No, no, no. You choose. And you have to choose wisely. How you level up plays a large part in battles. With more health you can survive longer. With more CP you can have more cards in your deck. With sleights you can pull off greater abilities. They're all important. 

Which you deem more important than the others is up to you. Not the game. For once you grow with Sora. He doesn't grow for you.



What's next? Oh, look! It's everybody's favorite character to ship with Sora, Riku! And what's this? You're playing as him!

Yes, that's right. You get to play as Riku once you finish Sora's story. You might think "so what? I got to play as Riku in Kingdom Hearts 3D. And who would want to go through the game again as him?" as you flip through some Kingdom Hearts hentai. Let me tell you something. Re: Chain of Memories handled Riku brilliantly. Re: Chain of Memories beats the ever-loving shit out of Riku's Kingdom Hearts 3D appearance.

How so? Think back if you will to Kingdom Hearts 3D (assuming you've played it). Think back to playing as Sora. Then as Riku. What's the difference? The differences are relatively minor. Yes, Riku fights a bit differently than Sora, he might have an exclusive ability or two, and you can set up his abilities differently from Sora, but when you get right down to it, he's a clone. You're essentially playing as Sora with a new skin. And a deeper voice.

On the other hand, playing as Riku in Re: Chain of Memories is an entirely different experience from playing as Sora.



Unlike with Sora, you can't upgrade CP or get sleights. You can upgrade your attack power or darkness points. The reason you can't change your CP is because you can't change Riku's deck. Your cards are set up for you. They'll change as your progress through the story, but gone are the days of carefully choosing cards yourself. As for sleights, you have some set sleights you can use in Dark Mode.

Darkness points are used for Dark Mode. Perform card breaks in battle or take enough damage and you'll eventually activate Dark Mode. How long you're in it for depends on how many darkness points you have. Dark mode is like Riku's limit break. He gets the ability to use three powerful sleights, as well as to just wreck shit in general. Take damage in Dark mode and you'll revert back to your normal form quicker.

So, you get the idea. Riku is a whole different monster from Sora.



"Still," you might say. "That's all well and good, but why should I have to go through the whole game again? I mean, for god's sake, going through Agrabah for the umpteenth time was bad enough".

For one thing, it's not the same story. Riku undergoes his own journey. He goes through the different Disney worlds in a totally different order from Sora. And he has his own obstacles to overcome. See that guy up there? His name's Zexion. You don't get to fight him as Sora. Riku and Riku alone has to take him on. There's at least one other boss like this that I can remember.

"But that's just like Kingdom Hearts 3D!" you cry as you hug your official Kingdom Hearts 3D Riku body pillow (TM). Calm yourself. 

Here's where the beauty of playing as Riku kicks in.

Playing as Riku does not mean you have to sink another 30 hours into the game. Riku's story flies by. Riku levels up quickly and cuts down enemies like he's the Raiden of Kingdom Hearts. You'll be shocked at how fast you're moving once you start playing it. If you wish, you can whip through his story in an afternoon or two. It's much more fast paced than Sora's story. One more difference between the two to throw on the pile.



[IOU one seamless transition into some conclusion paragraphs - <3 Marche100]

So why do I love Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories? It dared to be different. It dared to have a battle system that would be alien to Kingdom Hearts fans. One that they might shun and pass by without a second thought (as seems to have become the case). But you know what? That battle system works. It REALLY works. It's a blast. I'm honestly saddened that we'll never get another Kingdom Hearts game with this Re: Chain of Memories' battle system.

Beyond that, there's plenty of customization with both your deck and Sora and Riku them selves. And Square-Enix outdid their selves with how they handled Riku. Rather than taking the easy way out and making him a Sora clone, they made playing as him a  unique experience. One that didn't overstay its welcome and incorporated bits of his character into the gameplay.

You know, because Riku has darkness in his heart...or something. So Dark mode. Yeah. Hey, cut me some slack. The word "darkness" gets tossed around so much in the Kingdom Hearts games that it's hard to remember how darkness ties into everything.



That's why I love Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories. I encourage anyone who hasn't played it yet to give it a chance, or anyone who has dropped it to try picking it up again. Once you understand what you're doing, it's a wonderful experience. One that's solidified it as my favorite Kingdom Hearts game.

Note: I know I was egging on Riku's Kingdom Hearts 3D appearance a lot in this blog, but don't get the wrong idea. I love Kingdom Hearts 3D too. I just think that Re: Chain of Memories handled playing as him in a far more interesting, fun, and unique manner.   read


5:35 AM on 06.04.2014  

Rising Above All Others With Revengeance

HEY GUYS. GUESS WHO'S LATE TO THE PARTY? IT'S MARCHE!

So I'm the last person on Earth to play Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I bought it a little over a month ago and just recently got around to playing it. You know what? I love it. A lot. More than a lot. I've been through the game three times already. I've already planned a fourth and fifth run. I won't shut up about it on the forums. I'm going for the freaking platinum trophy.

Guys, this is perplexing. I'm going to tell you why. Needless to say, this blog will at some point contain spoilers about Metal Gear Rising. Right up to the final boss. You have been warned.



STOP THE PRESSES. Marche is a year late to the Metal Gear Rising shindig!

So there are a few reasons why Metal Gear Rising has shocked me. For one thing, I NEVER replay games right after beating them. NEVER. This is the first game where I have EVER had multiple runs back-to-back. Secondly, I'm not a huge fan of action games. Sure, I've played Viewtiful Joe, I've dabbled in Bayonetta, and I've played some Devil May Cry, but none of them really wowed me. At least, not nearly to the extent that Metal Gear Rising has.

As someone who's not a massive action game fan (or who's good at action games in the first place), I'm not going to pretend like I know all of the intricacies of what makes an action game good or enjoyable. But I'm going to try to find out just what makes Metal Gear Rising rise above every other game I've ever played. I'll try to decode what makes it so special that I want to play it over and over again.



Fun fact: My real name is Sam.
Sad fact: I am not as cool as Jetstream Sam.
Uplifting Fact: I'm not as dead as Jetstream Sam.

Well, let's start off with the story and the characters. I bought Metal Gear Rising because it's a part of the Metal Gear chronology and I was (and still technically am) playing through the whole Metal Gear franchise. Minus a few games. That, and I was interested in seeing what all the fuss was about. 

Well I'm going to say right off the bat that the story is absolutely not what makes Metal Gear Rising so special. It's the most throwaway story I've seen in the whole Metal Gear franchise. I couldn't care less about why Raiden is going to x and fighting y. This is interesting, because much of my enjoyment of other Metal Gear games comes from their stories.

The characters are different. Primarily the villains. Like any other Metal Gear game, the villains really shine. I'll never forget Jetstream Sam and his brilliant set of teeth. Or Mistral with her arm...pole...thing. Or Monsoon's ability to become a royal pain in the a-I mean-split apart. Or how Senator Armstrong played college ball (y'know). Oh, and I guess Raiden's suddenly became a badass too. And he can rock a ton of costumes.

So we've got memorable characters. They're fun in their own little ways. That's a start. What next?



Why couldn't I do this in Metal Gear Solid 2? You know. When I had to fight 20 of these fucking things. When it mattered.

Oh. Right. That. So, this game has incredible set-pieces right off the bat. That Metal Gear Ray fight is unforgettable. I imagine the impact wouldn't be as great if you weren't already a Metal Gear fan prior to playing Revengeance, but it's still hella cool. Let's not forget other memorable scenes, like the fight against your first helicopter, the fight in a japanese garden, running up the side of a skyscraper, the first fight against a GRAD, every other boss fight in the game, and so on.

Say what you will about flashy set-pieces, but I love them. I know some people take issue about how some games like Uncharted are built around them, but I don't care. I love it all the same. It's all stupid fun. Speaking of stupid fun...



That poor man probably has a family. A family in dire need of slicing up. BAM.

You knew this was coming. Blade mode is a blast. Hacking, slicing, dicing, chopping, cutting...I can't get enough of it. As many others have said before me, the cutting system is more complex than meets the e-AH, WHO CARES ABOUT THAT? IT'S FUCKING AWESOME! From the very first cut to the last cut, it never loses its luster. It never gets old. The joy of cutting your enemies into hundreds of parts remains no matter how much you do it.

And you know, I wonder why that is? I don't think it has anything to do with blood and guts. I derive just as much joy from chopping up machinery as a cyborg. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that cutting up an enemy in blade mode is practically equivalent to victory. Each cut I make both asserts my power and reinforces the fact that I'm victorious (at least, to some degree). Maybe I'm overthinking it. 

Or maybe not. Let's take a look at the only other example I can think of. One thing that never gets old no matter how much you do it. Objecting in Ace Attorney games. As any Ace Attorney fan knows, objecting is always a blast. You always get a sort of rush from doing it. It doesn't matter if you're playing a case for the first time or the five-hundredth time. Each objection feels good every single time. Without fail. Perhaps that's because when you object, you feel a sense of victory. You're triumphing over the lies presented before you. In a sense, each objection is its own battle and has its own victory.

Perhaps I'm onto something. Perhaps not. But I don't want to get over-analytical here. Point is that blade mode is awesome one-hundred percent of the time. That's certainly a part of why I've found Metal Gear Rising so fun and replayable. (I'd be insane to say it's not.)



Note: I do not endorse Kotaku by using this gif. Kotaku can go fuck with Senator Armstrong for all I care.

I'm Senator Steven Armstrong, and I approve this message.

So now I've touched on the characters, set pieces, and how the blade mode mechanic never gets old. All of that contributes to this next section, which I dedicate to our lord and savior, Senator Armstrong. He's pretty well a god among senators.

So Senator Armstrong is definitely a part of why I love this game and find it so replayable. Hell, you could argue that I'm replaying the game JUST to get to the senator. This guy is a joy in so many ways. He has great one-liners. His design is fantastic (he looks so much like a generic, stereotypical politican, and yet at the same time he has his own unique, memorable look). He has muscles that even Tubby would admire. Hell, even his mannerisms are great (I particularly like when he pushes up his glasses after Raiden beats the shit out of his chest, as if nothing happened).

The fight with him is awesome, too. The true fight, I mean. He's fast, powerful, and has some nice, flashy fire attacks. You're practically fighting a walking tank (Metal Gear Armstrong?). The blade mode sequences are the most complex blade mode sequences in the game. Quite befitting of a final fight. And who can forget my favorite part? The final blade mode sequence, where you slice up his chest, Raiden proclaims "We're done here!", and rips Armstrong's heart right out of his chest! That sequence never gets old, just like blade mode itself never gets old.

What a great character. What a great fight. What a great finisher. What's left for us to talk about? A few more things.



Sorry, no "Rules of Nature". It's not in my nature to repost songs that we've all heard a thousand times over.

Hey, look! My favorite Metal Gear Rising track! Anyways, the soundtrack is most definitely awesome and a part of why I find Metal Gear Rising so special. But let's go a little bit deeper than that, shall we? 

I always find music to be a sort of spiritual experience. Metal Gear Rising provides a rather unique experience in that regard. At least, with the bosses. I chose that particular video of "A Stranger I Remain" up there for a reason. You hear the instrumental version of a boss's song when you first enter the ring. The vocals come in later during the battle, after you've taken off so much health (with a few exceptions).

I find this to be a rather interesting way of handling the boss music. You get acquainted with the tune during the first phase or two of the boss. You think "oh, this is pretty good". Then WHAM. Vocals come in as the fight heats up. This triggers a reaction in the player (or at least in me), where it gets the player even more pumped up.

I love how well coordinated that is. I can't think of another game off the top of my head that does something like that (that I know of). Many games don't have the opportunity, having instrumental soundtracks. Others may have vocals, but they work differently. 

Take Sephiroth's theme, for instance. It's got that famous chorus section. But that chorus doesn't kick in when you deal so much damage to Sephiroth. No, you could hear it before you even took your first turn if you sat there long enough. It doesn't have the same effect. It doesn't have nearly the same impact that Metal Gear Rising's style has. At least, I don't think it does.



Other languages sold separately.

My, we got a bit analytical in here. Let's end with something not-so-serious, shall we? I'm talking costumes. I don't usually care about costumes in games. At all. But how can you say no to a playthrough as mariachi Raiden, scourge of Desperado (complete with the infinite blade mode wig)? And how can we live without a playthrough with Raiden in Desperado attire, cranking the irony (and the fashion) up a notch?

These are important things, people. Trust me.



There's your new wallpaper. You're welcome.

So what did you just read? I dunno. I kind of don't know what I just wrote. Call it what you will. Part journey to understand why I love this game enough to play it over and over again, part me just gushing about Metal Gear Rising, part analysis about video game music and why certain things in games feel good...I dunno. Make of it what you will.

I'll just be over here playing more Metal Gear Rising. And cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting...   read


5:13 AM on 05.22.2014  

1 Things About Marche100 To Pass Over As You're Browsing the Cblogs

I'm fashionably late to the party. As always. Let's cut right to the chase, shall we?

1. I occasionally forget to put 0s and 9s after my 1s.

It's an honest mistake. It happens to the best of us! Right? RIGHT?!



2. I'm apparently pretty damn young. At least, compared to most people around here.

I'm 1 years old. If there's anyone younger than me around here, I certainly don't know about it. We've got people here on Destructoid who are parents. Grizzled veterans of life. Old codgers. Wrinkly old men. And here I am. Still wearing diapers, as it were. Most people in college still wear diapers. Right? Sure. Of course they do. Anyways, as I'm the youngest here, I think I'm clearly the one with the most wisdom. So if you have any pressing questions, I suggest you bring them to me posthaste. The sooner you bring me your questions, the sooner I can direct you to a "let me Google that for you" link.

Oh, and there's some dickbag in the forums named Firion who likes to go on about how I'm in preschool. If you see him, make fun of his weabooness (there's a good word to add to Chrome's dictionary) for me. 



3. I have many unpopular preferences/opinions (when it comes to video games).

I'm Mr. Unpopular apparently. I've noticed over the years that I have a plethora of unpopular preferences/opinions. Whether it be liking games that are generally disliked or hailing some games as the best of a series that most don't like as much. So much so that I started making a list of this stuff! Here are a few unpopular preferences/opinions of mine! 

I know none of you reading this blog care about what games I like or how I feel about certain games but too bad! Not that you can't just scroll past this part, but-hey, WAIT!

- I liked Virtue's Last Reward more than 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors.
- Metal Gear Solid 1 is my least favorite numbered Metal Gear Solid.
- Zelda: Twilight Princess is my favorite Zelda.
- Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs was awesome.
- My favorite Final Fantasy is FF5.
- Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is criminally underrated. Seriously.
- Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories is my favorite Kingdom Hearts.
- Bastion sucked (I've seen recently that I'm not alone in this, which is nice to know).
- Final Fantasy IX is overrated (I call this the Earthbound Effect, where a game that was once underrated has become overrated as word of mouth has made it popular).
- Trauma Center 2 is so underrated. This one isn't so much an unpopular opinion as one that no one else has because I'm the only person who knows about this game's existence. ;_;

That's just a small sampling of my many unpopular preferences/opinions. I'm so special. Look at me go.



4. I've beaten the Ace Attorney games more times than I can count.

If you know me, you know I'm a massive Ace Attorney fan. I love these games to death. I pretty well play through them yearly. Keep in mind that these are visual novel-like games that easily run up to 20-30 hours in length. Yeah, to set aside that much time every year or two for these games, they pretty well have to have an incredibly large place in my heart.

So, I lost count of how many times I beat them a while back. But it's gotten to the point where the cartridges have just about stopped working. The first Phoenix Wright game I have is a bitch to get started up. I've been shocked the past 2-3 times I've gone through it that it's held out this long. The second Phoenix Wright game is now so overused that it not only has problems starting up, but occasionally randomly freezes. That's fun to deal with!



Here's a fun fact: Back in middle school, the Ace Attorney games inspired me to proudly declare that I wanted to become an attorney. That went on for about a year. Heh. If only the judicial system was as simple and fun as it is in Ace Attorney.

Another fun fact (and an embarrassing one at that): Also back in middle school, we had a mock trial once. This was back a little while after I had my first exposure to Ace Attorney. My side had a perfect opportunity to make an objection, but no one on my side was willing to take it (perhaps they were a bit shy). I took the reigns, promptly rose from my seat and slammed my desk in Phoenix Wright style. Yeah. I actually did that. Thank god I didn't point my finger. I know I considered it. Suffice to say, that was a bit embarrassing. At least the others on my side didn't seem to care on the side. They were just excited that we had made a valid objection.



5. This is thing number five, which I've set aside for intermission!



6. I'm a drawer. No, not the furniture. A person who draws.

I'm a person who has loved to draw all his life. I drew the beautiful pieces you can see in this blog.

As well as a shit ton of magnificent Steins;Gate drawings.

But more importantly, I want to point out my greatest works. King Zelos, a fellow on the forums who apparently fancies himself as royalty, recently got a bunch of us to dig up old things around our house and post about them. Well, I dug up some stuff and found some of the best damn comic books you could ever lay eyes on. Just look at some of this stuff.



Planet Man? Look at that originality! Look at that art direction! This is moving me to tears, guys! If it doesn't move you to tears, you have no soul.



B-Boy, the boy who uses a basketball to fight monsters?! This is an instant classic! Better than Superman! Bigger than Superman!





The Adventures of Megaman and Link?! Man, look at those characters I came up with and clearly did not steal from anyone else! Look at the second image, with a decapitated Samus in the center-left panel! That's true art! This should be in the National Gallery of Art front and center! It would make grown men weep! I should copyright this before someone else steals my ideas/characters!

Such are the glorious fruits of my young mind. I should draw more comics. Can't let this sheer genius go to waste. 

7. I make stuff with RPG Maker. Lots of stuff.

I'm not even going to bother pulling out the "RPG MAKER, BLEGH!" and "Shut the hell up" card this time. Oh wait...I JUST DID!

Anyways, I've been using RPG Maker since I was in seventh grade. That'd be...about six years. I'm going to say it's seven years, though, because seven sounds more impressive than six. I've made RPGs out the wazoo since I started using the program. Many have gone unfinished. MANY. Very few have seen completion in any form. I suppose that's my curse.



So if you weren't living under a rock a few weeks ago, you'll notice that I made this little thing called Destructoid Story. A visual novel. That's made with the latest version of RPG Maker. That's something I did in fact complete. Yay, me. *confetti*

And then I almost immediately came up with a concept for another RPG that will no doubt be in development hell for some time. Yay, me. *hellish confetti*

If you want to see some information about the game I'm working on, I made a thread wayyy over here about it. It's a dungeon crawler inspired by Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Persona 3, Catherine, and Dark Souls (a bit). Yeah. It's pretty crazy. (No it's not. It's not crazy at all, is it?)



8. I used to write horrible fanfiction.

Firion likes to joke on the forums that I'm the best fanfiction writer around. Well, he's half right. I used to be a fanfiction writer. And not just any fanfiction writer. The worst fanfiction writer around. I once said that I would never, ever share my awful fanfiction with you good people. I would never willingly unleash the untold horrors within upon your pure, innocent souls. 

Well, I decided just now to corrupt your minds with my garbage.

So here's a link to my old fanfiction.net account. Full of all the Kingdom Hearts fanfiction you can handle. Not that it's all Kingdom Hearts fanfiction, but the majority of it is. And boy is it awful fanfiction. Avoid clicking on that link at all costs.

Here's another link to a Kingdom Hearts piece I wrote (and didn't finish) late last year. It's on another forum I frequented for quite a while (yes, my name is different over there, as I went through various name changes for fun. No creating multiple accounts for me, unlike some people over here.) It's considerably better than that crap on fanfiction.net, although it suffers from commasplosions and lack of proofreading.

Of course, I don't know why I'm bothering to include links at all. You'd have to be insane to want to read that shit. (I'm looking at you, Lion.)



9. I used to make horrible Gmod/sprite comics.

Yes, as if half of the stuff I've shared/shown in this blog wasn't embarrassing enough, I'm going to share even more of my creative genius with you all. Many years ago, I made sprite comics! Pretty bad ones. I also made many comics with Garry's Mod, wherein I posed models from Half-Life 2, took screenshots, and added text bubbles.

Hey, at least this stuff isn't as bad as my old fanfiction.

So here's a link to that if you want to read some of that for whatever reason. My comics include such classics as Half-Life 3, The Adventures of Gamer, and MarioSonicZelda Adventures (whadda name!) 



10. I'm about to end your whole career.

Boom. Bam. Bop. Bada-bop boom pow.



(I'm not a rapper.)



Bonus. Look at this fucking gif.



Firion showed this to me the other day. Now try to pull your eyes away. You can't, can you? Heck, I don't know why I'm bothering to type all this. It's not like you can even read it. Now, the reason I wrote up this blog in the first place has come to fruition. I now have total control over your mind and body. My plot to take over Destructoid begins now. With you. Once I have control of the masses, nothing can stop me.

This is Marche100. Assuming direct control.   read


10:00 AM on 04.11.2014  

Destructoid Story Reveal

As you may or may not recall, I made a blog a few weeks ago teasing Destructoid Story. I refused to say what it is exactly, but gave you a nice little trailer to build up a little bit of hype. In case you missed it, here it is again:



Well, the day of release is drawing nearer and nearer, so I figure that I ought to give you guys some more information.

So, what is Destructoid Story? Why don't I just have my good friend Snoop Lion tell you?



You heard the man. Destructoid Story is a visual novel. I know that some people were predicting that it was erotic fan fiction of some sort. So close, yet so far. The fan fiction thing is the close part. There's nothing erotic in this visual novel. Or isn't there...?



So, what am I using to make Destructoid Story? I've been using RPG Maker VX Ace. In other words, the newest version of RPG Maker. I've been pushing the program to its limits to make this thing (that trailer up there is in-VN footage of the opening). If you have some sort of grudge against RPG Maker/people who use RPG Maker, I suggest that you get over it and grow up. That's what I'm using. Deal with it.



You've probably noticed by now that there a good few people from Destructoid's community in this thing. Who's all in it? I'll tell you! This is a tentative list of people who will be appearing in the VN (or who I've already put in) in alphabetical order:

- Aaron "Mxy" Yost
- AboveUp
- Agidyne
- Benny Disco
- Brightside
- BrowneyeWinkin
- Char Aznable
- Dale North (mentioned, not seen)
- Everyday Legend
- Firion
- FlyByNight
- Gatsby (mentioned, not seen)
- Glowbear
- Gorilla Gravy
- Grunchk1n (mentioned, not seen)
- King Zelos
- Kir
- KymikoLoco
- Last Scion of the House of Blue Lions
- Occams' Electric Toothbrush
- Marche100 (hey, it's not like I'm not going to put myself in)
- Mr. Andy Dixon
- Niero Gonzalez (mentioned, not seen)
- Nihil
- Panzadolphin
- Philkensebben
- pkfire
- Pixielated
- Red Morgan
- Reinhold Hoffman
- Revuhlooshun
- Script
- Sephzilla
- Usedtabe
- Zodiac Eclipse 

That's tentative, but so far it's looking like the finalized list. Of course, there are other characters in the visual novel besides people from the community. Many other characters! But this is simply a list of those from the community who are in the VN.

If your name isn't on the list, I'm sorry. I've been trying to put in as many people as I can, but there are a few criteria I've been using: A) "Can I fit this person into the story without forcing it?" and B) "Do I think I can capture this person's personality or kinda-sorta make them into my own character?" 



So what's it about? Well, I'm not going to tell you much, even when it comes time for release. I'll just say this: It's about Firion, a girl who moves to a new high school, Destructoid High, on the east coast (the best coast). From there, who knows what will happen? 

Things do get pretty crazy, depending on what path you take. Speaking of which, there are going to be three main paths and three unique bad endings. The three main paths are as follows: Brightside's Path, Marche's Path, and Browneye's Path. Each one takes on a different genre. In fact, I would say that they tend to switch genres once or twice within their own paths. 

As for the unique bad endings, trust me when I say that you'll want to get them. I think my beta testers will attest to the fact that they're well worth seeing.

One last thing I want to mention here. I mentioned this in the forums a bit. In case you're wondering, this visual novel should take you around 8 hours to read (assuming you go through every path and get every unique bad ending). I hope that's satisfactory. This visual novel's got some meat on its bones, make no mistake.



One question remains (that I'm willing to answer): How far along am I and how long will it be until release? 

Well, let's see. Every bad ending is finished. Brightside and Browneye's paths are finished. I've just got my path yet to work on. After that, I just need to go over everything and polish it off and we'll be good to go. 

So...let's say that I'll release Destructoid Story in a week and a half to two weeks from now. Sound good? I hope so.

When I release, there will be a few things included with the VN. I'll have some flowcharts for your reference and there will be a message from me concerning how much this visual novel means to me on a personal level. I might also include a list of fun facts/obscure references, if I have the time.



That's all I've got. I hope that I've whet your appetite with these screenshots and information. I tried.

See you soon, Dtoid cowboy*.



* Line unapologetically stolen from Tom Fronczak.   read


1:01 PM on 03.12.2014  

Destructoid Story Teaser



As I've been hinting at over the past week or two, I've been working on a Destructoid-related project recently. This is a teaser for that project. I won't outright tell you what it is, but I've decided to get a bit more serious, as far as hinting goes.

Ideally, the project will be finished and released to the public within a month or two.

That's it. Without further ado, here's your teaser.




See you in a month or two (hopefully).   read


11:32 PM on 01.20.2014  

Three Lives of Rust

[left]As we all know, there's an article on the front page about Rust, a game in early access on Steam made by Facepunch Studios-or perhaps more recognizably-Garry Newman, creator of Garry's Mod. I saw a lot of people express confusion over why someone would want to buy a game that is incomplete. I myself expressed concern over the amount of trust we can place in Garry Newman, whose resume consists of Garry's Mod and not but Garry's Mod, as far as I know.

Well, as I also commented, my brother decided to pick the game up. I did not think his purchase was exactly rational (he told me he bought it just because Garry Newman made it), but what's done is done, and he can spend his money as he sees fit.

That said, I felt it was my duty to play the game and document my adventures, giving you guys an idea of what it's like. I ultimately decided that I would play the game until I died three times. I would write up this blog immediately afterwards, and I did. So, without further ado, let us dive into something I can only call something stupid, like: The Rust Files.[/left]




I awoke to find myself in a grassy field, underneath a star-filled sky. Beautiful, in its own way. Serene. That is, until I noticed the shirtless man standing near a small building a bit of a ways in front of me (you can see him in this picture).




I attempted to make contact with him. He appeared to be smashing a rock into a tree. Understandable. That's usually what we do with those things. Then I saw his hands completely disappear into the tree as he swung the rock. I figured I had best leave him be.




As I walked away, I met another young fellow by the name of Typefragger! I stared at him. He stared back at me. I stared at him. He stared back at me. I stared at him. He stared into my soul. I think I felt the faint glimmer of a true bond for a moment, there. Either that, or he was coming on to me. He ran away, so I never got to find out.




I wandered around the field for a bit, wondering what I should do, when I saw light shimmering over the tops of the mountains in the distance. I took this as a sign. I would be the first one to reach Nirvana. Either that, or it was the game telling me to get off my ass because it's nearly daytime. I decided to head down a nearby road and follow it wherever it went.




In the light of the early morning, I saw a campfire off the side of the road, still burning. Seeking some sort of human contact, I walked over to it. In the distance, what I assumed to be Rust's equivalent of Bruce Wayne's Manor stood tall against the horizon. I wanted to climb it to get my bearings, but I noticed that my health was rapidly decreasing. I was hungry. Imagine that.




I headed towards a nearby town. I saw a deer standing around doing not much of anything, so I brandished my rock and ran after it. It ran into the town. Literally. It ran straight through the rock wall that surrounded the town. I ran inside, but my time was growing short. My rads were off the charts while in the town (what) and my health was low. I found a player and begged him for food. He ran off for a moment, but seemed to reconsider and came back. He tossed me two bags with two cans of tuna in them each. How thoughtful! There truly are some good people in the world. I survived.




[left]But for how long? As soon as I stepped out of the town, I met two players. They seemed to be harmless at first. They muttered something and walked off. I went to follow them, but this was a mistake. They surrounded me, debating whether or not to kill me. I shit you not, what happened next felt like it was scripted, but it happened. A man in a coat came up from behind them, brandishing a hatchet. They turned right as he was on them and they bolted like bats out of hell. The man caught one and killed them, the other screaming "It's the hatchet man!" I tried to snap a picture for my album, but alas, he killed me right after the first man.
[/left]
[left]

I respawned, reborn anew. It had once again become nighttime. It was pitch black. Only my torch would dispel the darkness surrounding me. But hanging in the sky was the moon, shining like a beacon. I decided to head towards it, because I had nothing better to do.



As morning approached, I found myself at the edge of the ocean. The ocean was flat, the horizon one straight, horizontal line. At the edge of the ocean stood a tower. I went to climb up it, but the door leading into the tower was locked. I decided to follow the coastline. I climbed some rocks, fell off of them, broke my leg, and died.



I woke in a field, once more. There was no one around, as usual. Kind of odd, considering the server had over 1000 people on it. You'd think you would see them more often. I did see a pig. Knowing that food would be a big help, I killed it. Then, that dreadful message popped up. "Hatchet to gather". I had no hatchet. I knew you could craft one with wood and some crap, but that's boring. Time to move on.



I came across a house after wandering down a road, a bit. There was someone on top of the house. A thief, perhaps? I hailed him, but he did not respond. I decided to climb to the top of the house to get his attention, but as I drew close, I heard the unmistakable moans of a zombie. You heard me. A zombie. I didn't know I was playing DayZ. I moved on, not bothering to waste my time.



I moved on down the road and somewhere along the lines caught the attention of a black wolf. I sprinted down the road, intending to outrun it. I ran past another player, who upon seeing the wolf, began to run alongside me. We ran up the road to find two small shacks alongside the road and two other players. We looked back, and the wolf was still following us. Once the other two players saw it, they began to attack. The player who had run alongside me joined in, and not one to miss out on the fun, I did, too.



We ran all over the place, trying to hit it as it erratically shifted its focus between the four of us. We accidentally hit each other a few times, but we eventually took it down. I watched as two of the players used their hatchets to magically make the corpse disappear. Wowzers. My work there finished, I moved on. I came across a man wearing a face covering of some sort who immediately hatcheted me to death.

Now for some ending notes.

Playing Rust wasn't all that bad. Still, It's not a game I would play regularly, myself. It had a few memorable moments, but only a few in the two hours that I played. That's a lot of filler to get to the good stuff. Even then, it's just early access. Who knows how much will change between now and the actual release? Who knows how the experience will change? Only time will tell.

And with that, I'm beat. Thanks for reading. Time for sleep.[/left]   read


9:40 PM on 11.20.2013  

My 10 Most Emotional Moments in Video Games

Emotions are a pretty cool thing. You might chuckle at David Cage's latest use of the word, but you can't deny that they're powerful. They can leave a strong lasting impression. Our minds may jump straight back to the most emotionally powerful moment of something when we think of it in the future. In a sense, emotions can define or experience. I mean think about it. When people think of the movie Titanic, their thoughts jump to the scenes that are distressing, depressing, or shocking (in the case of the painting scene). The ones that create a sudden surge of emotions.

Lord, I sound like David Cage, now. Let's just get on with this before I turn into him. I recently beat Shin Megami Tensei IV, which had a very emotional scene (kind of shocking), and it led me to think of other scenes like it that I had experienced over the many games I have played throughout my life. So, here they are.

Needless to say, there's going to be a hell of a lot of spoilers in this blog. Both pictures (there will be one for every game I talk about) and text. Here's the deal. I'm going to list every game I'll be talking about right after this little disclaimer. In the order they'll appear in. That way you can know ahead of time if you want to avert your eyes for a segment of it or not or not. I don't want to spoil anything if I can help it. Ready?

Batman: Arkham City
9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors
Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Metal Gear Solid 3
Metal Gear Solid 4
Mother 3
Persona 3
Red Dead Redemption
Shin Megami Tensei IV
The Walking Dead

And now I'll put this big picture here to create a split, so you don't accidentally see #10's picture immediately (if you want to skip it).



Okay, onto number 10, then! But one final note. I'm trying to put these in some sort of order of emotional impact, but it's really hard to gauge that, so don't think this order is final by any means. I think the order isn't too far off, though.



#10: THE JOKER'S DEATH (BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY)

Say what you will about how many times the Joker has died in other Batman media, I was shocked to see the Joker die in Arkham City. Everything was in place. Hugo Strange was dead, Ra's was taken care of...all that was left was to get the Joker the antidote that you had spent the better half of the game making. It's not like I didn't expect him to try to pull something on Batman, but I knew that Batman would have given him the antidote, in the end. To see him die wasn't quite what I was expecting.

It was pretty sad, too. For all the crimes the Joker had committed, you can't help but like him. Seeing Batman carrying the Joker's body, putting it on the hood of a police car, and walking away in silence was powerful.

Of course, they found a way around all that by making a prequel to the Arkham games. That bugs me and feels like it cheapens the whole affair, when we thought we'd seen the last of the Joker in the Arkham series. But even still, that ending leaves me as speechless as Batman.



#9: SNAKE'S DEATH (9 HOURS 9 PERSONS 9 DOORS)

Playing 999 for the first time, Snake immediately stood out as one of my favorite characters in the crowd. Princely, smart, blind (yet quite able), kind...wears a nice coat. Snake was pretty damn awesome. And then he had to go and die. Not once. But twice. The first time doesn't matter so much, because it turns out that it wasn't actually him. I'm talking about the second time.

It's sad enough to see such a likable character die, but the circumstances left an impact on me. So, Snake dies in an incinerator, sacrificing himself to take Ace along with him, the guy who killed his sister (in this timeline). First of all, you have to admire him for his determination and willingness to make such a huge sacrifice. But the strangest thing that stuck out to me is how he continued to keep going despite being shot many times in the chest. It's inhuman.

"But Marche, it's fiction". Doesn't change that it was shocking and made it stick. This would probably be higher on the list if Snake's death was permanent, but it isn't. In the true ending he survives, so it's all good. But still, in that minute you see Snake die, you'd be lying if you said your heart wasn't aching.



#8: ELI VANCE'S DEATH (HALF LIFE 2: EPISODE 2)

Funny, I saw that this death was featured on an installment of Chad Concelmo's Memory Card series as a shocking loss. Well, he's not wrong there. It was certainly shocking, and heartbreaking.

Eli was apparently in Half-Life 1, although you wouldn't have known it. Many scientists shared his model, so it could have been any of them for all I knew. Half-Life 2 is where I was really introduced to him. Nice guy! He was always looking out for Alyx and Gordon, giving them guidance and cracking a few jokes along the way. Heck, by the end of Episode 2, he acted more like a father to Gordon than anything else.

That made it especially hard to accept it when he died right at the end. For all you've accomplished in the Half-Life games, you're powerless at that one moment. The moment that it matters. And then Dog showing up RIGHT AFTER ELI DIES was just the cherry on top. Nice timing. *sniff* But seriously, I think part of what made Eli's death so hard was how well written he was. He felt like a real human. It was like losing someone close to you that you had known for ages.

Damn you Valve. Damn your brilliance.



#7: THE BOSS FIGHT/DEATH SCENE (METAL GEAR SOLID 3)

No one wanted to kill The Boss. No one. For the longest time, it seemed like she was the villain, but that's not the whole story. She was playing the part of a traitor to avert nuclear war. Talk about tough ordeals. And you learn of her back story, that she was rendered infertile via atomic bomb testing, and you can't help but feel for her. Oh, and she spends pretty well the entire game acting as a mother figure, even when she's supposedly the "bad guy". Yeah.

So, you establish that you don't want to kill her, because out of anyone in Metal Gear Solid 3, she deserves to die the least (well, there are a few exceptions). But then they had to make the fight one of the most beautiful fights ever made, in a field of white flowers, and with that fight theme. You know the one. It's hard not to feel like you should be bawling your eyes out as you fight.

And then you kill her. And the flowers ripple outwards from The Boss' body and turn a shade of red. Just rip my heart out Konami. RIP IT OUT.



#6: REVOLVER OCELOT FIGHT/DEATH SCENE

Yes, I hold this particular moment in higher regard than that I listed from Metal Gear Solid 3. I never started up Metal Gear Solid 3 again just to replay that moment. But I have started up Metal Gear Solid 4 up multiple times just to relive this stunning fight.

This one isn't like the ones before it. It's not so much a matter of feeling sad for Revolver Ocelot. I mean, I still kind of do. I like him as a character. A lot. But it's more-so about the fight itself. This is a fight that's been long awaited. It's the culmination of the many events throughout the Metal Gear Solid franchise. I don't usually throw this word around, because I feel like it's overused, but it is an epic battle.

Like the moment I described from Metal Gear Solid 3, the scene around this fight is stunning. Just look at that screenshot. Beautiful. And then the fight itself plays out in phases reflecting every major Metal Gear Solid title. Don't tell me you didn't get hyped up as you went through this fight. You can tell that a lot of thought was put into how this fight would pan out, and it paid off. It's a breathtaking scene from beginning to end.

And then Ocelot said "you're pretty good" and made the hand gesture from Metal Gear Solid 3. Okay, that's where my heart broke. Metal Gear Solid 3 Ocelot was awesome.



#5: MASKED MAN FIGHT/DEATH (MOTHER 3)

This one gets points simply for bringing me pretty close to tears. Whereas the Giygas fight from Mother 2 was all about fear, I found this one to be much more powerful, because it's about the death of a loved one.

You spend some time in Mother 3 looking for Claus, who disappears. Even though that search leaves the spotlight, you know that Claus is never far from Lucas' thoughts. I know I was wondering if Claus would ever turn back up. He does, near the end of the game but brainwashed...to the extreme.

The fight itself can bring you into a pretty heightened state. The music is weird. Like, you need to go listen to it to yourself if you haven't already. It's kind of creepy, otherworldly, and at the same time sort of sad, because it has the Theme of Love song mixed into it. Of course, how can I mention the fight without talking about how Lucas and Claus' dead mother speaks to them throughout the fight, trying to get them to stop fighting. Claus clearly struggles to regain control and to listen to her voice. So sad.

But of course, even after you manage to temporarily break the brainwashing effects, Claus sacrifices himself so that he doesn't fall back into being brainwashed. It's heart shattering stuff (I keep using the word heart breaking and I need to come up with new words for it).



#4: MINATO'S DEATH (PERSONA 3)

I think the hardest deaths in games are the ones where the character you've been playing as for the entire game dies. Persona 3 is a special case. The main character's appearance is set in stone, but his personality isn't. You decide his personality, his actions (to a degree), and his interests. So, in a way, when Minato dies, it's not really him dying. It's you. That's a depressing thought.

It was pretty shocking, too. Nyx had been defeated and sealed away. Everything looked like it was going to turn out okay. Everyone was happy, again. It was, what, a month after you had even fought Nyx? And then Minato just up and falls asleep in Aigis' arms and dies. Wow. Talk about coming out of nowhere.

I think Persona 3 gets the award for most shocking death. Seriously. I was upset when he died.



#3: JOHN MARSTON'S DEATH (RED DEAD REDEMPTION)

Talk about your surprises. John Marston had finally redeemed himself. He had killed the members of his gang that he used to run with and is free of his doings with the government. He then returns to his home to raise his son and return to life as usual. But nothing could ever be that simple. I mean, we all knew there had to be a reason that the game was still going, at that point. Something bad was brewing, but that didn't make it any less of a shock.

The surprise attack on Marston's home didn't totally shock me in itself. I thought "hey, I've dealt with this kind of crap all game, I can deal with these bozos". And for a while, you do. Rockstar pretty expertly made you think that you had the possibility of making it out of that situation alive, at least for a moment.

What shocked me was when Marston actually dies. That moment gets his family to safety and steps out to hold off the attackers. There were a lot of them, and for a second, I thought "my dead eye is going to wipe the floor with you idiots". When it became clear that you were overwhelmed, I couldn't believe it. I thought that I had done something wrong. Like I could have actually won, but just failed to do so for some reason.

It was hard to accept it. It was a sad day when I finished Red Dead Redemption.



#2: ISABEAU FIGHT/DEATH (SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI IV)

So, you eventually fight Isabeau if you choose Law or Chaos in Shin Megami Tensei IV and it is one of the most awfully depressing scenes I have ever seen. Good lord. I'm simply speaking from experience in taking the Law route, so some of these things don't apply to Chaos.

First of all, she calls your move to totally wipe out Tokyo genocide. Well...when you put it that way...it does make me feel pretty bad, even after Jonathan's speech about preserving peace. Then you fight her, and she hints that she had feelings for the main character. Well, crap. Now, you KNOW you've chosen the wrong route, because you know where this is headed.

The worst is yet to come. So, you beat the heck out of her because you're level 70something and everything falls before you. Then you're treated to a picture of her all bloodied, like Issachar earlier in the game. Ugh. Regret. To top it all off, she wants to at least have her final choice be her own and slits her throat. Shit. Is it too late to change over to neutral?

So that's more than just a downer. That's downright sickening. I had to step away from my 3DS because I couldn't believe what had just happened. It's interesting, too, because you spend only about the first half of the game with Isabeau. So, she's like a lesser major character. And yet, I still found her death more impacting than Jonathan's, or even Flynn's (although don't get me wrong, I was very sad to see them go, too).

Atlus sure knows how to toy with everyone's emotions.



#1: LEE EVERETT'S DEATH (THE WALKING DEAD)

I know this must be near the top of most people's lists, if they've played The Walking Dead. Well, it's at the time of mine, too, because EVERYTHING about this scene is sad. And I'm talking about when you get Clementine to shoot him. As far as I'm concerned, that's the only real way that this scene can go down. Leaving him to re-animate is like denial of the fact that Clementine will have to face tough situations like this and might have to kill those she grows attached to later on.

Anyways, Let's start with Lee. Lee Everett was an awesome character. I know you could shape his personality, but he was generally a kind, caring, person and like a father to Clementine. He could do what he had to do, do the right thing, and be a leader when there was a need for him to be. I felt very attached to Lee, by the end, and found it very hard to let him go.

Moving on, the conversation between Lee and Clementine was pretty depressing. Lee trying to get Clementine to believe that she can do it, that she can survive, while he's sitting there, a few minutes from being a zombie. And then you can get Lee to tell her to keep her hair short, as one final fatherly piece of advice. Heartsplosion. Getting her to pull the trigger was almost too much, too.

But of course, the worst part of it all is that Clementine is a kid, and she has to go through all this. We've actually been talking about this in my English course. Kids are quite possibly the fastest way to get at someone's emotions, and that holds true, here. If it was some adult in Clementine's place in this scene, the scene would not be as high on the list. No way.

Now I've made myself sad.



There you have it. My 10 most emotional moments in video games. As far as I know. I'm sure there are plenty of games with emotional moments out there that I've never played. But as far as my experiences go, this feels pretty accurate.

So, now that I've emotionally drained myself by writing that, anyone care to share a few of their top emotional moments? I'm interested in seeing any that weren't on my list.   read


6:02 AM on 11.12.2013  

"I Won't Stand for that Bullshit" (Gaming Pet Peeves)



I just quoted myself up there in the title, because I can't think of a better title. But more importantly, I said that in the forums the other day in regards to Sonic Unleashed, which I refuse to play any further. I wish I didn't have to, but I feel that I do.

I'm human. We're all human here, I hope. As forgiving (if you want evidence of that, note that I suffered through 3 solid days of nothing but grinding in Final Fantasy XIII and lived to finish the game) and open as I am to many games, I can't finish every one. As a human, I have nerves. Things get on them. They may cause me to play through the rest of it with a much more negative outlook on the game, or even put down the game, permanently.

But that's not to say that all of my pet peeves are the fault of the game. Oh, no, there are plenty of things that irritate me to no end that can be/are caused by the player, like a careless death or two that sets you way back.

Time to vent a little (although I'm not really "angry" right now). So, here are my pet peeves in video games.



My number one pet peeve is repetition. There are different forms of repetition in games. The one I really can't stand is redoing something. Going through 30 minutes worth of game-play only to die and have to redo the whole thing? My willingness to play a game just took a massive hit.

Zack and Wiki suffered from this issue because of a lack of checkpoints. That's another pet peeve of mine: a lack of/poorly placed checkpoints. I won't get into that one beyond mentioning it, though. Back to the subject of Zack and Wiki...This is a game that has no checkpoints in its levels. Some of these levels are 10-30 minutes long.

You're supposed to think about your actions and their consequences so you don't make a fatal error in solving each level, but that's a load of crap. There are consequences in Zack and Wiki that no normal player would foresee (just look around on the web and see how many people complain about how much they die in the game, if you want proof).

So, not having the miraculous powers of foresight that the developers seem to think that I could possess, I died a lot and failed levels plenty of times. In particular, I failed on a 10 minute long level at least 6 times. Right near the end. That's over and hour it took me to complete a level that should have taken me 10 minutes. And I had to go through the same motions each time. I mean, come on. Don't tell me that you wouldn't be annoyed by that.



But there's another kind of repetition I can't stand. This one's in vast quantities. That's right, I'm talking about grinding. The joy of grinding. Who doesn't love waking up to endless hours of fighting the same enemies over and over again? Me.

This one's kind of weird, because over the years, I've built up a sort of resistance to grinding. Grinding in most RPGs doesn't even faze me, anymore. Shin Megami Tensei IV has grinding? I'd say: "What grinding?" It's just naturally become a part of how I play RPGs, so I don't even notice it, sometimes.

But even then, there are certain ones that just cross the line. I return to the subject of my experience with Final Fantasy XIII, which I referenced earlier. I can't even clearly recall the three days I spent grinding on Gran Pulse in that. It was bad. VERY bad.

To put into perspective how much I felt that I had to grind, I'll first state that many times when I have to grind in RPGs for a while I tend to watch something as I do it, to distract me and to help me through it. I watched the first four seasons of Futurama from beginning to end, Hercules, and this one documentary Jiro: Dreams of Sushi while grinding, and that wasn't all of it. I spent quite a few hours simply pacing back and forth while grinding, staring at the screen and trying to keep my mind from collapsing on itself.

Now, it can be said that I didn't need to grind that much, but Final Fantasy XIII is not an easy game. Even after all that grinding, I had no easy time getting through the final bosses. That much grinding is unacceptable. Another game that stepped over the line of acceptable grinding was Shin Megami Tensei: Soul Hackers, although not nearly to the extent of FFXIII (and at least I still enjoyed Soul Hackers, in the end).



Now, we come to the one that made me quit Sonic Unleashed. Level requirements. Sonic Unleashed requires that you collect sun/moon medals to unlock new levels and proceed in the game. These medals are scattered throughout levels, mainly. As soon as I heard that, I decided to give up on Sonic Unleashed.

I don't think that a game like Sonic Unleashed should enforce level requirements. Maybe for optional levels, but for mandatory ones? Seriously? It might have been bearable if all of the levels were fast-paced day levels, but the werehog levels are some of the longest, most drawn out bore-fests in recent memory. (And would it have killed them to at least tell me sometime about there being level requirements, rather than for me to find out for myself via Google?) 

Of course, level requirements aren't always bad. The 3D Mario games pull the requirements off quite well. Then again, the objective of the levels in those games are to find the sprite/star/whatever, in the first place. So, fulfilling the requirement in those games comes naturally. In Sonic Unleashed it does not. It is an unnecessary impediment that disrupts the flow of a game that's already out of whack due to the conflicting paces of the day/night levels.




Even then, there are some games with unnecessary level requirements that I'll cut some slack. No More Heroes is one. Gathering the money needed to enter ranked matches by completing various tasks around town is absurd. Heck, the protagonist, Travis Touchdown, thought it was crazy when he was first told that he needed to pay. But it works. He's an assassin. He completes assassination gigs to get money. Mind blowing. Well, he can also do various side jobs like garbage collecting, but those are kind of funny, knowing Travis' personality and the fact that he's putting up with it.

What's Sonic's excuse? He's a hedgehog that runs fast and fights Dr. Robotnik (I refuse to call him Eggman). He collects medals. It makes no sense. What a stupid level requirement.



You all know that feeling, I bet. Getting lost. Bet you wish the game had a map, huh? Oh wait, some of them do. But what's this? The maps suck. Magnificent.

Shin Megami Tensei IV suffers heavily from its lack of navigational assistance. If I go out onto the world map in SMTIV I couldn't tell you what any of the places are just from looking at it. It has a map, but nothing is labeled on it. On top of that, when people in the game tell you to go somewhere, they don't really point you in any specific direction. They say "go here". Not "go here, which is a bit to the east". You get no hints.

Needless to say, it's easy to get lost, and very frustrated. I know you're supposed to explore and whatnot, but that's no excuse for not labeling areas on the map that you've already been to and at least pointing you east or north or whatever, when you need to go somewhere.

But SMTIV is a great game, otherwise, so I'll still play it happily. But this gets on my nerves. Big time. Heck, I'm using a walk through right now just because it gives me directions, and for a game with a map as complex as SMTIV's, I need it.



Now, I'm being general here in saying deaths, because deaths, in general, are pretty frustrating. I think we can all agree on that. But there are certain kinds that I find particularly annoying, beyond the fact that they make you lose progress.

One kind is the death is "cheap deaths". Deaths that aren't necessarily your fault as a player. My experience with cheap deaths mainly deals with poor physics/controls and object collision. For example, trying to maneuver Yoshi in Rico Harbor in Super Mario Sunshine and repeatedly falling and having to spend 5 minutes climbing back up only to where I need to be (only to fall again) caused me to put down the game and never pick it back up. Sonic Adventure caused me some cheap deaths, too. Sometimes, when Sonic clearly should have snapped onto a railing (to grind on it), it didn't pick up on the collision, and I fell to my death. Great stuff.

The other kind of death that sticks out in my mind is the "I'm one hit from killing this boss and I die" death. I'm sure many Demons Souls/Dark Souls players know the feeling you get from suffering this kind of death all too well. I just died in Wario Land: Shake It's final boss the other day as I was one hit away from killing him. I was angry, to put it lightly.




Yeah, despite all these pet peeves and the anger they bring, it gives me no pleasure to put down a game like Sonic Unleashed. Even though I've put Sonic Unleashed down, I'll still be feeling pangs of guilt for not having finished it. I hate not finishing a game, but sometimes you just have to admit that you'd be better off not playing it.

That doesn't make it any easier, though.



So, there you have it. I feel that I have adequately vented, and I really need to go to school right now. I did not think that this would take me as long as it did to write, and I don't want to be late. I'm not going to leave it off there, though, so I'll just ask the obvious question: "What are some of your pet peeves in video games?"

That's all for now. Until next time.   read


2:07 AM on 11.03.2013  

Facing Down an Eternal Backlog

Marche stepped up to the cave, sword in hand, peering into its dark depths. This was the supposed lair of the fiendish backlog, a horrific monster that lived eternal and only seemed to grow larger and stronger as time went on. Marche knew full well that he would have to face the monster, sometime. After all, it was borne of him and his purchases. He had put off slaying it for so long that something had to be done. Still, could he do it? His heart shouted at him to walk into the cave, but his mind said "no". What to do?


What manner of beast is this?! I shall slay it, henceforth!

(note: my backlog is view able here, in case you're wondering: http://forum.destructoid.com/showthread.php?133-What-games-are-YOU-currently-playing&p=1233254&viewfull=1#post1233254)  

Those of you who hang around the forums know that I've started facing down my backlog just this weekend. I'm embarking on a journey that will take months, even if I move along as quickly as I can. I want to take a step back and reflect on my backlog, how it took shape and became the monster it is today, and how I intend to fell it once and for all.

So, I guess I ought to start back at the beginning. 


Why can't *we* have highways with loop-de-loops?

My current backlog started back when I was but 5 or 6 years old, although I wouldn't have known it. I had Sonic Adventure. Played the heck out of the first few levels, but I was at the age where I didn't understand the concept of saving/auto-saving, nor did I care, so I would start a new game time I picked the game up. Heck, at the time, I don't think I understood that you can switch between characters in Sonic Adventure, so of course I never beat it.

But Sonic Adventure is a special case. It was a gift, and I didn't ask for it specifically, as I was so young I knew nothing of what games existed beyond what I could see at Wal-Mart in the display cases. Almost every other game on my backlog is a game I've bought or asked for, myself. They are all games I enjoy, to various degrees, but have never found the motivation to finish.

Twelve years this backlog has been snowballing. Twelve years. 50 games, and I know for a fact that I could put many more on that backlog, but there are just some games that I will never find the drive to finish (like Yoshi's Island DS and Wario: Master of Disguise).


Stuck playing Paper Mario for the rest of my life. Send help.

So why haven't I been able to work on that backlog for so long? Well, first of all, I will say that I have made some dents here and there in the past. Just this past summer, I beat Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Zelda: Skyward Sword, two games that have been in my backlog for years, but randomly finding the drive to surge through games like those is rare, for me.

No, the reason I haven't been able to really work on my backlog all these years is my damn brain.

First of all, you have to understand how I work. If possible, I like playing games in a) chronological/sequential order, and b) in threes. Three is a magical number. Just a few months back I decided to hit up Paper Mario: TTYD and Super Paper Mario, but taking into account the rule of threes and sequential order, I just "had" to play the first Paper Mario again, despite the fact that I've beaten it before.

Don't ever think like I do on that point, if you're trying to work on your backlog. It's a recipe for disaster. I was bored by the second chapter of the game, and my plans to work on my backlog fell apart then and there.


My mind must look like the Milkman level in Psychonauts when it comes to my backlog.

But there are much more rational reasons that I don't work on my backlog, too, and they make sense to some degree. Whenever I look at a game in my backlog and think about whether or not I want to play it, questions start pouring into my mind. Do I really have time for the 100 hour Persona 4? Will I want to play it 50 hours in from now? Do I even want to play it, now?

This constant barrage of questioning just spirals into an endless loop that has me second guessing my decision to work on my backlog, in the first place, and I always end up not playing whatever game I was considering. My heart cries out "I JUST WANT TO GET THIS GAME OFF MY BACKLOG", but my brain laughs and says "no, you're an idiot for thinking that you'll play this".

I hate my brain.


RESTRAIN THE BRAIN.

So, I've been working on my backlog all weekend and making good progress. How did I do this? How on earth, after so many years, after so many failures of trying to get anything done with my backlog, have I been able to do anything about it? Simple, really.

I told myself: "Sit down, shut up, and play the damn game, whether you like it or not."

Sounds harsher than it really is. This is really just to get me started on playing the games in my backlog. Sometimes, the hardest part of playing a game is just putting the game into the system, as odd as that sounds, and that's exactly the case, here. Because of all my second guessing, I end up putting the game down right after I pluck it from my shelf. I never even get to start it up before I'm finished with it.

Once I actually force myself to start playing the game, despite what I may be thinking, I find myself enjoying it, and it makes sense that I do. I liked them enough, initially, to want to finish them, some day, so why shouldn't I like them when I get started, now? (I do still reserve the right to dislike them after I start playing, though, as was the case with Dark Souls, although I'm giving that one last chance.)


Right now, my backlog looks like this, but when I'm finished with it, it'll look like this...in corpse form.

This weekend, I beat Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, got halfway through Deus Ex: Human Revolution, nearly beat Sonic Adventure, and started Banjo Tooie. Decent progress. So, what's the major lesson, here? I don't know if there is one. 

Everyone handles their backlog differently. For me, I just needed to really force myself to sit down and play, rather than over-think it. I know there are others that have a much easier time tackling their backlog, and there are those who have a hard time dealing with it, like I did. I guess you just have to find what works for you, even if it sounds absurd (like my method did to me, at first).

My monstrous backlog has been living for far too long. It's time to put it out of its misery, and now, I know that I have the capacity to do so. And so, I will dive into the depths of that cave where my backlog thrives, and I will carve out its heart.

Let the war on my backlog officially commence.   read


12:52 AM on 10.28.2013  

4 Free Horror Games to play this Halloween

'Tis the season for scares. Many people take this time of the year to play horror games. Makes sense. Whether your fix is the new Amnesia, Outlast, Metro: Last Light, or that Slenderman game, there's a decent selection of games to sate one's appetite for horror. Not that anyone is restricted to just those games released in 2013, either. There's a sea of horror games out there.

But let's not forget the free games out there. There are a variety of horror games available that are short and sweet, only a few hours long apiece, that are free to download. There are some truly fantastic ones out there, too. I don't know how much any of you are into that sort of thing, but hey, I like great, free games. 

Needless to say, these are all PC titles. They are all made in RPG Maker, which might be a turn-off for some people, but I implore you to hold final judgement until seeing/playing the games yourself.

So, without further ado, let's get started. I'm going to try to keep these short, because I have a tendency to talk too much.



GAME #4: AO ONI

Four middle school students enter a bland-looking mansion. They've heard the rumors that a monster is in the mansion, but screw those rumors, stupidity overrules everything! It turns out that the monster exists. It's big, it's purple, it has an face that looks eerily like a human's face that's been warped in Photoshop, and it doesn't care much for stupid kids. And it turns out you're playing as the stupidest one of all, the one who didn't believe in the monster's existence, at first. Welcome to Ao Oni.



Ao Oni doesn't have much in the way of characters or story, and as you can tell from the fan art and the screen shot above, the mansion the game takes place in is no royal palace, but it makes up for all of that through the monster the game is named for (the Oni), alone.

There are scripted encounters throughout the game, but there are also totally random encounters decided by a random number generator, which can totally catch the player off-guard, forcing them to jump straight from a puzzle-jumping mindset into a "oh hell, this thing is going to kill me, I'd better run" mindset. Running is easier said than done, though, as the Oni is nearly as fast as the player, making evading it difficult, and it's easy for the player to back their self into a corner.

All in all, it makes for a memorable experience, ripe with plenty of shocking moments and surprise encounters with the Oni.


GAME #3: THE WITCH'S HOUSE

You are Viola, a young girl visiting your friend Ellen, who apparently lives in some haunted woods. Oh, and there's a witch living in the woods. OH, and it just so happens that you have no choice but to enter the witch's house. Well, that's one way to start a day off on the wrong foot. The witch booby-trapped her house for you. You can thank her later. And there's also a black cat following you around, saving your game and kind of being a douche bag. You've set foot in the Witch's House.



The Witch's House is very tricksy, as Gollum would say. I challenge you to play the game and not die 5 minutes in. This witch doesn't fool around. Her traps are unexpected and deadly. They require some thinking to work around. There are ghosts in the kitchen, there's a giant teddy bear out for blood, and there's a garden of flowers that won't seem to stop talking about mutilating each other. This isn't grandma's house.

On top of that, once you get towards the end of the game, you'll find an interesting story with a few unexpected twists, and some points that require thought long after the credits have stopped rolling, depending on which ending you get. And there's always the black cat. The cat is the most interesting character in the game. He's a douche, but an douche you love to hate. And he allows you to save your game, so what's not to love about that in a game where death is potentially around every corner?

The Witch's House is a game worth playing simply to see what trap is in store for you next. Can you make it through the traps, save the world, and become headmaster of Hogwarts? Probably not. But that first part seems doable. Do that.



GAME #2: MAD FATHER

You are Aya, daughter of a mad doctor. You know that your father has been conducting apeshit insane experiments in the basement of your house, but your dad's the bomb, so screw his test subjects. One night, you hear your father scream. It's normal to hear other people screaming from your basement in pain and desperation, but when it's your father, YOU MUST DO SOMETHING. Oh, and there are living corpses from your fathers and experiments and stuff all over the house. Now, who let those guys out of the basement?



Mad Father reminds me of the Witch's House in that it's wonderfully made. This one has a bit more of an interesting story to it, helped by periodic flashbacks that give Aya and her family a decent bit of back story and personality. The story itself can leave the player with some room for thought, as there are multiple ways that the endings can be interpreted. On that note, there are 21 gems that can be collected throughout the game by completing tasks and fully exploring Aya's home, which are actually quite fun to collect and are necessary for the game's true ending.

The home itself is pretty fun to explore. You begin the game in the home proper before descending into the depths of the basement, and each room has its own little unique touches. You'll find your fathers experiments roaming the house, and while most want to kill you, some are friendly enough, and lead to some strangely heartwarming scenes. One nice thing is that while you have a health bar, if you exit a room, your health instantaneously is filled up, again, so there's no need for green herbs. There is a bit of backtracking in the game, but there are well-placed shortcuts throughout the house that make the backtracking quick and painless.

Mad Father is not to be missed, as it proves to be a worthwhile horror experience, and the titular character, specifically, makes for an interesting character.



GAME #1: IB

You play as a little girl, Ib, on a trip to the art gallery with your parents. But what's this? Everyone's gone. You must be blind to have not seen them leave. Oh wait, but you can see the paintings and mannequins coming to life. Phew, close call. Wait-what? Some of them are silly, some of them are strange, and some of them are out for blood. There's some other guy there, too, named Garry. And another girl named Mary. Through the power of friendship, anyone can overcome rampant works in an art gallery! Hopefully...



Of any of the games I've listed here, play Ib. Just play it. It's a wonderful experience. Ib doesn't look like much, at face value, but quickly becomes one of the most fantastic horror games available. Each room full of paintings and works of art is unique and filled with life. Some paintings will have you chuckling. Some will have you raising an eyebrow. Some will give you chills. And, of course, each adds its own touch to the gameplay, whether just being something to gawk at in delight, something to run from, or a part of a larger puzzle.

I'm not even going to say any more on it. It's really something that needs to be experienced for yourself. Great characters, great story, great setting. It's the quintessential free horror game. Don't miss it.



HONORABLE MENTION: YUME NIKKI

There is no word more proper to describe this game with than "surreal". You play as a girl. You explore your dreams. Things get very...very...weird, depending on the dream. It's not really a horror game, but at the same time it is. It is a game about nothing, and at the same time, it is a game about everything. Thoughts...emotions...imagination...

Yume Nikki is a game that every person will experience differently. Some will love it, some will hate it. Some think they'll love it and end up hating the exploration aspect of it. I can't really recommend it, because of that, but it's worth mentioning. It's worth a try, I guess.



And there you have it. Free horror games that I would like to recommend to you, the people of Destructoid, as we approach the end of October. Give them a try. It's a day or two's worth of games, here. I've now played them all, and I can say that they have more than earned the respect that they get.

Enjoy.   read







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