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7:28 PM on 06.22.2015

Should You Read: Umineko no Naku Koro ni?

So I just finished reading Umineko no Naku Koro ni, and now it's time to face my fears and write a review of it. Why have I been dreading this review? Honestly, I have no idea how to even address Umineko even after finishing it. I have no idea of how to properly convey what it's about, how much of an impact this visual novel has made on me, or how much of a fool you would be to not give it a chance. But in all seriousness, let's give it a try and hope that everything will turn out okay.

Note: I'm going to be a bit liberal in this review. Umineko's structure doesn't really become apparent until around the end of the first episode and beginning of the second one, and I don't think I could adequately review Umineko without touching on that. So I will be giving a slight spoiler. But considering how minor it really is in the grand scheme of Umineko, I hope that doesn't dissuade you from reading this review.

What is it About? 

"Behold the sweetfish river running through my beloved hometown.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream in search of the key

As you travel down it, you will see a village.
In that village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.

The one who obtains the key must then travel to the Golden Land in accordance with these rules
On the first twilight, offer the six chosen by the key as sacrifices. 
On the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
On the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my noble name.
On the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
On the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
On the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
On the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
On the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
On the ninth twilight, the witch shall revive, and none shall be left alive.
On the tenth twilight, the journey shall end, and you shall reach the capital where the gold dwells

The witch will praise the wise, and should bestow four treasures.
One shall be, all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be, the resurrection of the souls of all the dead.
One shall be, even the resurrection of the lost love.
One shall be, to put the witch to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my most beloved witch, Beatrice."

- The Witch's Epitaph

The year is 1986. It's early October as the Ushiromiya family gathers on the secluded island Rokkenjima, the home of the head of the family named Kinzo Ushiromiya, to hold a family conference. Kinzo is close to death, and the issue of who will inherit his vast wealth looms on the horizon. But soon after the conference begins, some person (or persons) begin murdering members of the Ushiromiya family and their servants. If that weren't bad enough, a typhoon traps everyone on Rokkenjima for two days. Throughout all this, there are whispers of the murders being the work of the witch of the island, the Golden Witch Beatrice; and it isn't long before Battler Ushiromiya finds himself wrapped up in a witch's game, where he and his family will be endlessly trapped in a cycle of the Rokkenjima murders unless he can defeat Beatrice and deny witches and magic.

Can anyone solve the riddle of the witch's epitaph? Does the "Golden Land" exist, and will anyone make it there alive? Is Beatrice the only witch involved in this game, or are there other witches and demons lurking in the shadows? But above all else, can Battler defeat Beatrice and free everyone from her grasp, or will they be stuck on Rokkenjima for all eternity?

Who Are Some of the Characters?

Believe me when I say that Umineko has a large cast and every character is important. So I'm not entirely sure of which characters to put in this section (besides the obvious Battler and Beatrice). I guess I'll just pick a few stand-out characters.

 

"It's useless...it's all useless!"

Battler Ushiromiya, the son of Rudolf and Kyrie, is the protagonist of Umineko. Flirty, stubborn, and hotheaded, his belief that magic and witches don't exist is unshakable. Possessing a kind heart and having a good head on his shoulders, Battler is a pretty damn great guy. His one major weakness is his tendency to get emotional. He cries. A lot. If not for that, he would perhaps be the epitome of manliness.

(I couldn't think of a quote for these two. Sad face.)

George Ushiromiya, son of Hideyoshi and Eva, is one of Battler's three cousins. He is a very polite person, he's good with kids, and his ability to resolve tense situations is unparalleled. On the other side of the coin we have Jessica Ushiromiya, daughter of Krauss and Natsuhi, another one of Battler's cousins. She's a tomboy, often getting scolded by her mother for "talking like a boy".  But while she often finds herself at odds with her parents, it's no secret that she cares deeply for them.

"Beatrice exists! Uu!"

Maria Ushiromiya, daughter of Rosa, is the youngest in the Ushiromiya family and Battler's final cousin. She has a verbal tic where she has the tendency to say "Uu" a lot. It's pretty cute, even if her mother finds it annoying. She adores all things witches and magic, insisting that Beatrice exists whenever someone brings her up. Of course, being a child, she's prone to acting childish and throwing tantrums. But other than that, she's a pretty cute kid.

"BEAAAAAAATRICCEEEEEEEEEE!!!"

Kinzo Ushiromiya is the head of the Ushiromiya family. He stays shut up inside the study of his mansion, almost never leaving it and only letting his most trusted friends and servants inside. He has been researching magic and a way to revive his beloved Beatrice for years. He cares little for the inheritance dispute that his sons and daughters are all in a tizzy over. All that matters is Beatrice. Perhaps he'll be able to meet her again if the witch is revived?

 

"You are incompentent!"

Beatrice, also known as the Golden Witch or the Endless Witch, is the witch of Rokkenjima who torments the Ushiromiya family and squares off against Battler in her witch's game. She is well known as a fickle person. At times she can be unimaginably cruel, and at other times she can be well-composed and majestic. And yet, at other times she can act downright childish. Let me just say that if you ever meet her, you had better hope she's in a good mood.

 Any Musical Samples?

Boy, you'd better believe I have musical samples. Umineko has one of the best soundtracks I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. The soundtrack encompasses over 100 songs, being a mix of baroque and electronic pieces. And just about every single piece is fantastic. Here are a few of my favorites.

Enough Background! How is It?

We'll do this just like the other two times, breaking it down into the story, characters, visuals, and reading experience. Ready? Let's see how I do.

 

I've tried and failed to write about Umineko's story multiple times now. I get a few sentences in and then scrap it and start all over. It's not easy to describe how good, ambitious, or imaginative Umineko's story is. To call Umineko a simple murder mystery does it a disservice, because each episode is completely different from the last. Each episode adds to the lore behind witches/magic, introduces new characters, has an entirely different plot structure, introduces new mysteries, addresses a different theme, introduces a new subplot, gives different characters more backstory, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I could go on about this all day. It's unlike any mere murder mystery I've ever read. Umineko goes off in whatever direction it wants. Umineko does whatever the hell it wants. Reading it is like riding a rollercoaster. And yet, the greatest mystery of all this? It works. There are no major pacing issues. The plot isn't the jumbled mess that it should be. Somehow it all just works. And somehow, each episode manages to be better than the last.

I only have two issues with the story. One is that episodes can be a bit slow to start. Umineko is at its best when it alternates between exciting scenes that get the heart pumping and calmer scenes that let you cool down (this goes back to that idea of reading Umineko being like riding a rollercoaster). But episodes tend to open with long strings of calmer scenes, which isn't necessarily bad, but it can have you longing for a little excitement. Additionally, there's one battle of wits in episode three where some logic is brought up and some characters go "that's called Hempel's Raven". Except it wasn't Hempel's Raven. The actual Hempel's Raven paradox is totally different from the "Hempel's Raven" used in that battle of wits. So Hempel's Raven was misused there.

 

As for the characters, they're all really good. Each one is well-developed, fleshed out, and likable in their own ways. And of course their relationships with each other are all pretty clear, and many are expanded upon over the course of Umineko (especially in some of the characters' backstories). Speaking of backstories, quite a few of the characters have detailed backstories. Even those who don't have quite such in-depth backstories have some semblance of a backstory that is revealed to the reader. Additionally, each character's actions are totally understandable from their perspective. If a character does something or acts a certain way towards someone, it makes sense from their point of view. All said, it's pretty amazing that such a large cast of characters is so good, that each character is so well-developed.

As for the visuals, you might have noticed that the Umineko opening I put up near the beginning of this review is with the PS3 graphics. Umineko was originally released for the PC, where Ryukishi07 (the creator of Umineko) both wrote and provided the art for Umineko. It was later ported to the PS3 where it got a graphical upgrade. Take a look at the picture below.

Here we have a comparison between the original PC graphics and the PS3 graphics. While the PC graphics do have some charm to them (most notably in the facial expressions), Ryukishi07 is-unfortunately-by no means a great artist. Thankfully, we have the PS3 graphics, which look really great. Each character and background is beautifully drawn and well-polished. And the best part? You can use these PS3 graphics on a PC copy of Umineko, which is what I did! It made for a pretty good experience.

As for the reading experience, Umineko is a kinetic novel, meaning that it's entirely linear. There are no choices. There is no gameplay. Just a straight read. Nothing wrong with that. But Umineko has a lot of little things that contribute to a great experience. First I should say that if you haven't already gathered it by now, Umineko is comprised of four episodes. The first episode is the only one available at first, although you can bypass the lock on the other four episodes if you so choose (for whatever reason). Once you finish an episode, a Tea Party unlocks. And after reading through that, a ????? unlocks. Basically, these Tea Parties and ?????s can be seen as epilogues for each episode (or little interludes between episodes) that advance the plot. There are four tea parties and four ?????s, one for each episode.

While in the middle of reading each episode, there are multiple things you can access via the pause menu, such as the character screen shown above. There you can get information on each character. Also, say Battler here were to be stabbed in the neck and die. His graphic up there on the right would be grayed out, a splash of blood would be on his neck (indicating where he was fatally wounded), and his description would be changed to reflect his death. I have to say I really like that feature of this character screen. Especially the death descriptions, as there are often fun little lines included at the end of them, such as "Don't worry. Everyone will be revived in the Golden Land."

Now you may notice that there are two buttons that say "Execute" and "Resurrect" on the screenshot up there. Those aren't there while you're reading. Once you finish an episode you can access its character screen from the main menu for your reference. And so you can execute/resurrect people at will to see their description/death description. Also note the next tab, indicative of there being more than one page of characters (I did say Umineko has a large cast).

In addition, over the course of reading Umineko you'll sometimes come across words or things that are elaborated upon/jotted down in the Grimoire or Tips section of the menu. The Grimoire section (shown above) is sort of like a glossary that explains the meaning of certain words/phrases/whatever. The Tips section is used for more important things that the player may want to reference regularly, such as the witch's epitaph, or a letter from Beatrice. Like with the character screen, these are also accessible from the main menu following an episode's completion.

But that's not all! There's also a place in the main menu that you can access to listen to all of the music from Umineko's marvelous soundtrack! I think this only unlocks once you finish all four episodes, but it's still a nice addition.

One last thing that I do think deserves mention is that the original PC version of Umineko doesn't have voice acting. But the PS3 version does. And yes, just like how you can use the PS3 graphics with the PC version of the game, you can tweak the PC version to have the PS3 voice acting! And good lord, is the voice acting good. Each voice actor does a fantastic job and conveys emotion very well.

Bottom Line

Should you read Umineko no Naku Koro ni? Yes. This is a visual novel unlike any other. This isn't just a quality visual novel. This is the best visual novel I have ever read. This is the visual novel I think everyone should read. It's a very meaty read (I read it over the course of two months and it definitely clocked in at over 50 hours of reading), but I wouldn't take the hours I spent reading it back for anything. Unfortuantely, the only way to get it right now is through piracy, but Mangagamer is looking to renew it license to sell it, so it shouldn't be long before it's available through them again (although I think you have to patch it with the PS3 graphics/voice acting yourself if you go that route. I pirated Umineko via Fuwanovel and it came with everything patched in for me.)

I give Umineko no Naku Koro ni a 10 out of 10. I've been debating this score for a little while now. Wondering if the slow starts the episodes tend to have and the misuse of Hempel's Raven should damage its score or not. I've come to the conclusion that neither really detracted from the experience and are really minor in the grand scheme of things. 

Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a masterpiece. Plain and simple. Steins;Gate may have rocked the part of me that loves time travel...Grisaia may have stretched my emotions to their limits...but nothing has captured my imagination-nay-my entire being like Umineko has. You would do yourself a great disservice by not reading it.

Anyways, that will be my last review for a few months. Next I'm going to read Umineko's second half, Umineko Chiru (which will no doubt take quite a while to get through)! Hopefully it will be just as good as the first half, if not more so. We'll just have to wait and see. But until then, allow me to close this review with a witch-like cackle....

  read


2:03 PM on 06.08.2015

Should You Read: The Fruit of Grisaia?

Hey, everyone. I'm back again with another installment of "Should You Read". Why another one so soon? Well, it's not like I read a whole 'nother visual novel between this morning and this afternoon. In fact, I read Steins;Gate and The Fruit of Grisaia months ago. That's why I can review them so closely together. But enough about that! Let's get right into The Fruit of Grisaia, while it's still fresh in my memory.

What is it About?

The Fruit of Grisaia is set in and around Mihama Academy, a rather unusual academy in that it only has five students: Amane Suou, Yumiko Sakaki, Sachi Komine, Michiru Matsushima, and Makina Irisu. It goes without saying that these girls are not the only ones attending Mihama Academy for no good reason. Each one holds deep scars hidden within their pasts, scars which have interfered with their ability to find their place in the world at large. They seem to have gotten used to their routine lives at Mihama, but this all changes when a young man named Yuuji Kazami enters the picture as the academy's first male student. 

Just who is Yuuji Kazami and why is he attending Mihama Academy? For that matter, why are these other girls attending Mihama Academy? What scars are they hiding? And can they overcome the trauma they've faced in the past? Perhaps with the introduction of Yuuji they can....

Who are Some of the Characters?

"Life comes at a cost. Wouldn’t it be arrogant to die before you’ve repaid that debt?"

Yuuji Kazami is the new kid at Mihama Academy. Cool, composed, and intelligent beyond his years, Yuuji is a young man who sincerely tries to get along with the girls at Mihama Academy and gain their trust. On the surface he's a model young man. But once you get to know him, you'll find that he's often sarcastic and has a tendency to say some...rather odd things, implying that the girls aren't the only ones at Mihama with an unusual past.

 

"I assume you're prepared to face the consequences of your actions..."

Yumiko Sakaki is, in Makina's words, a "classic kuudere". In her first encounters with Yuuji she acts coldly towards him, not letting her defenses down for a second. Heck, she goes as far as to carry around a box cutter to "protect" herself with (more like threaten people with). While her cold exterior is as hard as a rock, she does have a soft side, which she may show to Yuuji in time...if only she can put away the box cutter first.

 

"If you won't be my boyfriend, then I'll be your big sister! Don't you want a kind, beautiful big sister?"

Amane Suou is the mother figure of Makina who acts like a big sister to the other girls at Mihama. She's kind and supportive of each of them, and she's known for her good cooking. She's usually pretty composed, but when she gets flustered she has a tendency to let some Kansai dialect (an accent) into her speech. Despite how she behaves around the other girls, she has a tendency to act pervy around Yuuji, going as far as to try to seduce him. But even so, you can't deny that she's a pretty nice girl at heart.

 

"But this's what...no, this is who I am, so don't you dare deny my identityyy!!"

Michiru Matsushima is one of the more eccentric girls at Mihama Academy. Her hair is bleached blond and she eats sour foods on the regular, despite the fact that she clearly can't stand them. She's a fake tsundere. In other words, she deliberately acts cold towards Yuuji, and she acts as if she has a warm side that will open up to him over time. The only problem is that she's a horrible tsundere. Yuuji (and anyone else with a working brain for that matter) sees through her act almost immediately. Still, as a class clown of sorts, she's by no means unpleasant to be around.

"Quitcher bitchin'! Toss open that door an' say 'I'm back, Makina! Daddy's home!'"

Makina Irisu is one of the youngest girls at Mihama Academy and without a doubt the most child-like one. She's characterized by a distinctive lisp and carefree attitude. Amane acts like a mother to her, to the point where she's has practically moved into moved into Amane's room. But while Makina has an energetic side, she won't show it to just anyone. Makina is pretty shy around people she doesn't know, but once you spend some time with her she opens up pretty quickly.

 

"Listen carefully to what you're told, and get plenty of sleep at night...That's how a good girl behaves."

Sachi Komine is an odd one. She acts as the maid of Mihama Academy. You'd be hard-pressed to find her without her maid uniform on (although ironically, in the picture I used above she does not have her maid uniform on). She tends to most of the cleaning around the academy and is more than willing to help anyone who asks her for assistance...to a dangerous degree. She takes everything you tell her literally, and will go to any end to do what is asked of her. If you asked her to build a ladder to the moon, she'd do it no questions asked. Please don't ask her to build a ladder to the moon.

Any Musical Samples?

Unfortunately, while the soundtrack is great, it hasn't been uploaded to Youtube (not that I can see). However, you can find many of the songs here. I highly recommend giving some of the tracks a listen. I still get feels listening to some of these tracks (Kasabuta in particular, which is on the second page).

Enough Background! How Is It?

Like with Steins;Gate, we'll just make breaking down these visual novels piece by piece the norm. So let's start in the same fashion that we did last time.

Grisaia's story is pretty darn good. Like with Steins;Gate, it can be broken into two parts. There's a common route, which is basically a series of (unrelated for the most part) slice-of-life scenes that introduce the characters and their relationships with one another. Once you get so far in the common route, you'll be presented with some choices that determine which character's route you'll be on. Now, I do take issue with the aforementioned common route. While there are certainly entertaining scenes in it, the common route is LONG. It takes quite a bit of time before you hit any of the character routes. And as someone who was eager to get into said routes and delve into these characters' backstories, the common route became a bit of a chore to read through. But, I know there are people who really enjoyed the entirety of the common route, so that's just my personal opinion.

As for the character routes (I'm going to tie the characters into this a bit), I found almost all of them to be captivating and well-written. Unraveling the complexity of each girl and delving into their troubled, yet interesting pasts was a rather emotional journey. Amane's route in particular left an impact on me that I will never forget. But these character routes don't just deal with the girls. No, each one also reveals something about Yuuji's past and reveals more of his character. I have to applaud that. It made each route all the more worth going through, as each provided a different piece of the puzzle that is Yuuji Kazami. But like with the common route, I do take issue with one aspect of the character routes. Each character route has a good ending and a bad ending, and to be entirely honest, most of the bad endings feel kind of...half-assed. The only one that really stood out to me as being particularly good was Amane's bad ending. Which is funny, because on the other hand, I found Amane's good ending to be a bit long-winded. In her case, I think her bad ending trumped her good ending. Weird, huh?

Touching on the characters a bit more it goes without saying that they're all pretty well developed and interesting characters. Just going off the character descriptions I wrote above and what I said about Yuuji just now, you can tell that we have some rather unique characters in this bunch. It was fun getting to understand the girls' relationships with each other and seeing each one's relationship with Yuuji develop. Now, let's touch on the hentai scenes. Grisaia does have hentai scenes, and I think they're fairly well done. There's a lot of humor in the scenes between Yuuji and whichever girl he's having sex with, and beyond that some of the scenes have significance beyond simply being titillating for the reader. I think the scenes can feel a bit too long, but on the whole they're probably better than most hentai scenes you'd find in a visual novel.

I would be remiss to not mention the visuals. From the character sprites to the CGs to the backgrounds, everything looks pretty high quality. You can tell that this was a visual novel with a good budget. As far as visuals are concerned, I don't think anyone should have any complaints with Grisaia's.

And now for the reading experience. Grisaia is largely a linear experience. The common route is almost entirely linear, although I think there are two choices within it that don't really have any significance. Once you hit a certain point in the common route you'll be presented with a choice that can send you into Makina's route. If you choose not to go into Makina's route, the common route continues a bit until you hit a choice that can send you into Amane's route. And it just continues in this fashion until the end of the common route, where you get automatically sent into Yumiko's route (if you didn't go into another character's route). It's a nice setup, and it's pretty obvious which choice will send you into each character's route, which is nice. From each character's route, it's linear right up until you get towards the end, where you'll be given a single choice that determines whether you get the route's bad ending or good ending.

Outside of the actual visual novel, there are some neat features that I can appreciate. There's a CG gallery, a scene select, a hentai scene select (for your dick's enjoyment-there's your dick reference Gajknight), a music gallery, and a movie gallery. All are pretty standard stuff. One thing I found noteworthy is that there are also wallpapers and icons that you can download for each character that unlock as you finish each route. But that's not all. There are also system voice packs. In other words, you can download packs of voice clips for each character and set your system sounds to them. For instance, I'm currently using Amane's voice pack and have a sound that plays when I start up my computer, one that plays when I shut down my computer, and so on. It's a nice addition, and one I haven't seen in any other visual novel I've read yet.

Bottom Line

Should you read The Fruit of Grisaia? Yes. This is a visual novel that oozes quality, and like Steins;Gate it makes for a great starter visual novel. But like Steins;Gate, it's a pretty long read. The Visual Novel Database clocks it in at 50+ hours, and I don't think that's any stretch of the imagination. Still, it's worth the read. Now, while it did just get an official release by Sekai Project, I implore you to not get the game on Steam if you're interested. The Steam version takes out the hentai scenes and censors some other things, particularly in Amane's route. Honestly, I think your experience would suffer for it, and as someone who's against censorship of any form, I can't promote the Steam version on principle alone. However, Sekai Project will be releasing an uncensored version on their website Denpasoft in the (hopefully not-too-distant) future. If you're interested in purchasing The Fruit of Grisaia, I would implore you to consider that version instead of the Steam version. Of course, like with any other visual novel, piracy is always an option, too (hey, that's how I got my copy a few months back).

I give The Fruit of Grisaia...a well-deserved 9 out of 10. (I deducted a point mainly for the my issues with the common route and bad endings, although your mileage may vary when it comes to those.)

Well, that's it for now! The next visual novel I'll be reviewing will be Umineko no Naku Koro ni, which probably won't be for another few days, as I still have a good few hours ahead of me on that. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this installment of "Should You Read?"

  read


10:23 PM on 06.07.2015

Should You Read: Steins;Gate?

So after that blog I made the other day, I got a little idea in my head. I should write more. I know some people around here like to review games and such, but how many people review visual novels? Heck, how many people even read visual novels around here? I dunno. But as someone who is currently enjoying reading visual novels at present, I figure I might as well step up to the plate and present my opinions on visual novels I've read (as well as a rundown of what the novel is about, an idea of who some of the key characters are, and so on). I doubt anyone will read these (hey, it is a pretty niche form of media), but I'm going to write these things anyways. Simply because I enjoy writing about the things I like. But hopefully someone will enjoy these, regardless.

Now keep in mind that my opinions on the visual novels I've read are entirely subjective. I'm sure you all know that already. I just think it bears repeating. Just because I'm crazy over something or hate something doesn't mean that you will, too. Also note that I will do my best to avoid spoilers that might impact or ruin your experience in my reviews. If I ever feel the need to put such a spoiler in a review (for whatever reason), I'll do everything in my power to help you see it coming and avoid it (if you so desire).

Now without further ado, let's get started on Steins;Gate. (And yes, I know this has already been "officially" reviewed by Destructoid, so it's perhaps not the best visual novel to start a series like this with, but I'm starting with it, dammit.)

What is it about?

Steins;Gate is a visual novel set in Akihabara (which in case you don't know, is a district in Japan that's pretty well otaku heaven), where we find the Future Gadget Laboratory. What is the Future Gadget Laboratory? Well, it's less of an actual laboratory and more of a place for college student Rintarou Okabe and his friends to hang out, although they do create some fun (if largely useless) gadgets from time to time. Long story short, Okabe and his friends inadvertently end up creating a microwave that can connect to a cell phone and send text messages back in time. As any self-proclaimed mad scientist would do, Okabe decides to conduct various experiments with the "Phone Microwave", roping other people into the experiments in the process, such as Makise Kurisu, a gifted young neuroscientist who often finds herself at odds with Okabe and his chuunibyou fantasies. 

But are these experiments as harmless as they seem? Or are Okabe and his friends meddling in something that they shouldn't? What is SERN, and why are they trying to track Okabe and his friends down? Our actions carry consequences, and perhaps playing with time travel has its own consequences....

 Who are Some of the Characters?

"It's the choice of Steins;Gate."

Rintarou Okabe is the leader of the Future Gadget laboratory and a self-proclaimed mad scientist. He's a chuunibyou, meaning that he basically has an overactive imagination. To that end, he has an alter ego, the mad scientist Hououin Kyouma. To give an idea of what Hououin Kyouma is like, he tends to act delusional (talking to himself on his cell phone) and paranoid (acting as if some mysterious Organization is after him). But at his heart, Okabe is a pretty nice guy who genuinely cares about his friends.

"People's feelings are memories that transcend time."

Makise Kurisu is, simply put, a genius. She graduated from college at the age of seventeen and largely works in the field of neuroscience. After a series of encounters with Okabe, she finds herself joining the Future Gadget Laboratory. She often finds herself at odds with Okabe-or to be more specific-Hououin Kyouma, as well as Daru (due to his perviness). But like Okabe, she's really a kind person at heart, as she acts almost like a big sister to Mayuri.

"Tu-tu-ru!"

Mayuri Shiina is Okabe's childhood friend and one of the first members of the Future Gadget Laboratory. When she's not hanging around the Future Gadget Laboratory, you can usually find her working at a maid cafe called May Queen Nyan-nyan. She's not exactly what those in the science community would call "smart", but her cheerful disposition and support of her friends more than makes up for her lack of smarts.

"Balls or not, I'd still hit that!"

Itaru Hashida, known to his friends as Daru, is the friend of Okabe and Mayuri and the third person to join the Future Gadget Laboratory. He's a "supah hackah" (Okabe's words, not his) who often finds himself doing whatever tech work that needs to be done for the Future Gadget Laboratory. He's an otaku through and through, the kind of guy who would unashamedly throw out pervy jokes and offer to show you his eroge collection. But like everyone else, he's a pretty nice guy at heart.

 Any Musical Samples?

Steins;Gate has a great soundtrack. Here's just a few samples of what it has to offer!

Enough Background! How Is It?

Do you even need to ask? There's a reason Steins;Gate has been such a hit, and that's because it's damn good! But let's try to break it down piece by piece.

As far as the story goes, it can basically be broken into two parts. The first half is largely a slice-of-life that introduces you to the characters and lets you get to know the characters. Of course, there's plenty of sci-fi intrigue in the first half as well. The second half largely shifts gears into more of a sci-fi drama. As far as the first half is concerned, the slice-of-life stuff works really well if you like the characters, but it will be a bit of a drag otherwise. The sci-fi bits can be a bit long-winded, but they're interesting nonetheless. But you would be surprised after reading the whole thing at how many little things happen in the first half of the novel that have more significance than they let on. I have to applaud that sort of thing, as it makes the story worth experiencing more than once. As for the second half of the story, it's pretty engaging and well-written. However, this is a visual novel with multiple endings, and unfortunately some of the endings fall flat on their face. Some of them simply aren't worth it. But the ones that are worth it are emotionally captivating.

The characters are all pretty well developed and well-written. Of course, I can't help but mention that Okabe in particular is a wonderful protagonist. His chuunibyou mannerisms are infinitely entertaining, but the man beneath the mad scientist exterior is one that I felt I could really connect to, and his character development in particular is very well executed. I think the chemistry between the characters deserves mentioning as well. Okabe and Makise really play well off of each other (with their teasing and arguments especially). Makise and Mayuri's sisterly bond is adorable. Okabe and Daru make for a good pair of friends. The relationships are pretty well developed, I think.

The visuals are very pretty. They were done by an artist who goes by the name of Huke, and the "acid-washed look" (as someone one called it) is really quite unique.

As for how the reading experience, Steins;Gate is a little unique. It's a visual novel with multiple endings, so there must be choices in the story. But Steins;Gate doesn't operate like other visual novels when it comes to choices. As you read Steins;Gate, you'll recieve text messages from other characters, and you can pull up Okabe's phone at (almost) any time to read these text messages and send replies. In order to send replies, there are certain sections of texts that are highlighted almost like hyperlinks. You can click on them to send a reply (pre-determined by the visual novel, of course). It's a unique system, and it can be fun, but it does have a few shortcomings. Getting to the true ending is really obtuse. You have to send certain replies at multiple points in the story to get to the true ending, and believe me, the replies you're supposed to send are not obvious. Also, as a completionist, I decided to get all of the CGs and achievements, and let me tell you, the texting system did not do me any favors there, as the path to some of the achievements and CGs can be just as long and hard as getting to the true ending is. But most people probably don't care about achievements and CGs for a visual novel, so I'll count that point as a minor gripe.

Outside of the texting system, there's one other feature that I found noteworthy. There's a glossary of terms that come up throughout the story, and it's really rather useful. Some of the entries are pretty interesting to read (particularly the more sci-fi ones), and others are just plain helpful in better understanding what a term means (such as 3DPD, which I had never heard of before reading Steins;Gate).

 Bottom Line

Should you read Steins;Gate? Absolutely. It's one of the better visual novels on the market, and it makes for a great starter visual novel. That said, it is a bit of a meaty visual novel (40+ hours), so you'd best set aside some time if you're interested in reading it. On the plus side, unlike many visual novels, Steins;Gate has been officially licensed by JAST USA (in English), so it's easy to get your hands on an already translated copy.

I give Steins;Gate...a 9.5 out of 10. (I deducted half a point for the obtuse path to the true ending.)

Hope the few people (if any) who read this have enjoyed reading, even if you're still not interested in Steins;Gate. The next review I have lined up is for The Fruit of Grisaia. Until then, this is Marche100 signing off.

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9:39 PM on 06.05.2015

The Destructoid Games (Hunger Games Simulator)

So it's been a while. I haven't blogged in ages. Well, I came across a little something today that I simply can't put in anything other than a blog post. I came across a Hunger Games simulator. And so I did what any sensible person would do and wasted a few hours of my day putting my friends from Destructoid in the simulator and seeing whether or not I would come out on top. Because let's be honest here. I'm better than them. I'd 1v1 each and every one of them and come out on top. So let's see what the Destructoid games held in store for us, my friends.

So, these are the teams. Looks like the other person from my district is Luna, the most innocent person in the games. I'm sorry Luna, but you're going to be the first to go. We're all thinking it.

 

Ouch, right out the gate, Turtle gets a knife to the head. Sorry, Turtle. Looks like you're somehow worse at this than Luna. And what's up with breaking Nanashi's nose, Phil? You gotta go for the kill, man. At least hit him over the head with that basket of bread you took. God.

Dang, Caim is more aggressive than I took him for. And he took that mace from Browneye no less. Now how will Browneye go on a killing spree?

 

Wow. The German got a trident. With a campy weapon like that, he can't lose! But what's all this crap about sharing everything I gathered with Defenstrator, Charlie, and Wry? I should be stealing from them and killing them! Gah. Maybe I'm hatching some elaborate plan to gain their trust and kill them when their backs are turned later. I better be.

And Firion's just a sissy. What else is new?

Finally, day one! Now we can get to the killing!

Ouch! Looks like even though Caim took the mace from Browneye, he was no match for Panza, Phil, and Opium. Poor Seph and Stevil didn't stand a chance, either. But what is this crap? Why am I still looking for resources? I should be killing! KILLING!

Lion is so ronery.

Oh god, an arena event! Panza and Hector are ruthless! Thank god I survived! Going to have to keep an eye on Browneye, though. I get the feeling he's more skilled than he lets on.

God damn! Firion, Pk, Wry, Lion, and Bright all got wiped out at once. This is a bloodbath! I must have rolled a natural 20 or something to make it through this event alive!

Finally, Luna's dead. That took way too long.

A moment of silence for all those who were to weak to survive the first day. You guys suck at this game.

 

HA HA HA HA HAAAA!!! FINALLY, MY BLOODLUST REVEALS ITSELF! EAT THAT, DEFENSTRATOR! KNIFE TO THE CHEST! SSSENSATIONAL! Oh, and I guess Hector died too.

Poor Panza. I guess killing people can really get to a weakling like him.

I'd say I had made a smart move if anyone else had bothered going to The Feast. Well, in any case I was smarter than Opium. Who falls into a frozen lake? Seriously. 

So NO ONE went to The Feast. Geez. Making me feel stupid. Well, at least someone got shanked with a tree branch. It just wouldn't feel like a productive day if someone didn't get killed by someone else.

What are you doing, Nihil? This is a game of life and death! A game where you show that your murderous bloodlust is greater than that other guy's murderous bloodlust! This isn't the time to be picking some damn flowers! God. And what's up with Browneye getting explosives? He's like the last person in this game who should get his hands on explosives of any kind. We're all screwed now. God help us.

At least I'm doing something productive. SLINGSHOT OF DEATTTHHH!!!

Another moment of silence for these incompetent fools.

I hope Sushi and Kir die. Anyone who has to cry themselves to sleep isn't playing right. Guess I'm getting all friendly with Nihil so I can backstab him later. Excellent. Good move from Browneye, as well.

No one died this night?! What are you people doing? Guess I'm getting to higher ground so I can snipe your asses with that slingshot I made earlier. It probably has a huge range and can fire something deadly. Like combustible lemons.

Shameful.

Whoa! Lots of people got defeated in fights! Except myself and Browneye. I refuse to believe that I got defeated in a fight. I must have let Sushi win. There's simply no other explanation.

WHAT?! I DIED?! NO...THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! AND I WAS KILLED BY NANASHI OF ALL PEOPLE? WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND GETS KILLED BY NANASHI?! THIS IS RIGGED. RIGGED I TELL YOU! ARGHHHH!!!

I...CAN'T...ACCEPT...THIS!!!

Okay, three people left. I've calmed down and decided to place all of my hopes and dreams in Browneye. That crazy bastard. If anyone has a right to win this, it's him. Make me proud, Browneye.

Another sad day.

BROWNEYE! WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?!?! I WANT YOU TO WIN! I WANT YOU TO KILL NANASHI AND NIHIL! BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! HOLDING HANDS WITH NIHIL?! WHAT THE FUCK, MAN?! WHAT ARE YOU, A PACIFIST?

BROWNEYE, YOU IDIOT. YOU WERE HOLDING HANDS WITH NIHIL. YOU COULD'VE KILLED HIM RIGHT THERE. BUT THEN YOU RAN?! YOU DESERVE TO LOSE. IDIOTS. ALL OF YOU. AS AM I. GOD DAMMIT.

It's over. It's all over.

You may have won this round, Nihil, but you've yet to win the war!

I suppose I should be happy that I placed in the top five, but I can't accept this...I CAN'T ACCEPT THIS!!! THIS ISN'T ENOUGH! IT'S NOT ENOUGH! I NEED MORE BLOOD! MORE KILLINGS! WE NEED TO EXPAND! WE NEED TO HOLD A GAME SO RIDICULOUSLY OVERSATURATED WITH PREY THAT THE CARNAGE WILL CONTINUE UNABATED FOR A WEEK! BLOOD WILL RAIN FROM THE SKY, THE GROUND WILL BE COVERED IN CORPSES, AND I...I ALONE WILL STAND TRIUMPHANT AS THE FINAL BODY HITS THE GROUND! FOR I AM THE BEST THERE EVER WAS AND EVER WILL BE!

I GIVE YOU...

...THE DESTRUCTOID...

...GAMES...

....ULTIMAX!!!

Let the bloodbath begin.

 

Nothing yet, but I'm confident the bloodbath will begin momentarily!

AHA! Pk gets first blood! Poor KyWii. Just returned to the community, and yet she's the first to go. Who'd have thought an innocent little boy could stab a lovely young lady with such cruelty? Good job, Pk!

Hoh...So Luna has some balls on her...him...whichever, after all. Looks like Scield is no different. Maybe he's not such a friendly cop after all.

Looks like Brightside and ImmaLetYouFinish are unaware that taking it easy and fishing by the riverside isn't a smart move. A smarter move would be to take that fishing rod and jam it up someone's ass. That'd be a painful way to go. Remember the first rule of the Destructoid Games: Kill Everyone (creatively if possible).

Firion's dead already? Pffft. He went out early in the last (inferior) game as well. Guess he's just not cut out for this sort of thing. Go back to your lolis, kid. Let the adults handle the murderous rampages. And Nanashi is out already, too? Excellent. He might have killed me last time, but this time he won't be an obstacle. I will overcome!

Not much to say, here. Sushi's got some explosives, huh? I don't like the sound of that.

I GOT SOME EXPLOSIVES? BOOYAH! TIME TO BLOW EVERYONE TO KINGDOM COME! BRING IT, BITCHES!!!

Lion's already questioning his sanity? Man, it's a long road ahead for you, my friend.

HA HA!!! I stole from Turtle! Yes...YESSS!!! I'm playing more aggressively this game! I'm going to win this! I can feel it in my bones!

Damn, the German's playing aggressively this time around as well. Going so far as to poison someone's food. Going to have to watch out for that one.

Luna got defeated in a fight, but Isay spared him/her? Come on, Isay. Put it out of its misery. Luna won't last long, anyways.

Browneye fell to his death? What an anti-climax. After he stole second place in the first game, he died so quickly in this one. Guess that's good for me. One less person with some serious experience under their belt for me to deal with.

A moment of silence for these five rotting corpses.

Ouch, Mr. Andy Dixon got taken out that quickly? You'd have thought that everyone loves Andy, but I guess Defenstrator had a bone to pick with him. And Sephzilla bled out? Not a pleasant way to go. Looks like Lion's lack of sanity caught up with him. Too bad Stevil refused to give him the mercy of an eternal rest. Now he might have to deal with me. And look here. Luna is singing him/herself to sleep. That's so like Luna.

I'm...dead? No...not again...NOT AGAIN!!! VXXYYYYYYY!!! SOMEONE KILL HIM! SOMEONE AVENGE ME! RIP HIM LIMB FROM LIMB! CASTRATE HIM! GOUGE HIS EYES OUT WITH A RUSTY SPOON! DON'T LET HIM WIN!!!

Good, Brightside's still alive and kicking. And he's got some kills under his belt to boot. I'll make him my successor. GO, KILL VXXY AND WIN THIS THING!

So much kindness and goodwill between these people...It makes me sick! "Deciding to truce for the night?" "Holding hands?" "Huddling for warmth?" Absolutely disgusting. You had better not fail me, Brightside. Kill all of these disgusting vermin.

Hoh...It seems that Lion's lack of sanity hasn't been a total loss. And a suicide from Script? Interesting. Poor Tubby, detonating a land mine. He's so physically fit, he would have killed anyone of us (maybe even me) in a straight fight. But alas, muscles can't save you from technical incompetence.

Once again, Panza is questioning his sanity. Let's see if he entertains me as much as Lion has. It's shocking that Luna yet lives. To think, a delicate flower can survive on the battlefield. Inconcievable. We'll just have to see how far such an easy target's luck can go.

Yet another brutal move from Pk! He's shaping up to be a fine young killer. In fact, I think I'll elect him as my second successor. Who says I can't have two successors? So long as one of them wins, it's a win for me.

I've got nothing to say.

You'd think I'd be angry at my own death, but not anymore. My indomitable spirit passes on to my successors: Brightside and Pk! Give me a game to remember, you two! Make me proud!

If I'm not mistaken, this isn't the first time King Chrono has gotten explosives from his "sponsors". He might have the upper hand here. But hopefully, he'll just slip up like Tubby did and blow himself to kingdom come! Heheheh!

Kir convinced Hector to...snuggle? I can't believe that. Hector must be up to something. Hector isn't the kind of player who goes out of his way to do stupid shit like that. He's in it to win it. Watch your back, Kir.

Not much to say.

Hopefully there will be some more killings come morning.

Hoh...Not only is Luna still alive, but he/she's practicing his/her archery skills? Luna might show promise yet. His/her ability to stay alive this long is a testament to that. Very well! Out of respect for Luna's insurmountable luck, I appoint my third and final successor to be Luna! Just watch out for Nihil and Opium. I said earlier that the German seemed like he was playing aggressively, and if he's working with the winner of the last game, they might be a tough pair to kill. Don't get yourself killed, my delicate little flower.

If I'm not mistaken, it seems that Lion has made a full recovery from his insanity. Hmph. If I really wanted to go crazy with my powers from beyond the grave, I'd appoint him my fourth successor. But it's Lion. Come on. He isn't going to win.

Brightside died from an infection? ...... Okay, fine. Lion, you can take his place as my first successor. I find it rather entertaining that Glowbear accidentally poisoned herself! What a disgrace! Amateur!

Isn't this the second time ChillyBilly was begged by someone to kill them? And both times he refused? What a softy. It's kill or be killed, Bill! If they want to give you a free kill, you're stupid not to take them up on that!

And so ends the day.

Only three deaths? You're slacking, everyone. Where are those damn mutts from the first game when you need them? I want to see some more bloodshed in the next 24 hours, do you hear me?!

OOOOHHHH!!! Great move, Turtle! Decapitation! How brutal! Now there's a man who knows how to please!

Ha ha ha! So Roberto accidentally hit the wrong target, huh? He might be good with a brush, but not with a bow and arrow! Guess he should've practiced his archery like Luna! 

At least Luna survived through the night. That luck is killer, this game.

What IS it with you people and refusing to kill people who are asking for it?! Oooooh, I wish I were still alive so I could show you all a thing or two about respecting people's wishes!

See, King Chrono has the right idea! Hmm...King Chrono is a dangerous one. I get the feeling he'll make it to endgame. Everyone had better watch their backs.

Booooring. Where's the death and destruction?!

Grumble grumble...no killings...grumble grumble....

You guys suck at hunting people.

Well, at least SOME people died...I guess....

Hah! Scield forced Isay to kill someone! Now that's a creative kill we haven't seen yet! You've got spunk, Scield!

Good...all of my successors are still alive. Very good! And it seems that your scooter that your fat American ass rode around in didn't save you from a spear in your big, fat gut, Captain Merica! A splendid kill!

What are you doing, Lion?! Don't beg someone to kill you! You're my successor! People should be begging YOU to kill them! And Pk...Pk, Pk, Pk...couldn't even handle Kir, of all people. Die like the worthless trash that you are!

Luna and Charlie killed Vxxy?! Yesss...YESSSSS!!! I AM AVENGED!!! FINALLY!!! Even if you should die, Luna, I will not mock you. You have proven yourself a successor worthy of song and praise. You have done enough. That said, you wouldn't mind winning the entire game for me, right? Hmmmmmm?

What a wonderful day it's been!

With Vxxy dead, I am at peace.

Looks like Roberto will never get to practice those archery skills! Heheheh!

Opium is dead, but Nihil still lives. Something about this is unsettling. And King Chrono is dead? Well, I wouldn't say he made it to endgame, but he made it damn close. That's one less dangerous individual who threatens my victory. However, in his place, Panza concerns me. He killed Imma, and this isn't his first kill. He's not someone to mess with.

Good, good! Luna and Lion yet live! I'm praying for you both.

Flamoctopus died of dysentary? This isn't Oregon Trail! Ha ha ha! Looks like we have some other interesting deaths as well. Scield showed promise, but it looks like he was nothing against a prawn. And Charlie succumbed to his own incompetence. What a shame.

 

Endgame is quickly approaching.

HOROSHO! VERY GOOD, LION! Hyahahahahaha! You and Luna are proving to be the perfect successors! Keep this up! Keep this up and kill to your hearts content! Win the Destructoid Games Ultimax! Win it for the sake of my honor!

Heh. Kir commited suicide. It's about time.

Kuh...Lion died. It's up to you, Luna. It's all up to you. You can do it! I believe in your ultimate luck!

So ends a bloody feast.

This is it. Endgame.

Luna...your ultimate luck finally ran out. You played well, my friend. You may not have won the games, but you've won my heart. Adieu, my courageous successor. Fuck that Nihil guy, though. He won the last game and he's still going strong! Will he win it again?! Is he invincible or something?! Someone put him in his place!

It's a terrible day for rain.

I guess no one needs to put Nihil in his place after all. He did himself in. And with Muck's spectacular kill...

...we have ourselves a winner! What a game!

So ends the Destructoid Games Ultimax. I suppose....I suppose I'm not better than everyone else. But you all played a good game. Give yourselves a round of applause. For truly entertaining games they were. But to those of you who placed high, don't get too full of yourselves. For this? This is just the beginning. This isn't over, for there are many games to come. These were just the...preliminaries. We'll have to see how you all fare later down the line. I have many new players waiting to get a taste of you. Ones not just of Destructoid.

But until then...this is your host, Marche100, bidding you all a good night.

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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.

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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





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