When choosing a particular character strength, I usually lean toward agility and speed over straight up power or strength. This is probably due to my own real life characteristics, but I also just find it to be a more interesting approach in general. Stealth is more appealing than rushing through guns blazing, being an artful dodger more appealing than being a tank who is only good at taking damage. So it’s no wonder that in racing games I tend to go with handling and acceleration over top speed. And since the only racing games I usually bother with begin with “Mario”, that means that I’m always repping Toad.
Why Toad over the other lightweight racers? It really began in Super Mario Bros. 2. It was Toad’s first role as a player character, and at the time I was super excited to play as a new character in a mario game. But I really grew to appreciate the speed that he had. The rare moment when I needed to play as a different character, it would be almost excruciating with how slow the other characters were. This preference lived to this day, where I played Toad (for the most part) in Super Mario 3D World.
So playing as Toad in my early NES days led me to just generally liking the little guy, and became my automatic choice once Mario Kart started making the rounds. Yoshi was cool, but I had just gotten my fill from him in Super Mario World. Seeing Toad as a racer was comforting to me, and I had just associated quickness with him since playing SMB 2. And so he became, for the most part, my man of choice for playing Mario Kart. With the occasional substitution by Dry Bones. Because skeletal turtles are pretty rad.
Favoring acceleration over max speed does seem like the easy way. It could be argued that it requires less skill because it gives more chances to make up from crashing or making other mistakes. But I would say it’s the harder choice to make. To require to drive with finesse, and to make ground by making skillful and risky tight turns instead of being able to drive quickly in a straight line. And that’s why the man with the spotted cap will always be my racer of choice.
Also, shouting “HEHRRO” as loudly and high pitched as I can is fucking hilarious and will absolutely never get old.
2D platformers have always been close to my heart. They are what I grew up with, and is the closest thing to a comfort food that I’ll ever have in video games. The modern resurgence in sprite based 2D platformers has inspired nothing less than absolute joy in me, as well as a burning, intense hatred for my rapidly shrinking amount of free time. Like many people, I have a gold standard to measure such things against. A game that I think is so great, still to this day, that should it ever be surpassed, I will collapse to my knees, paralyzed by happy sobs while silently making grateful prayers. That game is Yoshi’s Island.
There are so many aspects to this game that I am fond of, but the one that is immediately apparent is the art direction. In the era of burgeoning polygonal graphics, it is a love note to what great sprite art can be. And held against many games of its era, and I would argue many modern games, it is still a thing of beauty. The game has an aesthetic reminiscent of watercolor paintings, which is brought to live by a very bright and vivid color palette. Every sprite looks painstakingly created with care and thought. And befitting of Nintendo games, the whole game just looks so HAPPY. It’s pretty amazing when just looking at a game makes you happy, rather than only when you’re playing.
But the gameplay is hardly a slouch, either. It is my lowly opinion that Yoshi Island has some of the best level design and mechanics of most any 2D platformer ever. While most levels are more of the ho hum left-to-right fare, the levels aren't as flat as previous Mario games. A course may slowly build up, suddenly drop down or go back and forth between the two. It makes the game feel less artificial and much more dynamic. And the more complex levels, such as the cave and castle levels, become a puzzle to solve instead of just a dangerous obstacles to overcome.
And the way levels work in the egg throwing mechanic is brilliant. To help with collecting various objects, to open up the way to progress through the level, to conquer certain enemies. When done with great skill, it adds another layer to the feeling of satisfaction some players feel when they can quickly and expertly run through a level. Being able to make perfect egg throws while effortlessly weaving around a level's pitfalls is gratifying to a ridiculous degree.
One thing that can be said for Mario games is that the bosses often lack challenge. But Yoshi’s Island is a very striking exception to that rule. Mundane mooks are given inspired twists, taking place in special environments such as on a moon or inside the boss itself. Sometimes it involves using eggs in clever ways, or by allowing a player to quickly vanquish a boss through proficient egg use. And it was the last time I could say that the last boss in a Mario game was memorable. The rogue gallery in this game is among the best in the series.
I cannot say enough good things about this game, but I'm going to stop here for the sake of berevity. It is absolutely one of the defining moments in my vast and varied history. And while that may color what I see to some degree, I’m positive that what I’m overlooking are trifling missteps. It would take a lot of effort to find something glaringly wrong in this game. To this day I believe this game is the classic it was once it was released, and I will make every possible effort for it to be continually at hand for my immediate enjoyment.
I'm fairly emotional man. It doesn't take much for me to start tearing up during a moving moment. But aside from obvious trite, like pets being reunited with returing masters, what really gets the water works going is scenes of heroism.
Bravery and courage shown in times of ever increasing peril, and all that jazz. I think that I'm such a schmuck for that sort of thing because I still have that niave desire to, at some point to some degree, be heroic. I think a lot of us do; it's why we play video games and read books and watch movies. We want to identify with the hero and be part of a righteous force that saves the day. Something that Earthbound nails perfectly.
If you've seen the scene, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If not, it's in the ending so I'll try to be descreet, or you can just turn back now. Look it up if you're curious, but really you should just play the game. The way the game sets it up nonchalantly is genius. It seems so insignificant at the time and it is quickly forgotten. The video game world's best brick joke. In a dire moment, when all seems lost, when every resource seems exhausted and it's not enough, what will be the final straw? What will be the final death stroke to the great evil? YOU will be.
It was almost like Itoi knew the exact recipe for pulling my heart strings. To make this moment the most powerful moment in gaming history I've ever experienced. A moment that is still powerful to this day, if not moreso. A moment that blew my ten year old mind, and makes me well up just thinking about it to this day. A moment that tauht me an important lesson: when times are bleak, when pleas for help get absorbed by the darkness, just keep praying.
I grew up with first person shooters. I'm old enough to have had access to Wolfenstein 3D as a young child. I played the shareware version to exhaustion, running alongside the walls while mashing the space bar looking for secrets. But it was Doom, and later Duke Nukem, that really solidified my love for first person shooters. And while I adored the more fantastic settings of demonic and alien invasions, what I loved most about these games were the weapons.
The keystone of a great FPS, in my opinion, is fun weapons. Doom had a few of these. The plasma rifle was always a blast to use when I could spare the sparse ammo. But this is where Duke Nukem excelled. Past the pistol and shotgun, Duke had a wide arsenal of unique weapons that became a standard to which I judged future games.
But, alas, after the golden age of the 90s, first person shooters seemed to become more mundane. As computers became more powerful, the simulation shooter became a genre, stealing market share from my beloved arcade shooter, which was suffering enough from the proliferation of WW2 shooters. Occasionally I would be introduced to something to sate my appetite: Time Splitters, Perfect Dark. But it took a special game to get me excited for a first person shooter.
Metro 2033 is a special game.
Before this game came out, I must admit I was interested. Science fiction themed, spiritual successor to STALKER. All good points. But the second I saw the commercial for this game, peddling that damnable exclusive DLC of a light machine SHOTGUN, I knew this game needed to be part of my life. And it didn't disappoint. Despite still having the regular machine guns, shotguns and pistols, they all had unique designs and almost reinvented each weapon. It was enough to make me abandon my typically stealthy playing style. How the hell hadn't anyone thought of a machine shotgun before? WHY ISN'T IT IN EVERY GAME? Because it ridiculous, that's why. But everything can benefit from being a little bit ridiculous. And what's more ridiculous than belt fed automatic shotguns and silenced revolvers?
(PSST! Did you like this comic? Perhaps consider purchasing a print here! You'll be supporting me and I'll have more incentive to make more comics!)
Hi chums! If you know you want a print, jump down to the bottom and follow the instructions as I ONLY HAVE TWELVE PRINTS. Otherwise, stick around for a story.
So as you may know, I started Printoid several months ago. Hell, they've been DONE for several months. The idea was to support a charity that Niero and a few others were going to be a part of, and that my prints would be sold during a live stream.
However, that never happened and I eventually got around to asking Niero about it. He confirmed that sadly the whole thing never got off the ground, and he told me to just go ahead with the sell. Which left me without a charity.
As I've said before, being the ignorant gamer I am, the first thought is to send it to Child's Play. But that's boring. Which brings me to today. A few days ago, I became aware that another Dtoider, PhilKenSebben, was in a tough spot after after the unfortunate death in his family left him with some steep funeral bills. I can't think of a better beneficiary for a community charity drive than someone from that community.
So here's the deal: 100% of the proceeds will go to help PhilKenSebben with his step-father's burial. Prints will be $30 dollars + $5 shipping (international shipping will be decided for each individual). Seem like a lot? These aren't your typical made by the thousands printed on newsprint kind of posters. I hand printed each one of these on thick art paper using professional ink. SHIT IS MADE TO LAST. Ask Max and Niero how sweet these things look. Maybe we'll both get lucky, my art degree won't end up being a $50000 mistake, I'll become a successful artist and that print will be worth a million dollars some day. Also, it's for charity. So there.
Want one? Here's the rub. I don't have a store front or anything like that, so this is how it's going to work: send an email to meanderbot (at) gmail (dot) com. The first twelve people I hear from can work out payment with me via Paypal or an appropriate analog. Anyone after that will get placed on a waiting list in case someone falls through.
Also, I plan on painting one with watercolors, which will then be put on ebay in the hopes of raising a bit more. That one is still in the works, so stay tuned!
Hey fellas! Just thought I should check in considering recent events. As you may have seen on Farts 'N Crafts a few weeks ago, and in the header image above I suppose, I finished the prints! Right now I have about 14 good ones, with a few I don't feel comfortable selling due to some minor flaws. I plan on making more, but that requires me to not be lazy so we'll see how that goes. Right now I'm still just waiting for the Dtoid charity event to happen. Until then, how about a fancy t-shirt?
Again, as you may have heard Niero, Grimecraft and crew were impressed enough with the image that they decided to put it on a t-shirt! If you were waiting on a print, might I suggest these fancy duds? Each t-shirt comes with a lifetime supply of free hugs when you wear it in my presence at conventions! But you need to hurry! You only have until Thursday at 11 PM PST to order one!
But wait! THERE'S MORE! Do you want a print now? Are you okay with slight imperfections? I'll give one of my flawed prints away to a random person who comments in the specified comment thread below. And if you want to be awesome, maybe, you know, tweet a link to the shirt? Throw in a #printoid perhaps? That would be great. Thanks! read
Hey all! So in the time since my last post, I worked on the image more and came up with something completely different.
I'm leaning toward this image more because it alludes more to the community spirit of Destructoid, of NARPs and con parties in general. A part of Destructoid I've grown rather found of in the past few years. More so than a silly meme (that I am admittedly fond of). Diasgree? TELL ME. Think it's better? TELL ME.
So in addition to sharing this drawing, I again wanted to plead for your input! Since this harkens to the storied history of Dtoid NARPs, I wanted to put out a call for little things to include. It's easy enough to put in empty beer bottles, pizza boxes and sleeping bodies everywhere. Have any references to favorite NARPs or hotel parties? Inside jokes? Dump party things like beer can pyramids? I'd like to hear them! Though keep in mind that the printing process that I'm using keeps me from doing super fine detail, but I'll do what I can. But still I'd love to hear what you have, if only to hear more crazy NARP stories. Thanks! read
If you've been following my very silly, very sporadic exploits in the Cblogs you have probably gathered that I have a bit of an art persuasion. Indeed, I have spent the last twenty years making stupid drawings, and the last several years in art school. Studying printmaking, as a matter of fact. Which brings me to the point of this special blog.
For the past several months, I've been toying with the idea of making a small edition of prints sporting Mr Destructoid, selling them and donating the proceeds to charity, similar to Plushtoid from a few years ago. After learning about a printing process I felt comfortable with, and a little encouragement from a few friends I finally emailed Niero with the idea, and he loved it! Except instead of being a project that I would finish at a more leisurely pace, he asked if I could finish it in a few months for an upcoming charity event. Crap. Well, what's a little more stress?
I have a sketch of a design that I like, but if you've got a better idea, or something to contribute to my sketch, leave a comment! If I like it, or enough other people like it, I'll use it.
So my first (and only) idea involves Mr Destructoid and, of course, corgis. But not just any corgis. A CORGI ARMY!
And while I liked this image, and a few others did as well, while I was inking this up I thought of a better composition.
Comments? Ideas? Suggestions? Leave a comment!
The print will be made with a multiple block linocut relief print. Multiple blocks will allow me to do multiple colors, but for simplicities sake, I'm going to stick to two at most (plus the color of the paper, probably white). Here's a picture of a relief print I made earlier this year (click for a high resolution picture):
Except it won't be that big, and hopefully not that detailed (that took FOREVER). Right now I'm thinking something around an 8x10 images (10x12 with borders), but we'll see how things turn out.
So, being the myopic gamer that I am, I was going to suggest Child's Play, or Extra Life. But I asked Niero for suggestions, and he indeed had a good one. So I'll leave it for him to announce when the time comes.
So I think that about covers it! I will be reporting in every now and then with news and progress updates. Is this a thing you'd want? Do you have a better idea? Or maybe how my idea could be made better? Please let me know. Some kind words, or even constructive criticism, helps keep me in check and reassure me that I'm not running around chasing my tail and talking to myself. read
Hello faithful reader! It's that time again. What? No, not time for another edition of Because (PHOTO)JOURNALISM. Well, it is that time. But what I meant to say is that it is that time again, where I put off updating this for so long that memories of the days are starting to fade from my memory. Looking at my pictures isn't helping; I've fallen into the habit of only taking pictures at night during the bar scenes. But really, there isn't much to remember. I went to a panel, played a video game, got some free swag, etc etc. The stories of PAX proper are countless and near identical. So let's get to the part where I can actually remember something, once I've stared at the pictures long enough to spark a wispy fragment of a memory. Join me, won't you? As I wander down the rutted and potholed road that is my memory lane, of my third night of PAX. And after that, we see some pretty faces at the Destructoid panel!
Ramminchuck, JJ and Andrew reveling joyously in the glory of the night
Conor being all business and shit
Ben (flintmech) and Beccy chillin' on the lounge's just-above-tolarable chairs
Sam doesn't know either
Addison (Crackity Jones) dons Gobun's hat and does his best Gobun face, a recurring theme throughout the weekend
Darren clearing out his Streetpasses amongst a storm of activity
People gather around to take pictures of Adam sleeping, another recurring theme.
A self-portrait that I disguised as a group photo.
Josh glares through my camera into my very soul. It was cold.
Jacob chats with fellow debauchers
Nicole and David engage in conversation, while a timid Apathy flees from my flash
And that marked the end of the Taphouse. I reluctantly left in order to trudge off to home base to recharge my power cells. The next morning I shook off a hangover in order to make it to the Destructoid panel.
On the way I ran into a vibrant and well dressed Mr. Destructoid
There was quite a turnout!
A placid Mr.D watches on as its subjects gather in
Sam shares some dick pics with Spencer before the panel begins
Niero shares a childhood picture. Not much has changed.
The full panel crew above their sea of admirers
Conrad lying down the truth
My annual attempt at a group photo. Keeping in tradition, I mucked it up.
Mr. Destructoid again finds himself in front of my camera, for not the last time
And finally, I have an awful picture of David and Jack together as they bid their friends adieu. I found out a bit too late, or rather was too overcome with social anxiety, to ask for a proper portrait. Next year!
And that's it for now, but what comes next is the grand ball of Destructoid's PAX. Kareokee night, in which also took place a live Podtoid, and a whole bunch of love. I literally took hundreds of pictures, so prepare for a bit of a wait and one loooooong blog. See you then. read
(This is a series of my adventures with the Destructoid community at PAX Prime 2013. Part one can be found here)
After the wildness of the first night, I woke up the next night with a horrible hangover. For whatever reason, I decided it would be wise to wake up early, wait outside in the cold in line for the keynote and listen to Pete Molyneux yap at me. And then I did some things. Can't really remember anything in particular from the day. Probably played some awesome indie games. Probably played some arcade games. Probably was awkward in front of somebody. Anyways, eventually night came and I sauntered over to the Elephant and Castle for some lighthearted debauchery with my fellow debauchers.
Before we get to the pictures though, a small story. At the beginning of the night, while I was vying for the attention of the bartender, a couple of people I've never seen before saw the Destructoid sticker on my camera and asked where the gathering was. I pointed them in the right direction, and had a small realization: I used to be like them. Sheepishly entering and being unsure about where the party might be, rather than entering somewhat confidently and heading to greet you lovely peoples. Makes me feel good to know I've grown more comfortable over the years, and feeling like I'm part of the community.
One more thing. I've had a world of trouble trying to correct the white balance, so I'm just going to make them grayscale. So when you see that, NOW YOU KNOW
Hamza is the CEO of Ruining Candid Photos
There, that's better
Andrew (powerglove) with his trademark smile
Adam gets comfortable with Conor
Law of Thermodynamics sees something horrible behind him. Which was probably me.
A group picture of Adam, Conor, Jack Shadow, David, JJMcCallum, Becky, Josh (gasp) and Alissa enjoying a few post PAX libations
Beccy shows the men how to properly Irish Car Bomb
Did I say a few? I meant a few dozen
Josh (IcarusKills) smiles for the camera, while Jacob grimaces for it
Spencer and Jesse engage in a heated discussion of plastic stemmed q-tips vs paper stemmed q-tips
Spencer than moves on to have a chat with Scotty G
Which quickly takes a terrible turn
The night starts to wind down and people begin to return to their hotels in order to save their progress. I corral them together for a quick group shot. Those I can name are Josh, Beccy, Conor, Ben (flintmech), Darik and JJMcCallum.
Darik, Alissa, Adam and Apathy idling outside.
Always the gracious host, Josh offered to let those not ready to go to bed yet to come over to his apartment. I was among the lucky few. Here he embraces Beccy as the ride gets sorted out.
Before going to Josh's, we stop by a burger shop called Dick's. Here Beccy groans as Josh makes the 42[sup]nd[/sup] “Bag of Dick's” joke.
Alissa reacts to something Conor said while Apathy lives up to his namesake.
Shortly before leaving Dick's, we realize that Scotty G is no longer with us. After arriving to Dicks with us, he disappeared, without notice. We manically search around the immediate block and make panicked phone calls in vain. Defeated, we reluctantly made our way to Josh's house. He eventually resurfaced the next day, in good health but unfortunately he lost his bag containing his 3DS and a beloved Yoshi doll. I feel partially responsible, as I started a drinking game in which he drink a few more beers when he probably should not have. Sorry Scotty :(
Anyways, on a lighter note, on the sullen walk to Josh's, I finally get a proper introduction to Conor, who proceeds to tell me he likes my pictures and that my TLR reminds him of a derringer, which is possibly the greatest thing anyone has ever said to me.
Nicole and Conor (I think) enjoy the view
And the night ends with some tourist ass pictures. It had to be done.
And that was the end of the night! After enjoying one last night drink, we left Casa de Josh and made our way back to home base. I crumbled into bed, and prayed to the Boozed Gods to spare me from another hangover, which I'm pretty sure they ignored. In the next installment of Because PHOTOJOURNALISM, we take a quick look at our adventure at the Taphouse! read
About MeanderBot One of us since 8:05 PM on 04.08.2010
Hi there! I'm MeanderBot. I enjoy video games. My video game playing history begins like many others: I was lucky enough to have an early computer to play games on, someone across the street got an NES, then I stumbled across a used stack of Nintendo Power at a swap meet, and soon enough I was spending more time with a controller in my hand then lying in my bed.
Aside from that, I am a visual artist desperately trying to be successful. I consider myself to be the visual art equivalent of a bard. Won't you tell me your tales of whimsy so I may illustrate and add them to the annals of time?