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NegFactor's blog

9:56 PM on 05.16.2008


That stands for Not Video Game-Related But Containing Video Game-Related Stuff Anyway. Since my girlfriend just asked as I typed that out.

So, I've gotten moved into Gainesville (with aforementioned girlfriend) and decided I'd put up some pictures of the current gaming setup since I couldn't do it before, due to having a shitty room in a shitty house with a shitty setup and shitty lighting that prevented me from taking pictures of any quality other than shitty.

That'd be the pads and the computer next to an intense amount of wires. I can't wait for the unintentional-but-definitely-deserved fire that happens here.

There's the mass of evil that pervades the sanctity of our home. The SNES works, but the only game I have is FF4 and it likes to randomly erase my save data. Eff you, FF4. The N64 needs a cable for video/audio action. The Dreamcast works fine though! Woot!

Just for Mr. Zimmerman, there's an assortment of board games there including Betrayal At The House On The Hill, some Munchkin games, Greed Quest, and even Heroscape (in the trash bag and postal service box). There's also a nice load of D&D and other gaming books for everyone to see so you can point and laugh at the geekery I possess. Mr. Zimmerman, I promise to buy Arkham Horror as soon as the bastids at the local gameshop have it available and not just the bedamned expansion.

Anyway, that's about it. Going to post a prelude tonight for an ongoing set of blog articles I intend to do in a little while. Thanks to everyone who wished me well in the move to here. To everyone else, you're bastids but I love you anyway.   read

11:44 PM on 05.11.2008

A temporary goodbye. (NVGR)

Moving to Gainesville as of tomorrow with my girlfriend as she gets ready for UF next semester.

I love this place and may not be able to get back to it for a short while, depending on how job hunting goes, but I will return someday in the not-too-distant future hopefully. I'd like to offer some special thanks to a few people who made me appreciate this place as a genuine community where I feel like I belong.

Firstly, the three or so people who have me as a friend. It's you three people (if that many!) that keep me in check from using Destructoid as a Myspace whoring tool. No, wait. I guess it's your fault that I'm that much closer to being a tool. I thank everyone who doesn't have me listed as a friend.

Koobert rules for being the first (and only) person to address my first blog, thus deflowering my blogging innocence.

Reaprar gets special thanks for being the first person to leave a comment in a blog entry in which he points out how I was an idiot for not looking for basic functions of the Community Blog section *without being a dick about it*. Seriously, tact rules.

Everyone who has played Brawl with me during the FNF period that I was present, you all rule. And a few of you have some serious skills. If you are thinking about shamelessly promoting yourself in a comment here as being one of those people, I'm definitely NOT talking about you.

Everyone who discussed with me a few subjects in the forums, it was good arguing about stuff with you guys. Thanks.

Finally, Conrad Zimmerman for making me broke. Thanks to him and his awesome "On The Table" entries, I've seen too many games I'm going to be picking up once I get to Gainesville.

I know I haven't written many blogs yet, but once I get situated up north and get some ISP action back on, I intend to work on a weekly blog-review idea I've had spinning around in my head for awhile now.

So cheers to Destructoid for kicking a lot of ass. Hope to see you guys around again sooner than later.

NegFactor   read

12:54 AM on 04.09.2008

Like video games? Like movies? Hate video game movies? I can help!

Not sure if anyone has posted on this or not, but I figure everyone should spread the word.

Recently, had an interview with Uwe Boll, in which he made a statement about a petition online located here. In said article, Uwe Boll talks about how the petition which asks for him to stop making films does not concern him, as it only has a paltry 18,000 signatures. He states that if it reaches 1,000,000 signatures, then he will be convinced that he should step down from playing director.

As of this moment, it has surpassed 125,000 signatures. Whether or not he'll stay true to his word, I think this is worth a moment of your time if you feel like I feel about such wonderful movies like House Of The Dead, Alone In The Dark (where my scathing hatred officially resides...the bowels of that wretched movie), Bloodrayne, and even the wonderful In The Name Of The King.

My apologies if word of this has already gotten around to you guys, but I figured it was worth throwing up.


Signature #61849   read

12:44 AM on 04.09.2008

A goings-on at Gamestop.

So, just to set the record straight...I do not have an XBOX 360, nor am I familiar with the vast majority of games and the online service of Live. So if any of this is wrong, please feel free to correct me.

A few days ago, I went into Gamestop in our local mall to pick up a memory card for my Wii (Gamecube slots, specfically). I know one of the employees there and apparently there was a new girl working with him on this particular day. In front of me is a couple that are looking at a 360 game, which appears to be COD4, but I could be wrong. Here's where the conversation begins and why this just screamed as something I needed to post.

Male worker: Yeah, this is a game that you'll really like a lot. It gets a lot of playtime at my house. In fact, my wife plays it way more than I do. She's even prestiged four times.

Female worker: What's that mean?

Male worker: It means she basically maxed out all the multiplayer stuff and got to start over.

Female worker: Wow, that's pretty neat.

Male worker: Yeah, she's awesome at that game. Whenever I see her playing online, she's always beating everybody. In fact, whenever they hear her voice online and realize she's a girl, they kick her out of their games.

Female worker: That's terrible, are you serious?

Male worker: Yeah, I've seen it happen a bunch of times.

Female worker: That's unbelievable. In fact...isn't that illegal? That's illegal, isn't it? Isn't it?


I should point out that he just proceeded to ignore her. I'm not sure about prestiging and whatnot, but when she tried to say that kicking someone from a game is illegal, I just kinda had a mental facepalm. So much for paving a good way for girls in gaming with what she was bringing to the table.


Has anyone else had an awkwardly retarded moment at a Gamestop that went anything like this? Or is this even unnatural at this point?   read

11:56 PM on 03.12.2008

Smash Bros. Brawl -- 40 hours of impressions in one page of review.

I guess I'll start from the top and go through the motions of this review by taking everything one step at a time in terms of how I played through and experienced the game.

40 hours of gameplay ago, minus all characters, minus 200 stickers and trophies and songs, minus 85/128 challenges, I sat down with my girlfriend to play Brawl. Firstly, we ignored the instruction booklet. The cover looked pretty, but we had gaming to do. So, we started it up and went to setup controls and see how customizable they are.

As most people may know by now, four different controllers (styles) are available for use in Brawl. The standard Wiimote, the Wiimote+Nunchuk combo, the Classic Controller, and the traditional Gamecube Controller. I need to point out that while most people might be used to analog play, I had an issue with a dislocation of my left wrist and thumb when I was younger, so consequently I'm not able to hold a controller in the most orthodox of ways and my thumb doesn't move perfectly on analog (read as: I can still pop both out of place at will and sometimes on accident). I point all this out because when I first heard about the customization of the controllers, I was giddy with delight that I might be able to finally utilize a setup that would benefit me when playing some hardcore melees (read as: I sucked at Melee with the Gamecube controller).

The customization for the controllers is actually pretty nice, however the standard setup for movement cannot be altered. Which means my dreams of using the D-pad to move were quickly dashed. Sad face. Fear not, though! Everything else is customizable, including turning off the tap-jump (which I dread so very much). My girlfriend actively uses the Wiimote+Nunchuk combo and loves it, as do I for the most part enjoy the Classic Controller (again, I still suck with the analog, though not as badly). By and large, this is an awesome start to my gameplay experience and now it's time for me and the girlfriend to get to some Subspace Emissary. Awesome.

Or is it?

I liked Subspace for about the first two hours. Co-op or not, it is kinda fun playing an enlarged Adventure Mode. The problem is, it's too large. I really liked Adventure Mode because even though it was fixed in terms of stages, everything felt like it belonged from level to level. Subspace seems more like it was created to be a platformer arcade type game and I dislike it for that reason. I don't mind the Double Dragon/Streets Of Rage/any other type of platform fighter setup that SSE undertakes, except that it tries to incorporate awkward sets of jumps or hazards into every level that attempt to just outrightly steal a life or two from a player. The camera angle seems a little too focused in on the character (first player, never second) to allow you to get proper perspective on the things around you, and sometimes it isn't focused at all (scrolling levels). More than anything though, it's the sheer repetitiveness of the mode that turned me off to it. Almost seven hours of gameplay, and the last two of it was spent in The Great Maze, which is essentially a complete recap of every level you've already done with a less than pleasant Mega Man theme of bosses mixed in for good (or bad) measure.

All-in-all, Subspace failed to please me, though it was worth unlocking Boss Rush Mode. For people who want to easily access the secret characters of the game without spending a long time playing Vs. Matches, this is also a great way to get the job done in less time.

After Subspace, I did a quick bout of training on Pit and then ran through Classic Mode to see how it played out. Classic Mode really hasn't changed at all and is just as enjoyable as it was before. Twelve stages (and two bonus stages) this time around and a fair amount of variety between who shows up to the matches. The difficulties seem to be mostly relative to damage taken by enemies before they're dispatched and less focused on CPU difficulty (although it's clear that at harder difficulties, the enemies are functioning on Level 7-9).

Speaking of difficulty, the enemy AI is hit or miss. I did a few experiments on Level 1 and Level 9 CPUs to see how they functioned in handling one-another or even a dummy Player 1. With a 30 minute time limit and 99 stock, three Level 1 CPUs couldn't even manage to off an idle dummy Jigglypuff (still had 58 lives left) fact, somehow while I was out of the room, Jigglypuff earned a KO, which really boggles my mind. The Level 9 CPUs are fairly smart in terms of standard combat, but they strangely seem to try and find the lowest point on a given level to fight on (especially if there are edges of ledges to hug). In standard fights with a Level 9 (or multiples), they definitely hold up on most levels though.

Just to summarize a few other things mode-related, All-Star is actually themed now which makes it a pretty neat mode to run through. Boss Rush is quite fun, as it features all the bosses from SSE in an All-Star type of theme. You can co-op both of these modes, so it's definitely not so bad on some of the more ramped difficulties. Event Mode is difficulty-based as well now and supports a different set of co-op events. The usual Home-Run and Target Smash and Multi-Man Brawls are present once again, with the formermost and lattermost being co-op as well. Also, Adventure Mode is gone, so I cried a little inside. Let's face it, Adventure Mode was fun, and I'll long for a ressurrection of it in some non-SSE form down the line.

Stage Builder is pretty neat. Three sizes of stages to create, three different backgrounds, a multitude of songs to choose from to represent your levels, and some basic parts to work with...along with some more once you've completed a couple challenges. Stage Builder is something I really enjoy, but it falls short in a couple respects. Firstly, part limitation. I mean this in both types of parts you can use and the TOTAL number of parts allowed per level. On the largest level, just using standard 1x1 blocks, you run out of parts room with four straight lines of blocks and some change. That's not even close to 1/3 of the level's full space, so such a limitation greatly inhibits the ability of the creator to put their complete effort into a level. In terms of the parts you can use, there is a fair selection, however the structures section is somewhat lacking in its usefulness. They're generally designed with a space surrounding the ends of the objects (a 2x2 tunnel might be 2x4 because it needs two 1x1 blocks covered on either side of it) it's pretty much impossible to link said objects to one-another or copies of themselves. So unless you're planning on just setting those structures on top of things to take up space, they're pretty worthless. Hopefully there might be some DLC available for new parts. While they're at it, they can take care of the second problem, which is a lack of backgrounds (and consequently, themed parts). There are only three backgrounds...I do admit, they look good...but when one wants to play a bunch of custom stages, seeing the same backgrounds does kinda get old.

Challenges are pretty much straightforward. Some of them are ridiculously hard and some are pretty easy. As a greedy gamer, I'm glad that the challenges for unlocking levels and other cool things are on the simple side. From a logical gamer standpoint, it's kinda upsetting at the same time. I'm all about having some really difficult challenges, but if I beat All-Star on Intense difficulty, I DO NOT WANT A TROPHY as my reward. I want the most awesome level ever that's going to blow my mind, drink my milkshake, and have twenty garage sales all at once. I want the level to be cooler than Contra and Phantasy Star 2 combined and I want it to play Blaster Master theme music all the way through it. NOT A TROPHY. Still, Challenges are a nice touch.

Speaking of sound, all the people whining about sound can go home. Seriously. I'm at over 200 themes/songs/whatever unlocked and I'm still a ways from getting every sound available. The fact that they're customizable in My Music (select what themes play on a sliding-bar scale) makes them awesome at the very least, but they've gone ahead and brought in some amazing classics. Balloon Fight? Green Hill Zone? THE ENTIRE KID ICARUS MEDLEY? The only thing that could really make me feel better would be to somehow hear Blaster Master themes show up, but then my head would explode, so I'll have to be content with just A LOT OF AWESOME.

Masterpieces seems like a waste to me. They don't cover all the games for all the characters and the demos are ridiculously short. 30 second demos are not going to appeal to me EVER. At least set it at 2 minutes so I can get some short fix.

Levels are magnificent. Sure, everyone always wants more levels, just like they want more characters, but clocking in at 41 characters, we're not exactly short on levels, especially if you consider the stage builder itself. A fair share of Melee stages came back, as well as some nice new spins on character-themed levels. They even took out the Ice Climber stage and replaced it with Rumble Falls, so ALL OF YOU ICE CLIMBER LEVEL-HATERS CAN GO HOME. At least I thought that level was fun.

And of course, the characters. Let me start by saying that I heard a lot of speculation on the character roster that showed up. I've been wanting Pit since N64 Smash Bros. came out, so my year was already made when I heard he'd be arriving. Then people were up in arms with the arrival of would-be clones in the form of Lucas and Wolf. I understand where people are coming from, but "clones" couldn't be any further from the truth concerning the characters in this game. Lots of revamping and lots of new feels for several older characters. I had no idea how I'd feel about Wolf until I jumped into a Multi-Man Brawl with him to find out just how very different he plays then Fox or Falco. They definitely took things an extra step in terms of fleshing out the feel of characters in this game, and I applaud them for such a great effort. About all that's missing is the inclusion of Mega Man (yes, everyone including me wants him in) and Arthur (I want the Ghouls N' Ghosts version!) and the reappearance of Mewtwo. Somehow, I won't be missing Pichu and I don't really feel too bad about the loss of Roy...because Ike rocks my face off.

Since I haven't said anything about it yet, let me just state that Vs. Mode is just as cool as it ever was and also adds in (via unlocked Advanced Rules) STOCK TIME LIMIT. Sorry, I just had to mention that, because I was hoping for something like this to show up. Other than that, yeah. Vs. Mode definitely rules.

Finally, online play. I have already dealt with a fair share of Wii Code errors due to router issues, but once I got things tweaked, I've got to say that it was nice to be able to play friends without having to go anywhere. Being able to brawl on the With Anyone setup is very fun, especially since skill levels vary from fair to hardcore expert. I've spectated a few matches (Spectator isn't thrilling, but a great way to get stickers) and have seen several styles of play and skill that are all over the board. Of course there will be the usual gripes about Friend Codes and Wii Friend listings and the error codes...all are understandable. Still, if you can get things fleshed out and running fine, online can definitely make for an awesome experience overall.

So, if you've read to this point, you've probably seen that I've had few gripes with the game and are probably expecting some mid-level rating. WRONG. 9.5/10. That -.5 goes to SSE, as the rest is stuff that is either superfluous addons that I can live without or stuff that can easily be forgiven or even REMEDIED (yay, DLC for stage builder please!). I indulge this game fully and it definitely will be my game of the year. In fact, the only reason I'm writing this review right now is because my girlfriend is busy playing online with people.

Shameless plug of my Wii Code and Friend Code in case you want to play me sometime below.

Wii Code: 2670 2363 7852 1578
WFC#: 2964 8269 2808   read

8:19 PM on 02.24.2008

Penalizing Players In RPGs...or..."Why the long face? It's just a long game!"

So, I'm playing Suikoden 3 again. I remember loving this game to death despite several frustrations because of the ultimate twist of who The Masked Bishop is and the whole plot surrounding his actions.

I'm not playing it just becaus eI loved the game before. I'm actually playing it because my girlfriend knows nothing about the Suikoden series and I've already played 1 and 2 recently to try and showcase to her some neat story arcs for so many cool characters that travel between the games and the concordant eras.

Thinking back on my recent experience with Suikoden 2, I feel the need to reflect on several things that bother me with RPGs in general in the past and present, Suikoden 2 included.

Penalizing RPG players in some games is something that bothers me. By penalizing, I mean making a more difficult road for the player who is more interested in story than leveling. Now don't get me wrong, I am an avid supporter of difficult scenarios in RPGs, provided that they are handled well and good. I'm more specifically calling out the concept in RPGs where there is a need to level lots of players that one doesn't really care about to help achieve an ultimate goal.

In Suikoden 2, when it comes time to take out Luca Blight, he's not the easiest boss in the world. You get three squads who get the luxury of trying to take him out. The first two squads are only present to try and whittle away segments of his HP, I believe. The last squad has to deal with whatever is left on him when he reaches them. The problem is...over half of the game up to this point is spent with several mandatory characters in your party, at least one of whom isn't even very good (I'M CALLING YOU OUT, NANAMI.), and the ones that are good are split amongst the squads anyway!

I believe that leveling is a necessity in RPGs in the sense that it feels good to know your characters are more empowered, capable of doing more damage, taking more damage, casting more spells, and the like. However, I'm a story whore at heart. I don't want to spend extra time leveling other characters that I don't care about while I'm already enjoying a good story (or in the case of Suikoden 2, a good story with terrible Engrish). This kind of function serves to aggravate me, because I'm forced to throw in whatever fodder I can find and hope that the few characters that I brought along at various points are strong enough to dish out the necessary punishment to survive.

Nanami is the worst example here, as she is integral to the storyline, but not overly useful in the long she's essentially filling a slot I'd like to place someone more powerful (or at least more interesting...her anime-esque actions are appealing for a short while, but it gets old quickly...for me at least) into and simply cannot. And of course, for those of you that have played it, you know what happens at Rockaxe Castle later in the game anyway.

Final Fantasy 6 (3, whatever...take your pick) is just as guilty in penalizing the player. The invasion on Kefka gives you three parties to split your formations into for the raid and if you play like I do (and maybe that's all this rant own personal distaste with the way these are handled), you've got several powerhouses that comprise your main force and then a few strong characters and the rest are cannon fodder. Commence with running from every fight possible in hopes that I survive to the final fight and setup my squads properly!

FF6/3 at least handles this slightly better than Suikoden 2, in that all the non-optional characters more or less get some facetime to get SOME leveling in. This means that more than likely, two of my parties won't have too much trouble getting through that final raid, but one party is going to hightail it all the way to the end.

FF7 also doesn't face the Nanami issue, as nearly all characters can be switched around most of the time and the expendable character is never mandatory anyway.

Some games do make up for the frequent party changes by at least adjusting levels to match or come close to your own when these types of things happen. I do applaud that.

Does anyone else feel like I do about this sort of thing? Or maybe someone can list some examples of where mandatory multiple squads or party slot-filling is actually done well? Maybe I'm just bitching too much? I'll stay tuned.   read

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