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7:12 PM on 05.08.2015  

It's time for some Surprise Drive!

Hey, you!


Yes, you!

That guy or gal sitting on your computer and/or mobile device looking at the video game website! Yes, I see you! You can't hide from me by switching to that porn tab! You know I'm talking to you! Don't you have something better to do? Something more important? Something you're putting off by reading this?

You do?

What is it? Is it a dream that you've always wanted to fulfill? Maybe you've always wanted to write a book? Or you've wanted to start an amazing career on YouTube? Oh, did you just get a new game and it still hasn't even been opened? Are you in a bad situation that you don't want to face? Or is it something simple, like you've got homework or work you brought home from the office that you're avoiding?

Well... What are you waiting for? Go away! Get off this website right now! It's not going to happen by itself! Get out of here!


Do I have to get a sign for this?

What? You're telling me sitting in front of your computer screen reading some blogs is more important than all of that?




Do you really mean that? I know we all need breaks, but... are you sure? How long has the break you've been on right now been lasting? How much longer is it going to last? If this doesn't apply to you, by all means, back away and enjoy your break, but I have a feeling some of you know just what I mean here.

Do you want things to be this way forever? Do you want that game to go unplayed for so long you forget you own it? Do you want to deprive the world of what you have to offer it? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with just hanging around, but if there's something more you want to do... Why not accept this kick in the pants and give it a shot?


Just... keep the Gardevoir fanfiction private. For all of our sakes.

The internet will be here when you get back. I promise! Plus, if you want to do something on the internet, you'll even be able to see that for yourself while you're doing whatever it is. If what you want to do is write a blog of your very own, then it would be your business to know if it's still here, wouldn't it? Share your thoughts with the world! Let the world know what you have to say!

Oh... No blog of your own either? You're just sitting around, maybe even on the fancy new Toilet Edition on your fancy new toilet, reading some blogs? You really don't have anything better to do?

Well... Okay. If you're sure you still want to stay, I won't stop you. If this is what you want to do, then you're already doing it! Why would that be a problem?

Just remember one thing for me while you're taking a rest at the awesome pit stop that is this website. Think you can do that much for me?


If you can do that, I promise I won't shoot you with my invisible gun.

Remember that time isn't going to stop just because you are. Nope, you can't get into your fancy car with the fancy doors and change that. Even if you're parked here, that's still moving forward. If you put off something for tomorrow that you could do today so you can scroll up and down the same webpage for hours on end, you don't get another day out of it. That's just time gone.


Scary, huh?

So if there's something you want to do, do it. Do it right now, if you can. At least try. And when you do? Do it with everything you've got, and don't fear failure! If you've failed before, if you fail in the future, just get right back up again. Whatever you want to do, just try. That's all I ask. Even if you don't succeed, nothing's going to happen if you don't do that much for yourself.

Now grab your keys, hold onto your steering wheel, start your engine, and get moving! Your life isn't going to live itself, and there's only one thing you need to do it!

  read


1:51 PM on 05.01.2015  

Unequal Equality: Is this the future our heroes should be fighting for?

Yesterday, at long last, Chroma Squad finally launched. It comes after a successful Kickstarter campaign followed by a long and arduous development period plagued with legal issues brought about by good old Saban Entertainment.There are hopes of ports on the horizon, ports to the PS4, Vita, and iPad, but I'll wait for confirmation before I get too hopeful.

I've been playing the game for a little while now, and so far, while it's very much improved from early betas, the writing has some issues that are... pretty hard to ignore if you're a nitpicky sort of person. Grammatical issues, flat sounding dialogue, and emoticons thrown in all over are among my chief complaints right now, but beyond that, it's a fairly solid game that I think RPG fans, Super Sentai fans, and/or people just with nostalgia for Power Rangers could probably get plenty of enjoyment from for its fair asking price of $15. It's not the most in depth RPG in the world, no, but for the price and getting to make your own Super Sentai team and matching giant robot, it's definitely worth a try, I think.


Sadly, going through this game will not make Gardevoir Sentai Destructoider any more official.

That said, this isn't why I'm writing about Chroma Squad. I haven't beaten it yet and I want to really sink my teeth into it before I write an in depth response to the game itself should I choose to. Considering how much it's improved since early betas, I want to give it the benefit of the doubt about some of these things.

For now, I'm writing about the game because of the story of a particular stage, or "episode" as the game calls them, that really struck me as off. It's an early one in the first chapter, or "season," so there aren't major spoilers here if anyone is worried, though considering it just came out, I do hope that qualifies as warning.

Before starting the episode, your heroes talk about how they need to have someone to save like in the "real" superhero shows. One of your characters suggests their sister, who, according to them, really wants to be someone saved on a superhero show. If the character in this role happens to be the beaver or robot character, that might open up a whole other can of worms, but let's touch on those at a later date.

Anyway, to give some added context, your characters are stuntmen who have started their own studio, so it seems perfectly logical that one of them might have a relative who would want to use their connection to maybe get a bit part in an episode. I mean, if I had a relative working weekly on a Super Sentai series, I'd wear a dress and a wig if I got to be in one for a week, shoot.

... Probably.

Regardless, point is, your team needs someone to save and one of your characters has a sister who has apparently wanted this enough for them to pop right into their head as soon as the topic comes up.

Another of your characters takes issue with this, though. Because a woman needing to be saved from distress like that would be sexist.

And this is what happens.



The solution the team comes up with is, in order to avoid coming off as sexist, they'll find someone else — someone male — to be the "damsel" in distress.

Does anyone else see the huge, glaring problem here?

WHAT THEY THINK THEY'RE DOING:
By not placing a woman in the "damsel in distress" role, they have avoided doing something sexist and have helped pave the way for equality in video games and media!

WHAT THEY'RE ACTUALLY DOING:
By refusing to let the character let his sister take the role, what they're actually saying is that if you're a woman, you can't have or do what you want if it could potentially be perceived as sexist. They've also denied this person's unknowing sister what may have been the chance of a lifetime.

This brief exchange pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with all of these arguments about equality in gaming and media right now.

Obviously, this is just a game and just a very brief series of exchanges at that, but if we can use that argument here, why is it that that argument doesn't apply elsewhere about things that are "just" games?

According to this logic, women can't do what they want if the things they want could be seen by the world as "sexist," so they have to do things that aren't. By following this doctrine, we'll have equality for sure!

Except that's just forcing women into a new role. Rather than promote equality, all this does is shift women from one role to a new one — ironically, it's almost as though people want women to have less rights and less representation, because they certainly don't seem to want women to have freedoms.

Because that's what equality is supposed to be about — not covering yourself up or beating up the other guy that used to be bigger than you, but getting to just be. Real equality would mean a woman would be able to be a damsel in distress without it being a problem, because she wouldn't be a "damsel" in distress, but a "person" in distress.

In a game about superheroes, this exchange was about as unheroic as it gets, don't you think?

It's the same for race, sexuality, and just about everything else, too. A black character will get flak if they act "too black," but conversely, if they don't, then they're "acting too white" or "not black enough" and people will say the character isn't one viewers can relate to — you can't win. And if they character is a drawing, how they're drawn is bound to bring up comments too. This extends to real life too.

And just look at how it hit the creators of this fictional show in this game. Look at the message it's leaving here.

If you want to create something, you better not include a woman in it. Even if you're fully aware you aren't sexist and your actions aren't being done with sexist motivations, even if the woman in question wants to or would want to be part of this creation and has zero issue with it, it doesn't matter. Tough luck. When consumers take in media, they only take in what the media is offering and can't consider factors like that. Factors like that don't matter. What people want doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is whatever the current social standard is and making sure no one gets hurt feelings, apparently.

If it's about avoiding hurt feelings, though, I've got news for you lot: Everyone is offended by something. From what it sounds like, everything could be construed as sexist these days. A woman being comfortable with her body? Sexist. A woman not being ashamed of her sexuality? Sexist. A woman wanting women to be covered up? Sexist. A man appreciating a woman's body? Sexist. A man thinking a woman's body should be covered up? Sexist. A man wanting to protect a woman? Sexist. A man not protecting a woman? Well that's sexist too!

Seems like just about everything could be construed as sexist by somebody, huh? Heaven forbid we consider what people want. That's just crazy talk. These are the ignorant masses we're talking about. These are women we're talking about. No no, we simply can't allow for that.

My goodness, with what a dangerous topic this is, gosh... It seems to me like we better take extra special care to not put women in any situations that could offend anyone. We're trying to change the world after all, right?

So let's do it!

Let's change the world.

Let's not women do or be represented in anything at all.

Even if they want to do it.

Especially if they want to do it.

That's what real equality looks like.

Thanks for teaching me such an important lesson, Chroma Squad.

Hurray for equality!

A Message From Zetta:
To those of you dealing with other issues around the Community Blogs regarding what's been going on with the site and its staff, I apologize if this comes off as insensitive given the timing. I considered waiting a few days to post this, but I feel like if the site is going to stay open and if people are going to be sticking around, then life needs to go on. With consideration to all of that, but knowing that I really don't know what is going on and thus probably shouldn't be sticking my nose any deeper than I already have by offering this, I just want to say that for those of you leaving the site, I wish you well, and I hope that you'll still keep writing and find somewhere you'll be happy doing it again soon. Don't let that spark die! As for those of you staying, while I can't say I've been the most social butterfly around, I do hope to get to know you all better in the coming months and beyond!

And for everyone who read this, sarcasm and all, whether you comment or just skimmed, here's some love from me to you. Close your eyes now!

... Wait, where are you going? Come back! I don't bite! Promise!

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11:33 PM on 04.15.2015  

♫ Could it be my destiny... to buy DLC? ♫


Look around you...
Towards the sky...!
You could be an unshakeable guy!
The game before you is not what it seems...
Yoh revealed through brand new DLC...!

Yoh playable? Thought I'd never see!
Oh what a choice is falling on me...
Could it be my destiny...?
To buy some damn--
DLC!
To buy some damn--
DLC!
If you just pay five buuuucks...!
You could play as Yoh!

I can play through this game
With a shaman's might!
I know what it takes
To win this fiiiight!
And I won't give up the right...
To buy Yoh from--
♫ SHAAAMAAAAAAN KIIIIIIIIIIING ♫


If an explanation for this is needed, this article inspiring it is the best I can offer.

DISCLAIMER:
If Yoh Asakura was actually playable, be it through either normal or downloadable means, in the upcoming J-Stars Victory Vs game, this post would not exist. OverlordZetta apologizes for any potential misunderstandings or inconveniences this may have caused, and would like to further apologize by buying the first two commenters download codes for Yoh but OH WAIT HE CAN'T.

  read


2:34 PM on 04.13.2015  

A Mighty Good Time

It's time. Well, almost time. After months of updates, what feels like an eternity of teases and new developments, and the projected release period for Mighty No. 9 is... actually already here!



Initially estimated to release in Spring of 2015 back when the project was announced near the end of 2013, now with the more recent updated window of sometime in April of 2015, we'll probably be hearing news soon. Whether that news is good and we get a surprise release soon or whether it's news of a delay, as Kickstarted releases and as indie releases often understandably face, the fact is that we'll have this game in our hands in the relatively near future.

I'm sure many of you already have some kind of opinion or another about this game. I'd like to think most people will try to go into it with a fair and open minded outlook and look at the game only for the game, but considering how this past year and some months have passed, I'm not as confident as I'd like to be.

To give a brief rundown of how this game's Kickstarter came to be for those who aren't aware, Mighty No. 9 is being led by former Capcom employee Keiji Inafune, who is one of the biggest reasons for the Mega Man franchise being what it is today. In 2010, Inafune left Capcom, offering numerous criticisms in regards to the Japanese gaming industry before and after his departure.

Since, Inafune formed his own company, Comcept Inc., and he and his new company have since had some roles in various games since his departure from Capcom - Mighty No. 9 perhaps becoming the biggest, and one he may become most known for, especially depending on just how the cards fall after release. Even though it isn't out yet and even though Soul Sacrifice Delta is still a thing that exists. And that brings us to Mighty No. 9.



Mighty No. 9 is, simply put, a new Mega Man. That's not to say I think the game will necessarily have the same relevance or impact as the original, that's just what it is. Some people could argue Shovel Knight was a new Mega Man too. That's just how it is. It has a lot of the Mega Man people behind it too, so that adds to it, doesn't it? Moving on, the game was brought about through a fairly successful Kickstarter campaign and is set to release soon.

That sounds fairly straightforward, right?

Well, I wish that were the case, but it doesn't seem like it's going to be. Some suggest that Mighty No. 9 is just an attempt to grab at the void Capcom is leaving and others have suggested all other manners of things, from talking about the game's Kickstarter campaign to going after Inafune.

Guys, the fact is, Capcom... isn't making Mega Man games anymore. Two big projects, Mega Man Universe and Mega Man Legends 3, were both cancelled, and beyond Mega Man's appearances through cameos  and crossovers lately, that's been pretty much it besides for the never localized Rockman Xover mobile game, which probably deserves a blog itself one of these days. Is it that wrong for someone else to then step in and do it?

Some could certainly argue that Inafune's leaving Capcom was what led to the demise of these games,  but I feel that's just making Inafune into a scapegoat - especially considering Inafune was among those who spoke out and offered to help finish the game when it was announced that it would be cancelled. We can't deny that Capcom was been making poor decisions before he left, after he left, and with games and franchises completely unrelated to Inafune.

The reason I'm talking so much about Inafune, Capcom, and Mega Man is that a lot of this stuff is, unfortunately, likely going to come up once Mighty No. 9 releases. It already has, and I feel it's come up far more frequently than necessary or appropriate for what's actually happening here.

If Capcom wanted to make a Mega Man game, theyreally don't need Inafune or Inti-Creates for it, as we can observe by looking at Shovel Knight and all the various other Mega Man-like games out there.

... Unless they actually do need Inafune and the rest, in which case, isn't that Capcom's own fault for lacking talent? To break off into a brief tangent here, far too often I see people in the gaming community going after those who are creating things they want done one way or wish was something else, but shouldn't the more logical approach be to be upset at the people who can make what you want but aren't? Just a thought.



People tend to forget that creators, and people in the public eye in general, are human beings, especially if they do bold things like criticize an entire industry (not that everyone else isn't doing that to Japan lately). People tend to forget when they've had a position for a few decades that setting out on your own again is hard and things will be different than they were. People tend to forget a lot when they're not personally involved with things, when their investment ultimately ends with a comment on the internet or a game. People tend to just forget and not consider a lot period.

Love him, like him, dislike him or hate him, I don't think anyone can deny that Keiji Inafune has strong feelings about what he does. I think he might have been rash with his initial speaking out, as many of us, particularly people in creative positions that are in situations where they're feeling trapped, are prone to do. I think people may not have taken his words as he meant them, and considering just what he said, I don't know if we can ever really say for sure if we'll really know what exactly he meant.

He wasn't happy with what he was doing. He, as a creator, as a human being who wants to live his life to the fullest just as the rest of us do, set out on his own. Honestly, I don't think that's really all that strange. In some respects, I wonder if it's even really our business.

Looking at how differently things are going down with Hideo Kojima's mysterious situation right now, I'm honestly kind of baffled. Inafune, who wants to give people what they want, who stepped out on his own to try to pursue his own passions and do what he couldn't in his position, is the target of endless criticism, it seems like. On the other hand, Kojima, who's repeatedly tried to end his most beloved series, has a studio named after him, and is known for screwing with his fans on a regular basis is getting sympathy and empathy from seemingly every direction I look.

I have to say, I would really have thought it would be the other way around. Or at least people would have empathy for both rather than empathy in the way that they do.

That's the internet for you, I guess.



So assuming you haven't run down to type up your angry comments yet, you're probably thinking something along the lines of... "What the hell does this have to do with Mighty No. 9?"

The thing is that I think... No, I'm certain that Mighty No. 9 is going to be the target of a fair amount of criticism that it quite simply won't deserve. It's going to be criticized for things completely unrelated to the game itself, be it Inafune, Capcom, Comcept, the Kickstarter campaign, and worse yet is that a lot of these criticisms have been born from misunderstandings.

And that brings us to what I'm hoping to accomplish with this blog post. Before a release date or a delay is formally announced and we all get swept up by hype or whatever else happens, I want to just point out some things, remind people of some things, and most of all, I want to encourage people to look at the game as just the game when you consider what you'll be taking away from the experience.

If the game is worthy of criticism, then by all means, criticize away. But if you criticize the game when you're really upset over forum drama or a Kickstarter campaign, I encourage you to, if nothing else, criticize those things separately.

So now, without further stage setting, introduction, or delay, I want to respond to some of the most frequently brought up criticisms this game has faced.



THAT GREEDY INAFUNE KEEPS ASKING FOR MONEY EVEN THOUGH THE KICKSTARTER ENDED A LONG TIME AGO!
This is the most common one I've seen, and it's also the most misunderstood one. The basic gist of this complaint revolves around how Mighty No. 9 seemingly kept starting new Kickstarter campaigns, which is a really funny looking word now that I look at it, long after the initial Kickstarter ended.

And technically, there is a kernel of truth to this. The Kickstarter campaign ended after being fairly successful at the end of 2013. Kickstarters do that - they end.

But do you know what didn't end?

Fans contacting Comcept wanting to support the project. Fans suggesting things that they could do beyond what had already been announced and what had been accomplished through the Kickstarter and its stretch goals.

So Inafune responded to them after months of getting these requests and said they would open up "Slacker Backing" with some new stretch goals, just like people had been asking for. It's not even a novel concept for Kickstarters - many of them do this kind of thing, yet you don't see them getting the same sort of flak. Obviously, it's likely that the people criticizing him for responding to them aren't the same people who asked in the first place, but can anyone else see why this doesn't make sense to me?

One very, very common misconception about this is that they "kept" asking for money. This is actually something that's false. When they reopened backing, they said from the beginning there would be new stretch goals announced as current ones were met. Anyone complaining about the frequency of it was flat out not paying attention - not to the fact that they said from the start they would be doing more stretch goals and not to the fact that people approached Comcept wanting to back even after the Kickstarter ended.

Still, let's talk about this a bit.

Was it because of the misunderstood "frequency" with asking for money?

Was is that people thought it wrong to give people what they want?

Was it because new content was being planned even before the game's release?

I've said it before, but that's just how it is with gaming today. If that's the case, the fact that people looked at these things over the fact that everyone who backed would get all of the new content for free if it succeeded or the fact that they made clear they wouldn't let new content interfere to any great extent with the game's releasing is just kind of depressing.

But even beyond that, this whole complaint is one that really just doesn't make sense to me. The game is coming out - that's established and a done deal. Not getting the money for new content will not change that, and even better, even backing a little for some of the new content would let everyone get it should it have pulled through.

Do people think new content will pay for itself?

Do people think Inafune and Comcept is just taking all the money for themselves and lying about how much they need, even after it was laid out and broken down?

Do people not remember how to simply say no?

No, not all games need huge budgets. As a fan of the Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise, I think it's important to be able to judge a game for what it is rather than what you want it to be or what it could have been if someone else had done something else with it.

To put this into perspective, Sony Entertainment UK put nearly eight million dollars into just the marketing for Uncharted 3. Thousands of dollars worth of prizes was just given away during a campaign to promote the game elsewhere. That's obscene.

And here, we can plainly see where the money is going for the most part. I don't think it's fair to add this much more criticism just because they're asking for it from us - and that's the thing. They're asking for it. Have people forgotten how to say no when asked a question?

That should really have been the end of it.

"Here is a new stretch goal and here is how much we need to make this content. Would you like to back?"

"No."

The end. No, the content might not come, but that's the choice that you made by saying no. You can't say no and then get mad because the thing you refused is, well, refused.

If you don't want to pay, just say no. The end. That's it. Move on and take what comes out of this when it does.



IT'S NOT THE END! THEY ASKED FOR MORE MONEY! THEY'RE SUPER SUPER GREEDY!
Okay, fine. If you can't accept that games don't magically create themselves out of thin air or that there were people who actually wanted them to make those things, then let's just look at it by the numbers.

Out of nearly 70,000 original backers, only about 2,500 chose a tier without an included copy of the game. The minimum for this was $20 - if the game costs $20 or more, then thousands of people have basically gotten the game for free and Comcept will have gotten no profit from them beyond getting to complete the game. Let's go even further. The suggested DLC scenario would have been given free to all backers - all backers. This likely included ones who didn't even opt into the tier for getting the game.

If this was intended to be paid DLC for non-backers, this is a huge potential loss. At $190,000 requested just to make it, if their intended price was as little as $3, they would already have given away over $10,000 of potential profits. To some of you, this might sound like a lot, and to others, it might sound like only a little, but regardless, it's still money.

Some might argue that the aim was for non-backers, and while this is true, this is the internet age. People interested would know and have the information and it's up to them to choose to back or not. We also have no idea if non-backers will buy it. With the sheer volume of people who backed the game and with how many of them that opted into tiers that guarantee them a copy, who's to say this game didn't already give away most of its initial sales by simply coming into existence?

Here's a fun fact some of you may not know. It's going to vary from situation to situation, but if you write a book, you might be lucky to get a dollar for every book sold. That's great for people who write the next Harry Potter, but for those who don't? For all the time, energy, work, and costs that went into that book, something menial probably would have given them much more benefit.

For those who are suggesting that Mighty No. 9 is at all a labor of greed, I strongly encourage you to think otherwise, because unless this takes off - which we have no way of knowing if it will yet - I just don't see it. Like it or not, it's pretty damn expensive to make pretty much anything that people will consider "quality" in today's society, and "quality" is something that is fairly subjective anyway.



INAFUNE IS SPENDING OUR MONEY ON OTHER THINGS FOR THE SERIES LIKE A TV SHOW!
This one actually has a very easy answer.

The company that wants to make the Mighty No. 9 TV series approached Comcept about the idea, not the other way around, and has a vague "sometime in 2016" release date. Chances of the money from backers being involved is likely nonexistent, as the project will probably be canned if the game doesn't take off, and it would have been long since released by that time anyway.

If it's an issue of the TV show existing, or in talks of it existing, before the game even launches, well, is that really Comcept or Inafune's fault for being approached with a good deal and taking it? And for that matter, if you take issue with the idea inherently, I'd like to point out... well, basically everything Level-5 is making these days, as well as the likes of Square-Enix's Gyrozetter, Capcom's Gaist Crusher, and all the other similar franchises - including the once promising Kaio franchise. It's not that strange anymore.

It's also something the Mega Man franchise itself has actually dabbled in before... But that was a... different time.



INAFUNE KILLED KAIO BECAUSE HE LIKED MIGHTY NO. 9 MORE! WE HAVE TO KILL MIGHTY NO. 9 AND AVENGE OUR PENGUIN OVERLORD!
This is something we really can't know for sure, but the fact is, we really just don't know.

When presented with the idea of Kaio a few years ago, it sounded huge. The idea of a game tying into so much the way Marvelous and Comcept were suggesting was a relatively new concept at the time, and it sounded like they were planning on making it into an epic franchise.

It's easy to pick on Inafune, but with what little we know, aren't there other possible theories? For example, didn't Marvelous' own Kenichiro Takaki announce a new large scale project that would span multiple forms of media soon after Kaio was announced to be canceled?

In comparison to this new project (Valkyrie Drive), of which there is little competition of this kind on this scale aimed at the demographic that series is targeting, a cute game like Kaio would have had to go up against Yo-Kai Watch and all the other titans that have since adopted similar strategies - things that didn't even exist to this extent when Kaio was announced - not to mention all that was already around (as in pretty much everything Nintendo does right now).

Simply put, it may well have just made more sense for Marvelous to invest those resources in something easier to make that they could bank on rather than the exponentially larger gamble that Kaio looked to be.

I admit, this is just more speculation, but with all that said, if you're judging Mighty No. 9 based purely on your own speculation related to an entirely different game, don't you think maybe that's just a little unfair?

Regardless of what happened to Kaio, and what didn't, let's do out best to take Mighty No. 9 as it is. Who knows? Maybe we'll see Kaio again someday too...



INAFUNE IS JUST PANDERING TO MEGA MAN FANS!
So what if he is?

Everyone panders. I'm going to be talking about this in another blog someday, but people really need to let this whole "pandering is bad!" mentality go. Demographics are a real thing, and they're something we should acknowledge and even embrace rather than fight. Who wants to force everything to be mainstream and dumbed down for mass appeal?

People are different. Not everyone will like the same thing, and some people will like certain things more than others. Almost everything is trying to reach out to some people or another in some way, and that is okay.

The way this term is thrown around, you'd think only the most evil and selfish people do it, but let's be real for a minute here. Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are full of pandering to fans of the first generation of Pokémon titles. Most crossover games have pandering of some kind, but look at how beloved the Super Smash Bros. franchise is. Look at the hype surrounding Mega Man's Final Smash! And the Mega Man Battle Network series is arguably full of this "pandering" too in how it was full of redesigned versions of older characters rather than inventing new ones. Hell, I can't even count how many different demographics amiibos target and "pander" to.

Just because something "panders" doesn't make it any less of a something. Not at all.



INAFUNE IS JUST A BUSINESSMAN, NOT A CREATOR!
I'm going to be blunt with this one.

I think this is one of the stupidest quotes I have ever heard.

There is no reason a creator can't be a businessman. There is no reason a businessman can't be a creator.

Personally, as a hopeful creator myself, I would want to be a businessman, or at least have some skills in that area so I don't get taken for a ride. The suggestion that it's somehow wrong for a creator to do businessman-like things just doesn't make sense to me. Do you want to put your heart and soul into something only for nothing to happen?

I'm not saying it isn't enough for some creators to create, but for others, what they want is for others to enjoy their creations - and unless they give those things out for free, which is a pretty unrealistic suggestion, that means that there's going to business afoot.

Is it really that wrong for a creator to want their creation to get around or be noticed?

Is it really that wrong for a creator to make things they know people would enjoy?

Is it really that wrong for a creator to do their own business so they don't get taken advantage of?

I'll point to Taka from Marvelous again for this one. He's best known for the Senran Kagura series right now, and I consider him a great example of someone who can be both a great creator and a great businessman. Sure, plenty of people don't like what he creates or don't approve of how he does his business, but the fact that people enjoy his products and buy them means that he's doing something right, and I don't believe for a moment that that's wrong of him to do at all.

tl;dr: Whether Inafune is or isn't one, being a businessman doesn't make you not a creator, and people need to stop looking to this quote like it's gospel. It's insulting to real creators, if anything.



BUT DINA!
This was a thing. Maybe it still is a thing. If you don't know what this is referring to, consider yourself lucky.

As for me, I experienced many of the same issues those who complain about this thing complain/complained about. I don't exactly disagree, but I also don't think Inafune or the people who actually matter at Comcept had any genuine involvement with it. I doubt it had any lasting impact in the long run as far as the game's development is concerned, and I can only hope it doesn't have any lasting impact in the minds of those who think about or consider playing or purchasing it.

The thing is, guys? It's over. It's done. The game is coming out soon - we don't know when, but soon. And the game is what the focus should be when that time comes.

Can't we focus on that instead of all this other stuff?

Come on, internet, I know we can do it! Think positive!



When all is said and done, I sort of feel like what the campaign of Mighty No. 9 really did was give some of us on the outside a look into what gaming development and costs are like these days, because it made us a part of it. Maybe I'm wrong. I can't know. I only know what I've taken from it. And part of that is that I don't think anything that's transpired thus far was done out of greed or any malicious intent, and as a backer myself, I don't feel taken advantage of. If the game sucks, oh well. It won't really be that different than if I buy Shovel Knight in a week and it doesn't live up to the hype.

Looking around, as things stand right now, I just don't see this ultimately being in Comcept's, Inafune's, or a potential franchise's benefit. And that's a shame. Even if it was bad, everything has to start somewhere. But this is probably going to get criticized for all of the things I brought up here and more. Many of you reading this are likely already formulating comments to do just that even as you read this.

When all is said and done, unless the game really takes off or people who haven't been paying attention to or don't care about its creation get into it, and maybe those things will happen, I can't help but think this will be a loss for Comcept and Inafune - and maybe future attempts at big, truly big, Mega Man successors too.



For those of you who have stuck with me this far, I want to leave you with this one last thing.

If the game ends up being bad, say it. I'm not saying anyone should say the game is good if it isn't because Inafune or Comcept "need defending" or anything of the sort. Likewise, if the game is good, tell your friends! Be honest about how you feel about the game, but please, just make sure it's about the game.

All I want is for the game to be judged for what it is. If criticisms relevant to its circumstances come up, then that's one thing, but if not, then set those aside, please. Too often I see games being criticized for things that have nothing to do with the final product, and that's just a shame.

All I ask, from both Destructoid and the gaming community at large, is that discussion of Mighty No. 9 try to stay focused around what really matters here.

It's not about politics or issues in the gaming world today. It's not about internet drama, it's not about who said or did what when they left this or that company. It's not about who asked for how much or how who got what job, no, it's not about any of this.

It should be about the most important thing of all. It should be about the most basic, fundamental thing, something it feels like we lost sight of a long time ago.



It's about how some of you chuckleheads voted for the wrong Call.

Oh, and uh, I guess it's about the whole focusing on the games and not the politics and agendas so we can all live in harmony thing too.

But it's mostly about Call.

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3:08 PM on 04.11.2015  

Can we say anything good about mobile F2P/P2W games?

Mobile games seem like they're becoming more and more rampant in the gaming world. It seems like every month, we're hearing that a new game is moving to cell phones and the "mobile platform" and shying away from consoles. The new Professor Layton is mobile, the new Breath of Fire is mobile, even the new Fantasy Life is mobile! Seriously, it couldn't even go two games without going down that road?

Understandably, most gamers aren't a fan of this approach - and even fewer seem to be a fan of the free to play approach to games that has become so rampant with mobile games.

And really, what is there to even be a fan of anyway? They prey on addicts and children with access to their parents' credit cards, they steal your money for only a chance at a reward, and they don't even let you play the game for long without wanting to reach into your wallet like an especially frisky anime character!


If you want to see the frisky anime character, simply leave your financial information in the comment section and he or she will get back to you as soon as possible!

Well, actually... Believe it or not, I've found there are quite a few potential positives to this type of gaming. Not as something to replace gaming as we know it, but simply as another means of it, another type among the many, many other types that already exist. And while I'm not up to date on most of the popular F2P games anymore since I've settled on a couple I like, I can tell you I've got experience with the things.

From the likes of Puzzle & Dragons to its various knockoffs like Jewel Dragons, Konami's own Dragon Collection, and even the (far more interesting) Pac-Man-inspired Pac-Man Monsters to the likes of Square Enix's Guardian Cross to the dozens of card collecting games like Reign of Dragons, Rage of Bahamut, ohhhh lord have mercy, I've dipped my toes into plenty of these F2P games. I've spent many hours in Fantasica, played and been subsequently been disappointed by more games with "Dragon" in the title than I care to count, and that's not even getting into DragonVale and the many, many games like it.

And then, oh what then, I foolishly discovered mobage and the ability to play Japanese mobile games on my phone! And the doors to Black Rock Shooter Arcana, idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, and dozens upon dozens of anime, game, and other IP-related mobile games were open to me! But wait! Now these games are coming to consoles? Now there are games like Pokémon Shuffle and the ill fated Destiny of Spirits on my handheld devices whenever I want? Oh good gracious me! Whatever was I to do?

tl;dr:


Now that I've proven my street cred, so to speak, let's get something straight. These games are certainly out for your money. If you're an addict or if you have a spending problem, I'd suggest you avoid them, no question. Depending on how you feel about time, likewise, these are probably the worst kinds of games for you, since you will probably come out of them feeling like you've wasted precious moments of your life on nothing. If you don't like the idea of spending your time or money on something that will be gone once it servers are cut, again, I'd also avoid them.

Conversely, though, if you get enjoyment from them and value time in that as long as you enjoyed that time in the moment, then maybe you might be interested.

For me, I'm often in situations where a mobile game that I can break out for a couple of minutes is perfect, and this is probably true for a lot of people. That's the thing a lot of people tend to forget about mobile games.

So let's talk about these games and their design for a minute. To clarify, I'm specifically talking about mobile games and free to play games that are built around energy meters and, often, microtransactions. There are other kinds of games on cell phones, this is true, but they're not what's on the table right now.

Now, for the most part, these are games made for cell phones. A cell phone's primary use isn't really supposed to be sitting around playing a game. Games have been made for phones that do make this tempting and certainly very possible, but ultimately, these things can do a lot now.

While many people find it to be such a problem when these games make them wait to keep playing, to be honest, I don't mind it that much. If I was in a situation where I could play longer lasting games in the first place, a game built around this mechanic, even without this mechanic, isn't really the kind of game I would probably want to be playing, is it? On the other hand, they make for great distractions if you need just that - a distraction.


Depending on the game, they also make for other kinds of distractions too!

That, of course, begs the question. Why should anyone care if it's just a distraction?

Well, as many have pointed out before me, many psycological tricks are implemented in these games to keep people around. Often you'll find that the early parts are especially easy to get you hooked. They might hand you rewards out more early on to get you to stay. There might be lots of flashing lights and all other things to make you feel good. It really is pretty nasty what they do, if you think about it.

In all seriousness, you really do need to be careful - not just with mobile games, but anything with some form of microtransaction. I may be here to show the positives of these kinds of games, but I'm not going to lie to you. Once you use that money up, you're not getting it back. If you use it, make sure you won't regret it.

My advice for anyone looking for a "good" game like this is to same a few at once and pick one or two from the bunch they like the best or feel most comfortable with and delete the rest. When I was doing a lot of stuff a year ago where I wasn't able to be still often, I'd find myself downloading maybe a dozen or more of these things onto my phone at a time, and there would be instances where after a day, I'd have deleted all of them.

"But wait!" you might say. "If you know it's either a distraction or a mind game to get you to pay, why are you bothering?"

I'm glad you asked that!

The fact of the matter is that, despite these games, I do feel like there can be a lot of enjoyment had out of them, and a type of enjoyment unique only to the way these games function at that.



For starters, let's look at how a game of this sort typically is set up. Most of them will see you either collecting things in some way or building up a city (collecting resources you could say) or some other sort like that. The end result is that you'll be grinding a lot no matter what you do, either by waiting or by collecting more things to shove them all together into one massive orgy of grinding in the hopes the last one standing might have gained enough experience points to be able to tackle the boss you're stuck on.


Apply the previous situation however you see fit. Sensei looks forward to hearing the results of your training!

The games usually have a basic campaign, maybe some kind of competetive mode, and almost always some form of social feature that inevitably will just lead to you removing "friends" that aren't active so that you can get stronger, more active friends as you continue playing.

For some games, this is enough. Many tack on a unique style of play, an IP people are familiar with, and call it a day. Others make the story mode interesting so that you're invested in continuing, while others just make your energy drain so fast you have to pay to keep playing. Most of them, if not all of them, offer the option to pay for some kind of advantage, and for many, this is enough. The idea of DLC, and a game not being "whole" on purchase, is enough for many to snap discs in half in fits of rage even now in 2015.

If we look past that, there really is something unique about these games, and that is the idea of events. Many games, mostly MMOs, have events that will last a period of time that will have rewards and other things exclusive to these events.

Am I saying mobile games are good solely because of events? No, not at all! Many are bad because of the way some particular games implement events. These games can be manipulative sonsofbitches sometimes.

What I am saying is that they are a rarely mentioned benefit to that style of game, and one that can really add a lot to them.



Let's say you like a game, or at the very least, are moderately entertained enough by it that you don't delete it instantly. Now let's say that every week, without fail, it gets new content. Obviously this ties into the psycological and more manipulative aspects of mobile gaming that I mentioned before, and so if you're only playing for these reasons, that's another issue entirely, and it's one that I strongly urge you to think about before getting into one of these.

But if it's a game that you feel you already get something out of? Then the event aspect is one that can add a lot.

At that point, if you compare a mobile game to a regular game with this in mind, the whole "it's whole when I buy it" thing suddenly starts looking like a point against normal games considering you can play many mobile and F2P games without paying a cent.

Because the thing is, when you stop looking at additional content as things that got "cut out" of games (as in many cases, much of DLC today just flat out wouldn't exist without the fact that people pay for it), DLC can extend the life of a game. A season pass can keep it going for as long as the season lasts, updates can add balance and new content to games long after release, but mobile games will keep living until they die completely. They're like pocket MMOs in this respect, I think.


This begs the question... How can we combine everything into one thing? When can we get a season pass-DLC-update-MMO!?

Obviously, a lot of what I'm saying isn't going to apply to every mobile game. Like I've said repeatedly now, you need to look at one of these games and, to be blunt, make sure you're the one playing it. Don't get played by a game. It's not supposed to work like that, unless it's a boss fight or something and you're supposed to learn from it. See what I did there with that topical Bloodborne reference?

But hey! Maybe I've made mobile games sound really enticing to some of you. To all two of you, let me offer you some warnings:

FIRST WARNING
If you go into a mobile game, particularly one that ties to an existing IP, expecting something that the game never claimed it was going to be and then getting disappointed is something that, personally, I put on you. That's my policy with most things.

For example, Rockman Xover's negative reception, I feel, was extremely overblown, and the main thing Capcom did wrong was releasing the game in a drought of "real" Mega Man games, because the fact is, as a mobile game, it was a fairly harmless one. The complaints about "no gameplay" seemed to come from people who had never encountered a mobile game before in their lives, and because of the negativity surrounding it, we never got the game overseas, and I find that to be a damn shame.

Expect a mobile game with familiar things slapped on top of it. If you get more (as Rockman Xover actually seemed to try offering), like original content made just for the game or maybe a unique twist on the gameplay (like Pac-Man Monsters), then be thankful, but if not, just enjoy your time waster having familiar things in it.



SECOND WARNING
There are going to be instances where you don't get to play a lot and there are going to be instances where you do. I opened up one game earlier, my "main" one (of two right now), and I was done in about two minutes as all my energy was gone. Last week, I was able to play for about ten because of the kind of event that was going on, and I could have played for more, but I just didn't feel like doing so.

The thing people really, really don't think about with these kinds of games is, like I was getting at before, they're designed for cell phones and handheld devices most often. Phones aren't primarily gaming devices, and handhelds usually offer other options besides for the one free to play game now. When your time runs out, you can just do something else.

More than that, though, these games are meant for the long haul. They're meant to be things you can always come back to, not things that you truly finish. More like things that either get canned or things you choose to stop playing.

If you take away the energy meters and so on, the games just... don't work anymore. You could finish them in a few days.

Some might say that this would be nothing short of beneficial for some of these games, and while this may be true in some cases, for some of them, it would just destroy them. For one thing, that whole event thing I was talking about before? It wouldn't work if you didn't have stamina in most cases.

If people just download your game, beat it, and leave it in a single sitting, why bother putting content together for events? You'll have your core community, but it wouldn't be the same.

The idea behind this system, if you look at it from a gameplay perspective, is longevity. It makes the game last longer. It keeps you coming back. This aspect is, in many ways, just another tool to prey on addicts and so on, but it can also be an interesting form of gameplay if you want to look at it that way, and since it's not like this is the only kind of game in the world, I don't see why I can't choose to do that. Life is all about choices, right?

You might say these kinds of things are also manipulative, and to be honest, I don't completely disagree. That's just the name of the game here.



THIRD WARNING
This one is going to be hard to hear, but if you want to play exclusively for free, then you aren't going to "win." Pay To Win, or P2W, is a real thing, and it's true of just about all of these games. There's no getting around this, and if this puts you off, I don't blame you if you want nothing to do with them.

Why am I still here if I'm not paying? It's pretty simple. I can choose what I define as winning. Obviously the people who pay are going to rank higher and get things I can't get, but do I need to shape my enjoyment of this game and experience with it based on things I don't want to or can't get? Hell naw!

I play within my means or the means that I set for myself and I don't think there's any shame in that or anything wrong with it. If it means I rank high sometimes and extremely low other times, I'm fine with that. So long as I got something out of it for myself, then that's fine by me. Why do I have to care that there are people ranking higher or doing better? Maybe I can aim to be better than them, and if I plan ahead and store up resources, someday, I could really rank pretty damn high. But maybe I just want to have fun on my terms - and if I do that? Then that works too.

If you understand your limits and how far you can go in these games, then you'll actually go a lot farther than you might think possible for a mobile game. Just coming out of them with that lesson, a lesson you can take with you to real life, might be worth a frustrating game in itself. The restrictions, ironically enough, add a lot to my experience because you can always come back from it.

In "real" games with restrictions based on time, often there's an ending. The Atelier series put me off after one entry because of the strict time constraints I found myself under. You'd think after that, I'd want nothing to do with mobile games, but if anything, I just appreciate mobile games more. With the Atelier games, once that timer ends, that's it. Game over. You lose. Tough luck. Have a new game plus with nothing of value.

With a mobile game, though, the game keeps going. You can regroup. While you can't try what you messed up again, you still have the future. Like life itself, in a weird way... if life was really sleazy and wanted to steal all your money.

So it's like life for Nintendo fans basically.



FOURTH WARNING
If you want to play exclusively for free, there will be times where you feel like you can't play sometimes.

This is because, believe it or not, managing resources can be a big part of playing these games without paying for them. This is ironic in a lot of ways, considering what you would think the end goal is, but it's very true.

With a normal game, when there is an item you want or have, usually you know you can get it later, and it just becomes an issue of saving money and the like. There is often resource management involved, particularly around games built around the concept, but most don't take it to the level that playing mobile games can.

In many mobile games, the premium items you can pay for are given out as rewards. Money, energy refill items, and other special items will be handed to you for completing tasks, making friends, or just logging in. You can use them up, sure, but you can also let these pile up and save them. Because let's face it - who knows when you'll really need them? And unlike in most games, once they're gone, they're gone. Unless you want to pay real money for them, you can't risk wasting these precious items.

In this respect, a truly great irony if there ever was one, mobile games have actually made me less inclined to spend frivolously. That's not to say my case is a common one, but it is the conclusion I've reached. I guess it helps that, in playing Japanese ones mostly, I don't have the option to pay in the first place anyway. It's not something I can do even if I wanted to.

And because of that, funnily enough, I feel like if they completely removed the pay to win aspect but kept the stamina one, and in fact kept these games otherwise completely the same, these games could have the makings of some rather interesting educational games, if nothing else. The lessons learned might not be the most enjoyable ones, but they certainly are useful in the long run.



IN CONCLUSION...
I'm not really sure what kind of message I can leave here. Obviously, this is an extremely unpopular opinion, and really, it's not like I play these things a lot. I play two (a number that was none a few months ago), and I don't really play them that often. I check in when I have stamina or if there's an event I'm interested in going on, I get my daily login stuff, and maybe that's it. I do think there are weeks where I play them more than I play "real" games, but I may just not play "real" games at all that week, whereas I might have been in line somewhere with my phone for a while on one day that week. It all depends.

I will say that I don't think this kind of game should replace "real" gaming. I don't think these games are always made with the most pure intentions either. But I do think, for what they are, they're given far more flak than they even really deserve, and while I'm sure now I'll get plenty of flak for suggesting these games are something more than vacuums that want to hook themselves straight to our wallets, it is what it is. All I want to say, really, is that they might just be bringing something to the table that a lot of us aren't really appreciating here.

Now if you all would excuse me, I used up all my stamina on this blog entry, so I think I'm going to take a break until it refills. See ya next time!

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2:25 PM on 04.07.2015  

Pokémon Shuffle PSA

While I know an article on the subject may pop up on the main site at some point, given the time-restricted nature of both the event in question and the game itself, I wanted to let those watching the blogs know what's up in the Pokémon Shuffle world right now if they're not playing regularly.

Spanning from April 6th to April 13th, Pokémon Shuffle players can take part in an event very similar to a previous timed event in which you can battle it out against Mega Blastoise! The top 20,000 ranked players in the US, the top 10,000 players in the EU, and the top 50,000 players in Japan will all get Blastoise's Mega Stone as a reward, while everyone else gets a free stone, which is still nifty for just turning on the game and doing a one minute stage.

If you're far enough into the game, consider playing some of the EX stages and picking up Sceptile, Zapdos, and Raikou for your team, or just whatever else you have on you that works, though be warned, you... probably won't rank even if you have them. I only have Sceptile and Zapdos myself.

Did I mention this has surpassed three million downloads recently yet not even 100K people can win this thing? Good times!

On the bright side, you still have until April 20th to catch Rayquaza, and your first completion of the stage will net you a free jewel.

Good luck!

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6:40 PM on 04.06.2015  

Who do YOU think should join Smash Bros. next?

As most of you know, Nintendo's started up a little campaign that has been dubbed by some as simply "The Smash Ballot." You can find it here. It's a grand idea, a no holding back poll where players can offer their suggestions for who they feel should join (or in some cases, rejoin) the Super Smash Bros. fighting elite. People have been putting in their votes for all kinds of characters. Votes for characters that have been desired for years...



... to characters that don't have a chance in hell...



... and just about everything in-between.

For the most part, though, one thing remains constant. That one thing is that most people, for some reason, only put their faith in one character. Maybe two. Rarely more than five. While in this case, it's a little more understandable considering Nintendo does specifically ask for only one vote, and may well be ignoring votes beyond the first from the same IP address, as far as simple conversation goes... Why keep it at just one? Why restrict yourselves?

With our imaginations, the sky isn't even close to being the limit.

In short, while we can only vote for one character, as far as casual conversation goes, I'd like to ask the community: What if you could add whoever you wanted? What if you could add however many characters you wanted? If you had total creative freedom to add, say, as many as 10-20 characters, who would you add? Would you try to be fair in your choices? Or would you pick your single favorite game and just dump the entire cast?

Now before anyone brings them up, I ask you all set aside your misguided notions of "quality over quantity" and unfounded belief in "less is more" - those restrictions have no place when you're using your imagination!

In short: If you had total creative control over the next entry of Super Smash. Bros. or the DLC of this one, what characters would you add?

If you need some ideas, I'll start things off by answering that very question myself!

FIRST PARTY FIGHTERS



While not my number one first party pick, I do think an Inkling from Splatoon would make for a great addition to Super Smash Bros. simply because of how unique their fighting style would be. With a combination of paint-based moves, all kinds of long range hijinks, and potential shenanigans with their squid form, I don't know if there is another character like them out there.

Who knows what kind of effects could be added with their paint abilities? Imagine if they were actually able to paint the arena, and then could jump through paint like they do in their own game! That would be really wild to play as in a game like this, I think.

And just think of the amiibos! A special Super Smash Bros. version of the Inkling amiibo could be released with bonus functionality in Splatoon! It's a win-win for all five people that would be able to get it!



Yes, that's Lyn from the first Fire Emblem GBA game. I know, I know. "Another anime character with a sword!?" "Another Fire Emblem character!?" "Another girl!?" Probably not something welcome to many--- Wait, no, screw that third guy.

Anyway, yes, one of my most wanted characters is all of those things, but not without reason. In the West, while Marth and Roy may have been our first exposure to Fire Emblem through Super Smash Bros. Melee, it was Lyn's game on the GBA (where she was one of the main characters) that we were first exposed to the franchise itself. For us, or at least those of us from that era, that's more than a little significant. The fact is, Fire Emblem is one of Nintendo's oldest franchises that still regularly gets entries, and every single one usually brings at least something new to the table as far as characters goes, doesn't it? If you ask me, the fact that only three games are represented from this series is actually testament to how little representation it has and that it should have more representation, not the other way around.

So let's get back to Lyn. Not only would we get another girl on the roster, but a leading one. What's more, while she does fight with a sword, like her fellow Fire Emblem fighters as well as a few other characters, just look at how her Assist Trophy already works - she could be a quick fighter that keeps her sword sheathed when she isn't slashing.

And let's be fair here. Setting aside how Marth and Link have had their clones, just look at how distinct Ike and Shulk are from the two of them. I think there's a lot of potential in sword-using characters and other weapon-using characters, and I'd love to see it taken advantage of in future games. Jokes aside, I think in the right hands, you could even make an enjoyable Super Smash Bros. game out of sword-using characters alone. So what's one more here, eh?



That sure is more than one suggested fighter from Pokémon there. I know, similarly to the Fire Emblem situation, I bet most people see this and immediately think: "Don't we already have enough Pokémon in the game!?" To that, I have to ask in all seriousness... Do we?

My main point of contention here is that, even after Mewtwo comes out, out of the six Pokémon in the game, four of them are from the first generation. In other words, only half of the franchise has any representation in the roster, and of the representation it has, it's pretty clearly leaning in a specific direction. One can argue that this makes sense because the first generation is supposedly the most iconic, but as a Pokémon fan that, quite honestly, can't stand the favoritism the first generation gets over the other (in many areas, better) ones, I'd really like to see the playing field evened out at least a little. I'm not saying all of these choices should make it in, but surely one of them wouldn't be too much to ask for? I think they could bring some pretty unique movesets and concepts to the table as well:

Zoroark is perhaps most well known for the horrors inflicted upon it by Lucario on Deviantart. Admittedly, I don't actually know if that's really a thing, but since I'm on Destructoid, I know I lost about half my audience just now, so I'll wait for you to get back.

Hi! Now that you're back and hopefully all cleaned up after that quick trip down Gardevoir Alley, in all seriousness, the Zoroark species is known for its ability to create illusions of other Pokémon. Not in the same, more permanent (for that battle) way Ditto or Mew can, but when you throw it out, until it gets hit, it can project an illusion. So my suggestion for a Zoroark is that, in addition to a sweet moveset fitting of the Pokémon, when you throw it out at 0%, it copies one of your opponents. The first time can be random or decided by some other factor, like pushing a button a certain amount of times to match a certain player as the fight loads, but then, what if you always then imitated the character that last killed you? I think that could be a pretty neat take on the concept myself, and it's not like you would need to worry about the game loading in extra models or moves since the other character would be right there.

Torterra is probably a more unexpected choice, especially if my intent is just "Pokémon not from the first generation." Well, it finishes off the "one starter of each type" deal we have started with Charizard and Greninja, and Torterra and Sceptile are right in the middle of those two. Sceptile would arguably make more sense and would probably be an easier choice to make a fighter out of, but honestly? I like Torterra more and I'd really like to see what they could do with a heavy quadruped like this in Super Smash Bros., since we don't really have much like that right now.

Lastly, Genesect is here entirely because I just really like the thing and it's basically Pokémon's answer to Kamen Rider, so I'm obligated to mention it. It can also turn into a space ship and is a Gundam, so really, the question shouldn't be "Why should Genesect be playable in Super Smash Bros.?" at all. It should be "Why shouldn't Genesect be playable in Super Smash Bros.?"



Isaac from Golden Sun is appearing on a lot of lists, and while I never had a chance to play Golden Sun, boy did I want to. Maybe Nintendo will finally add GBA games to the 3DS Virtual Console someday, and maybe they'll add Golden Sun to the selection when they do, and then I can finally play! Until then, I only having passing knowledge and far too much time spent looking at pictures in Nintendo Power to go off of.

... which, as it turns out, is still enough for me to still want him in the game. How 'bout that?

SECOND PARTY SECURITY

Initially, I wanted to just put these guys under first party too, which is why my first party selections probably look a little awkward, but despite their exclusivity to Nintendo consoles, they are still characters from second party titles, and so without further delay...



I admit, I still haven't played The Wonderful 101. I couldn't get into the demo, but in hindsight, I suspect the controller may have been broken, since I've heard you actually can stop moving in normal gameplay, which was not a function of the demo I played.

Regardless, Wonder Red is a superhero. And you know, I do love me some superheroes, particularly Japan's breed of them, and those are a type of superhero that Wonder Red's game draws a lot of inspiration from. What's more, what little I've played and what lot I've seen and heard tells me Wonder Red would make for an incredibly unique, fun, and welcome addition to this fighter game's roster, and so he definitely is one to get my vote.



Like Lyn, Dillon here, of Dillon's Rolling Western and its sequel, is already in the game as an Assist Trophy. He might not look like he'd play that differently from Sonic either - but that's where you'd be wrong, partner. So stick 'em up while I educate you!

Dillon does do the whole ball rolling thing, but he does a lot more than that as well. In particular, his claws are a common feature of his attacks, as well as his strength in general. Coming from a tower defense-like game, elements of that could be worked either into his fighting style here or at least his Final Smash.

While he could simply end up being a clone of Sonic, at most, I think turning him into a character similar to Sonic that has more weight and power to him might instead make him an interesting alternative, rather than the lost potential of an Assist Trophy or the potential disappointment fans might feel of being a clone. Or why not go all out and make him something all his own too, huh?



Raise your hand if you know what the hell this thing is. Now put your hands down, because it's not a Pokémon.

This is Jibanyan, the mascot of Level-5's hit Yokai Watch franchise that is currently taking Japan by storm. The second game sold over 1.2 million copies in four days. That means that in less than a week, 1 game was sold for roughly every 100 people in the country. The updated version of that game (think Yokai Watch Emerald or Yokai Watch Yellow) has already sold over 2.5 million copies.

It only came out in December.

It sold two and a half million copies in four months and it's still charting, even after news of Yokai Watch 3 and a spinoff being on the way was offered by Level-5.

To put that into perspective, the highly anticipated Bloodborne didn't even manage 200,000 last week, and it beat out games on 3DS, Vita, PS3, and more and was the best selling game during that week.

You know what's worse? Not a single one of these charming games from Level-5 has as much as a real release window for overseas. I don't know why Level-5 is so terrible at getting these things out of Japan with even remotely good timing, but considering the tremendous success of this particular franchise, I think there is a lot to be gained from adding its mascot. Not only would it be great for Japan, where people already love the little guy and the games he comes from, but it could create a situation similar to that of Marth and Roy in Super Smash Bros. Melee where interest in the series is sparked by the appearance of this character that has never come overseas before.

Plus, he can bring some other Level-5 assist trophies with him! Imagine if Professor Layton and some characters from Inazuma Eleven or Danball Senki popped out of a trophy alongside the appearance of Jibanyan here. That'd be pretty great, right? Not to mention the only way we'd ever get to see something from Danball in a game localized...

THIRD PARTY TITANS

What's a list of wanted characters for Super Smash Bros. without some third party characters? Not a list at all, that's what! So here are some of my top third party picks:



I don't think I can make a case for Bomberman better than Kesskuron already did here, so you know what? I won't. Give that link a click, it deserves it. I'll just add that of every character on this list, if I could only have one of them, chances are extremely high that it would be this guy here.



After Bomberman, Dr. Eggman of Sonic the Hedgehog fame is probably my second most wanted character for either DLC in the most recent or as a new playable character in the next Super Smash Bros. game.

I realize that we already have Sonic from his titular franchise, but considering just how long the rivalry between Sega and Nintendo was, I'd like to think maybe we could add this delightful evil mastermind to the mix as well. Getting to see him and Bowser together would be a real joy, if you ask me, and considering how many Sonic the Hedgehog games have been on Nintendo consoles since Sega stopped making their own, it's not like he's a character alien to them.

There are a lot of options for how he could fight too. Would he run around on the ground and toss around gadgets? Would he bust out his little floating egg car and play similarly to Bowser Jr.? Whatever they do with him, I do think there's potential for a really fun and worthwhile character, and that's why Eggman makes my list.

And while I have talked at length about how I feel about Sonic Boom and how it doesn't matter nearly as much as people think, I will say that letting another character from the franchise into Super Smash Bros. might go a long way towards helping fans move past it.



I hate giving Capcom too much service here, but you know what, they have been fairly decent to Nintendo consoles, and a Monster Hunter from the Monster Hunter franchise would be an awesome addition to Super Smash Bros., wouldn't it?

Their different attacks could involve them breaking out different weapons, their different costumes could be different armors from the series, and just imagine what kind of things its presence could add to the game! Not only could they toss Rathalos into an Assist Trophy and have Felynes hiding in the Monster Hunter stage running around stealing items as soon as players pick them up and giving them to other players, but just think about the bigger picture here.

That's right.

Monster.

Hunter.

amiibo.

I rest my case.





I know, Capcom is the devil, but if we've already got two reps from them as it is, isn't Phoenix Wright, champion of the Ace Attorney franchise, basically necessary at that point? The franchise got its start on Nintendo handhelds and, for the most part, still makes its cozy little home on them. It's not Monster Hunter huge and it doesn't have Mega Man nostalgia, but it is a series that would be very appropriate for the game.

As for Wright himself? We've seen him in action in Marvel vs Capcom before, so we know he can fight if he has to, and just think about how unique a character he is in a room full of pocket monsters, elves, evil turtle kings, and plumbers!

Seriously, when you get right down to it, as a lawyer, he's got more in common with the evil turtle king than a plumber. So does Capcom for that matter...

Oh, and, here's the source on that awesome Phoenix Wright mockup, by the way.

THE ILLUSTRIOUS INDIES

Yup, these guys get their own section too. It's been said Nintendo hasn't been as welcome to the indie scene as their competition has been, and while I can't say for sure whether or not that's the case, you know what would go a long way to proving that wrong? Letting some beloved indie characters into Super Smash Bros.



... Wait, were you expecting words here? You haven't scrolled back up to vote for her yet? Okay, let me just put this into words.


Is that not enough words for you!?

Okay okay, fiiiiine. In all seriousness though, I'm saying Shantae of, you guessed it, the Shantae series of games would make a great addition to Super Smash Bros. With her various genie powers, crazy dance moves, transformations of all shapes and sizes, and all of that good stuff, she'll be able to send all the competition running for magic lamps just to wish she wasn't there kicking their butts. Even the series' developer has gotten in on the fun and offered what Shantae's costumes might look like should she make it through the voting. Fingers crossed!

But since you got me talking, since we're on the subject of Shantae in Smash Bros., well, let's talk about this one! Since another lady of gaming is often brought up for this game, then I'll set the record straight - when it comes to Super Smash Bros., I'd go as far as to say fellow video game vixen Bayonetta shouldn't even be on the poll until the likes of Shantae, a Nintendo leading lady since the GBC days, is already part of the roster.

In fact, that's a belief I hold so firmly that, despite the fact that I would really like to see Bayonetta in the game too, that is the one restriction I have placed on myself when making this list for this completely nonsensical reason that goes against everything I said in the introduction! So take that... No one in particular! Ha! Couldn't... fool me... with your... Wait, I guess the person "taking that" is "me," isn't it? Crap.

Okay, moving along! Point is, Shantae has been a Nintendo girl from the beginning, and WayForward have been with Nintendo for a long time too. She could even bring a Mighty Switch Force themed Assist Trophy along for the ride! Pretty cool, right?



Shovel Knight is a game I won't be playing until, ironically, the Vita version comes out later this month, but everything I've seen and heard points to Shovel Knight himself being an awesome addition to Super Smash Bros., and so I really just can't help but want to see him in based on that alone, and I'm sure I'll want it all the more once I actually play the game. For that reason, though, I can't really say much more than that here. Sorry!



... Too soon?

COPIED CLONES AND REDUNDANT RETURNEES

That's right, I'm even adding a section for clones and some veterans. And with (what I think is) good reason! Because clones don't "take away" roster slots as many suggest, not at all. Most of the time, they're a free roster slot we wouldn't have gotten otherwise, unless you just wanted someone else to be cloned, in which case, yeah, then you maybe have a point, but that's usually not how people use that turn of phrase.

In any case, enough preemptive defending! Let's turn on the flame shields and get this show on the road!



I'm starting with Pichu. Innocent enough, right? Maybe contradictory to my previous Pokémon choices, but I always liked the little guy more than Pikachu. That goes for Raichu too, but that's another story. Point is, I like Pichu, I'd like Pichu back, and I'm sure they could tweak Pichu enough to make the little fella worth the spot. Or just give Pikachu some Pichu and Raichu alternate costumes.

Hey, I didn't say I was picky.



Another Pokémon! Two, or three in a way, to be precise, and all returning characters. For this "character," it's been suggested that the concept of Pokémon Trainer sharing Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard can't work anymore because of how the 3DS version of the game works. Well, to that, I say that that's just Farfetch'd! There's an easy solution for this.

All we need to do is make them share a slot on the character select screen similarly to how the Mii Fighter, despite having three distinct fighting styles (sound familiar?), already does. Alternatively, you can just scroll through the character's different colors and just go through them from one Pokemon to the next like they're different costumes, except Squirtle and Ivysaur are each different characters. Again, this is already a function the 3DS version utilizes with the Mii Fighter as well as every character with different models and voices and so on, so it should in theory be possible.

Then, add a fourth selection after the three the 3DS version utilizes on the Wii U version: Allow the ability to scroll past to the fourth choice of "Pokémon Trainer," where the three Pokémon lose their down smashes, but you can switch through them at will like in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It's not technically making an exclusive character to the Wii U version, just an exclusive way to use these characters because the 3DS one just can't. Would that be so bad? Well, either way, that's just my (perhaps ignorant) way to compromise.



Now this lovely lady is actually the main reason I made this section at all, since I otherwise could have skipped mentioning Pichu and more Pokémon characters. Now I know, this isn't Ridley or another "actual" Metroid character - in fact, were this added, Metroid's Smash Bros. roster could be summed up as "Samus at work, Samus at the pool, and Samus on her day off," but hear me out.

Samus Aran's Fusion Suit, from Metroid Fusion, still mostly played like her regular armors and so on from previous games. Samus got this suit in Metroid Fusion after a series of unfortunate events that, among other things, totally changed her cellular makeup and a bunch of other fun stuff. In a word, for those who haven't played it (you really should), she wound up part-Metroid.

But how could this be moved over to Super Smash Bros.? Well, by just applying this suit's different traits, that's how. Make her weaker but faster than Vanilla Samus (or would it be Orange flavored Samus...?), alter her jumping, maybe add in something in line with the energy absorbtion ability she got from the upgrade (perhaps beating up enemies will auto-charge her other attacks for her?), and give her an Ice Missile attack she can charge. Overall, not a lot would have to change from how Orange Samus works, but not so little that the new Blueberry flavor wouldn't be distinct enough on her own.



In all honesty, making Paper Mario into a character could probably done in a way without making him a clone. But considering how many Mario characters there are (as an aside, I consider characters from Donkey Kong and "Yoshi," which I didn't even realize counted as its own franchise, as Mario characters, so I'm a little less forgiving with this big expanded universe than I am with ones like Pokémon or Fire Emblem), just having a third Mario in addition to Luigi and like half the game's roster still might warrant Paper Mario, no matter how unique they make him, getting put into this section.

Regardless, I genuinely think Paper Mario could potentially be much more than a clone, and in fact another fun 2D character in a crazy 3D world.

And... that's it! Well, I say "that's it," but that was a lot, so I may have gone a little overboard here. Like I said, imaaaaagination. Someone get that Spongebob image in here. I wanted to add a section for other stuff, like stages, Assist Trophies, and even Pokéball ideas, but that's probably stretching it. I will say that Ditto needs to be a thing somehow, at least. Master Ball that imitates Final Smashes maybe? Dunno.

In the end, these are just my picks. You might have noticed I personally tried to be marginally reasonable in my choices - no Gokus, no obscure JRPG characters that have never even been on a Nintendo platform, relatively little of that. But that doesn't mean you have to be! Despite how I just went on and on about my picks, I really would love to hear what everyone else would like to see, and so by all means, share your choices, Smash fans!

And more importantly, remind me of who I forgot to add to my own dream wishlist!

Now if you excuse me, I need to go shopping. I'm out of fruit and I'm feeling... very, very hungry for oranges and blueberries all of a sudden.

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5:58 PM on 03.27.2015  

Think of the children!

Nintendo is at it again!

You may remember how Nintendo chose to gather a bunch of games together and advertise them as February Fun last month, when they were just organizing some games by genre for a very limited time. Well this time around, we're being treated to games for the kids! A bunch of children-oriented games for all your tykes and toddlers have been gathered together, ripe for the picking for little baby Tommy to enjoy. Let's take a peek and see what the very first game on this sure to be delightful list is, shall we?

Well how about that?

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1:21 PM on 03.02.2015  

Sonic Splat

It's not really a secret I'm a fan of the Sonic series. I've mentioned it before in at least one blog. It's not my number one favorite series ever in the history of the world or anything, and in fact, I haven't even played a Sonic game recently besides for still not having finished Lost World on the 3DS. It's still been a big part of my life and I'd be lying if I said, for the most part, I've enjoyed the majority of the games the franchise has offered.


Yes, that includes this one. To this day I actually just don't get the hate this gets. Is it really just because it's different? Is that all?

As some of you may know - who am I kidding, the second you saw the word "Sonic," it probably was the first thing that came to mind - the series recently branched off into cartoons again, the newest series going by the name of Sonic Boom. Obviously, because we're all gamers here, the games that came along with this show get more attention, but as I've said in many comments before, I really don't think they deserve the attention they've gotten.


Knuckles' new design might be worth a discussion in itself, but that's an entirely separate one that, as I hope to explain, isn't really tied to the games. For now, have the classic.

If you look at, well, just about any article these days that's about the Sonic franchise, you'll notice that there's a lot of negativity. It's not new, but I think it's gotten especially bad now, myself. Comments like "It's a dead horse!" "Why don't you kill it already?" "They're still making these?" will run rampant - along with comments like "Generations and Colors were the last good ones." or "That kart racing game was awesome." occasionally. For the most part, though, it's pretty negative, and while the whole "Sonic Cycle" thing was pretty bad in the 2000s, after Sonic Boom, it seems like it's reached a whole new level.

And I honestly just don't think it should have.

To preface the rest of this article, I want to emphasize one thing: I am absolutely not trying to defend the quality of the Sonic Boom games, nor am I trying to say we should excuse the kind of experience (or lack of) that they offer to players. In my opinion, I think it might have been better for all if they hadn't been released at all, but there's nothing that we can do about that. So no, that's not what I'm doing. What I am trying to do is merely explain that no matter what kind of games these were, are, or could have been, they should not make you feel any differently about the franchise as a whole or its future outside of potential Sonic Boom titles.

Now then, for those of you who haven't already scrolled down to leave a comment, let's begin!

We first heard about Sonic Boom all the way back in October of 2013. However, what we heard was that it would be a cartoon aimed at kids and that's it. It wasn't until February 2014, nearly half a year later, that we even learned games would be part of the picture.

I don't want to sound like I'm talking down to anyone, but this is important for a few reasons. I've said it a few times, but basically, the Sonic Boom TV show was always really the main product and source of quality (as in where it was going and being put on the creators' side) here. That's what they're getting your eye with. Look at the second article for a moment:

"Additionally, merchandise based on the Sonic Boom franchise will be available as well, in the form of new toys by TOMY, including action figures, plushies, vehicles and more. Sega will further broaden the merchandising possibilities by launching a licensing program to include publishing, accessories, food, health and more."

Do games normally get things like that? Some do, and certainly once they hit it really big, but not usually - it's typically TV shows and cartoons that are treated with that kind of booming merchandise. In fact, it's that kind of approach that's done Level-5 wonders in Japan, but it takes the cartoons for them to do it. The problem is here that in this case, I think most can agree that at the end of the day, the quality that might be in the show isn't present in the games - it might not be in the rest of the merchandise either.

But people still bought it. And that's just it. That's the sad truth of it, I think. All of these things - the games, the toys, the plushies, the food - it was for the money. If you look at it like that, it makes even more sense how even from early on they were saying that this was separate from the normal and usual Sonic experience, that it was its own thing. Which, let's be honest, it pretty clearly is. But if this really blew up, they could always fall back on that, and they haven't even needed to yet. They must have gotten what they wanted even so.

And I'm not saying it was a good thing that they did this, not at all, but let's not act like these games are something else. This was no Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. Sonic '06 was a hyped up game to lead a franchise into the next generation of consoles and was, by most accounts, pretty much a disaster.

But these Sonic Boom tie in games? They're money grabs based on a cartoon. That's all. There isn't even a comparison to be made here. If you want to compare fairly, either compare them to games that the developers had made previously (which we're going to talk more about in juuuust a second) or talk about games in the same situation. That's games like this, this, or even this.


Or this, which I think I still have somewhere.

Basically, these Sonic Boom games, like those games, are just part of a bigger picture. And that bigger picture usually involves just throwing something out with familiar faces on it and hoping people throw money at it in response. Skip to about 9 minutes in here. "Sonic '06 looks so good right now!" are among some of the comments the Rugrats game the Game Grumps are playing gets.

With these games? Their overall quality was, ultimately, insignificant. It's sad, but if you look at the sort of games like it... Really, all that mattered is that people bought them. It's probably why review copies weren't offered before release, among other things. They wanted to get their money and be in and out. That's not to say these games were meant to be terrible, I don't think so, in fact I don't think that's ever the case with anything most of the time, but they just weren't the priority of Sonic Boom as a whole. Sure, you can say it was dishonest of them to hype up something like this, but what, are they going to tell people not to buy it? It's a product and they want it to sell. Of course they're going to hype it up.

Now let's talk developers. The two Sonic Boom games not only were developed by two different developers, they were developed by teams who had not only never worked on a Sonic game before, at least as far as I can tell, but unless my lengthy Google search of three minutes failed me, one of them had never even actually released a game before. Regardless, the point is that these games, which we've already established fall pretty clearly in the "spinoff" category, which is the next topic, of new games in a franchise, were basically outsourced.

With that in mind, I really have to ask... So long as following titles use different developers, even if these were main titles in the series, shouldn't that pretty much mean we're in the clear? At least in regards to Sonic Boom's standing on the franchise? So when we get news that Sonic Team wants to keep making console games for the series, if nothing else, shouldn't people at least not have Sonic Boom in mind when they react? The last Sonic games Sonic Team made, before Sonic Lost World, were the typically well received Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors. Isn't it a good thing that the team who made the games people keep referring to is still interested in making console titles?

Yes, I realize that they're all "Sonic" games, but we're talking about a huge franchise here - and huge franchises tend to have spinoffs, collaborations, and yes, outsourced products. Let's look at a few for a moment now.


Does anyone even remember this?

This particular Sonic game was developed by BioWare, and for the most part, you can tell it was developed by someone else. You can also tell from the title that, going into this, they probably hoped it was going to be the start of something big. Remember, this was in the time during which Sonic handheld games were doing great. The Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush series are considered fan favorites, Sonic Rivals has its share of fans, and Sonic Battle is one of the best games the franchise has ever offered in my humble opnion.

This, though? Obviously, there was never a sequel - never a followup to the sequel hook ending, never another five minutes of the characters praising BioWare's greatness at the end of the game. This was it.

Personally? When I think about this game, both its faults and its positives, I think about BioWare. Sure, Sega and the rest probably had plenty of input, but you can tell that BioWare had a lot of control - for one thing, there's a ton of influence from the comics and cartoons in this, generally stuff that had never really been part of the games before (save for some cameos in Sonic Spinball) and are mostly things Western fans like and prioritize - often over the games themselves.


By the way, his name is Dr. Eggman.

 Why do I think about BioWare? Because BioWare developed it. Again, Sega obviously had their input - it's their product, ultimately their risk, and clearly the proof of that is in Sonic Boom's reception - but it's still a BioWare developed game all the same, and I'd say they should have their credit for it, good and bad.

Oh, and before I get too far and forget, I want to point out something: The Sonic Rush, Sonic Advance, and Sonic Rivals series I just mentioned? Or even the Sonic Chronicles that could have been? All spinoffs of the bigger Sonic picture, all sub-series within the greater one.

So if we/you/I want to ignore the whole "it's a cartoon tie in" aspect of Sonic Boom, we can still do that and have this conversation. But then, even then, Sonic Boom is still merely just another sub-series in a larger franchise as a whole. It was an experiment, and if it failed, they can learn from it and try again or do something else. Or they can abandon it, like they did Sonic Chronicles and the Sonic Storybook Series, which had all of two games, and the first was only considered one after the second game out and announced the sub-series in the first place... and look how that wound up.

Need another example? Okay, one more!


Now who remembers these games?

I'll be honest, I liked the Sonic Riders series. Not as much as I've come to like the newest kart racer, but still quite a lot. This, unlike Sonic Chronicles, was developed by Sonic Team - but like it, it isn't a "main" Sonic title. It's a Sonic Riders game. It has Sonic in it, it's got a lot of Sonic stuff going on, but it's clearly denoted as being a Sonic Riders game, and sequels, if you notice, all still hold the Sonic Riders in the title. It's a sub-series in a larger franchise. Even within what is considered the "main" series, you have the Sonic Adventure games pretty notably set apart, both in how they're named and how they play.

Now let me ask: If it Sonic Riders had failed, would it have meant that Sonic was doomed and the franchise should have no longer been getting games?

If you think yes, then here's a different question to put that into perspective.

If Mario Kart had been a complete and utter failure, if it had been a terrible game beyond a shadow of a doubt, should they have stopped making Mario games altogether?

What about Paper Mario or Luigi's Mansion or Mario Party? What about the various Mario RPG spinoffs? What about the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games or Pokemon Conquest? Should we never get another Pokemon game because of Pokemon Shuffle and its microtransactions? If everyone had hated Hyrule Warriors, should development of the upcoming Legend of Zelda Wii U title been halted then and there because of it?

You might think those arguments are a stretch, but I strongly disagree. If we shouldn't get any more Sonic because of Sonic Boom, then all of those questions are just as fair game, I say. I'm not saying there shouldn't be a discussion about direction and focus about the series, but that really doesn't have anything to do with a spinoff like this, and if you ask me, prior to Lost World, it seemed like they were finally getting that anyway.


And speaking of things that are a "stretch," seriously, what did Knuckles ever do to them?

Obviously, Sonic the Hedgehog is a series that's had issues with inconsistent quality that those other ones haven't had, which is perhaps the main reason for all of this. It's not unlike the drastically overblown response Rockman Xover got, when the worst the it really had was extremely poor timing.

But the thing is, stuff like spinoffs and tie ins, it's not something that's unique to big franchises anymore. Was it ever, really? The Neptunia franchise has already had quite a few collaborative spinoffs now - Tamsoft, of Senran Kagura fame, did a Neptunia game that is basically Senran Kagura with Neptunia characters in it and is due out later this year. We have Etrian Odyssey Mystery Dungeon on the way, and Persona 4 Dancing All Night is like this too. The Persona 4 Arena games are as well, in a way.

So yeah, I'm aware that the series hasn't been at top speed in recent years, and as a fan of the series, having to sit through every Sonic '06 or Sonic Lost World while we wait for the next Sonic Unleashed or Sonic Generations can be pretty rough. Dragon Ball Z fans may have been feeling that way for a long time before the recently released Xenoverse. Whatever the case, one thing we shouldn't do is let something like Sonic Boom make us give up. Sonic Boom, man, those games just don't matter, guys. Don't let them bring you down. They're not worth it.

And even if you want to compare them to Sonic '06, even if you absolutely have to do that, then just think about what happened after Sonic '06. We got the second Sonic Rush and Sonic Riders games, the Sonic Rivals games, three great games that all continued to build off each other: Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations, Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing Transformed, and probably a few other things.

Maybe you aren't a fan of all of those things I listed and maybe you're a fan of some things that have come out since that I didn't. If we were due for another Sonic '06, then maybe it means it's because a lot of great stuff is going to be on the horizon after - or Sega will go under and Capcom will buy Sonic and we'll never see him again. I don't know. I can't tell the future, and maybe I'm wrong about a lot of this. I expect a lot of disagreement, but everybody's got their views, and that's fair.

My point is, for every Sonic '06, we got quite a few things after it - so maybe instead of focusing so much on the bad, we need to think about the good a little more. In the grand scheme of things, Colors and Generations are still fairly recent games. The Mario Galaxy games are considered fairly recent in the grand scheme of things, and the first is already almost ten years old.

If you scrolled down to the bottom or if this was just way way way too long, then I just want to leave you guys with this:

When we're talking big franchises like this, you have to think big sometimes - and most of all?

What happens in spinoffs, good and bad, usually stays in spinoffs. Especially the bad. They're there for experimenting (and often easy money), after all.

If you still disagree with every single I've said here, then I really can't add much more than I already have I'm afraid. I guess I can only just reassure you of this much. And that's that this is...



Nothing personnel, kid.

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9:17 PM on 02.23.2015  

Happy 3rd Birthday, Console That Has Games

So the Playstation Vita is turning three. Me? I think that's pretty awesome. It's probably been one of the consoles I've gotten the most out of, handheld or otherwise, but to some, it just isn't all that. I know that for many, it just doesn't have games they like, and I respect that. I've gone three generations hesitating on getting a Microsoft console because I only want a few things on them, and ultimately never done it, so I can relate to that feeling. But some of the comments I see directed towards the Vita go beyond that - mainly the people acting like it has no support, that it's dead, or that it has no games.

Now at some point, somehow I convinced myself that people who say "Vita has no games" or "Vita has no support" didn't really mean it. I convinced myself that no one in their right mind would ever actually mean this seriously, they're just using it as shorthand for "I say, this particular console of the video gaming variety simply does not have enough games that I would personally enjoy enough to warrant the purchase, but I am obviously aware that it actually has games on it! How dare you think otherwise? I say!" ... Well, or they're a troll, in which case their opinion and anything they have to say is worth, well, nothing, but it looks like that isn't as much the case as I thought it was.

So what can you do?

Not much! I could blow an hour replying to comments on a blog or another one here making this even longer than it has to be, having the same conversations I've had dozens of times about this console, but what's the point? People have their minds made up. I do too for that matter - so instead, I figured I'd just do this and leave it at that.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, VITA!



You're three now and your parents seem to hate you - actually a lot of people seem to hate you for some reason - but I don't! And as it turns out, there are quite a few developers and fans out there who don't either. So, on this, the day relatively close to the day of my currently most used console's third birthday, I'd like to just take a moment and point out that, despite all these comments of "Vita has no games," while it may not have games you want, it does definitely have plenty of games.

In fact, according to Wikipedia's games lists, including unreleased games, the Vita has 950 games to the 3DS' 603 - and while I can't speak for the 3DS list, I know the Vita one is missing quite a few. Obviously, quantity doesn't always equate to quality, but since "no games" is a comment directed exclusively at quantity, I think we'll ignore that argument for a moment.

Anyway, now that we're all cozy and warming up our angry comments, let's take a look at some of the things the Vita has to offer.

Most often, the primary complaint (besides for pricing) directed at the Vita is that it doesn't have enough exclusives. For me, this doesn't matter too much since, as the Vita is my main gaming device, multiplats and ports are essentially exclusives anyway since they're games I probably just wouldn't ever play if they weren't on the Vita, and I know that's true for other Vita owners as well.

However, as I said earlier when I mentioned Microsoft consoles, it's still a mindset I can understand. I didn't get a 3DS until Pokemon arrived for it, and since the Vita doesn't have any equivalents to that, some will have to look at its exclusives as a whole rather than looking for the right ones to make the purchase worth it like a 3DS. But does the Vita have exclusives like that? Are any of its non-exclusives worthwhile either? What about the ports, the indies, are any of those things any good?

Nooooo, of course not! After all, it doesn't have games!

Or ... Or does it?

Well, let's see:



Holy shit! That's quite a selection, isn't it? Exclusives, ports, multiplatform games, indies, imports, upcoming games... Of all kinds of genres and origins too! And I'm leaving plenty of games out as well - including, among other things, all the PSP, PS1, and PSM games it can play. You'd be surprised how many Vita capable games I didn't fit on there. Sure, there's definitely a lack of some things on there...


"*COUGH COUGH*"

... but it's still pretty darn varied in what you can pick from. I'm actually a little surprised myself, to tell you the truth.

But don't get me wrong here. I'm not going to say you have to like these games now that they've all been pointed out to you and lined up like that. Not at all. And if you don't think that games "count" because you can get them or games in the same series or different versions of those games elsewhere, well, that's your prerogative - but they're still games and they're still on the system. Just as you can say "well I can play them on my PS3/PC/phone/genitals, so why would I want a Vita?"" I might say "well I can play it on my Vita, so why would I want any of those things when I can use my Vita?"


Except one of those things. Kiiiiiind of need one of them. After all, there are some games I want to play with Remote Play on my Vita. ... Oh, and the genitals might be nice too. Okay, fine, I need two of those things.

So don't get me wrong - I'm not saying "Haha, I proved you wrong, now go buy a Vita!" - not at all. I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy anything - quite frankly, I don't care if you go out and buy one or not. I'm happy with my Vita most of the time, and that's what matters to me. All I'm trying to do is, besides for wish one of my favorite consoles in recent memory a happy birthday, show that, despite popular belief, the thing does in fact have games, and a lot of them at that.

So if nothing else, if there's anything we can give this little console for its third birthday, let's stop saying it has no games.

Instead? Say it has no or not enough support from Sony if you want instead - I'd be right behind you on that. I could go on and on about the ways Sony has failed this thing. Poor marketing, constantly just dumping first party games on PSN as digital only releases without enough or even any marketing, treating it like a companion device, abandoning development on games, not pushing for development or taking risks on the thing---

Seriously, looking at the Sony side of things, it's just a mess. It's hard being a Vita fan and seeing Sony build up a big announcement at an event after basically completely ignoring the Vita during the previous ones... only for that announcement to be a PS1 Classic, a port of a game other consoles are getting much earlier, and some multiplatform titles. I get it. I really, really get it guys - I've had my Vita since launch, I get it all. It's amazing how many indie and third party developers (and how Sony in Japan) still develop for this thing despite that, but they sure do deliver where Sony isn't.


Did you know there's a rumor now that might have been an inFamous game coming to this thing at one point? And then you remember there's that canned Bioshock one and just... Fuck. Someone hold me.

So it may not have a good mom and dad - but games? It's got games - and even if you prefer to play or already played the ports and multiplats and indies on other consoles, you just can't deny that the library has a lot of good ones, all in one great, pocket sized place.

Sure, they may not be games you want or can appreciate (or understand, in the case of imports, but quite a few are still pretty easy to play even with the language barrier), and that's fine, but the system is absolutely still getting support. It may not be from Sony, it may not be from the people you and even I wish it was coming from, but it is there, and we need to stop acting like it isn't. Sony might actually start giving a damn if people at least acknowledged that much, even if they didn't own the thing.

Now then! With that all said?


Let's all get super wasted and cry about that inFamous game not coming out!

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1:11 PM on 02.22.2015  

To Two and A Half Men

Today's blog is going to be a little different. Today's blog is going to be a little more sentimental than my last few. Today? We're going to talk about Two and A Half Men.


Before anyone thinks I mean anything other than the show that led to WINNING, no, let's get this out of the way - that is exactly what I mean.

First, I'm going to give a little backstory here. Not on the show, but a little on how it came into my life. Twelve years ago, yes it's been around that long, someone very major in my life started watching it. That person walked out on my life some time ago, much more recently in fact - which, as I write this, makes me realize that there are a few parallels here and there, but I'd rather not get into those for... well, let's just call them reasons' sake.

The point is, twelve years ago, I was exposed to this show, and soon enough, once it started getting reruns on... Fox or WB (is it even WB anymore?), channels we otherwise never watched, we would watch reruns straight through. Two episodes a day. Five days a week. Every week. For years. Plus whenever new episodes were on. I know some of this show's dialogue far better than any one person has any right to know.

Well, as I'm sure most internet-savvy folks know, four years ago, one of the co-stars, Charlie Sheen, bailed on it and went a little... loopy. I'm saying that as nicely as I can because, really, I think most people still reading this blog (as opposed to those who saw his face and backed out on reflex) probably already know the story and I'm not really wanting to write another blog trashing the guy, since after last night, there's probably dozens out there. For those who genuinely don't know what happened, Wikipedia is always there for us when we need them.


Alternatively, this informative documentary pretty much covers it.

As a disclaimer, everything before the above video was actually written a few days ago, prior to my writing this, so I make no promises in regards to the coherency of what you're about to read or quality of the journey in which you're about to take with me. All I can promise is that it was probably much better the first time I wrote it and it's the site's fault if this ends up being a mess. This was originally a ridiculously huge blog, bigger than anything related to Two and A Half Men probably has any right to be, complete with pictures, details, and all kinds of links, so what we're getting now is the abridged version made from memory, since, after thinking about it, I do still want to say some things.

Anyway, getting back to it, you'd think the show would just end there, right? A lot of people thought it would. Sheen sure thought it would. For me, it sort of did, but not because of him leaving it. Obviously, though, it didn't, and it continued on for another four years, right up until last Thursday when it ended.

Obviously it had to figure out how to continue after Sheen left - their solution was to have Charlie, Sheen's character (who I'll refer to as Charlie, while the actor is Sheen for the purposes of this blog) die overseas in France while on a trip with his wife. This happened through him falling into an oncoming train after being caught with another woman. It should also be noted that the person he eventually married was his long time "stalker," and it was heavily implied she shoved him.

Good times, right? After that, Charlie's role was taken over by Ashton Kutcher, who played a character named Walden, and all sorts of things happened in shows I mostly didn't watch and know nothing about - and last Thursday, it all ended.

Given my history with the show, I decided it wouldn't be right not to watch it. I didn't know what to expect - it was by chance that I found out it was even ending at all, so I didn't know anything about it except that it was happening. I have to admit, I was surprised with what we got. Rather than an episode filled with nothing but crude jokes and ends to existing plot points that I would know nothing about, we got what I have to admit was some of the best written television I've seen in a long time - though I haven't actually watched too much television in a long time, so take that with a grain of salt.

Here is a brief rundown of what I mean. Instead of a heartwarming conclusion (like a show like Two and A Half Men even deserves that, am I right? ... right?), you get an hour filled with subtle to outright fourth wall breaking humor and insults directed at none other than Sheen himself. I have to say, having watched it, it was really well done. I wouldn't have thought the writers were even capable of something so clever.

Looking at it, it might not seem like much, but the way it was pulled off, especially after years of the show simply revolving around ridiculous sexual antics and shenanigans, crude humor, and general idiocy and shamelessness. You have to wonder if the show's main audience would ever get a lot of the jokes... especially considering just as many seemed to also be directed not just at Sheen, but at the audience itself.


Just skip to about a minute in here.

I think this was arguably just as much another jab at Sheen, but even so, I can't imagine that the people behind this episode weren't completely aware of how much it applied to them considering how many comments like it appear in the episode. Walden and Alan (played by Jon Cryer, who's stuck with the show from the beginning) both comment on their futures (or lack of one) in show business a few times, and it's said that "this has gone on too long" in a few scenes as well.

In this next scene, a certain actor some of you might be familiar with basically tears the entire show apart, ridiculous premise to ridiculous finish - and Alan even comments that his son "didn't start out dumb," but audiences seemed to like that character being stupid more, so that's how he ended up. Look back to the above scene with that in mind. In a way, it's a harsh truth that perhaps all creators have to face - your product is, if you want to keep producing it, as much the people's as it is your own.



All in all, the jokes, self-depreciating or harsh (to Sheen) as they are, are ones that I really can understand, knowing the background as well as I somehow do... but also, oddly enough, because of those reruns - since it's the earlier episodes that I saw the most often.

Now here's where the sentimental part is going to start kicking in. Again, the quality stuff is gone now since it's been a few days, but I'll do my best to try to recreate it.

I won't beat around the bush. The show has always been racy and out there like that, but when I think about some of the more memorable episodes, I don't think about Charlie trying to do some crazy thing to have some crazy sex or Alan trying to do some crazy thing to get out of paying this or that, and while certain things "dumb" Jake (Alans' son) did do occasionally come to mind, they're still usually from the period when he was transitioning from just being an innocent kid to the complete dunderhead that they eventually turned him into.

No, the things that come to mind are the early, early episodes, when you have a down on his luck dad and his kid living with a playboy that writes jingles of all things. It's a ridiculous premise, not exactly the most original one anymore, but it really worked. While most people probably think about this show and think ridiculous sex jokes, obscenely crude humor, and all the things it most definitely did have, especially towards the end, the things I remember most and most fondly aren't any of those things.

I remember Charlie having to come to terms with the fact that there's a child in his life now and how he adapted to it. He went from treating the kid like an annoyance and constant source of frustration to really starting to care about him, in his own, "cool sleazy uncle" sort of way. Once, he begrudgingly helped with the school play, but ended up really enjoying the experience - of course, he got the kids to sing a jingle for a tampon commercial he wrote at their play or something - it's still Two and A Half Men. Another time, he and Alan called off a trip to Vegas to stay home and take care of Jake.

I remember a later episode where he was upset that his brother didn't think he was a good enough caretaker, when Alan was explaining if anything happened to him, Jake would go to their cousins. Yet after Charlie and Jake played a basketball game later that ended with Jake needing to be rushed to the hospital, Charlie decides he would be a horrible caretaker - but seeing how Charlie handled the situation and how much he clearly cares for his son's well being, Alan actually changes his mind.

I remember Charlie turning down a woman who may well have been the love of his life, someone he actually sobered up for for a time and was really changing his life around for, because it would mean he'd have to leave his brother homeless and not get to see his nephew on weekends anymore. I remember how the first season ended with Charlie decided he didn't want a vasectomy because he might want kids someday - a decision he probably wouldn't have even thought about if it hadn't come up after a season of bonding with his nephew.

I remember how, as Arnold Schwarzenegger himself pointed out in the scene I linked earlier, despite all the complaints and the "hate," the character Charlie, not the actor that this finale and the past four seasons of the show were subtly or blatantly taking pot shots at, did love his brother - and he let him live there for almost ten years without so much as paying a dime.


"That still won't stop me from taking all the dimes from inside this couch."

These are all things that happened in the same show I was describing earlier. The same show that, admittedly, had all kinds of weird things going on early on - Charlie dated a devil worshipper at one point who had cursed Alan and was about to perform a horrible ritual on him, only for their mother to walk in and turn out to be higher ranking in whatever cult the girl was in. It... It was a Halloween episode, okay?

Looking at the finale, it was actually a little sad to see Alan interacting with his and Charlie's mother. He was playing his role, Charlie's role, and Jake's role with her all at once, and his character was really suffering for it - though at this point, perhaps preserving things like "character" just wasn't a priority anymore. As a hopeful writer myself, it was a sad thing to watch.

But once, the show really did have this weird sense of family and charm that it really just abandoned later on in favor of being crass. In a way, while it's clear the staff had a lot of things to vent, and they did a damn good job in venting it, I... actually do think this show deserved a heartwarming ending. In fact, perhaps it deserved it all the more because of all the crap going on behind the scenes and because of how it wound up from its more humble beginnings.

Oh, did I mention how, in the finale, there was an animated sequence where it was revealed that Charlie had sex with a goat, maid, and a mime? Yeah, that happened. It also dropped a piano on Charlie, who apparently had been living in a dungeon made by his stalker for four years up to then.


I really want to say that that was far too dark for her or the show, but they probably stopped caring once they had her "kill" him so it's probably not a point worth arguing at this point anyway.

Honestly... Reading over all of this, I know I had some kind of point before that this now lacks, and all the pictures and links I had before are mostly not here, but for the life of me, I can't remember where I went with it all. I'm not trying to defend it or change anyone's mind about it, don't get me wrong there, and I haven't even cared about it in years. Frankly, as much as I'm talking about the early parts of the show, I still have to give it praise for the way it decided to go out - if you could appreciate all the jokes, it really was well done. I'm still surprised the writers pulled it off.

I guess I'm just... saying goodbye? Yeah, let's go with that. I don't think that was it, but it works just as well. We're saying goodbye.

So so long, Two and A Half Men. You brought me some laughs and some smiles over the years, and while they may have grown much less frequent as those years went on, I'm still thankful for the ones you managed. Perhaps most of all,  though, and perhaps at the root of this whole thing, you gave me time with someone that I never thought I'd really wish I would have had more time with, even if it was just watching your silly show. So for all of that, so long and thank you.



 

 
















WINNING

What, you didn't really think I would end it with something sobering like that, did you?

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2:35 PM on 02.20.2015  

In honor of the blog that wasn't meant to be

So I just spent the past two hours writing something that was, in many ways, pretty close to home to me. Because, during that two hours, Destructoid decided it would be helpful to log me out at some point, when I went to actually publish it... Yeah. It's all gone. Poof, gone, just like that - two hours of my life and all the thoughts and feelings expressed during them, all gone up in smoke. 

It's happened to all of us. It's happened to me over much worse. Logging back in in another tab and trying to go back and forward and all the usual stuff didn't help and I've since closed out of it all in frustration (it was actually a pretty sentimental thing compared to the last few I've done so I'm just not even going to bother trying again), so yeah, it's done. It was the first time I didn't write a blog in a word document first too. It's like I wasn't meant to post it. Depressing, but I guess that's life? Nothing I can do about it now, it seems.

So instead of being bitter and asking for people to share similar stories so we can all wallow in our misery together, I'd rather avoid that. Instead, tell me - or better yet, show me - something that made you smile today. While my reasons for wanting a little pick me up might be small, who knows? Someone else who stumbles on this and whatever potential responses that might pop up might have had something much worse happen to them today, and they might need it all the more.

And yeah, this is pretty short. I'm looking at it and I hate how short it is, but I don't have another huge blog in me (the one that's gone would have been my longest yet). So I hope it's understandable why it's short, so forgive me for that.

I promise the next one will be a ramble about dragons or console girls or something else, just like the usual! Do I even have a usual yet?


Here, I'll start posting smile-worthy things. You guys ready? Aaaaand... go!

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