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26 year old gamer from the east coast. Some call me PhonySoprano since I'm Italian, from NJ and NOT in the Mafia. Nor do I apply copious amounts of hairgel, wear thick gold chains and scream "Who ate all the gabba-gool?!" The rest of Dtoid knows me as PetiePal or Petie.

I'm a IT Professional, Network engineer, Project Manager and Technical Writer by trade. Gamer not by choice but destiny calling. The second I played me some Atari and old ass Sierra games I was hooked. Playing ever since.

Favorite Games Of All Time

Super Mario Brothers 1,2,3, Legacy of The Wizard, Ultima: Exodus (NES)
Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (N64)
The New Tetris, Super Mario 64 (N64)
Bezerk!, Haunted House, Adventure (Atari)
Half Life 1 & 2, Duke Nukem, Heretic, Hexen, Quake, Blood, All Sierra Games Ever (PC)
Halo 1 & 2, Call Of Duty series, Elder Scrolls, Dead Rising(XBox/360)
Final Fantasy series, Katamari Damacy series, Grand Theft Auto series (PS2)

Following (18)  

Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise recently came out on September 2 and after having a chance to play it I'm enjoying it so far. There are a slew of control improvements, tons of new pinatas, 2 new locales (Arctic and Desert) to capture rare species only found within, and more difficult challenges to complete.

One feature of the new game is being able to scan in Pinata Cards with the XBox Live Vision Camera. Personally I have always felt this product was just to compete with the PS2's Eye Toy and was gimmicky at best. The only purpose I could ever see for it would be to see other Dtoider's flashing me during a game of Uno! This isn't the first time something like this has been might recall the [url=]Gameboy Advance E-Reader[\url] that was hocked years ago as a method to integrate and promote new content with the following games:

-Classic NES
-3.2 Animal Crossing-e
-3.3 Pokémon Battle-e
-3.4 Pokémon Colosseum
-3.5 Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3-e
-3.6 Pokémon Trading Card Game
-3.7 Rockman.EXE & Rockman Zero 3 cards

The reality is that it is a gimmick since all the data already exists on your disc and you have to "unlock" it by this method. I think Microsoft and Rare realize that selling card packs would be very unlikely and it's very unlikely most people will buy them. Fortunately the images themselves do not have to be purchased, and instead are primarily downloaded from the game's website. I came across one such site today which has been conglomerating the cards altogether: Viva Pinata Cards.

Now I just need to get a stupid might have been nice if they let you upload them on the website to live and then have the content sent to you that way as I can't see ever using the camera for much else.

I'm sure if any of you have read my previous articles you've gotten the impression I was quite underwhelmed with the soundtrack in GTA IV. Rather than sit idly by I decided to start my own "radio replacement" project. The stations will include the following:

-80s (Not including anything from Vice City or VCS)
-Alternative Rock (May be merged with ROQ)
-Classic Rock
-CoverXYZ (Covers of songs)
-Easy Listening
-Rap & Hip-Hop
-ROQ Radio (Another Rock station...think KROQ)

I've compiled a good list of songs for the radio stations but the rest is where the Dtoid community comes in. Within the community a lot of people have expressed interest in helping out with commercials, DJ spots and even song suggestions. I'd like each station to have it's own DJ and feel just like in all the GTA games. Commercials will be huge and station call-signs as well. Anyone who is really good with audio editing I definitely could use your help in overlaying the voices and clips over the song intros and outros.

So far I've only mapped out what the ROQ station will be. The DJ is going to be a "guido" from Alderney who broadcasts from his mother's basement, which is also where he lives. I'm going to take point on this one but the rest of the stations are up for volunteers. So if you'd like to help out with:

-Sound editiing
-DJ voice acting
-Commercial voice-acting
-Commercial ideas
-Suggestions for songs or any other input

leave a comment with your Gtalk or email and I'll invite you to the Google Group I'm using for this project.

I’m so far behind everyone so I’ll try to be as epic as possible. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to make it to the Cincinnati NARP. (Hell I didn’t even know how to properly spell Cincinnati until this trip came up lol) Faced with a car on it’s last legs, not sure if my cash budget would afford me the weekend and generally having never met more than a few Dtoiders and no ride there things looked bleak...

Until out of happenchance I asked my best friend since the 3rd grade if he’d be interested in coming to a mega NARP with some cool ass people, games and plenty of alcohol. It was a quick resounding yes. Pedro and Samit took trains out to the land of Jersey, after much assuring they wouldn’t be shot, raped, whacked or solicited by a gay governor. We left around 11am and set off for OHIO. About 6 stops and 11 hours later we rolled into the hotel. As soon as I walked in I had people screaming my name. Phist I’d met and hung with in the past but there were even more whom I had never met except via the forums, Vent and Stickam. We checked in with the bitchy desk lady and headed to the Blue Chip Room from which the glorious sounds of revelry were emanating.

Everyone was in fine form by the time we get there and it was incredibly easy to just jump in and start talking to people who I’d met online before. Even more awesome my friend, a Destructoid newbie, felt right at home and never felt awkward in the least. The entire group was totally welcoming and he had an AWESOME time. The actual NARP at Wings and Rings was so much fun I don't even know where to start. It'd been awhile since I'd gotten smashed let alone with such great people.


-Dude is that an Amish or Mennanite over there? They go to rest stops? Where’s the horse and buggy?
-AgentMoo + Rock Band = Most Epic Win Evar
-Perkins Breakfast never tasted so good.
-When we got up to check out and leave I thought everyone would still be passed out asleep but the elevator doors opened and you were pretty much all there.
-When you see it in Joe’s Prius window you’ll shit bricks, or uh not due to the obstruction in your ass.
-Tazar’s ShellShock dance moves
-Michael Jackson Megamix

Phist: We’re old buds by this point but anytime we hang out we always have fun. Hopefully we’ll pull a NYC meet up some time soon!

Ron, Burling, Nino – Thank you guys for setting everything up. I, and all the Dtoiders, are really really grateful. I thought Ron was so much taller, didn’t know Joe owned a Prius and Nino’s sister thought we were all gay haha.

Blehman: is a stone cold pimp. Two words…Former Playmate.

Droobies: I feel so much closer to you having seen your BallYoda. Can’t wait to hang out with ya more.

Droobie’s woman: Equally as cool as Droobies if that’s possible

Keener: Keener is AWESOME. And he lives in NJ I’m going to see this kid soon for sure.

AngelsDontBurn/Miggles – We only got to talk a little bit and in short batches but I want to hang out more with you dude! You can be my Fall Out Boy Lookalike any day.

Hoygeit: Keeping the asian ratio up. Good job :P

BigPopaGamer: Ton of good convos with you.

Zserv: I think he lives in the sticks. He may have mentioned that once… Also works part time as a Chippendales. Also keep that peanut butter and your dog away from my balls!

SwiftKarateChop: Blue Motherfucker drinker extraordinaire. This kid was totally awesome and his YouTube videos are aces. I literally felt like I was hanging out with a member of Skynyrd or Creedence hehe.

Cheeburga: Tyler you’re much cooler than I expected. Mission Accomplished.

Britini Martini: Awesome girl. We’ve got to rock some Halo or COD4 sometime

GuitarAtomik: Loved your whole set and had the Shark song and Sensual Seduction songs stuck in my head for 4 days.

Tazar: Is a formidable Guido Fistpumping opponent. Felt like I knew you for years dude.

RiserGlen: Awesome….in a box.

Puppet: I met you once before and both times I was equally impressed (and surprised) by the difference from vent to real life :D

BongDonkey: Bam Margera cracked me up. I want to roll some MLG events with that kid

DynamicSheep: Is that ZZ TOP!?

AgentMoo: I will play your game with you at SOME point I swear. Awesome to hang with you again man.

MaxVest: I think I called you MattFoo half the weekend before I sobered up.

Little Bunny: Will rape you or anyone at Viva Pinata Party Animals. Also has probably the geekiest yet cool tattoo I may have ever seen.

CannibalCalvin: We so have to hang out again dude. Your pink hat was the epics.

Pedro: We’re setting a record for hangouts at this point. Awesome pictures man. You were our resident car narcoleptic.

Lark: You know you want that other half of the sub…

Coon: I know you were chair-innocent. But I think my first place picture prize goes to you, taken 2 seconds before it occurred. (see below)

Cosbytron: Dude I loved your set, and your covers rocked too. You’ll have to play me some STP again next time since I missed that ONE song!

Rio: More adorable in person than anyone.

Nihon: Cracked me up and made me nearly choke on my beer.

Mandy: Rocks some awesome art and has killer glasses. Lisa Loeb 4evaeva

To anyone else I left out it’s not because I don’t love you or wouldn’t whack someone and leave them in the Meadowlands in a heartbeat if you called me at 3am and told me that the asshole deserved it and he was cheating and pocketing cards and lifting chips all night. I’m running on less than a night’s sleep for 3 days since I got back. Back to the hectic life, but I’m really going to try to make PAX if I can.



PS: Full photo set on Picasa here

Tazar busting a move

GuitarAtomik Final Fantasy

Guitar Atomik Sensual Seduction


Cosbytron covering U2's One

Dtoid NARP Danceoff

Dtoid Guido Fistpump For Great Justice
Photo Photo Photo

I understand TheGayGamer and his second try TheGayerGamer being banned from XBL but this is just ridiculous.

"After that fuss t'other day when Xbox Live banned the gamertag TheGayerGamer, I wondered if this would happen; lo and behold it has. They've banned my gamertag too. What makes this funny is that my old tag is just my name — Gaywood is my surname, which they could easily verify from my Live profile etc. I can't decide if I'm amused or annoyed by this.

Thought you might like to note this in your coverage of the story. I'd suspect anyone with the string "gay" in their name is going to get a free new Gamertag soon. I haven't played much on public live servers of late, so I suspect this is more likely to be down to an automated script trawling the database rather than individual tags that have been complained about. So, where does this end? What if my home address is in Scunthorpe?"

Poor Richard Gaywood. I mean getting banned is bad enough but imagine the beatdowns this guy got growing up.

It was a cold winter day in 1986-a snowy day actually and both my brother and I were stuck at home because of the insane drifts and blustery weather. I ha d just finished my breakfast of Honeycombs and wandered upstairs to see what he was doing. I could hear the loud hum of his 286 IBM PC through his closed door. I deftly, as usual, picked his door lock with a small screwdriver and let myself in.

His face was glued to the green computer screen, an eery sickly green glow. His fingers clacked away at the noisy keyboard in a familiar rhythmic pattern. The clacking slowed down and my eyes widened: this usually meant caution for risk of being killed by whatever monster had him tracked down. A few seconds later my brother sighed in exasperation and a familiar screen flashed up. I was only 4, not even in kindergarten yet, and could barely read a few words but I knew what that sentence meant word for word. "Here Lies Freddie. Killed by a Quagga on Level 18."

Rogue was a computer game written back in 1980 by Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman, and Ken Arnold. It was first written on Unix, and distributed with Version 4.2 of BSD (Berkeley Standard Distribution) UNIX which contributed greatly to its burgeoning popularity. Later Rogue was ported by Michael Toy and Jon Lane to the IBM PC, and then by Michael Toy to the Macintosh. It is considered the father of all past and modern-day dungeon-crawlers and was a rare instance of a game that launched a genre.

Rogue was basically a 2D Dungeon Crawler that starred a hero, (named Rodney if none was chosen upon start), whose mission was to travel deep into the Dungeons of Doom and retrieve the Amulet of Yendor. If you made it out again with this amulet you would be victorious. No easy feat indeed. The graphics were completely ASCII-based and the dungeons were randomly generated every game. No two were ever the same and one had to play strategically different from session to session. The dungeon was also full of monsters, 26 in all, one for every letter of the alphabet. Each was unique and some had special abilities, such as the Ice Monster's who could freeze you in place for a few turns or the Aquator's vicious metal armor-weakening attacks. The monsters only got more difficult to defeat the deeper you delved. Add to this the dungeon was also filled with traps, pitch-black rooms and hidden doors you wonder how one could ever make it to the amulet and back.

There was, however, a fantastic variety of things one could find in the dungeons. Items such as potions, weapons, magic scrolls, wands, rings, armor and food rations. Oh yes you had to eat in Rogue, or you would become hungry, faint and eventually pass out and starve to death. The item system was incredibly complex, with different types of armor being better suited to certain types of monsters. Armor and weapons could be enchanted or cursed, the former allowing for better protection while the latter penalized the player and also did not allow them to remove the item. Wands could be zapped with different effects such as filling a room with light, sending out a searing bolt of lightning or even poly-morphing a monster. Rings could be blessed or cursed as well. Scrolls could cast spells, potions could aid or harm a player as well. Every game was as unique as could be, and it was fun to play. It took the best elements of RPGs such as D&D and text-based-adventures and kept the action and exploring at the forefront.

Although it shares a lot in common with Dungeons & Dragons, Rogue was not as heavily influenced by it as one would think. Willie Crowther's early text-based game, Adventure (aka ADVENT or Colossal Cave), the very game which inspired Warren Robinett's Atari title by the same name.

Since I started playing Rogue that cold and fateful winter day, I have YET to beat it. And I have played every year since 1986. I have played many different versions over the years and each added something a little different or special to their respective versions. NetHack is the most popular and is still updated and avidly played today.

As you can see from the above diagram games such as Ancient Domains Of Mystery (ADOM), Angband and Moria have sprung out from Rogue, each different and unique in their own way. ADOM added multiple ways to win the game, ten races, twenty character classes, character development and a talent system. Angband is based heavily on JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings setting, (named for the LOTR fortress of the same name) featuring a 100-level dungeon that focuses on combat and tactics. Notably the length of Angband games is much greater than its cousins, with the possibility of some games lasting weeks. Moria is a much similar game but incorporates a town with shops (not much unlike Castlevania II: Simon's Quest where the player can stock up between levels of the dungeon.

Countless other variations and spin offs of these Roguelike evolutions have emerged over the years, sometimes only modifying a few rules for added fun, strategy or difficulty and other times adding whole new aspects to the game play. While a majority of Roguelikes are set in a fantasy or medieval setting it is important to mention that not all share this similarity. One such game is is Doom: The Roguelike. Based on the FPS of the same name it could be considered a top-down "third-person-shooter." I've played it myself a few years back and found it pretty fun.

Dwarf Fortress, while at first a hard game to grasp and learn, is one of the most rewarding free games out there today. There are two main modes of play: Adventurer and Dwarf Fortress. Adventurer mode allows the player to quest with the main goal being to survive the dungeons, countryside and towns they may encounter. The real meat is however the alternate mode. Dwarf Fortress starts a player off with 7 dwarves who set out to start a kingdom of their own. there are city-building elements similar to SimCity and Dungeon Keeper where a player can carve out and design their underground fortress and set up room designations and even traps. Each dwarf has its own unique personality, traits and professions greatly enhancing the game play possibilities. Recently a graphical version of Dwarf Fortress has been released making the game much easier to learn. It's worth a look by any gamer who enjoys RPGs, RTSes or just a fun solid game. Dwarf Fortress showcases the complexity that roguelikes have evolved into and the different directions they can take over the course of two decades.

The most popular, and by all means complex, roguelike once again definitely goes to NetHack. It was released in 1987 and a successor to the original Hack in 1982. "Net" refers to the internet-collaboration that has been a major part of the development over the years. Hack is an improved version of Rogue, which introduced pets and shops as well as expanded the catalog of monsters, items, and spells. NetHack has the distinction of being one of the oldest open-source games still updated today. It consisted of 45-50 dungeon levels including some preset "fixed" levels very similar to set pieces such as the Butcher from Diablo. The game brought a level of complexity and strategy unparalleled in the genre and coined the terms YAASD and YAAD. (Yet Another Stupid/Annoying Death) As the acronymns suggest there are many ways to die in NetHack, some pretty hilarious in their own right. For instance one may die by trying to saddle a petrifying monster or falling through a trapdoor and having your pet pony land on you. While Rogue is a difficult game to beat mastering NetHack will make a player feel like a God.

Most roguelikes have traditionally been a top-down 2d view, using ASCII text to symbolize graphics, and many add-ons have been developed which modernize the game and make diving into it a bit easier than learning what a bunch of obscure characters represent. Two of the most popular are a Win32 Port and the now-defunct Falcon's Eye. The Win32 Port added graphical tiles and a sleeker Windows interface while Falcon's Eye create a graphical 3-D top-down isometric view as well as added mouse and sound support. Falcon's Eye was discontinued but has been picked up again in an alternate version dubbed Vulture's Eye.

There have been many references in this article to other games that share similarities with Rogue and its roguelike brethren and for good reason. Many of the games we know and love today stem from the roots of Rogue. Chances are if you're a gamer you don't even know how Rogue has touched your gaming lives. Diablo II, .hack, Everquest, Ultima Online, Fallout and Knights of the Old Republic all display unmistakable traits of the text-based classic-certainly enough to suggest a common heritage. The simple fact is that no matter how today's gamers choose to hack and slash their way to statistical nirvana, they're all still Rogues deep down.


Further Reading
Interview with Glenn Wichman, Creator of Rogue
Roguelike Games Homepage
Large List Of Roguelikes
Epyx Commercial Version Of Rogue
**The Original Rogue I Play And Recommend**
Photo Photo Photo

So GTA IV has been out about 10 days now and a slew of people are suddenly finishing the main campaign. Some are emerging from their man caves for the first time, others are just slithering back to their computers and onto the internets and every day more opinions are starting to surface.

Then there's me. I've played GTA IV maybe a total of 4 hours since it came out. Hey, I've had a busy schedule lately and women will always trump gaming. I have had a good amount of time to listen to the soundtrack of GTA though, even if I'm not playing the game and I've made my final verdict:

Vice City > San Andreas > GTA IV

I've mentioned before that I highly doubt any GTA soundtrack will EVER beat Vice City. The 80s were just so nostalgic and the number of "hits" they had on every station was pretty damn amazing. While I didn't love San Andreas as much as a game, (the engine improvements were very welcome, as was the fact you didn't DROWN in the water anymore), the soundtrack was still pretty solid.

They totally nailed the 90s feel in SA though, and every radio station had a distinctly awesome feel. You had iconic rap from the decade, a countryish/oldies station, great rock station, hilarious talk radio as always, House music, and even PlaybackFM which was rap songs that sampled old classics. You could actually hear a good deal of the original recordings they were sampled from on other stations. I got into a LOT of new music as a result of that soundtrack, notably stuff I typically didn't listen to but really meshed with the feel of the game.

Now the biggest qualm I think people have with GTA IV is that the game has been touted over and over again to be "current" and in the now. If it TRULY was set in the 2000s, wouldn't we hear things like Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy, Kanye West, Eminem etc? (I know Kanye has a song in the game but no one gives a (@#*@ about "Flashing Lights") If there ARE big name artists in the station play lists they're songs no one cares about or that are really obscure. It almost feels like the people in charge of the music for the last few games were all fired and someone new was brought in.

For instance taking Rock into account, a quick look at FM WXRK, 92.3 KROCK's past hourly playlist yielded:

Metallica - Fade To Black
Foo Fighters - My Hero
Guns 'n Roses - Welcome TO The Jungle
Finger Eleven - Paralyzer
Nirvana - In Bloom
Led Zeppelin - Kashmir
Black sabbath - Iron Man
The Clash - London Calling
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
Queen - Under Pressure
Peal Jam - Jeremy
Smashing Pumpkins - 1979
Linkin' Park - In the End

Out of this list one song is on Liberty Rock Radio. (Smashing Pumpkins) I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who would rather have heard the Black Crowes' "Hard To Handle" instead of "Remedy," or anything else by Queen and Genesis as opposed to what was used. The "ethnic" or "mood" stations are always great; I loved the Jazz and Russian stations, and we all know the talk radio will always rule, but it feels almost like one of two things happened with GTA IV:

1. Rockstar spent so much money on the engine, promotion and dual-platform development there wasn't enough money left in their "song allocation" funds to land the rights to big hit songs.

2. They decided to go the "really urban route" and put a wide variety of radio stations with a lot of underground or upcoming artists.

Perhaps there's other reasons at play here, (such as artists or music labels not wanting to associate with the GTA franchine), but I'm a bit surprised because it almost feels like the song-choice quality is lowered in this game while everything else went through the roof. You would think tons of artists would want in on something like this and be chomping at the bit to license their music...especially with the past 2 years success of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. A lot of new fans were produced simply by the publicity those games created, and with a platform like Grand Theft Auto it's only positive.

What are your thoughts and opinions on the track list for GTA IV? Hit it up in the comments.