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Sorry this is too big (that's what she said). Just open the picture in a new tab to see the whole thing <3

SteamID & XBL Gamertag: ScottyGrayskull


Hello! <3

Bit about me. I've been a gamer for the most of my life. When I was seven and waiting for my parents to pick me up from piano lessons, the teacher's two sons showed me Super Mario Bros 2. Needless to say I never learned to play the piano very well...

I've flip-flopped several times between consoles and PCs. I generally love non-generic FPS games, puzzlers (Tetris is probably my favourite game of all time) and platformers of all shapes and sizes. I tolerate RPGs, but usually don't bother because I just don't have the time to invest in them.

I'm one of those freaks that regard FF7 and Ocarina of Time as merely average. That might be partly because I'm biased against the first round of 3D games that generally looked and played like crap compared to the 2d games at the time (during that generation I was a PC gamer, where they actually could do decent 3D at the time). By no means are they bad games, but plenty of games have done just as well and actually looked good in the process.

Yeah yeah, graphics aren't everything. But as important as gameplay is, looks still matter. It doesn't have to be the best looking thing around, but it at least has to be passable.

I tried to be a collector for awhile, but realized there was no market where I lived and gave that up. Currently I have an NES, SNES, GameBoy/GameBoy Colour/GameBoy Advance SP, DS, a 360, and of course my lovely gaming PC. ^_^

Also, Black Yoshi Brigade:
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It's been over two weeks and I'm still tired from PAX... or just life in general... however I did manage to survive somehow. I'm not sure how I do it, but I've managed to continue my tradition of something - for better or for worse - memorable happening to me and/or because of me.

I don't even know what they were talking about in this, but the caption is perfect

I'll elaborate more in a separate blog some other time, but long story short is I was blackout drunk on Friday night (7 hours of lost time), got separated from other Dtoiders and spent 5 hours wandering a neighborhood I've never been too, several miles away from the convention center and my hotel. I came to - not woke up, as is usually the case when you get that drunk, but came to - while trying to use my hotel keys to get into an apartment... or house... I'm not entirely sure as I was still coming out of the blackout. Took me three hours to get my bearings and walk back to the hotel.

I do feel bad that I made the others worry, as after spending some time looking for me IcarusKills was calling the police and hospitals to see if I'd turned up. Amazingly, I didn't have a scratch on me and while exhausted wasn't even hungover.

Apparently I'm invincible, is what I need to take from this experience.

Not to say there weren't any casualties however. While wandering I did lose my glasses and my bag, which in addition to being a sweet bag had a nice portable charger, my 3DS XL and... sadly, Black Yoshi... :(

How he spent most of his time, wearing his favourite hat

A little bit of history, I got Black Yoshi at my first PAX in 2008. Two other Dtoiders - Nintendoll and Wardrox - wanted something to remember the event. And at the time Wardrox was wearing a lot of black and sporting an orange mowhawk, so they each got a Black Yoshi plushie from the (at the time) Pink Godzilla booth. I was there also looking to get a... I think blue one, but they insisted I get a black one as well. Suff0cat was also there and got one, resulting in the picture below. Having also met them all for the first time that PAX, it was a sweet gesture to be a part of those memories, and after that Black Yoshi kind of became my thing.

The Black Yoshi Brigade!

I've been to six PAXes, one Baltinarp, one Blipfest, and various NARPS in Jersey, LA, Seattle - and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few more - and Black Yoshi almost always came with me. He was my travel buddy when I drove across Canada, moving from New Brunswick to Vancouver. Might sound silly for a grown man to have an attachment to a toy, but it represented a lot of memories for me. One of those things you can look at and be immediately taken back to those times. So while money-wise losing everything else sucks, losing him was definitely a sad moment. After getting a few hours of sleep, and feeling worse after waking up, I spent a large chunk of Saturday calling places and even going back to that area and searching, trying in vain to remember what I did for those five hours. I'm still checking Craigslist's lost and found section every day or two, but no luck yet.

Frozen lemonade and Ms. Pac Man... living the dream...

Amazingly, I didn't lose the really important stuff, like my wallet, passport, keys and phone, and didn't have a scratch on me. So, it could have gone a lot worse, and it was nice to know people cared and at least tried to make sure I wasn't dead somewhere.

I'm going to miss my little buddy though. I guess even legends fade away eventually. So long Black Yoshi, it's been a blast.

I hope you managed to find a new home, wherever you are

But that was really the only low point of PAX. the rest of the show was quite a blast. I got to play Titanfall, Hotline Miami 2, the Sportsfriends bundle games, checked out Neverending Nightmares (back this man's kickstarter!) and the two Vlambeer games Rami had for demo (look forward to buying the quasi-legal knock-offs), had M. Randy Dixon put me in a very awkward moment with the guy behind Ska Studios, and as always got to meet and see again lots of awesome people. The convention is always sweaty, crowded fun, and I wouldn't go to Seattle and not do the convention, but the main draw for me is the people. This is the only time I ever get to see a lot of people, and every time it feels like the first time. Plus, every time I manage to meet more amazing people.

I got to finally meet Apathy, Jess, Phil, Clint, Caitlin, Chuck, Emma, Adams and countless other people both from the community and industry. I got to see Conor, Jack, David, Kevin, Jesse, Josh, Healy, Andy, JJ, Spencer, Pana, Dyganth, Eric, Darren, Thomas, Sam, Beccy, Tony, Jill, Hamza, Jim, Holmes, Niero, and again countless others once again... and everytime it feels like the first time. The first night at Gameworks is a great way to get reacquainted with everybody.

I did want to give Destructoid proper a few massive kudos. First is the karaoke party on Sunday night. Up until now the industry sponsored Dtoid events in my experience have been a mess, where it's either clearly just for industry or so open it's a clusterfuck. Last year's Rise of the Triad party was a mess, with way more people there than the bar should probably legally have, meaning waiting forever to get a drink. This year they did things very well however. Barbozas was a great venue, and made sure to control who was coming in. Not that I want an super-exclusive party, but it's nice to have a place where you can just chill with your online buddies. The photobooth was a nice touch, and the live Podtoid was a blast. Big props to Jonathan Holmes, who stayed up there running the event pretty much the entire time.

Second props is for finally unveiling a paid membership system. I've never hidden my disdain for the ads Dtoid runs... when Chrome throws up that red screen and asks if you're sure you want to go to Dtoid because of potential malware, you know there's a problem, and I have been hoping for some such system ever since Giant Bomb convinced me of the benefits. While extra content, contest entries and such can be nice perks, what matters to me is that I can directly support a site I want, giving them far more money than they'd have made off of me with ads, not have to feel bad about running adblock, and not have to sacrifice my browsing experience. As of writing this I have not yet upgraded to a HUGE Member, but will by the time this gets posted. I mean after all, for all my talk I'd be a real shithead if I didn't follow up on my word.

Once again though, a great weekend, and it was a pleasure to see everybody. Until next time my friends... <3 <3 <3
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Oh right, I have a cblog.

It's weird how hard it can be to actually write stuff out. Especially if you're someone like me, who as anybody that knows me can attest doesn't really know when to shut up. I don't know... seems like when I actually write something down and look at it, it just looks dumb so I don't post it. Ah well, let's see if I post this.

So it's my birthday today - now yesterday I suppose - and I'm now 31. Woo! Didn't do much aside from work, reply to Facebook messages, and of course getting a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for myself. The one last year had Pikachu on it... only because the one with Ariel on it was way too big for me. This year though... Dr. Mario. :D

I did check what my XBox Rewards birthday gift would be: 20 MS Points, literally $0.25 worth. Typically when you see something like "approximate retail value" you think of something that they don't otherwise sell, so they just give it a low value. I assumed it would be a silly avatar reward or something, so I guess I'm a little disappointed, but it's a free thing for doing nothing more than signing up for the rewards program so I really can't complain. Well, I can complain, but that's like finding a quarter on the ground and complaining it wasn't a $5 bill. To be honest, and this might be indicative of a bigger problem I have, the worst thing about the MyAchievements discount is now I'll always have a few extra points left over. Even if it's points that would have otherwise been spent, with that 2% discount I'll always have those few extra points on my balance. And that may just drive me insane.

Speaking of complaining, I'm really bummed over the kerfuffle surrounding Bayonetta 2. Sure I'm bummed that it's a Wii U exclusive, as I don't plan on buying a Wii U (or any new console for that matter) for awhile, but worst case is I have to either wait, or rent/borrow a system to play the the game. That certainly isn't worth the rage some people seem to have, but I guess that's the way people are with everything these days. Not just video games, but everything has to be either the best thing ever, or an atrocity. Seems like there's no inbetween anymore, people can't be genuinely "meh" about stuff. I loved Bayonetta, and hope this game does well, but I won't be picking it up anytime soon.

It's not that I'm not interested in the Wii U. It looks pretty intriguing and I've been paying attention to it in the news, but... I don't know. I'm not convinced yet. Didn't help that I feel burned by the Wii, and am trying to keep any similar excitement in check. I'm actually not that excited about any new or upcoming hardware. I'm entrenched enough in my 360 and XBox Live. It's where most of my friends are and it's really the only way I ever get to play games with any friends. Unless they all switch over, or Durango turns out to be a steaming pile of crap, it'll be tough to pull away from that. At least Steam isn't going anywhere. Hopefully Durango will be at least backwards compatible with XBLA/XBIG stuff.

Plus there's the issue I have with just having too much stuff. I like having things and definitely have some prized posessions, but I for the most part don't like having much actual... stuff. Shelves full of trinkets, bins full of movies, books and games, those things for the most part don't interest me anymore. Well... they do when I see them, but I know they'll just sit there collecting dust and that bothers me. There was plenty of cool stuff to be had at PAX, and even then what little stuff I got... I don't care for and will likely try to give to friends. I used to collect a lot of things, but it just wound up stressing me out and I got rid of almost all of it.

I was going to talk about Dragon Age 2, but I already expressed my disappointment in my recaps last weekend so instead I'll talk about Alpha Protocol which I beat a few months ago. Rather proud of that, as fuck anybody who dismissed that game based on... actually, why did that game get such a bad wrap? I mean, whenever I'd mention I was playing it people would say "I'm so sorry", like I had a terminal disease. Maybe it's my shotty memory, but I remember the game being described as kind of busted but still intriguing, which is more than can be said for some AAA titles. Not sure where I heard it, but I knew going into it that I needed to focus primarily on stealth and pistols (chain shot kind of breaks the game) and I had very little frustrations. The story was actually pretty cool with lots of twists, but what did it for me was the dialogue. The fact that it happened real time, giving you very little time to decide how to respond rather than letting you sit at the choices forever, and how what you said could have a large impact of what people thought of you (in a game where that seemed to really matter) made for a very thrilling experience. I tried to go through without spoilers and always living with my decisions, for better or for worse, and I have to say it was nice to just enjoy a game without trying to min/max it.

I know there's a few other big Terranigma fans on the site... better get this done before they can get one out :P

One of the advantages of emulation is the opportunity to play games that weren't released in your territory. Thankfully roms don't have constraints such as hardware region lockouts or television/power incompatibilities.

Of course if you're insane enough to want to acquire the physical game you have to figure out how to deal with these issues. A daunting task to be sure, but one I gladly took on with Terranigma. A game that was released in pretty much every territory except North America, acquiring this game in a playable format was quite the journey.

First step, finding a cartridge! For some imports this is really the only step. Really not hard right? Well, only if you know Japanese. Thankfully it was released in Europe so there's your...

... damn ...

Wow, PAL Terranigma carts are pretty expensive as it turns out! The Japanese carts go for $20-$50, but the PAL ones easily go for $150+. No biggie though, I managed to get one for a reasonable price ($100-ish, complete with box and instructions), which is far easier than learning moonspeak. Now to plug it into my SNES and enjoy the good times...

... uh oh ...

This is where the big problem came in. If you've ever read up playing imports on an American SNES you no doubt know about the plastic pins, and for Super Famicom games that's all you need to do. Unfortunately with PAL imports you run into two other issues: the region lockout chip and the PAL display format. After some digging I found out both of these can be solved... however even with practice I can not seem to learn how to solder.

Thankfully having more money than sense at the time I found a website that solved my issues. A Super Nintendo modded to not only bypass both of those issues, and can even do so without too badly mangling the case! Sign me up!

... erm ...

Right, UK power switches would require an adapter... christ this is getting kind of silly at this point. Quick check shows that I need to buy a modded UK SNES, get it shipped to me, and find a US to UK step up converter/adapter. After a bit more back and forth with the site they let me know that they have a modded Japanese Super Famicom, which thankfully won't need any kind of adapter, for about $200.

Now, why would I go through all this for a game I can easily, and already have, play on an emulator? Partly for the challenge of seeing if I could (as I did have disposable income at the time), and partly because... I really like that game. Imagine the gameplay of both Secret of Mana and Legend of Zelda melded together, a perfect overhead blend of 2D overhead action and RPG mechanics, with music I would put up against anything else out there. And without giving too much away you not only rebuild the world and bring back all manner of life, but you guide humanity throughout it's evolution until the story reaches an ending that'll tug at the toughest heartstrings.

It was quite a journey, very expensive but very informative and worth every moment and penny... now if only it wasn't 5000 kms away in storage due to my move to the west coast.

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This is in response to Jonathan Holmes' latest Talking to Women About Video Games, in which he addresses online passes for Uncharted 3 and wonders why people would be upset about such a thing. He then goes on to question whether such people are even real gamers.

First off, if the accompanying article wasn't there, these videos wouldn't make much sense. The impression I get from watching these is that Jonathan Holmes portrays a raging gamer, which I assume he thinks is anybody who doesn't agree with his stance? And then this raging gamer needs to be humbled by a woman, who in this case also has the gall to challenge their hobby? If I'm wrong, than what's the point of these videos and what's actually being discussed?

I'm going to maintain the stance that online passes should be fought all the way to the end. This isn't even specifically about online passes, but it's about the simple fact that a dev/publisher should never be charging us for stuff that they used to give away for free. The apathetic stance some people want to take is why we have ingame advertising. It's why we had achievements in Alan Wake for being advertised at. It's why we had an unskippable advertisement in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. It's why we have day one DLC that is on the disc. It's why we have to pay a fee for the privilege of paying a fee to download DLC if we dared to buy Mass Effect 2 used. It is why there are day one patches because out of the box a game is broken to the point that it is unplayable like with Rage. It is why we're being charged in this particular case for multiplayer on a service whose biggest selling point over its competitor was that it has FREE online multiplayer.

Honestly, what's to stop devs from saying "You want to see the single player ending? You should have bought it new! Now give us another $20 for the privilege!". Why does "online pass" have to refer to just online multiplayer? Maybe it means you have to be always connected some custom online service that sells your personal information to sketchy third parties if you want to play even the single player of Uncharted 3. You probably think that's ludicrous but I'm sure if I talked to gamers years ago about all the other stuff I mentioned they'd think I'm insane because of course companies would never do that. You dismiss online passes now because you don't care about the online multiplayer, but I can guarantee eventually they'll touch on something you consider important, and you won't appreciate being told to just suck it up and take it.

As consumers we can never give companies an inch, ever, because they will always take a mile. If they want more money then they need to innovate and sell us new stuff, not just claw back stuff they previously gave out for free and start charging for it. If making games costs so damn much right now, maybe they should be looking inward and making the process of making a game more efficient rather than just passing the buck onto the consumer as they release buggy game after incomplete game. I can not stress this enough. Even just within gaming there are way too many corporations that are too large and bloated for their own good, and efficiency is down the toilet. I don't care what game you're making, if it costs you scores of millions and hundreds upon hundreds of people to make, maybe you should be figuring out how to make that process more efficient rather than bragging about your costs and then complaining about how used game sales are bankrupting your company.

Being a gamer isn't bending over, spreading and letting your favourite companies take as much as they want from you. Refusing to do that isn't "grumpy principle". If anything, that apathetic attitude you're putting on display means you're the worst kind of gamer and the worst kind of consumer: the blind fanboy that'll just accept anything from a company and tell off anybody who dares question your opinion. Only difference with you is that you're calmer and more well spoken about it, and can get women to make your point for you.

Now let me get into the actual article. Firstly.. of course everybody who plays video games is a gamer. How dare you take that elitist posturing stance about "oh, well clearly you're not as much of a gamer as I am because you're complaining about having your consumer rights slowly stripped away from you by greedy and bloated corporations, hohoho". How can you praise Nintendogs, one of the games often cited by people who want to segregate who is a "true gamer" and who is just a "casual gamer", and then say to anybody "are you really a "gamer"?". Everything you're saying in this article sounds as silly as when someone states their opinion on what a "real gamer" is.

There's no kinds of gamers! We're all gamers. And besides, this isn't about who is a gamer and who isn't. This is about being a consumer and not letting companies take advantage of you. Even if it's just taking the time to input a code because you always buy a game new, that is still something being taken away from you and as a consumer who allegedly cares about this industry you should be furious about anything that is taken away from you. I say it again, if companies are so cash strapped they should be selling you NEW things, not making you pay for things you used to get for free or for cheaper, whether it be in money or in time. And for you to have the gall to tell anybody what they can and can't like, and that they should consider not playing games anymore because they dare to challenge corporations who most certainly don't have your best interests at heart, makes the worst kind of consumer. Companies LOVE you! You are exactly what they want: you are okay with everything they do and don't question them at all, instead turning against your fellow consumers who just don't want to be exploited.

I know it's a losing battle, just as it was with everything else I mentioned. The market clearly wants to be nickel and dimed to death, have advertising and marketing destroy anything that was once innocent and just simply fun, have all sense of individuality and solitude in gaming eroded, and innovation stunted to the point you'd think it's going backwards. I will still fight this though and I will always fight this, because I love games and the gaming industry just that much. Because I remember a time when the market was new and innovation was rampant, and everything was so shiny and cool. And the primary motivator in making a game in most cases wasn't just making a franchise for maximum profits, it was about making a entertaining experience. Maybe that's all just rose tinted glasses though, but I still hope that naive time can be experienced again. Because from where I stand reading things like your article Jonathan Holmes, it is not looking good.
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Hey everybody! Just thought I'd pass along a few things. First off, as some of you might know, Blockbuster Canada is closing off a third of their stores. To clear out the excess inventory they are having a massive clearance sale. Right now the three stores closing in Vancouver that I've checked are at 70% off EVERYTHING. You want a movie? Done! Brand new game? You betcha! Popcorn or candy? Absolutely! From what I've been told 70% is as high as the discounts will go, and the affected stores will all be closed at the end of next week (June 18th). Pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer but it's definitely worth a look!

Which brings me to the next part of this post: what I just got from one store:

Total cost? $47. Both games are sealed and not previously played. There's even more I saw there that I want (like a new copy of Halo Reach for $18), and will probably check again on, but I think this is enough for now.

PS: I'm back down to two jobs again, with much more stable and efficient working hours. Hopefully this will give me more time to be around here again, both reading cblogs and playing games with all you lovely people. Or at the least stop being a burden on my fellow recappers. :)

It's still Destructoid's 5th, and even though I had to bail on my recapping duties for tonight (Thanks Bey! <3) I wanted to do a short blog with a few video links.



Sorry for just the links, but there doesn't seem to be any way to embed them

That's what made me aware of Destructoid. At the time I was just farting around the tubes, and the only community I was involved with was ScrewAttack. And nothing against SA but my heart wasn't in that, I just really liked their videos and podcast and saying so was about if for my community contributions.

I actually started reading all three sites from that show (Joystiq, Kotaku, and Destructoid). It's funny to see the style of each site's rep compared to the site they represented. Only Destructoid held my interest enough to keep reading though.

Shortly after starting on the site I discovered RetroforceGO which... well it got me through a very tough summer, and I don't think I ever properly thanked everyone from the show for that. A few months later I went to E 4 All and while too nervous to say hi to anybody I recognized, I had seen enough and actually signed up.

It's been an amazing three and a half years for me, and through it all I wouldn't trade this site, the community, and my experiences with it for anything. Thank you for being cool people that I can feel comfortable talking about video games to. <3