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SeymourDuncan17's blog

VIDEO - Sleepy Seymour Rants: Viscera Cleanup Detail
9:34 PM on 12.18.2013
Seymour's Big Boy Britches (video games too!)
5:47 AM on 12.17.2013
The one game I am truly thankful for
6:40 AM on 11.28.2013
Here's a Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus review you might read
1:39 PM on 11.14.2013
My 7th Gen: Despite all my rage...
3:15 PM on 11.10.2013
Stay safe this Halloween! 10 happy games to play!
7:40 AM on 10.30.2013





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About
Just a guy who loves video games and music. Also artist on the rise!... maybe!



Wanna talk? I'm friendly. Wanna play? Shore. ESPECIALLY ROCK BAND BECAUSE I LOVE ROCKING OUT WITH MY COCK OUT!!!!!!





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I'm sleepy Seymour, and this is a video game.†

Like most humans end up doing in the morning (or at night, I don't judge), I get up. Although, when I get up, I begin the day with either the Internet or video games. They're my bacon and eggs. Or butter and pancakes. Can anyone else pull off a wank in the morning? Again, I don't judge.†

Anyway. To be more specific, this videoed game is...



Being the sleepy Seymour that I was, I didn't particularly enjoy this parodied take on simulation games. Janitorial work? Ahahaha.

Aha.

Uh.

I'm, in actuality, well aware of the appeal of Viscera Cleanup Detail (and it's spin-offs). It's like the game knows how stupid it is, as well as you. So it's like you and the game are laughing together at whatever minuscule thing you find yourself doing (whether it be mopping, tossing away trash, making a bigger mess with your limited moveset, etc.).

It's cheap, short, but to the point. You either think it's stupid/ridiculous and you laugh along, or you find it sincerely boring and jump out your chair onto a pile of upright pieces of broken glass.

Oh and this might turn into a series thing!
Photo










In mere hours, I will begin life in the first house I've lived in since I was around 6 or 7 years old (currently 23). That's already pretty exciting! But, with that comes new obligations, a new (and much better) primary living quarters, and some big life changes that I hope to have myself stick to.†

A new place of living is more than just that, it's also a damned good reason to start yourself off fresh. Like a New Years resolution-type deal. All those awful memories of let downs, bad choices, and unconsummated commitments are now far easier to let go of, and you're ready to begin again.

Now, speaking of which, I'm not exactly known for committing to much of anything. I spent 6 months at college to then reconsider my career choice, for one thing, and I always proclaim many tinier changes throughout the year that never amount to much in the end. I almost had a song appear on Rock Band's indie-friendly Rock Band Network for Christ's sake! I'm just that lazy.†

But, I'm tired of that. Tired of being such a fucking late bloomer. I feel as if so many have done so much more with their lives by my age. I hate thinking about that. The most committed I've been to anything is my meagerly successful YouTube channel, my guitar playin', and this here blog (which I'm very glad is as popular as it is within a community of some real quality writers).

Changes are a-comin'. †

For starters...



Jogging for a longer, fitter, healthier life

When I was around 14, I was very unhappy with my weight. I wasn't necessarily fat (nor do I consider myself fat now, despite Wii Fit having me momentarily believe otherwise), I was just pudgier than I would want. And, ya know what? I lost that weight like a champ. Where did all that moxy go? I was so awesome to myself then!

I remember one of the things I had a problem with was my jean size. Funny that it wouldn't be until several or more years later where I accepted that I just had more of a female-type figure rather than being straight up-n-down like most other guys. But, my stomach was also a problem, much like it is now.†

Crunches and walking/jogging will surely solve all that. To make things easier, I'll be moving into a community that's far less anti-social and into surroundings that are more minimalist and more in it with nature (we have cutesy deer prancing about everywhere).



The Internet as a career

This is the one that scares me the most, but it's also the most exciting!

In recent years, I've learned that the Internet is a viable way of steady income. YouTube may be slowly becoming a much harder place to make money off of, but there's always Twitch and journalism.†

Gaming and blogging are two things I've already familiarized myself with quite well, and I feel I have the chops to become a damn good addition to any gaming site (hint hint hint). Next to music, blogging and commentary are my best skills, and putting those to especially good use would be much easier and far less soul-wrenching than spending most of my week at places like McDonalds or HEB (it's a Texas thing). There's no future there, and with the little experience that I've had at my growing age, unfortunately, those are the places I have the biggest chances of landing a job at.

Until another 3 or 4 years of college are out of the way, I'm either going to have to settle or apply my strengths. And most of my strengths lie here.



Remember that life is rarely ever all that bad

If I can't live an amazingly successful life, I should at least stride to live a happy life.

Just like that. I'm lucky to be as well off as I am, and so sweating the small stuff is pretty stupid. I have close/supportive friends, I have enough entertainment to last me several lifetimes, I'm social, I'm not stuck to a single hobby, I don't foresee much financial trouble...

So what's the big fucking deal if, God forbid, my Internet goes out, or I feel a little sick, or another job potential slips away? Shit happens! It's so simple, but we hardly truly realize how stupid it is to complain about crap like that. Or to at least let it drag us down in the long run. In my case, staying positive isn't very hard as long as I just try.†

And exerting just a wee bit of effort is, in of itself, not very hard.†


ALSO, VIDEO GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMES!




Go play Not the Robots. It features stealthy, hungry robots and will make you happy. Office desks, shelves, and lamps are the ultimate comfort foods!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/257120/









"BWAAAAAAAAH! THANKSGIVING!"

It's Thanksgiving today! Or, the American Thanksgiving at least.†

Another special day of the year to only think of video games. Because friends and family are overrated. You don't even always have them readily accessible via your living room TV or your pocket. Video games are always there for you. Really, life in general, for the most part, is pointless and inconvenient. Technology is the reason we're happy.†

On top of that, video games pacify one's urge to kill. Admit it: You're thinking of killing someone right now. But, it's okay. Video games understand. I love them so much. One of them, more than any other.†

Thankfully, I didn't have to do much thinking to nail down which game that is. It's a game I periodically find myself gawking over. Even when I'm not playing it, and even though it isn't necessarily my favorite video game (although, it is up there). It's just the one I can't stop thinking about. And to say that I, of all people, have happily beaten this game twice is saying a lot.†

Is that what they call "love"? [He/She/It] might not be the best-looking [guy/gal/thing] I've ever seen, and [he/she/it] isn't perfect, but somehow... [he's/she's/it's] perfect for me.

That is how I feel with Alan Wake.†



The moment I first started up a New Game, the game's main protagonist spoke and I was instantly hooked.†

Alan Wake, voiced by the awesome Matthew Porretta and modeled after dreamboat Ilkka Villi, has a voice that is immediately likable, yet a voice that is without an equal. How this man sounded was an incredibly important aspect to nail given the game's focus on not only story, but narration. And they fucking nailed it.†

He's no Nolan North or Troy Baker-type, he stands out. And accomplishing that with a voice that's also easy on the ears is one the game's many fantastic qualities.

Not to waste such talented actors on drool dialogue and/or amateur storytelling, every other aspect of Alan Wake's story is exceptional (a few minor missteps aside). It's filmic, yet, unlike a lot of modern AAA releases, it feels sincere. It had one hell of a story to tell, it likely had some very talented cinematographers on the team (I just love this shot, though be wary of spoilers), it keeps at a lovely pace (it's episodic format has been understandably praised greatly), and it's all up for interpretation to this day.†

"Steven King once wrote that nightmares exist outside of logic and there's little fun to be had in explanations. They're antithetical to the poetry of fear. In a horror story the victim keeps asking why, but there can be no explanation and there shouldn't be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest and is what we'll remember in the end." - Alan Wake

And, most surprisingly: It doesn't sacrifice the "game" in "video game" one bit.†



People have often complained about the repetitiveness in Alan Wake's gameplay. However, even though it does become somewhat of a problem in the game's final couple hours, I am someone with a very high threshold for that sort of thing (I'm a huge fan of Serious Sam, Dynasty Warriors, Left 4 Dead, and Dead Rising).†

At least they went through the trouble of having the game control brilliantly and keeping the combat engaging. Smooth movement, clean dodges, intelligent AI, great audio/visual punch, solid gunplay, an all-in-all very satisfying gameplay experience.

One under-appreciated aspect of the game throughout the last few years, I feel, has been the game's AI. It's ferocious, yet efficient with flanking. A good handful of the combat takes place in open forest, and they will either use the many trees, plants, and bushes to blend their dark bodies into the environment or simply take advantage of said openness with their nimble nature.†

Even in enclosed spaces, groups hardly (if ever) come at you in a straightforward manner.

Alan, himself, ain't so nimble. And it's quite tense trying to juggle between 2 or 3 or more spaced opponents. Not because of the controls, but because of the AI and the player having to work alongside the game's sensible mechanics. Sometimes, especially on Nightmare difficulty, running is a valid option. So if even Nightmare difficulty can tend to overstock your ammo supply, it can feel very "survival horror".†

....

But fuck those birds.†



Another one of the game's most underrated points of interest has got to be the visuals. I've always felt that video games have hardly ever really nailed the "nighttime" look, often merely looking like someone just switched color palettes rather than it feeling like a natural change in light and shadow. Or it just simply looks way over-stylized.†

This game still has the most natural-looking night visuals I've ever seen. The fog, lightning, clouds, shading, moonshine, everything looks just right. And it all lends very much to the game's occasionally very oppressive atmosphere. When that wind starts kicking up, and enemies begin to appear from nowhere out of the darkness glazed against the moonlight, it's something special man.†

At the risk of sounding like a mass-friendly back-of-the-box quote, this game truly does feel cinematic.



Must I also mention the game's original music? Even the licensed stuff is all great and incredibly fitting. There's a whole slew of things to appreciate about this game.†

Even American Nightmare, for all it's problems, is a game that I just can't, for the life of me, stop thinking about. It's Alan Wake. I'm always on the verge of either playing it or the original Wake. Though, legitimately, it has some amazing-looking locales very different from the core Alan Wake and one crazy awesome villain. And an arcade mode pulled off surprisingly well considering Alan Wake's usual focus on story.†

Proving just how good Alan Wake's gameplay can be, and proving how strong the allure of Alan Wake is for me. Remedy could actively attempt to make a bad Alan Wake game, and it'd still likely be pretty alright.†


"You wanna know the real difference between you and me? .... I'm not afraid to be the center of attention."



Props to the actors and the rest of the team for properly syncing up two acts for one character. And to Destructoid for making it into the video!

I'm trying to make this as condensed, yet informative as possible. To accurately describe why Alan Wake means so much to me. When, really, I guess it's just indescribable. Like love between two humans, I love Alan Wake even more than the sum of all of it's fantastic parts. I treat it as if it were more than perfect, yet I know it totally isn't.†

I could keep typing about the game's individual qualities and why they're as good as they are, but there's an outer layer of appreciation that I can't put into words.†

On the real, Thanksgiving is about appreciating your friends and family more and more each year. I don't get to see my family too often, so I'm looking forward to some conversation, a big dinner, and perhaps some fun with my ADORABLE little cousins. However, that doesn't mean we can't also say thanks for some of the things less meaningful to us that just make life a little more entertaining and fulfilling. †

Alan Wake, more than any other video game, I just fucking love.†

Thank you, Remedy. So much.










As I type this, I am still listening to the special track that plays at the main menu after completing the game. It's so goddamn hype. And it's the best way to type a review about Into the Nexus. Because, upon completion, no exaggeration... I had concluded that it'd been one of the nuttiest games I had ever played.

Granted, that impression is mostly based off the final sections of the game. Which are fucking nuts. In a good way. A mess. But, a lovely mess. A mess worth rolling around in.†

But, I'm getting way too far ahead of myself already talking about how awesome the ending is. I need to take this step by step. I'm-... I'm just so excited to tell you all of this awesome game. So, siddown and listen.†

Oh my god.



Okay. I've switched off the game, brought myself a little more down to our Earth, and calmed down. So that I can retain my journalistic credibility. Gotta have a lot of that.†

Anyway.†



I've been with the Ratchet & Clank franchise for a long time. I remember when Going Commando, the second Lombax -cross- robot outing, was a new thing that I had to have.

The first three were among my most played games of that era. It was all just shootin' stuff, but as an ADHD-ridden 11-15 year-old, that was just great. And, as a person who shall forever be young at heart, it's still just fucking great (because I can cuss whenever I want now).

Into the Nexus continues that trend of just shootin' stuff rather well. Most of what you'll find yourself doing is just shootin' stuff. Strafing, flipping, and.. shootin' stuff. It's all still very solid and responsive. And, in that respect, as well as many others, Into the Nexus feels like a very proper and welcoming return to form.†

There's no tower defense. There's no lame co-op focus. It's just shootin' stuff.†



Well, alright. There's some platforming as well.

Thankfully, whatever major changes that have been made are related to said platforming. The second-hand bit to your classic Ratchet & Clank formula. Although, that's not to say that it's ever been awful. You just mainly come for the stuff to shoot.†

The modest, new Ratchet platforming gimmick works a lot like Portal 2's Excursion Funnels. Only here you can place multiple funnels, occasionally jumping in-between them. It's a fun little mechanic that, while seeming solely very "copycat" in the beginning, starting feeling more natural and interesting as the game went on (although, predictably, it's implementation is far less frequent, though never forgotten, towards the end).†

Clank also gets a new platforming trick that easily becomes a respectable addition to the Ratchet & Clank spectrum. Like with Ratchet, these indie-styled 2D sections felt very derivative at first. However, they eventually got fairly mind-bending, going as far as to, cleverly, pop up even during the very final bit.

Still, even ignoring all of the initially underwhelming new gameplay, this adventure doesn't exactly start out on a high note. It was just for a short while, but it seemed as if the game was doomed right from the start.



It all begins on a big ol' space shuttle, with Ratchet, Clank, and two other robots (who I must've forgot about in these last 4 years without a proper, canon R&C title) escorting a dastardly duo of brother and sister villains.†

As I am much better with faces and descriptions than I am with names, one's big and muscly, the other's tiny and magical. And they make for decent Saturday morning cartoon-esque baddies. They stand out, they look cool, they ham up a line or two, their grunts are disorderly and make you chuckle, it's all standable. Certainly at least better than the annoying Emperor Tachyon from Tools of Destruction.†

But, what makes this introduction for Into the Nexus so underwhelming are the parts that you actually get to play, which, for the most part, feel very... "modern". In the worst of ways. Walk forward for a bit, trigger an NPC, then get slowly escorted through a couple sets of doors to a cutscene. Fast forward to me stopping in my tracks to watch a mega sweet action setpiece, and similar events happened several times.†

This is fine for your Call of Duty's or even (I'll bite my tongue later) your recent Dead Space outings, but when you mix them in with a Ratchet & Clank game, you start to get me peeved. We're talking about classic, early-PS2, arcade shooting and platforming. Even the tiniest wiff of BRO(!)-friendly design is going to raise an eyebrow.

I half-expected to be required to reload my default weapon. God forbid if there were any QTE's.†



Shortly thereafter, though, the game starts to really get going. Around 30+ minutes in, all of that nonsense disappears and it starts to show it's true quality.†

I said that this was a return to form in more ways than one. Not just in it's treading of old formulas, but in it's overall aesthetic flavor and progression. You'll find yourself in a metro-like city, an evil-orange/red arena, an open swamp, and so on. The game's second planet, an overgrown future city with bright purple spirits flying about, is a good deal more interesting, but the majority of the game's aesthetics felt very olden Ratchet & Clank.†

Some may find this aspect dull, and say the developers got lazy.†

Personally, though? I loved it. Just imagine: We haven't had a true-blue Ratchet & Clank in quite a while, and even A Crack In Time didn't necessarily feel like your typical outing. It was on a much larger scale, with ultra fancy locales, and complex Clank puzzles (unlike these here Into the Nexus puzzles, which mostly revolve around quick-think platforming). Immediately after that, we had to endure seeing our heroes go through generally failed experimentation for 4 years.†

A return to simplicity in all aspects, minus the hilarious and awesome new weapons (the Nightmare Box was an absolute joy to experiment with), was, I feel, exactly what this franchise needed. Like you and an old friend reminiscing about ventures had long, long ago.



Another surprisingly classic aspect was found in the game's challenge.†

Even on Normal difficulty, it will get pretty damn tense. Several moments went down to the very last second, down to the wire. "WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?!", "OH MY GOD EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING AT ONCE!", and "No. NO. BULLSHIT!" were among the many things I found myself scream as I attempted to blast through these often relentless waves of killer croc-things and Nether-mantas.†

I died several times, and I realized that making full use of your extensive arsenal was sometimes the only option. The Nightmare Box to scare your foes (even the bosses) stiff, trusty Mr. Zurcon to back you up, and bouncing between 2 or more other wondrous toys to deal most of the damage.

And there are still plenty of out of reach collectables, crates and environmental props to destroy for bolts (or health/ammo)... folks, this is a motherfucking Ratchet & Clank game.†



With plenty of reasons to keep playing beyond the main 4-6 hour experience (the arena, swamp planet sidequests, the addictive upgrade system that carries into the game's NG+, etc.), a classic vibe, lots of reckless destruction, and instances of hilarity (in context and gameplay), this is one fun time.†

It may not be the most inspiring Ratchet & Clank, but it's exactly what fans needed to see: Another one done right.†











When I tell people I think video games are only getting better, sometimes they disagree. I'm told how much better we had it in the 80's. Or the 90's. Or basically any point before the point we're presently at.

Call it looking back with rose-tinted glasses, but, in some ways, they're right. There was a time when we didn't have to worry about publishers/developers doing anything other than releasing more rad to the max video games. Now, they'll brake apart the latest releases into various DLC updates, get way too ambitious with their budgets, or sorely mishandle our favorite franchises for the sake of mass appeal.†

Or maybe they'll do all three, all the while publicly saying something really stupid. Shifting blame for their mistakes, shooting for a future nobody wants but them, etc. More than once. Maybe a third time. Or perhaps they're still grasping for some common sense.

Or maybe, even, they're just not trying at all.†



But, while everyone had been hunkering into their fallout shelters of hot pockets and dedicated Valve servers, cursing EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Capcom, and the rest of that dastardly bunch of bum-whiffers, I was not only enjoying the much-praised indie releases, but many of the AAA releases that I bought into. Some of them even far exceeded the quality of my most favored games of the masterful PS2 era.

We've made amazing strides in storytelling and building interesting mechanics, we've (sometimes successfully) explored new ways of marketing and distributing, going indie is just a little bit less scary, and we now, more than ever, understand how the industry works and how even we can improve it (mostly by screeching at community managers).†

I proclaim that this generation has been the best yet. We may've had to endure some real deep bullshit, but, when you get down to it, for all the other better parts of these last 7 or 8 years, the most important aspect of defining a console/PC generation is in the quality of it's games.

That's why we're all here, ain't it? Unless you've found yourself here by accident. In which case I'm flattered you're still reading this.


This blog is brought to you by mountains of classic Halo 3 Mountain Dew GAME FUEL

Uncharted 2, Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Rock Band 2, Twilight Princess, The Stanley Parable, The Last of Us, Persona 4: Golden, Flower, Castle Crashers, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Super Meat Boy, Grand Theft Auto IV: Ballad of Gay Tony, Grand Theft Auto V, FEZ, Binding of Isaac, Borderlands 2, The Darkness, Mass Effect 1 and 2, Dead Space 1 and 2, Thomas Was Alone, Portal 2, Lone Survivor, Call of Duty 4, Deadly Premonition, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Alan Wake, Catherine...

I'm drooling. So many gems. So shiny.

And before I realized how much I loved Saints Row 2, GTA: San Andreas was my number one. San Andreas doesn't have in-depth character customization, Johnny Gat, FUZZ, Johnny Gat, mission replay, or Johnny Gat.

I loved so much of what I played during this generation that I would hate to imagine not having it at all.†


Me and two friends pretending we can play Minecraft

This was also the first generation where I spent a hefty amount of time playing online. It's where I came to find most of my bestest of friends, and it all started with a couple rascals named Seth and Jordan in Rainbow Six Vegas back in March/April of 2008. From there, I was quickly introduced to several others.†

Over the next 5+ years (mother of God, there's no way it's been that long already), we would continue playing Rainbow Six Vegas, then move on to Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead, Minecraft, as well as the occasional passing fancy. We would bond over playing co-op, as well as over competition. We've had our legitimate quarrels, but we don't think much of it in the grand scheme of things.†

It's amazing that a bunch of dudes who I've never actually met can mean far more to me than most of those in real life that I once called a friend. I guess such things can totally happen when you grow up in the age of the Internet (not to undermine it's significance). And it's safe to say that my time without work or school wouldn't have been anywhere near as meaningful to me without them. †


At this point, we've, of course, ventured into more than just this generation's video games. And while that is what's most important, we should also look into another one of the more positive aspects of the last generation.†

I shouldn't need to mention this if you've already clicked any of the above links, but YouTube has been rather important to me probably ever since a little bit after it launched. I got caught up in the Halo 3 machinima craze of 2007-2010, I made my own (somewhat successful) series of MP videos, I've done YouTube poops, I've done Gmod videos, and I've even done Let's Plays.†

When it comes to gaming, I've done a little bit of everything. Only because I love it all so much.

This was the generation when I officially gave up television for Netflix and YouTube.†



With people able to, within reason, create and upload anything they want, YouTube, over the years, has grown from a simple video sharing service to a legit business for some people. Something people are passionately involved with.

It's an Internet giant. And it's awesome.†

Most of what I've found myself watching has been gaming content. Two Best Friends Play, Game Grumps, JonTron, kitty0706, GameTheory, TotalBiscuit, Cr1TiKaL, etc.†

Hours upon hours of insight and hilarity. It's been a daily routine. I can't live without my YouTubes. One might even say it's "addicting". There's always someone else awesome I've yet to discover and all my favorites are always uploading more shit for me to watch!







The Internet's golden age has yet to pass. And may it never end. For at least as long as YouTube is around, I will happily be pouring many more hours into it by supporting the best channels and making my own crap.†

Whether it's the rise of YouTube, the progress we've made with understanding how games are made or how they can be made, or the amazing friends I've made, I can point to any one single good thing about this last generation and think to myself "It hasn't been that bad at all.".†

Not even considering all the wonderful games that have come out in just the last couple years.


Also, this was a thing.

I think some may not fully realize just how long we've been in this 7th generation of video games.

Since late 2005. It is now late 2013. I've, personally, been gaming this generation since the very start of my late teenage years. I'm now about to turn 23. How in the hell, am I right? My best teen years, my entire adult life, has been spent with this here 360, PS3, Wii, and gaming notebook.†

Mother of mercy! AND it's far from over! My newfound sense of a decent budget and my backlog have made sure of that.†

Oh, and this is the first generation that I've actually had a legit backlog. Thank you, everlastingly short attention span!










Halloween isn't the time for spooks, candy, and frilly costumes. It's the time for extra precaution.†

Here are some unsettling truth bombs: Candy causes cavities! When was the last time a real good scare didn't dramatically increase your heart rate? HEART ATTACKS! And you don't know who's under that costume! Could be a friend or neighbor... or it could be someone trying to gut you and then take your wallet. Rolling in your cash and credit cards, pissing on your driver's license, and laughing at your stashed condom wrappers.†

Picture that for a second. It disgusts me more than it disgusts you. The world is so condensed with menace that I wonder who in their right little head could enjoy the "spirit" of Halloween so much. Or even at all!†

... soooo, what? What now? It's the next big holiday and you think you're left with nothing to do? That is why I'm here with this shitty blog for you to enjoy somehow.

It's time to coooool off and have a truly Happy Halloween. With VIDEO GAMES!



Katamari Forever

If this were a 10-1, worst to best countdown, any random Katamari Damacy title would easily be there at number one. But, something like that would require a lot more thinking, and thinking isn't my forte.†

The entire franchise is stupendously happy. Happy music, happy art style, and never a dull moment either. One minute you're rolling up thimbles and lipstick, the next you've stuck Zeus and Gigan.†


Yeeeeah! Now it's a party!

So, why single out Katamari Forever? Simply put: It's the most definitive of the bunch.†

Katamari Damacy is a lot like Pokemon. It's never been about reinventing itself, it's been amount giving you the same shit over and over and you loving it! With it's latest console outing, Katamari Forever, it took just about anything the series had even dabbled with thus far, nostalgia'd it up with classic music tracks and stages (or so I recollect.. but, you can never trust my memory), slopped in one or two minor additions, put it in a slightly prettier package, and put it behind some really awesome boxart.†

NOW SING FOR ME, YOU PIGGIES!





Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal Crossing is like that wonderful, perfect life that we all wish we could have. Good neighbors. vibrant locales, easy money... sure, you get some unfriendly bees dropping from trees you attempt to ransack for loot every now and then, but it's mostly all good.†

I had only played the original Animal Crossing before New Leaf, so it was real nice to already be doing far more than I'd done in a month with the original in just a few days here. The now visual splendor that is the aquarium made catching all the kinds of fish especially addicting.

The game still is designed around short-burst sessions, though. So, if you're in-between games and/or need a good "on the crapper" experience, why don't you give either this or Wild World a shot? I can at least guarantee that it will make you smile. If it doesn't, feel free to call me names.†



God of War

Blood explosions, breasts, and a brutally epic orchestral soundtrack. Hundreds are slaughtered. Thousands are slaughtered. More than any Gears of War, Call of Duty, or Duke Nukem.. moreso than all of those games combined, God of War is the ultimate male power fantasy. Just wreck shit, have sex, become a god. All without wearing a shirt or hardly anything below the waist.

Now, consider main man-god Kratos. His only emotion is pure, unadulterated, vicious, primal, RAGE. Anger is all the dude knows, and he takes it out on everyone and everything in his wake. Whether it be with his dick or his wide assortment of mythical weapons.†

His infatuation with white hot frustration could easily be considered "perverse". To that end, despite his very shaky past, and depending on how you look at things, he's quite possibly the happiest man to have ever lived! Yes. Under those gloomy color schemes, uber serious tones, freaky beasts, blood, and guts...

God of War is one happy video game.†



McPixel

In McPixel, you play as a guy. Let's call him "McPixel guy". McPixel guy is always finding himself in some pretty tight, though wacky situations. In order to escape these screwy scenes, McPixel guy must do.... something. It can be anything, really. It's usually something that can only make sense in McPixel.†

Unlike games that bother advertising choices that really matter, every choice you make in McPixel matters a considerable amount. Because about 95% of the time you do anything in McPixel, it causes a tremendous explosion! Everyone is dead! TRY AGAIN!

What's so happy about that?! That's terrible!



The game carries whatever consequences you experience in such a lighthearted, Looney Tunes-type fashion, that it doesn't matter. You fail, and it's "Lol. Alright. Maybe next time.". I mean, if you enjoy this sort of humor, the game's pretty hilarious.†

And the only command that you'll really need is your left mouse click. So just grab a drink, sit back, lay your mouse into your lap, tinker, and laugh at all the crazy things that happen and all the innocents that die in the name of stupid video games.†



Flower

There's nothing much more obnoxious in gaming than a shitty video game with a preachy message (see: PETA's mock-ups of Mario, Pokemon, Cooking Mama, and Super Meat Boy). And while Flower may, arguably, have a preachy message, it's at least one wrapped up in a straight-up beautiful and technically sound game.†

Flower is coming to the PS4, but, at times, it already looks about as impressive as your better looking PS4 titles like Second Son or Deep Down. And, just like McPixel, it has a very very simple control scheme: Any one face/shoulder button + Sixaxis. It works amazingly well as far as non-conventional control methods go (Wiimote, Kinect, Eye, Move, etc.).†

Not necessarily a "happy" experience, but it's got to be the most relaxing piece of media I've ever purchased. I'll tell ya, the first time you play Flower, you will be so well at ease. You would have never thought a game about collecting flower pedals as some vaguely personified gust of wind would be, dare I say, fun until playing this.

Fantastic music, stunning visuals, and easy-going controls. I just love games that you can play with one hand!†



Rayman Legends

Legends was one of those games I played through and was consistently amazed at how lovingly-crafted it was. The music, the art, the controls, the level design, all the awesome extra content, and so on.†

Some may not agree, but the delay did this game good.†

If you're like me, and most of what you've played in the last several or more years as far as platformers has been Mario, you might find yourself having a bit of trouble with this or the original Origins. These aren't games that hold your hand or give you a lot of room to correct your mistakes.†



Enemy and platform layouts are just as carefully planned out, but not quite as forgiving. Especially with how different the game controls. It feels as if you're always at the tipping point of a potential mistake. Mistiming a punch/kick or jump, experimenting with a new baddie... and it's all the more satisfying for it.

Mistakes have very rarely ever happened with me and any Mario game since 64. But, here, mistakes were fairly often and hardly (if ever) felt cheap.†

An extreme amount of passion oozes out of every part of Legends. More than any other on this list, this game deserves your time and money.†And while the game's lighthearted, funny nature, alone, will make you smile, the obvious care and attention from developers happy to give you something spectacular will extend said smile from ear to ear.



Kirby Super Star

In one of the most exorbitantly cute games to have ever released, it's impossible not to understand the appeal. It's Kirby! He's round, pink, and is just begging to be cuddled. And he wouldn't harm a fly, unless it were big enough to be one of the almost as cute baddies that cover the strikingly vibrant and varied locales around Dream Land.

This particular iteration nets you a whopping 2 or 3 full games, along with an assortment of fun mini-games such as dueling, racing, and quaffing. That's what I call over-delivering value!

Going through Kirby Super Star is like taking a tour through a moderately dangerous candyland. It sounds weird, but anything (be it natural, man-made, whatever) just looks so delicious. Fire reminds me of Red Hots, the cannonballs look like jawbreakers, and Kirby himself looks like he'd taste a lot like one of those pink Peeps.

God, I'm so hungry. But, also, so very happy.†



Proteus

In the same vein as Flower, Proteus is more relaxing than happy. Everything just has an "Ah. That's nice." quality about it.†

What's interesting about Proteus (among it being one of the very few games out there to solely focus on open exploration) is that much of what you see in Proteus reacts to your presence in the form of various sounds or melodies that add to the overall audio composition of the game. Almost as much as the game controls the music, you do. In that regard, it's a lot like a rhythm game. Just without the rhythmic input.†

Surprisingly, not the PC version, but either recently-released console version, whether it be PS3 or Vita, is the definitive version. While I haven't had more than maybe an hour's worth of time with them, I'm already noticing some nice little changes here and there. The awesome gyro controls (and I've never had the chance to say that about any game), the occasional touch interaction, the tweaked "phases", etc.†

It's a real pleasure to have an updated version of this on my Vita, complete with headphones. I'd even go as far as to say it's the Vita's most essential release since Persona 4: Golden.†

Oh yeah. I went there.†



Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale

You may not already know this from that Gigan reference up top, but I'm a gigantic fan of Godzilla. I collected every VHS I found over a course of over a year from this place called Suncoast, which was the only place around here which had that kind of stuff that didn't just shove whatever little they had to the corner somewhere.

This is the main reason I bought into AOTFM. It embraced the niche media that I grew up with or looked upon with great interest. Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman... this kind of stuff should be way more popular than it is.



Regarding the game itself, it's mostly exploring a 1970's small town in Japan. Talking with NPC's and collecting "glims" in order to unlock monsters to use in the game's card battle mini-game.†

I say "mini-game" because it's such a non-essential part of the experience. You'll play it a couple or more times, but it's hardly used after just a single point in the game. Thankfully, it's not a total waste because it is pretty competent/fun and you are given the freedom to play it basically whenever you want. It just feels as if the game pushed me more to explore and discover the story than to play cards.

While one would likely expect more action and monsters from a game entitled "Attack of the Friday Monsters", it was a very charming little tale nonetheless. It makes you feel good, and how it brings you down to a child's state of mind is seamless. You start falling for the story, even if it is wholly mediocre.†



Super Mario Land

And, finally, speaking of games with tons of charm, nothing is more charming than the innocence of a solid as fuck Gameboy launch title.

It reminds you of a much simpler, happier time in gaming. When we were all friends, we didn't have to worry about DLC or season passes, and we banded together to play couch co-op rather than to "troll" or outsmart someone's review score.

It is an absolute crime that people still talk about the original Super Mario Bros, but I've hardly ever seen anyone bring up the superior Super Mario Land. It's more interesting, it's got better music, it's still challenging, it's still got solid level design, and it still controls just as fluidly as SMB. It's on the 3DS Virtual Console, so you 3DS owners... go and get it RIGHT NOW. I can't stand it how you look at me and assume that I am steering you wrong. It's awesome, I tells ya!