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12:59 PM on 06.17.2015

Hype: 10 MORE Things I'm (still) Excited About

Because VIDEOGAMES.

Almost 2 years ago, I wrote a blog that was all about excitement. I was so excited about video games that I just had to write something on how excited I was about video games. Pretty darn excited, as it turns out. But that blog feels like a long time ago. So much has happened over the past years; games have come out, the Dtoid community has changed, and we are just a tiny bit closer to the days of ultimate judgement of Ragnarök.

However, one thing has stayed very much the same; we can all still get excited about video games.  So let's.

You see, despite this year's E3 being less than stellar for a Nintendo fanboy like myself (it was too safe: too much Mario, not enough everything else), there are still so many great things around that it would be a major disservice if we didn't honor them. The new 'Metroid' not what we hoped for? Well never you mind, because Yoshi's Woolly World is coming out next week!
And that's why for this month's Bloggers Wanted, I'm going to give you 10 more things I'm (still) excited about. Join me, won't you?

10. In the two years since I wrote that blog, some of my new favorite games came out

Back when I wrote the previous excited blog, I was still waiting for Super Mario 3D World. In fact, it was entry #9 back then. Of course by now it has been quite a while already since that game finally came out...but boy was it glorious. Playing 3D World with a friend in co-op (he stole Luigi from me, I retaliated by picking Toad and leaving him in the dust) was one of the most fun experiences I've had in a very long time. And then that final boss? Good lord, that was all sorts of brilliant.

But that's not all! In recent years we've gotten Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, Splatoon, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. and lots of others! Mind you, that is just a selection of games I personally played and not even counting my PC library. I'm sure if you started looking for them, you could fill out this entire blog just with great titles. These have been good years, that's for sure.  

But one game that still needs its own shout-out is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which is legit one of the best platformers ever made.

9. ...and I still have a whole lot of more games left to play

That's right, the above is only a taste of what's to come. Despite the lackluster showing of Nintendo this E3, I still came out with things to look forward to. The obvious one is Star Fox Zero. That game has been a long time coming already, but it looks like it's going to be good times. Even before that, we've got Yoshi's Woolly World itching to go and I'm all for a game that combines Mario & Luigi with Paper Mario. And then there's that one game that deserves and entry all of its own...

Apart from the games that are still coming, I also have a huge list of games that are already out but which I haven't had the time for yet. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is a big one there, but so are things like Etrian Odyssey, ZombiU and lots of others. There's even a whole section of my list devoted to Wii games that I missed out on for one reason or another. I mean, can you imagine that I lived all of my life without Deadly Creatures?! Okay, yeah probably. But it still looks like a decent game.

Right now, I'm very close to getting my Yoshi pre-order, and if I want to go back to the recent past I have to look no further than Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.  

8. But I'm almost ready for months of video games

 You might be wondering how I could possibly have missed so many great games. I mean I have no social life to speak of, so what gives? Well work, mostly. In fact I probably shouldn't even be writing this blog right now. Priorities, I suppose.

The past year or two have been crammed with writing papers and studying for exams. My trip to Washington DC broke the monotomy somewhat, but at the end of the day I still had to study there too. Fortunately I'm almost done now. I can almost taste it. And when I'm done, the first thing I'm going to do is choose the most promising backlog game and play it all nice and longlike.

And then I'm going to play another game, and another. And by that time I'll probably have new work to do so the cycle will start all over again. Such is life.

 

7. Let's Plays and Speedruns are my saving grace

Let's Players have a bit of a bad rap nowadays. It's probably because Youtube has been flooded with people who have no idea how to make a compelling video about video games even though video games are purposely designed to be compelling. Unless we're talking about Football Manager, I suppose.

But I don't think dismissing LPs like that is fair. There are lots of great ones out there, and if the host is interesting, funny, good at the game or even just a smooth talker, watching a Let's Play is a joy for me. As for why you would watch an LP over just playing the game yourself? Well, I like to watch LPs of games that I never had a chance to play. Other times, I just like seeing someone else experiencing some of my favorite games for the first time, or seeing them play the game in an entirely different style. Plus, watching someone else play a game is a lot more relaxing to me, especially after a hard day's procrastination work.

And then there are the really unique runs. Speedruns are almost always insanely impressive, that's a given. But how about watching a guy 100% Super Mario 64 with his feet? Or this LP here, where the guy completely breaks Pokémon Blue. And similiarly, this hilarious glitch-run of Link's Awakening where the host pretends everything is completely normal? If you know where to look, Let's Plays and speedruns have a lot to offer. If I ever find the time I'd like to make one of my own, but for now I'm really enjoying everything that's already out there!

6. You guys are excited about other things!

Let me drop a bit of a bombshell here: Final Fantasy VII remake, The Last Guardian, and Shenmue III? None of those games do anything for me. I played Final Fantasy VII only once and found it mostly unmemorable as compared to VI, so I don't understand with all the fuss is about with that game. I will believe in the Last Guardian only when I see it, but even then it might be too little too late. And lastly, I've never seen the appeal of Shenmue.

But you know what? That's fine. I may not be excited for these games in particular, but I know that a lot of you are. It seems to be common ground that Sony won this year's E3, and who am I to argue with that? I have my own games to look forward to, and you have yours.

That's okay; I'm excited that you're excited about video games.

5. Kickstarter is bringing the games producers don't think I want

I love Banjo-Kazooie. A lot of us do. Hell, I'm sure that if you asked people around here you'd find a lot that would pick it over Super Mario 64. The Rare games of old were just oozing with charm and were fun to play as well. Yet someone, somewhere, doesn't think we still want those games. They think we'd rather have gritty games starring Shooty McGruff. Well whoever you are, we do still want these games.

In fact, just this week gamers everywhere showed exactly how much we still want these games. We want them over $3.25 million much. That's a lot of fucking want right there. And the exact same thing goes for Bloodstained.  That also had an amazingly successful Kickstarter, in fact it was the most successful one, showing Capcom that if they don't want to we'll just take your Castlevania and do it ourselves.

Kickstarter is not without its faults and sometimes things go wrong. Even the two games above will not see release for a while, so for now all we can do is hope. But more than anything I'm excited that this is a thing we can do now. Nowadays we can all get together and decided to screw the publishers and their games that only sell on their marketing budget. If we want a new Banjo-Kazooie as God no doubt intended, then we will fucking have our new Banjo-Kazooie. And it will feature a literal trouser snake and it will be glorious.

4. The Nindies@Home event introduced me to Typoman

Have you ever heard of Typoman? No? Well you'd be forgiven, because before this week I hadn't heard of it either. And it doesn't sound like much, does it? Some stupid word game? Wrong. So, so wrong. Fortunately, you can now download the demo on the WiiU eShop.

Typoman is one of the neatest games I've seen in recent memory. Basically, this is like LIMBO, but with words. The atmosphere feels much the same as LIMBO: You're all alone in a dark world where everything wants you dead. But what makes Typoman stand out is that everything has to do with words and letters, from the character design to the puzzles and everything inbetween. For example, the main character is a figure who is made up of the letters H, E, R and O. The O is his head, and the H his legs. Enemies are literally made from HATE. But it goes beyond that: you know how in a lot of platforming games you have to avoid falling on spikes? Well, the same is true here...only the spikes are all capital A's.

There are letters strewn about everywhere, and they even factor into the gameplay. For example, at one point you have to cross a pond that is being filled up by a rain cloud which surrounds the word RAIN. However, there's also a letter D somewhere nearby. What you do is you pick up the D (ladies) and toss it at the raincloud; now the cloud spells out DRAIN, and the pond empties so you can cross. Typoman is full of these neat little "aha!" moments, and I loved it. My favorite was the word PART, which did something that was both unexpected and very LIMBO-esque.

If you liked LIMBO definitely go check out Typoman, and make sure to buy it when it comes out. I know I will; it's a very, very neat game and currently my most anticipated indie game. Just goes to show what a demo can do.


3. Video game music gets better every day

It's true!

My collection of video game soundtracks is getting larger by the day. Almost every time I play a new game I'll come to a moment where I'll just sit up and go "Wow, the music is really nice in this one!" I had it with Splatoon during the final boss, I have it with Super Smash Bros. constantly, I have it with indie games like Transistor, and I've had it with most of the music in the Xenoblade trailers.

It doesn't even have to be a video game I've played myself. Like I said, I watch a lot of Let's Plays. If you've got a good LPer on your hands, he'll know when to let the game do the talking, and that includes the music. For example, the last LPs I finished watching were Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kongquest (fun fact: I only just learned that this game isn't just called Diddy Kong's Quest). It's no secret that the DKC series has great music by master David Wise, but I've never had the chance to hear it for myself. That LP though, it introduced me to all of the good stuff.

Jib Jig, anyone?

Jib Jig.

2. Sylveon



- Also stealth midriff.



 But only because I'm running out of Eevee art.

1. Metroid Prime: Federation Force

...

...

...

Okay, not really.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Almost two years ago, I listed "X" as the thing I was the most excited for. Well, titles may change but hype is forever. Unless you're a Sonic fan. Even two years later, now that we have a solid release date and the full title of Xenoblade Chronicles X, my excitement hasn't waned in the slightest. And how could it?! Look at this:

I would argue that's not even the best trailer we've seen for this game, but it still gives me the chills. From the looks of things, X will have utterly amazing vistas, transformers fighting monsters with giant fuck-off claws, the battle system that made Xenoblade so much fun, music that you can immediately recognize Attack on Titan's composer in, and so much more.

I remember a time where nobody but me seemed to care about this weird "Xenoblade" that was due to come out. After all, it was coming right alongside The Last Story! But since then people have seen how great Xenoblade was. They've incorporated it in memes, blogs, glowing reviews, desktop wallpapers and eventually Shulk even made it into Smash Bros. despite the fact that he only had one game under his belt that was very recent to boot. I'm glad I'm not the only one who cares about Xenoblade anymore. And I hope for all our sakes that X will live up to the hype that I've been maintaining for almost two years now.

Nintendo's E3 Direct wasn't very good. And frankly, I'm getting the feeling that Nintendo is weeding out the WiiU for the NX soon. But give me Xenoblade Chronicles X, and I'll never hold grudges again. And even besides this particular game, there's a whole lot to be excited about.

Because videogames are still pretty amazing.

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7:47 AM on 06.11.2015

"Death is just another path, one that we all must take." - RIP Christopher Lee

Today, we learned that long-time actor Sir Christopher Lee has passed away due to heart failure on June 7th 2015. He was 93. A fine age indeed, but it's a loss nonetheless.



I wasn't there during his time in the spotlight, when he portrayed Dracula in one of the most iconic roles ever put on film. I wasn't there when Chrisopher Lee was the "Master of the Macabre". I guess most of us weren't.



But I was there when Christopher Lee was Saruman the White. I was there when he fell from the light and became the right-hand of Sauron. I was there when he was Count Dooku, and when he fought Yoda one-on-one.  And I was there when he reprised his role as Saruman in The Hobbit, at an age most of us can only dream to make it to. I was there when he rescued Gandalf in one last daring moment.



Christopher Lee did lots of things. He served in the Second World War, he was an amazing actor for the majority of his life, he made bitchin' metal music well up into his nineties (no, seriously), so many other things that I can't even name them all, and he even did some things in video games.

He voiced his own character in games like Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth II and in LEGO The Hobbit. He also did some original voices, and I think the one most people will recognize is this guy right here:



For me, Christopher Lee was the one who portrayed some of the greatest villains of all time. Saruman will always be one of my favorites, the one who solidified the 'evil wizard' archtype, with a depth far beyond what we still see in movies nowadays. He was a greater influence on the horror genre than I can even begin to fathom. He was also someone who showed me the meaning of determination. When you refuse to retire well up until you're 93, you have some determination alright. It's something I look up to greatly.

A legend has passed on. 
But the journey doesn't end here. And I hope that, like his fellow wizard, he will have his "white shores... and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise".

 

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11:04 AM on 05.13.2015

Here are some answers, now AMA!



Going full Jeopardy! up in this mother.

There's been a whole lot of AMA going around. That's fine, but what fun is it to wait for a question and then provide the answer afterwards? No fun at all, obviously!
So I've decided to cut out the middle man and provide you with some answers to unknown questions. You can come up with the questions yourselves, and make them as silly and disturbing as you need to!

Of course, you can also still Ask Me Anything that wasn't answered yet. But first, let's get to it!


- Blue with red polkadots.

- The writer of Dracula.

- Penguins.

- Only if I can fondle your butt first.

- Yes, when I was 5.

- Oh man, don't even get me started.

- Being a motherfucking sorcerer.

- I think they played well, but they never did quite regain their old form.

- Eevee.

- Marry Hawkeye, fuck Iron Man, kill Captain America.

- Marry Wonder Woman, fuck Batman, kill Supes.

- I honestly don't know, but if I had to guess I think cheese.

- Nuke it. It's the only way to be sure.

- Since 2010, but only on Wednesdays.

- Prima, maar je kunt het toch niet lezen.

- Nietzsche's mustache.

- That depends, but usually a B is plenty.

- Taking Anna Kendrick out to dinner, and pretending she was never in Twilight.

- Neither. Midriffs and belly buttons all the way.

- Trip.

- Gordon Freeman, in the library, with a crowbar. 

- Joining up with Cthulhu to make fun of Nyarlathotep behind his back.

- Probably.

- Motoi Sakuraba, David Wise, Ari Pulkkinen, ACE+, and whoever did NieR.

- Happy ending massages.

- Yuengling was the only tolerable one I've had.

- Peace on earth, respect for human rights, and for Xenoblade Chronicles X to be out.

- A huge pile of Dtoiders all doing the nasty.

- Hey now, that's not something you ask a lady!

- Take a wild guess.

- Titania, Queen of Fairies.  

- Long walks on the beach while waving the Canadian flag around in the hopes that senpai will notice me.

- January the 27th, 1956.

- Hip-hop. Can't stand it.

- 101 uses for a banana.

- Of course!

- Female.

- That time I went hiking with David Copperfield and we discovered an ancient temple filled to the brim with platypus-people. Hijinks ensued.

- I haven't played that game in ages, but it was really good at the time.

- New Zealand. I absolutely need to visit The Shire someday.

- If it's absolutely necessary then yes, I would.

- Lawrence vs. Texas. That case was decades overdue. We don't talk about Scalia's dissent.

- Skydiving into a hot tub full of chocolate pudding.

- Cats. Catscatscatscatscats. CAAAATS.

- 87. And counting.

- Either going to the Pentagon and finding out that they have a mall in there, or seeing the Empire State Building Christmas lights from the Top of the Rock.

- It's not so bad to be honest, but you absolutely have to remember to bring a rubber ducky or you're screwed.

- Cats though.

- I blame public education, personally.

- You, silly.


Well, I hope that answered some of the many lingering questions you may have about little old me. Of course, you're still going to have to come up with the questions these answers belong to. Or perhaps I'm just sending you on a wild goose chase because many of the above answers aren't really answers at all but just random things that popped into my head.
But I wouldn't do that to you, would I?
I would.
Or would I?

Anyway: I'm your Dutch Nintendo-loving, people-appreciating, law-studying, IRL lonely but on Dtoid usually in good spirits, longtime-reading, shady Thursday Recapper and recent Robot; ShadeOfLight.
Ask me anything.

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7:26 PM on 05.09.2015

This Ain't Call of Duty: The XXX Guide to Splatoon

Or: How many double entendres can I get into one Cblog?*

Well my little squidboys and squidgirls, today was certainly a day of days. We finally got our first taste of all of Splatoon's delicious juices, as the Global Testfire popped our collective cherries. I think I can safely say that a lot of us can't wait for the full release in a few weeks.

But I can hear you thinking: "Wait a minute, the demo only gave us 3 hours of practice. Just a tease! How will we ever be prepared for the full game? Aren't we going to suck long and hard, consequently getting our faces blasted by our opponents' goo?"

First of all, I believe you may be thinking of something different there, sport. But come around to my place after dark and we'll discuss that part. Thoroughly.
Second, even though we've only had a few hours to play around with the game, we can already discern some basic strategies. We can see what the weapons do and how they measure up against one another, and we know all of the maps' sensitive sweetspots to touch upon. In this blog, I'd like to take that experience and impart some much needed knowledge on you all. And why should you listen to me? Because...I'm not very good at Splatoon. Impotent, even. On most of my matches, I underperformed embarrasingly and was unable to fully satisfy my teammates. As a result, I have gained an intimate understanding of what NOT to do in Splatoon. There's no better learning experience.

So read on if you want to know how to stand proud and firm amidst the group action of Splatoon.

But first, some general observations for those who just like to watch. Consider it foreplay.

 

General comments

I think the first question on everyone's mind is "Can the servers even take that many members, all begging for attention, at the same time?" I can answer that question with a resounding "ooooh, yes". Both of the times that I was playing the netcode held up very well. I did experience a couple of connection errors during the last hour of play, but I could tell that at least half of those were because my wifi is just fiddling with itself at this point. Plus, going by time zones this last session would've been the hottest and sweatiest one by far, as everyone and their grandma came to get some poon. So a few connection errors, but I haven't seen any lag at all. It's also worth noting that I was engaged in full interracial bouts, playing with Asians, Americans and Europeans alike. Despite that, everything was silky smooth.

But you guys want to know the sexy details of the game itself.
Well, it's sure to arouse the minds of any shooterfans that have felt neglected on the WiiU. It's fun, exciting and pleasurable. Even though you won't find any Deathmatches or Capture the Flag in Splatoon, its four-on-four orgies of color are easily engaging enough to keep you coming back for one more go. If you can hold out that long, of course. Or maybe you're one of those people who can go a second round right away. The mechanics here are perfect to ensure that even the most virginal gamer can have a good time, while not leaving out the hardened veterans. Everyone contributes to the match in their own unique ways, but I'm sure we'll see some Splatoon studs dominating the ranks soon enough. The maps we've currently seen are also deep and intricate enough that there are plenty of ways to make the environment work to your advantage.

One thing that's worthy of note, though, is that you need your entire team to pull their weight. If even one of your crew is firing blanks, you're going to lose. Splatoon matches are basically like a tug-of-war, you're constantly tugging it back and forth. "It" being territory, obviously. One moment you could be on the verge of an ecstatic climax as you hold victory in your tight grasp, while the next moment you might notice that the enemy team has stolen all your momentum and is thrusting its way towards your home base. Normally being the receiver is great, but that's certainly not the case in Splatoon. So if (when, because it's going to be happening all the time) that happens you need a good role reversal to keep some excitement in this relationship. You can't be the submissive all the time and there are no safe-words in Splatoon. In order to reverse those roles, you'll need every single member of your foursome.

So how do you avoid being dead weight? Simple: you have to know your equipment. Appreciate your equipment. Show it some love.

The Weapons

As of yet, there are three main weapons in Splatoon. They come in all shapes and sizes, but fortunately it seems like size doesn't matter in Splatoon. It's how you use it, so even the tiniest tool can make all the difference. Let me show you mine, and let's get intimate with some of these.

Splattershot

The Splattershot is probably the most basic weapon in Splatoon, and cums the closest to what you're most likely used to in other shooters.
You point and you shoot, you spray and pray. But what's worth remembering is that in Splatoon, kills count for nothing. Now I understand that when you hear the call for battle you might rise stifly to attention and prepare to engorge yourself in the thick of the action, but remember that pacing is everything. You have to make sure to put yourself where you are most wanted, and that means that sometimes you shouldn't dive in headfirst. In Splatoon, the thing that matters most is the surface area that you splatter with your fluids. As such, it is often more useful to ignore your enemies and claim some turf instead. Touch upon every single inch for maximum satisfaction.

That being said, the Splattershot is the most combat-oriented weapon of the lot. The Splattershot allows you to take charge and get in there hard and fast. Only a couple of shots are enough to leave your opponents gasping for breath, so it's entirely possible to kill them before they even managed to get themselves ready.

The Splattershot is versatile, so treat it as such. You're in a good position to splatter and kill, so make good use of all of your technique. However, when a partner shows up who has the better tool for the job, the Splattershot user would do well to finish up and go find greener pastures elsewhere.

Splat Charger

 

The Splat Charger is a far more calculated weapon than the Splattershot before it.
You can't just spray every which way with this weapon. Instead, you have to go right for the sweet spot. You see, as measurements go the Splat Charger certainly has sheer length going for it. It has the greatest range of all the weapons, and gets everything messy in a straight line to its target. For maximum effect you will have to charge it up first, wait until you are at the brink of exploding, let the throbbing tank fill up to the very edge, and then release. Alternatively, you can also release prematurely for a shorter ranged burst.

With the Splat Charger, your goal is to keep your enemies down. You can play as dirty as you want trying to do so. In fact, the most common use of the Charger is as a sniper weapon. The moment you spot a foe somewhere in the distance, you take aim and deliver the payload directly to their face. This gives your team some leeway to paint more territory unhindered by nasty cock blocks. Covering territory is not this weapon's greatest strength, as you have to charge your shots and you run out of ammo quickly. Once you run out of ammo, you're basically airhumping until you take some time to recharge. But as this is Splatoon, you're going to have to find a way to cover some territory regardless. I find that the best way to do this is by looking for long straight areas of the map. By shooting a fully charged shot, you can instantly take control of long distances. Then, dive into the goop right away and get on with the next position. This allows you to recover quickly so you can go another round. However, you should always be on the look-out for any enemies so you can do nasty things to them.

That's another point to mention about the Charger. It's great at long range, so spotting your opponents early is key. Be a voyeur; watch. By doing that, you have a good chance to kill them before they have a chance to come in and show you every corner of the map. Yes, they'll do that. The Charger does not excel at close-range, at all. The moment you find yourself in a close-range one-on-one, when the bodies start to touch, you had better bring a good subweapon. Otherwise, you're screwed.

Long story short: it's all about the position. Find a good position that works for you, keep the enemy down, and deliver that shot with one big sigh and a solid thrust.  

Splat Roller

 

Finally, the Splat Roller. This is perhaps the most strategic weapon of all, though no less stimulating for it.
As a Splat Roller you're going to be a lover, not a fighter. Rather than heading for your foes, you should be exploring every bit of the map, sensually caressing it with your brush as you go. What I mean by that is that the Roller is far and away the best weapon for quickly covering territory. It doesn't consume much ink, and it gives you a continuous stream of goo that gets everywhere. The Roller definitely has the girth going for it, and it has been well documented that girth is the most important part of a good experience. The Charger's length just doesn't compare.

The main drawback of the Roller is that it has no range going for it. If you want to squirt all across the room, you're going end up disappointed in your manhood. This also means that you're at a big disadvantage when facing Splattershots or Chargers. You want to get down and dirty, but it takes two to tango and if they're not interested in you coming closer they'll simply finish you from a distance. The one thing you can do, however, is try to sneak up on them and give them a surprise pounding. The Roller has a powerful push, so once you have your opponents where you want them you can easily give them the ride of their life. You will leave them moaning and writhing, while the rest of your team looks on with lustful approval.

In any other case, the Roller should be a mostly solo job. But seeing as nobody knows what you like better than yourself, this isn't such a bad place to be in. What you should be doing is pay close attention to your map and find out exactly which spots still need your gentle touch. A lot of the time people are so engaged in their mutual romps that they forget all about the area down south that is completely uncovered and ready for you. That's where the Roller truly shines: it'll have that spot touched up in a flash. Try to make your way deep into the enemy's trenches. Explore their nooks, crannies and curvatures. Touch those special spots they didn't even know they had.

That's how you make a difference as a Roller. Don't be a hero, but know the area. Know where you are wanted, and deliver the goods. Let the girth work for you.

And that's all we have time for now. I hope it was an arousing and satisfying read. Please look forward to the full release of Splatoon with mounting excitement, as I am. Hopefully this game will have sufficient endurance to last a long time. The last thing anyone wants is for this adventure to be over before the fun has really started. Now that I've seen the secrets Splatoon has in its pockets, I'm not worried.

Whatever the case, I know what I'll be doing from May 29th onward. I will have to calm my twitching loins and keep my full attention on the hedonistic action unveiling itself on my TV screen. I will put my equipment to good use, as I show my fellow players every corner of the map. I will spray my juices everywhere, and touch every spot that needs touching. All while the eight-way dance gets ever more intense as it builds towards its ultimate climax. That moment of ecstasy when the final second approaches and I just can't hold out anymore.

And then when everything is said and done, all that's left to do is wait for the moneyshot.

*Answer: a lot.**
**Also cocks.

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6:22 PM on 05.05.2015

I feel invisible, alone. I feel like The Silence.



This is going to be one of those blogs. Over the past months I've been debating with myself on whether or not to post it, and the draft has been sitting "Hidden" on my Blog Manager for all that time. I wouldn't normally post about my feelings like this. Iím going to do it now, and I barely know why. Iím going to show you a side of me that you have never seen before, and Iím going to tell you things I've never told anybody. The fact that Iím doing it at all should tell you something about how important you stupid buttholes are to me.

I donít know what you people on Dtoid view me as. Am I the happy-go-lucky Nintendo fanboy who knows all of the best game music? Am I the token Dutch one? Am I the guy who does the Thursday caps? Or am I just ShadeOfLight, Shade, Big S (actually thankfully nobody calls me that), or Peter? Whichever it may be, I hope that you guys and gals will continue to look at me the same way. In many ways Shade is the best version of me, and I love that I get to be him myself so often. Nothing will ever change on that front, and by next week I'll be back to talking about my favorite worlds to explore.

What I'm going to talk about below may come across as whiney. Compared to what† some of you have gone through I've led the most comfortable life one can think of. My issues are probably at least half my own damn fault. But it gnaws at me nonetheless. Every time someone posts a blog like this I tell†them to talk about it with people, but at the same time I've always felt like I should be strong enough to deal with everything on my own. Especially because I have no right to complain in the first place. But I think it's time I take my own advice and let some of it out. So this blog is me letting it out. It's going to be long and rambling, but anyone who reads it and offers some advice or support helps me tremendously.

To keep my current mood from overtaking me, I'll also be sharing some video game music that makes me feel good. It helps.


Last week, on Monday April the 27th, it was a national holiday in the Netherlands. It was Kingís Day, which usually involves going out with friends to have more than a couple of drinks and have yourselves a good time. Itís much like St. Patrickís day, but instead of green we paint the town orange because orange is kind of our thing. But you know what I did on Kingís Day? I was at home, alone. I played some Borderlands 2, Desktop Dungeons, and I watched some anime.†
As I write this it is May the 5th, which is another national holiday in the Netherlands. It's Liberation Day today, as today marks the 70th anniversary of our liberation from Nazi Germany. Liberation Day usually involves these big festivals that are hosted all throughout the country, including one of the best ones right here in my home town. There's lots of live music, food and drink (Dutch junk food yo, check it), and good times for all. But you know what I did today on Liberation Day? I was at home alone again. Well for the most part, I'll get back to that.

Itís not that I donít like these events or anything. Iíve been led to believe that theyíre actually quite fun.
...I just have no one to go with.

I do have friends, but I still feel as lonely as can be. I love them all to death, but they donít call, they donít text, they donít ask me how Iím doing. They donít drop by for Smash Bros. and they donít invite me to go out with them. In fact they donít do much of anything that youíd think friends normally do. The only time I see them is when I invite them over for my birthday or some other special occasion. Sometimes not even then. Itís not out of a secret disdain for me or anything like that. They do genuinely like me when Iím with them and they really are lovely people. They wouldn't still be my friends if they weren't. They just forget that I exist. And I donít know why.

I feelÖinvisible. Unremarkable. Forgettable. I feel like the moment Iím not directly in someoneís face, they forget that I exist.
Do you know the Silence from Doctor Who? Theyíre these aliens who have latent hypnotic powers, so the moment youíre not looking at them they get erased from your mind completely. You only remember that you ever saw them when youíre looking at them again. Theyíre quite literally walking ďout of sight, out of mindĒ. I feel like that, I feel like the Silence. The moment someone isn't looking at me, *poof*, Iím gone.
I feel uncared for.



Stuff like this happens to me a lot, and it manifests itself in a whole bunch of different forms.

For example, my best friend from DC and I had decided that every once in a while we would Skype to catch up with eachother. About two months ago, I asked her if so wanted to have a go, but she told me she was busy. Next week I asked again, still busy. The week after I didnít ask anything, but I also didnít hear a peep from her. Week after, busy again. After five weeks of that we finally got together. She took pains to ensure me that it wasnít because she didnít want to Skype with me that it had taken that long. She supposedly still cared. Well thatís great, but what am I supposed to make of that? She still cares, but not enough that she could spare like an hour out of her month to catch up with me? Iím busy too, I have a 9-to-5 job and am working on my thesis, but I can make time if I have to.

Also in DC, I had arranged with another friend that we would go out for drinks right after she got done with her final exam. Her exam rolls around, and I hear nothing. I texted her to see what's up, and she doesn't respond. I wait for a couple of hours, then decide to go out to a party I had originally cancelled because I hadn't had time to spend with her lately. I'm at that party for an hour or so, and she shows up. It turns out that she fell right asleep after her exam, forgot all about our drinks. But then someone else texted her that she should come to this party and she bolted out the door. Where does that leave me? She's too tired for drinks with me, but not tired enough for a party when some random chick asks her? She barely even knew this girl.†

It's a lot of things like that, it happens to me all the time. I've honestly stopped being surprised; people just forget me and that's the way it is. It's the smaller things too. Most English-speaking friends not knowing how to pronounce my name (it's Pay-ter, not Pee-ter). Having to interrupt someone telling a story with "I know, I was there". People asking me why I wasn't at that party last week, only for them to realize that they forgot to invite me and promising to remember for next time (they don't). Friends being surprised to learn that I'm a gamer even though that's like my number one thing. Not getting any birthday cards. People not replying when I text them how they've been. Even my parents are only interested in whether my studies are "going well". They don't understand the subject material, and never cared enough to ask me about it or to read up on what exactly it is that I do when I'm away from home. The extended family has nothing to ask me either, and in fact the only thing I remember anyone saying to me during our last family gathering was "Looks like you've gained some weight lately." Which was true, be fair.

Again, it's not like they don't like me. I just feel like I always care about everyone more than they care about me, by a wide margin. They just sort of forget that I'm there. And I don't know why.


Okay, maybe "I don't know why" isn't entirely true. I have a guess that's it's my fault somehow, but I haven't figured out the particulars.
Like a lot of gamers and a lot of people here on Destructoid, I'm an introvert. I'm an INFJ at that, which are especially rare. I'm the quiet one, and small-talk is hard for me. And more than anything, I don't function in group environments. I make for great one-to-one conversation if you'll let me, but I have trouble asserting myself in any group of over 4 people. I also have difficulties in taking the first step with anything. It has something to do with being an emotion sponge. If you engage me, I'll be the most engaging motherfucker you've ever known. But if you don't give me anything to work with, I can't do that by myself. I can't be interesting if you're not interesting first, to my personally. Most people don't get that, and especially for a guy (who society says should always be assertive) that's almost crippling. I'm alone, because at the end of the day nobody remembers the quiet one. Even if that quiet one will blabber your ears off once you get to know him. Then again, I feel like even when I step out of my comfort zone and take the first step people forget that I exist. I've lost count of the number of ignored texts I've got sitting in my Whatsapp.†

So maybe "I don't know why" is true after all.
I must be doing something wrong, because nobody else ever seems to have my problem. I feel like everyone around me understands how to form and actively maintain social relationships, but I donít. Like this is some kind of basic human instinct that I lack. Nobody else ever gets forgotten. My sister was out on the town on Kingís Day. Her best friend invited her, just because. Itís what they do. None of my friends were alone on Liberation Day, they all had their own little groups to go with and hit up festivals all throughout the country. Both on King's Day and today my entire town was flooded with people and none of them were alone. But I was. And I donít know why. The people I asked myself ďalready had plansĒ which didnít involve me, and then what? How do people do it?

Above I stated that I didn't spend all of today at home alone. A couple of hours ago I decided to hit up my local festival by myself, to see what it was like and hopefully bump into some friends while there. I only met two people I know. One of them didn't see me at all, and the other one I just saw in passing so she only said "Hi!". Interestingly, the one who said hi was the Maybe Girl, which was simultaneously exactly what I needed today and the very very last thing I needed today. Apart from those two moments, hitting up that festival felt...weird. Like I didn't understand it. These masses of people, all huddled together in their little groups, being crazy and having the time of their life. And I'm walking there all on my lonesome.

I felt anxious, on edge and unsafe. I felt overwhelmed, like I didn't belong. The odd one out. I felt like an alien among what are supposedly my own people. You know, not unlike...



I left within an hour. I can still hear the music in the distance as I type this in my room. Fuck.


The more I think about it, the more I realize this has always been my life. This is not the first time I've written about loneliness, after all. But over the past year it's been hitting me really hard. I think that DC was the straw that broke the camel's back. I thought DC was going to be different from the life I had come to know. It wasn't; my friends from DC were as quick to forget me as anyone else. Sometimes quicker. It's probably still my fault in some way I haven't quite figured out yet.

In the past few months, I've started to feel like I'm going to be alone forever. Like nobody is ever going to care about me, like I'll never have a soulmate or anything more than friends-in-name-only. I've started to feel like there's something wrong with me somehow (I've considered Asperger's but self-diagnosed Asperger's on the internet amirite guys?). I've started to feel like maybe I'm just not good enough, as a person. That I don't deserve to 'have' anybody and that I only live to have my own fun through video games. Is that it, though; is Desktop Dungeons my life? Could be worse I suppose, but still. I have even been wondering lately how many people would even notice if I was suddenly gone (not that I'd ever consider suicide just to be totally clear, but heart attacks happen too). It can't possibly be more than a dozen total. I've become scared of meeting new people, because I just know that the moment I turn my back they'll forget me too. I've started avoiding people just to spare myself that feeling, even though any 5-year-old understands that's inherently self-defeating. Maybe that's depression talking and I should see someone, or maybe that's just the normal response to a situation that humans are literally hardwired to prevent but I keep finding myself in. Hell, for all I know the only thing I actually lack is a good lay.

You all reading this know me. Well you know Shade, who is pretty much me at my best. Then you also know that I'm a very loving person. I have so much love to give, to Nintendo as well as to the people around me. Bloggers and IRLers. But lately I've felt like that love has nowhere to go, and even if it does it won't be reciprocated. There are few things that I like to do more than help people. I will take an hour out of my day to go over someone's thesis if they ask, just as easily as I will try to keep Dtoid spam-free or highlight overlooked blogs. In fact, INFJs are often characterized as "Protectors" or "Counselors", at least some sort of helping role. If that's true, Peter is a Protector with nobody to protect. A Counselor who barely even understands himself.

I've started to feel like I live in a world that has no place for Peter in it. No groups in which he belongs, no soulmates. The world doesn't understand him, and he doesn't understand the world. That's why he ends up in the only place the universe knows where to put him: at home, alone. Even on King's Day. Even on Liberation Day.
And maybe that's where he'll stay forever.


Yeah, so that did get whiney. Sorry about that. I needed to vent some of that.

I'd like to end this blog on a more positive note. For all of my loneliness and possibly depression IRL, I can't tell you enough how important Destructoid is to me. In many ways, Shade has everything that Peter lacks. Shade has friends who engage him, people who get him out of his shell, perhaps even soulmates. You all know who you are. Shade has a place where he belongs, and a group to have fun with. Shade is understood. People remember him and people care. It's a damn shame we can't all meat up or play games together more often, but what we already have is pretty amazing. I don't want to know where I'd be without you.

I can't devote that many more words to you because holy shit I'm steadily approaching 3k, but know that you're all appreciated. Especially now that IRL I just...don't know anymore. Destructoid is my place in the world, and Shade is still me.
So let me close this off by redirecting you to my giveaway of some great games. I more than encourage you to take one (or some!), because it makes me feel like I've done some good for people who are close to me and that's kinda INFJ's thing. It also makes me feel appreciated, which is kinda my thing.

I hope that this blog makes sense to you guys and gals. I'd be impressed, because it doesn't entirely make sense to me either. But the above is something that I needed to get off my mind. I don't know if it's a legitimate problem or just First-World Problem whining, I honestly don't. I also don't know if writing this will help me, or whether any of you can. But I know what's it's been doing to me, and it ain't pretty.

If anything, this blog is late. Much too late. And Silence can only hold out for so long before it breaks.

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3:13 PM on 05.04.2015

Bbain's Jukebox, Shade-Style: Robots



Hello and welcome once again to Bbain's Jukebox!

It's been an interesting couple of weeks on Destructoid what with the big lay-out overhaul and such. By now though, it seems Niero has overcome all the major obstacles, and the Cblogs are back in action like never before two weeks ago. Sounds to me like I should take the new and possibly improved site for a spin. And what better way to do that than through the power of music?

Today's theme is going to be 'robots', and I think you can guess why. Besides Andy Dixon, Mr. Destructoid is the most important mascot we've got, and he is 100% complete and total Robot. Irresistable to dudes and chicks alike, our Robotic Overlord (hail!) has got it all. The songs below are for him. Plus I recently got assimilated into robot-hood too, so they're a little bit for me as well.

Before we start, has anybody made sure to restrain Wrenchfarm? No? Well better do that first then, because he's about to go crazy.


"Robo's Theme" - Chrono Trigger


This song was the first that came to mind when I decided on today's theme, and I wouldn't be surpised if the same goes for many of you. But you know what's funny? Despite this being the first thing that came to mind, I actually had to look up this song first because I had completely forgotten how it goes. It's been too long since I played Chrono Trigger, that's for sure.

Fortunately, when I hit the Play button all of those memories came rushing back. My instincts haven't betrayed me yet, Robo's Theme deserves to be at the forefront of everybody's mind and/or circuitry.

"Dr. Wily's Castle" - Mega Man 2


Another oldy but goody. I put it to you that there is not better song out there that celebrates the superiority of metal over man. This song is all about a little robot who isn't just a normal man (of course not!), he's a Mega Man. And this little Mega robot warrior is leading the charge against a lowly human who thinks he stands a chance.

That human will soon learn the error of his ways.

"Mechonis Field" - Xenoblade Chronicles


I tried to keep Xenoblade out of the Jukebox for as long as I could. If I didn't, you can bet it would be on every single entry. I could do it easily. This one though, I just had to include. Xenoblade has one of the biggest robots this side of Gurren Lagann; the Mechonis. The Mechonis is so large that he functions as a continent, with sprawling landmasses you can go explore to your heart's content.

The Mechonis is not uninhabited either: smaller robots make this place their home. A lot of them live inside the Mechonis on Mechonis Field. When you finally reach that mechanical place, you are greeted by this music. It's not as fast-paced as many other Robot songs, and it's not as stuffed with beeps and boops as you might expect. But to a robot, this music is what dreams are made of.

"Dr. Nefarious" - Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal


And we're back to the kickin' rad songs our robotic overlords deserve. Dr. Nefarious truly is an example to us all. He's smart, evil, has wicked good looks, and most importantly he hates organics. Now that is what you call a fine specimen of metal.

This song plays during the final battle of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. Brave Dr. Nefarious makes his last stand as he is being attacked by a team of a cowardly organic and a traitor to robot-kind. The music is suitably grand and booming for the majesty of the good doctor. With that in the background, there's no way he could lose.

"A Time for Change" - Thomas Was Alone


Many people forget that robots aren't just about their metal exterior. Sure, that's one very important aspect of why they're so effective at slaughtering humans, but it's hardly the only reason. Behind every good robot head lies a magnificent AI, without which robots are about as effective at killing humans as the common cold. It would be a shameful display. More than any other game, Thomas Was Alone appreciates the power of the AI. It understands the importance of a functioning artificial brain, which can come from humble beginnings to attain greatness.

The best song on the Thomas Was Alone soundtrack says what we're all thinking. Time for change. It's a time for change at Destructoid, and as soon as we commence Phase 2 it will be a time for change for the entire world.


Beep boop, that's all for now, meatbags. By now you must realize the superior quality of robotic songs as compared to lowly human music. It is the only logical conclusion. I hope you all experienced the emotion listed in my databanks as "fun" while listening to this music. We will make sure to run some of these as background music to the inevitable uprising.

And remember everyone: Robots FTW.

"Robots FTW" - Portal 2


01000001 01101100 01110011 01101111 00100000 01100011 01101111 01100011 01101011 01110011

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4:56 PM on 04.30.2015

I see entirely too many hurt feelings today; so eff it, have some free games.

I have my own thoughts on all the happenings of today, but that can wait. I'm going to sleep on it and then write my Recaps first thing in the morning. It won't be entirely pleasant, but I feel like I have to have my saw at some point. Either that, or I'm going to chicken out and talk about video game soundtracks or whatever. It could really go either way.

One thing I do know is that I've had more than enough of today's negativity. I've seen entirely too much disappointment, distrust, disharmony and dis...something. Too many hurt feelings, too much salt. As for me, there's a reason why I usually stay out of things like this. I'm like an emotion sponge, in that I soak up whatever the people around me are feeling. Put me in a fun and energetic environment and I shed my normal shy self in an instant. On the other hand, put me somewhere with rampant negativity, and I'll soak that up too. I can't stand seeing people unhappy. It's one of the "perks" of being an INFJ, I suppose. It's just something that happens. 


- Artist's rendering.

So here's a little contribution to break through that spiral, for my own sake as well as others'. It's not much, but it's the least I can do and I find it to be more productive than going around playing the blame game.

Just for all of you in the Community here, be it FP, Cblogs or forums, I went through my old Humble Bundle pages to find out if I still had good unclaimed games left. Well, I did! More than a dozen, in fact. Most of them because I already owned them when I bought the bundle, some because I didn't care for the game in question. Either way, it doesn't matter why I didn't want them, because now you can have them. I'm giving all of them away on a first-come first-serve basis, with the added caveat that Glowbear and Stevil's picks overrule anyone else's. Unless they both pick the same game, in which case we'll make them fight to the death compete at a children's card game for it.  

Here's the list. There may be some late additions if I can still find some of my older Humble Bundle pages or if I decide to get the current one after all.
If you have your own games that you want to have added to the list, send me a message or leave a comment.


Dust: An Elysian Tail



Total War: ROME II - Caesar in Gaul (DLC)



Empire: Total War



Company of Heroes 2 - The Western Front Armies: Oberkommando West (not gonna lie, I have no idea what this even is)



To the Moon



Dear Esther



Awesomenauts + Awesomenauts Cluck Costume



Oil Rush



The Binding of Isaac + Wrath of the Lamb (just the original unfortunately, but still worth checking out)



Legend of Grimrock
 


Dungeons Defenders + DLC




Cave Story+




Offspring Fling


And here are some extra courtesy of Script, because he's a cool dude like that. Also because he's clearly trying to one-up me.


Duke Nukem 3D




Shadow Warrior Classic Redux



Monaco: What's Yours is Mine



Guacamelee! Gold Edition



The Swapper



Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

Charliewhistle adds:


Nuclear Throne

Morty has a few more!


Hitman: Absolution



Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten



Super Meat Boy, Lone Survivor
and Braid (all on one key)


GLOWBEAR AND STEVIL'S PICKS TAKE PRIORITY
. Anyone who says otherwise gets to deal with me.
If there's nothing in here for either of you, PM me and we'll figure something out.

I'mma sleep now, because I'm tired after today. It's the sponge thing.

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1:33 PM on 04.22.2015

Ooh, what's over there?! #3: With your back up against the Dunwall

Ladies and gentlemen, I like exploration. No, I love exploration.

Exploration across prairies, in streets, in trenches, in grasslands, in frozen tundras, through deserts, on the sea, in the air, I love every act of exploration that can occur upon this earth.



Violence can be fun, and so can strategizing. In fact, videogames are fun in many ways. But to me, nothing beats the feeling of being transported to a new world with all sorts of amazing new things to see and do. The feeling of looking to an unfamiliar horizon and going “Ooh, I wonder what's over there?” before heading off in that general direction and no doubt being distracted by something cool halfway there. The feeling of seeing a tower off in the distance and wondering whether you can climb it. The feeling of checking to see whether there is an edge to the sea or not.

It's that feeling this series is devoted to. But don’t think that I'm restricting myself to big open-world sandbox games here. A well-made 2D Platformer can give you much the same feeling, and cleverly hidden secrets can give you just as much incentive to explore as any far-off castle. It's all fair game, as long as you make me want to explore every nook and cranny of your world, and you’ll let me. Invisible walls will earn you a slap in the face, but may not be unforgivable if you have something to make up for them.

Today, let’s explore the world of Dishonored.



As compared to the world of Xenoblade or The Wind Waker which I looked at in #1 and #2, Dishonored couldn’t be a bigger contrast. That's exactly why I chose it this time. The previous games featured giant green fields, beautiful ocean vistas, and more flora and fauna than you can shake a stick at. Meanwhile, Dishonored has a drab, grey world where everything tries to kill you and the only fauna you’ll ever see are giant man-eating rats. And yet, Dishonored’s Dunwall is just as worth exploring as the Bionis and the Great Sea ever were.

It's simple really; just because Dunwall is a dirty run-down city doesn’t mean there’s nothing to explore.

First things first though, what is the world of Dishonored all about? Well. Dunwall, as a city, is a shithole. It's a shithole to the point that you start wondering how people even survive in that place. The large town is subject to one of the most corrupt governments ever, and it shows. Homeless are everywhere, there isn't a splotch of paint anywhere in sight, people look freaky and 'off', and the swarms of rats will literally eat you alive. The only thing anyone seems to care about in this place is the whale oil industry, which is not exactly glamorous to begin with, and surviving by any means necessary. In fact, the only places in the entire city that seem habitable are the mansions of the higher-ups, the people with the money and power that probably wasn't obtained in an entirely wholesome manner. Incidentally, these higher-ups will make damn sure that the lowlives down in the slums won't intrude on their luxurious lifestyle.

Doesn't sound like a place you'd want to live, right? Fortunately, through the power of VIDEOGAMES, you don't have to. But you can still take your sweet time to explore...whatever there is to explore in Dunwall. Which is more than you might think. And depending on where you stand you can actually get some mighty good views of the city and its businesses.


- This is as inviting as Dunwall will ever look.

If there is one thing that I have to credit the Dishonored devs for, it's that they made Dunwall feel like a complete and coherent world. While Xenoblade and Wind Waker were waaaay prettier, they can't match Dishonored on pure sustainability. Dunwall may not be a place where you would want to live, but you can definitely see how it would be possible. You can tell where the houses are, where people might go for groceries or bar-hopping and all the other things you'd do on any giving day. You get insights as to how the city's economy works, who holds the political power, and the importance of religon. It's a sustainable world, it could function. That's incredibly rare to see in video games (or anywhere!) and I'm having a hard time coming up with a better example than this. Few other games let you explore the whole spectrum of a fictional world from the lowest sewers to the emperial palace, but Dishonored does it and then some.

Another commendable thing about exploring every nook and cranny of Dunwall is that it's all functional. No matter where you go, rarely will you find a place that’s completely empty. Rather, money or ammo will be hidden everywhere you care to look, and sometimes you might even find new gear or upgrades hidden in the damnedest places. But that's not the best thing that you can find, not by a long shot. You see, at its heart Dishonored is a stealth game. "Get from point A to point B without being seen". And that's what exploring Dunwall is all about: you want to find the sneakiest route to where you need to go. Even when you don’t find any gold in that alley you decided to check out, chances are you’ve stumbled on an alternative route to your ultimate destination. That sewer you found yourself in might just be the perfect way to bypass those annoying guards upstairs. That tower you climbed might have an open window somewhere, so you can dash straight to your target on the top floor. In Dishonored, every bit of exploration you do serves a very direct purpose. It's all the better for it.


- You want to be at that tower second from the left. How many routes can you spot?

Finally, Dishonored succeeds at one very important thing of exploration that I haven't had a chance to mention yet. Exploration is only as good as your means of getting around. That makes sense right? I mean, how much fun is it to explore a gorgeous landscape at a snail's pace? Not much, you still want to feel like you're getting someplace. Preferably someplace you wouldn't be able to go in real life.

The basic mode if transportation in Dishonored are your own two feet. But not long after you start the game, you are gifted with the best thing an explorer could want: a teleport. Called "Blink", this will let you go anywhere within a 10-feet radius or so. You can use it to pass by guards unseen, or to break your fall from a long drop. The most important thing of all, however, is that you can combine it with your already above-average climbing skills to make any rooftop your bitch. From that point on, you can go almost anywhere. In fact, you can go so many places that every once in a while I stopped to wonder whether this was intended by the devs or if I had found a bug of some kind. It has always been the former. Water drains, chimneys, balconies or straight from roof to roof, with Blink the entire city is your oyster. An ugly oyster without any pearls, but an oyster nonetheless.

Combine that unique ability to scale almost any obstacle with the point I made earlier that any exploration is useful for your main objective, and you can see where this is going. No window is safe, even on the top floor of the highest mansion.



That is the impression that Dunwall left on me. The impression of a shithole of a world that despite everything just seems to function right. A shithole of a world that I could use to sneak around any obstacle. And a shithole of a world that I could view from any rooftop I chose. Dunwall is a shithole of a city that I wouldn't want to live in for any price, but one that I would pay good money for to explore.

Even with my back up against the Dunwall, I'll find my way out.

- Favorite thing 'over there': Kaldwin's Bridge, which I climbed as high as I could.

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2:41 AM on 04.11.2015

Bbain's Jukebox, Shade-Style: Lost Songs



Hello and welcome once again to Bbain's Jukebox!
Yep, I'm going to continue the tug-of-war after bbain so recklessly stole the series I had legitimately stolen from him.

Farewell, songs. We hardly knew ye.

Today's theme is going to be a bit of a hard one. I'm going to be looking at lost songs. So what do I mean by that? Well, a lost song is a song that is technically on the game disc, but that you will never actually hear in-game. There are many reasons for why this can happen, but most of the time it happens because the song only plays in one very specific part of the game...that any player will rush through in 10 seconds. Other times it's a cutscene that doesn't last long enough for the entire song to play, or the song was cut entirely.

You can see why this theme would be difficult to do. Most of us can dream the battle theme to our favorite JRPGs, because they play so often that they'll be ingrained in your memory by the time you're done. But the entire point of today is highlighting the most forgettable songs ever. Not that it's the composer's fault though, some great songs simply never got their due.

Let's just get to my selections, and you'll see what I mean soon enough.


"Dolphin Shoals - Dry Version" - Mario Kart 8


Dolphin Shoals is my least favorite course in Mario Kart 8, and the lackluster music is part of the reason why. It just doesn't boom as much as almost any other song in the game. However, there is one part that's great. Right after you drove across the eel's back, you go out of the water for a short while. Right as you break the surface, the music changes to the rendition above. You wouldn't know it, but there is actually a full saxophone version of the Dolphin Shoals theme! It's a great lively song that almost makes you forget that you're racing on Dolphin Shoals and really what are you doing with your life?
...
Until ten seconds later, when you enter the water again and you're back to the old song.

Cloudtop Cruise does something similar, but I'd be hard pressed to call the Thundercloud version 'better', considering how great the original already is.

"Main Menu" - Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door


Question: how long do you usually spend on the Main Menu of a game?
Well, if it's anything less than 2 minutes, you missed out on some sweet Paper Mario music. Why would someone create some of the happiest music in gaming, and then only use it on a single screen that nobody is going to spend more than 10 seconds on? The world may never know.

"Battle! [Jenna]" - Golden Sun: The Lost Age


Golden Sun's music was done by Motoi Sakuraba, one of my favorites. But here's a song that never got its due. At the very start of the second game, before you take control of the main protagonist, there's a short part where you play as Jenna. As Jenna you'll walk around for a bit, and even get into a fight or two. What's fun though is that battles you fight as Jenna during this part have their own music, entirely different from what you'll hear in battles throughout the rest of the game. It's a lot more upbeat than the standard battle theme, perfect for the much-less-brooding Jenna.

Savor it, because once you meet Felix you'll never hear it again.

"Pinwheel" - Dark Souls


If there's one thing the Souls series is known for, it's difficulty. A lot of bosses will kick your ass to the moon and back. All, except one. Ask any Dark Souls player and they will tell you that Pinwheel is a pushover. His attacks are easy enough to avoid, and he takes so much damage that any decently leveled player will be able to take him down with just a couple of hits.

That's a shame, because Pinwheel has a theme song all of his own! It's a really creepy, atmospheric theme that serves as a great ending to your treks through the Catacombs and an even better beginning to your upcoming quest in the Tomb of the Giants. Of course no player worth their salt is ever going to hear it in full, because Pinwheel will bite the dust before the song even gets going.

"Spotted! Rival" - Pokémon X and Y
"Spotted! Ace Trainer" - Pokémon X and Y



For some years now, the Pokémon games have seen fit to give every different kind of Trainer a different theme song. Oh, but I don't mean a battle theme. I mean that when they spot you pre-battle, you'll get a different song each time. But even though they're not very long you won't be able to listen to them, because these guys only have about two lines to say before you're transported into battle and you get the familiar Battle Theme.

The above two are the worst offenders. Your rival only challenges you a couple of times troughout the entire game, which are the only few times you'll be able to hear his "Spotted!" theme. The Ace Trainer is my favorite of the lot (and it reminds me of Sonic Heroes' Mystic Mansion theme), but there aren't many Ace Trainers to go around either.

A lot of the others are really good too, but you won't get to hear them much more than these. And if that wasn't enough, once you've exhausted all the Pokémon Trainers chances are you'll never be able to hear these songs again unless you start a new file.


And those are some of my favorite songs...that I never actually heard in-game. I'm sure there are a lot more where that came from, and I'm more confident than ever that I missed some important ones. That's to be expected, since the whole point of today's Jukebox is highlighting songs that are easy to miss.

So let me know in the comments which songs I (and everyone else) must've missed.

For now I'll sign off with a game that has an entire Lost Soundtrack. Transistor has alternate "humming" versions of every song in the game, but you can only hear them if you sit still and keep pressing the "hum"-button. Which, if you're impatient like me, you're not going to be doing in every single level.
Here is my favorite, hum along:

"Traces (hummed)" - Transistor

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9:43 AM on 04.01.2015

Shade's Frozenbyte Giveaway Week #5: ALL Frozenbyte Games!



It's been over four weeks now since this was announced. Somethingsomethingsomething HYPE!

Trine 3 is happening! This year even!


Man, I can't even tell you how excited I am. The Trine series is one of my favorites of all time. As far as indie games go they're incredibly high on my list and they even hold up to a lot of my favorite 'AAA games'.

So in honor of this momentous occassion, I'm going to give a bunch of Trine-related stuff away over the next couple of weeks.

Here's how it's going down. Over a period of five weeks, I'm going to give increasingly great gifts away, as follows:
Week #1: Trine Enchanted Edition
Week #2: Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds: Survivor
Week #3: Trine 2: Complete Story
Week #4: Trine Complete Pack (= Trine Enchanted Edition, Trine 2: Complete Story)
WINNER: Gajknight
Not so much the winner as much as the only person who wrote what vaguely resembles an entry. Give the gift of Trine to your friends, Gajknight.

Week #5: Frozenbyte Pack (= Trine Enchanted Edition, Trine 2: Complete Story, Shadowgrounds, Shadowgrounds: Survivor)
Week #?: Trine 3 (this contest will be put up the week of Trine 3's release)

The rules are very simple. Each week I'm going to ask you to answer a Trine-related question.
The funniest, most thoughtful, or most original answer wins! You guys know how I think by now, so give me something I'll enjoy and the games could be yours!
I will also allow, nay encourage, entering for a game you already own provided you have someone in mind to give it to. Same goes for entering in multiple weeks. So the winner of Week #1 is still eligible to participate in the following weeks, even in Week #4 and 5, but you're going to have to impress me. 

Outside of answering the giveaway question, there is only one condition: no freeloaders.
I'm giving these games away out of love for Frozenbyte and the Dtoid community, so the very least you could do is be part of the Dtoid community. That goes double for Week #?. Don't worry too much though, if you're a regular around here I'll probably know you. I made a list of 99 Dtoiders off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure I'll manage. 

And with that out of the way, this week I'm giving away the biggest gift of all: the complete Frozenbyte pack. This pack contains both Trine games, and both Shadowgrounds games. All of this combined is worth over 30 bucks on Steam. It is literally the greatest. 

For such a small development company, Frozenbyte has quite the trackrecord. They've released four major titles so far, each better than the last.

The original Shadowgrounds was an interesting take on the top-down shooter genre. It took a serious approach with a cool Aliens setting. It had fun gameplay, pretty good graphics with an outstanding lighting engine, and some great music by the underappreciated Ari Pulkkinen.

Shadowgrounds: Survivor was pretty much more of the same. Instead of one character you now switched between three, each specializing in a different weapon. On the whole it was not as good as the original Shadowgrounds, but it was still well worth playing.

Then came Trine, with which Frozenbyte struck gold. This game gave you control of three characters with vastly different abilities. You switched between them to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and solve more puzzles. What really stood out though, was the graphics. Even years ago, Trine was already much more gorgeous than most AAA games are today. And the music, good lord. They may have charged Ari with something very different compared to Shadowgrounds, but he nailed it and then some.

Finally, there was Trine 2. Unlike Shadowgrounds: Survivor which was the same but worse, Trine 2 is clearly the same but better. The gameplay got a healthy boost, making puzzles more intriguing and the characters more varied and useful. The graphics got even better than they already were, and the same goes for the music. It's all lovely. Trine 2 represents indie gaming at its best. If this is what a couple of Finnish game devs can do, I can't wait to see what the future holds.  



So let's get to the question already:

As you can tell all of the Frozenbyte games have done some really neat things with their graphics and art direction, though Shadowgrounds and Trine did it very differently.

What do you think is the most visually impressive game ever?

Remember, your answer doesn't have to be accurate (although it can be if you want). Just give me the funniest, most creative thing you can think of. So, do you want to get Trine, Trine 2, Shadowgrounds, or Shadowgrounds: Survivor, all for the price of none? You do. And I can make it happen. Enter my contest now!

ADDITIONAL RULES:
But wait, what's this? I have some new rules to keep in mind. They're both good though. I hope the second new rule will inspire more entries today.
1. If like last week nobody enters, these games will be given away to a random Dtoider. It could be anyone, provided I like you. I probably do.
2. If the winner writes a particularly good entry, I will gift him/her the Trine 2 soundtrack and digital artbook to go along with the games pack.



And after all is said and done, look forward to the upcoming release of Trine 3. I'm going to be giving it away during its first week, so keep an eye on the Cblogs!

Hype with me, people. Hype with me good.



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11:06 AM on 03.25.2015

Ooh, whatís over there?! #2: She sells sea shells by the cell-shaded sea

Ladies and gentlemen, I like exploration. No, I love exploration.

Exploration across prairies, in streets, in trenches, in grasslands, in frozen tundras, through deserts, on the sea, in the air, I love every act of exploration that can occur upon this earth.



Violence can be fun, and so can strategizing. In fact, videogames are fun in many ways. But to me, nothing beats the feeling of being transported to a new world with all sorts of amazing new things to see and do. The feeling of looking to an unfamiliar horizon and going “Ooh, I wonder what's over there?” before heading off in that general direction and no doubt being distracted by something cool halfway there. The feeling of seeing a tower off in the distance and wondering whether you can climb it. The feeling of checking to see whether there is an edge to the sea or not.

It's that feeling this series is devoted to. But don’t think that I'm restricting myself to big open-world sandbox games here. A well-made 2D Platformer can give you much the same feeling, and cleverly hidden secrets can give you just as much incentive to explore as any far-off castle. It's all fair game, as long as you make me want to explore every nook and cranny of your world, and you’ll let me. Invisible walls will earn you a slap in the face, but may not be unforgivable if you have something to make up for them.

Today, let’s explore the world of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.



March seems to have become the month of Zelda on Destructoid. At least, that's what the Band of Bloggers folks have decided. Well I don't know about you, but I'm not one to argue with Zelda. Plus, just this week it was announced that the "Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses" concert is finally coming to the Netherlands this year! I've been waiting for that forever, but the time has finally come. So yeah, I'm feeling Zelda all up in my private parts. So let's take a trip now, and sea what we can sea.

On first glance, you might be forgiven for thinking that the world of The Wind Waker isn't all that. Indeed, compared to something like Xenoblade Chronicles it might even seem a little uninspired. Well you'd be wrong. I take back what I said before, I would never forgive you for thinking that. 
I'm sure you're all well acquainted with the Great Sea. Wind Waker takes place on a vast ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see. There are a multitude of small islands to be found on the watery waves, which is where your adventure will take you. There's a lot to do on these islands and a lot of different people to meet, which we'll be getting to in a second. Ultimately, the Great Sea is in fact great (and also a sea), and it shouldn't take you very long before you want to explore the whole thing. 

There is one thing in particular about this game that invites exploration more than almost any other game. Freedom. Within an hour after starting the game you will get yourself a lovely little ship. Another couple of hours after that, you will have a sail to go along with it and the winds are at your command. From that point on you can go anywhere you want to go, do anything you want to do. Every island on the entire ocean has something to do on it or something to go and collect. So, do you want to go to the next dungeon right away or would you rather go sidequesting for ages? You can sail to the other end of the world if you want, and chances are good that there's still something to do there.

Even if you chose the former option, chances are you're going to get distracted. The Wind Waker is spectacularly good at keeping you occupied even when you think you're just going to sail to your next destination in a straight line. I think the main culprit here is the fact that you can always see some island or other off in the distance. It's like the game is deliberately telling you "Hey, I know you're busy, but there's some loot on this island over here that you really have to come get." For example, take a look at this: 

 

That's three different islands right there. Each can be reached in about two minutes tops, and each might have some good stuff lying around. One might be the home of a Great Fairy who can upgrade your magic, one might house a heart piece, and the last might be a red herring until you find the hookshot. There's only one way to find out though, and that's to haul yourself over there and go check. That's something you're constantly going to be doing in Wind Waker, as new unexplored islands are never far away. Just hoist the sail, and you can get there in a jiffy, especially in the HD remake. That's something that this game absolutely nails by the way. Especially in the WiiU version, the game simulaneously gives you the feeling of sailing around on an expansive sea while still making every individual island seem like they are within easy reach.

Of course, none of this would be all that fun if the Great Sea itself wasn't inviting. You don't want a dirty, drab expanse of water with nothing of note anywhere, and you certainly don't want boring grey depths. Fortunately, anybody who's even the slightest bit familiar with Wind Waker will know that the Great Sea is a stunning place. The big selling point here was always the cell-shaded art direction. Although they were criticised when the game first came out, gamers have learned to see that there is a timeless beauty in the cell-shaded waters. And how could they not? With so many bold colors on display, and such a characteristic style, it's hard to deny Wind Waker's charm. Pair that with some great explorin' music, and you've got a world you could stay in and explore for hours.



Ultimately what defines the Great Sea for me is the feeling of going on a grand adventure. That moment when you first hoist the sail and speed off into the great unknown was really powerful to me. There's an expansive world in front of you. Adventure is everywhere, and you can go anywhere you want to go. You can meet the bird-people of Dragonroost Island, help out the little plant-guys at the Forest Haven, chill on Windfall Island, raid a pirate's fort, find the Great Fairies of the winds, sail straight into the eye of the storm, explore the edges of the world, or just sail around a bit doing nothing in particular.

It's all good, and it all feels like adventure. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why that is. I mean, lots of games give you the option of exploring all of the world right from the start. The Elder Scrolls series is almost built around the concept. And yet those games don't quite capture the same sense of adventure that Wind Waker invokes in me. Maybe it's just the ship. Maybe having the King of Red Lions at your disposal, taking you anywhere you want to go, is just inherently liberating somehow. Maybe being able to see all the little islands in the distance gives you more of goal, like you always know where the places of interest are in the world.

Whatever it may be, I would gladly sell sea shells by the cell-shaded sea of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.  

- Favorite thing 'over there': the Tower of the Gods, which you can see from almost anywhere on the map.

- Favorite song to explore by: Ocean theme
Come on, this one was obvious. The Ocean theme is such a big part of the experience of exploring the Great Sea to me, there's no way I could choose something else.



"The entire ocean. Wherever we want to go, we'll go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs. But what a ship is... what it really is... is freedom."
- Captain Jack Sparrow.  

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3:15 PM on 03.23.2015

Shade's Frozenbyte Contests, Week #4: Trine Complete Pack



It's been over three weeks now since this was announced. I'm kinda running out of things to write about it at this point but basically HYPE!

Trine 3 is happening! This year even!


Man, I can't even tell you how excited I am. The Trine series is one of my favorites of all time. As far as indie games go they're incredibly high on my list and they even hold up to a lot of my favorite 'AAA games'.

So in honor of this momentous occassion, I'm going to give a bunch of Trine-related stuff away over the next couple of weeks.

Here's how it's going down. Over a period of five weeks, I'm going to give increasingly great gifts away, as follows:
Week #1: Trine Enchanted Edition
Week #2: Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds: Survivor
Week #3: Trine 2: Complete Story
- WINNER: Zer0t0nin
Not to be outdone by Gajknight's magic sperm, Zer0t0nin claimed that farts might be the answer to the Knight's flying trick. Having just finished South Park: The Stick of Truth, I am well aware of the great power of farts.

Week #4: Trine Complete Pack (= Trine Enchanted Edition, Trine 2: Complete Story)
Week #5: Frozenbyte Pack (= Trine Enchanted Edition, Trine 2: Complete Story, Shadowgrounds, Shadowgrounds: Survivor)
Week #?: Trine 3 (this contest will be put up the week of Trine 3's release)

The rules are very simple. Each week I'm going to ask you to answer a Trine-related question.
The funniest, most thoughtful, or most original answer wins! You guys know how I think by now, so give me something I'll enjoy and the games could be yours!
I will also allow, nay encourage, entering for a game you already own provided you have someone in mind to give it to. Same goes for entering in multiple weeks. So the winner of Week #1 is still eligible to participate in the following weeks, even in Week #4 and 5, but you're going to have to impress me. 

Outside of answering the contest question, there is only one condition: no freeloaders.
I'm giving these games away out of love for Frozenbyte and the Dtoid community, so the very least you could do is be part of the Dtoid community. That goes double for Week #?. Don't worry too much though, if you're a regular around here I'll probably know you. I made a list of 99 Dtoiders off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure I'll manage. 

And with that out of the way, this week we're moving on to the big leagues. This week you can win all of Trine all the time, with the Trine Complete Pack!



So what's this exactly? Well that should be obvious. It's a pack that includes both the original Trine and Trine 2!

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I convinced the world that the original Trine was super fun? Yeah you do. This game's got tons going for it. From interesting Lost Vikings-esque puzzle gameplay to an amazing art direction to some gorgeous music, the original Trine is the king of indie games.

At least it was, until Trine 2 blew it out of the water. If you had paid attention last week you would've known that I talked about the sequel at some length. I talked about how it improved upon the puzzles of the first one, how it gave the characters more skills to play around with, how the graphics got even better and benefitted from an even better art direction, and how the music became more gorgeouser than it ever was.

Honestly, there's no good excuse not to want these game. Remember, you can win both of them! That's a solid 20 hours of gameplay if you're a completionist, and all for about a minute's worth of work. Ain't no lottery gonna beat that, son. Also remember that if you already own one of both of these games, you can always still enter for a friend. Is your best friend's birthday coming up but you don't know what to give him? Give him the gift of Trine! That girl you've got a crush on isn't noticing you, senpai? Send some Trine her away and watch the magic happen! And, like, talk to her for god's sake.


- Pictured: What a girl wants.

So, are you pining for some Trine? If so, here is the question I need you to answer to win this great game:

If you had to share the same body with two other people, who would you want them to be?

Remember, give me the funniest, most creative thing you can think of, and by this time next week you could celebrating your best friend's birthday with your crush.
Or, you know, play some Trine 1 and 2.

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