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4:31 PM on 04.06.2012

10 Things You Didn't Know About SteezyXL!



10. I Like Men

Like for realsies. This was something I struggled with accepting over the years, but Iíve recently figured things out and I honestly couldnít be happier with myself. Iíve already told a few of you this, and Iíve debated whether or not to include this on my list, but then again, why not? Iíve got nothing to hide, and Iíve come to find out over the years that the Dtoid community is pretty accepting of people from all walks of life. Thatís why I love it here. :)

9. I Donít Know How to Ride a Bicycle

Yeah.. This is one of those things Iím kind of ashamed of. I have memories of my dad trying to teach me, but I wasnít very interested in learning as a kid. I was more interested in video games like any normal, awesome kid. I was terrified of falling and getting hurt, so after a couple of tries I just gave up and went back to playing my SNES. However, Iíve recently decided that I want to learn, which should be an interesting experience. I wonder if all the neighborhood kids will laugh seeing a 20 year old learning how to ride a bike. I probably would.

8. I Was Called Othello in High School

During my senior year of high school, we read and watched the film Othello. A lot of my friends joked that I looked like Laurence Fishburne in the film because of my beard and when it came time to reading the book, my English teacher would call on me to read all of Othelloís parts because he too thought I resembled him and my voice was ďperfectĒ for the part. It was kind of annoying, but at least people thought I resembled someone who was good-looking right?

7. My Mom Doesnít Know I Went To PAX Last Year

Yeah. I went to PAX last year and it was AMAZING! However, I might have forgot (I didnít forget) to tell the woman who gave birth to me that I was flying to another state by myself to meet and stay with people I met online for a couple of days. If you knew my mom, youíd know that not telling her was probably a wise decision. My dad and step-mom knew and totally funded my trip, so it wasnít like I just snuck off. I might tell my mom this year though. Weíll see how she reacts.

6. I Only Ever Hit Two People Out of Anger

I donít know what the hell was wrong with me in the 7th grade. I had never hit anybody before the 7th grade and I donít recall any instances of me hitting anyone after. The first was a classmate in my art class. We were lined up outside the classroom door and I was first in line. Once the teacher came and opened the door, I hurried in and tried to find comfortable chair. I found it and made my way towards it, but as soon as I was about to grab it, the classmate ran towards the chair and pushed me out of the way to grab it. I fell and was fucking pissed. I got up and he looked at me and said, ďSorryĒ. As soon as he said that my hand went flying across his face and I was sent to the office and eventually sent home. My mom was NOT happy.

The second person was my best friend. I honestly donít really remember what exactly happened. All I remember is being in my last class of the day sitting waiting for the bell to ring so I could go home. I think my friend was making fun of me of something, and I didnít like it so I smacked his face. He started crying and I think it was more from the shock of me hitting him than of the hit itself. Soon after, the bell rang, I went home and he called me while I was at home saying that he had his cousin and was ready to fight me. I hung up and went to school the next day thinking heíd want to fight, but instead we kind of just didnít talk to each other for a bit. Eventually we started talking again and the whole thing kind of blew over. 7th grade was a weird year for me.

5. Iíve Never Finished a Zelda Game

I played a shit ton of Zelda games and havenít completed a single one. The only two Zelda games Iíve probably ever come close to beating was A Link to the Past and Twilight Princess, but after a while I just gave up. Itís not like I got stuck, or things got too hard. I just had no motivation to finish them. Iíve had Skyward Sword since it came out and havenít even attempted the first dungeon. I donít know whatís wrong with me. I love these games, but I just never finished them. I do want to eventually get back to Skyward Sword though. From what Iíve played it was pretty awesome.

4. Iím Not as Nice as You Think I Am

Everyone I know has always complimented me on how Iím one of the nicest people theyíve ever met. While I appreciate the compliment I donít think Iím as nice as people think. Maybe itís because I donít show it. Itís not like I kick kittens for fun or throw spiders in peopleís faces, but I tend to do a lot of my judging and bad mouthing in my head. I tend to put on a faÁade with people I donít like. Iíll be their friend and be nice in front of them, but in my head I canít stop thinking about how much I dislike them. Believe me there have been moments with many people I donít like where I wish 7th grade me would come out and smack the shit out of them for something stupid or annoying they said or did.

3. I Helped Talk an Online Friend Out of Committing Suicide

I have a friend online who I chat regularly with on Skype. He lives in Lithuania and has been having trouble living a happy life in his village. Heís gay as well and heís been bullied and he feels like he doesnít fit in anywhere and he told me that he wanted to end his life. Iíve been trying my best to persuade him not to do it and it looks like Iíve been able to convince him not to. He recently told me that he thought he would be dead by the time his birthday came around which was on the 2nd of this month, but he told me that he believes that thatís no longer an option having talked to me and a few others. I hope he doesnít change his mind and try to commit suicide, but as long as we talk Iíll do my best to convince him to live.

2. I Have a Hard Time Committing to Anything For a Long Period of Time

I suck at committing to my goals. There have been a number of things that I had wanted to accomplish in my life, but I can never seem to stick with it after a certain amount of time. There have been so many things I have given up on: exercise routines, my YouTube channel, single-player games, I had even given up on school a few months ago, but recently decided to pursue a degree in IT at ITT Tech that Iím excited for. Letís hope I donít give up on that. I just start getting doubts in my head and it screws with me continuing on with anything that takes time to finish. Iím trying my best to work on this problem though.

1. Iím Not as Big of a Nerd as I Want To Be

Guys, I want to be more of a nerd. I want to be the guy whoís deeply knowledgeable about comic and video game lore. I want to be a master (hell or even just learn) at table top and board games. I find all of that so fascinating and I want to be deep into all of the nerdy goodness, but Iím not. Iíve only read a mediocre amount of comics/graphic novels. Iím not extremely knowledgeable on a lot of older video games. Sure Iíve played a lot of them, but I played them when I was a kid and was too dumb to really understand anything. Is there a secret to being a better nerd? Is it something Iím going to have to commit to, because if so, see #2.

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So there you have it. Those were 10 things Iím sure not very many of you knew about me. Do you feel closer to me now? You better! Being called Othello in high school was VERY personal!   read


2:42 AM on 09.01.2011

Steezy and Smurfee's PAX Adventure (Pictures!)

August 25th, 2011 was the start of something amazing. I had a flight to Seattle, Washington at 1:00pm and when I woke up that morning I had no idea what the next four days would entail. I didn't know if the people I would be staying with would be anything like I knew them from playing online. I was a little nervous that day, but having spent the last year getting to know these guys online, I knew I had nothing to worry about.

That morning I got up and my first order of business was to print out my co-pilot, Smurfee McGee. I had the pleasure of being able to adopt him and take him along for my first ever trip to PAX.


Printing out my partner in crime..

Soon after I obtained my new friend, we were ready to go to the airport!




Made it on the plane!

Now me and Smurfee had something in common, we both never been on an airplane before. We were a little nervous, but after we went above the clouds and seen how beautiful the scenery was (window seat, bitches!), all our nerves went away and we enjoyed the ride.






Clouds are lovely to look at, especially when you're above them.

An hour and twenty minutes went by and we landed in Seattle. Shortly after, we united with Corduroy Turtle and COM 01 and we all made our way to Knutaf's house to begin our PAX adventure!

At Knutaf's house, we got to meet Knutaf, Mr Andy Dixon, Occams the Electric Toothbrush, and Law of Thermal Dynamics (unfortunately no pics).

After seeing everyone and catching up, we decided to make our way to the Indie GameWorks meet and greet that Destructoid held.


Smurfee wanted a picture with the gang, on our way to GameWorks.

We finally arrived to GameWorks and boy was it a clusterfuck. There were so many people there, and we had trouble finding the Dtoid crew. We ended up walking towards the bar area and of course that's where we found everyone.

We ended up being in the middle of the clusterfuck, but I got to meet a few Dtoiders like Gobun, Jesse Cortez (Tactix), Funktastic (who gave me a copy of MGS for Playstation!), Power-Glove and Jonathan Ross(didn't get a picture!). Among that crowd there was also..


Max Scoville!! Awesome fucking pose!

We soon made our way outside of GameWorks for some fresh air, and found these fine gentlemen outside..


Jim Sterling everybody!! *applause* (Also, fuck blur)


Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy composer)!!

Both men were very nice enough to take a picture with Smurfee which was much appreciated. Danny Baranowsky (@dannybstyle on twitter) even stayed and chatted with Knutaf, Corduroy Turtle, and I and it was a very surreal experience. He's a very awesome guy and I wish we could have hung out a bit longer.

After GameWorks, we made our way back to Knutaf's house for a night of drinking and gaming. Suddenly two surprise guests showed up and made the night even better: Beyamor and Nihil (again no pics)!!

Beyamor is EXACTLY how I'd expect him to be, but a hundred times better in person. It was such an amazing experience getting to meet him. The same goes for Nihil. He has that look of a bad ass, but is really a nice person. I was afraid that his magnificent beard was going to form a fist and punch me* when I shook his hand and met him. It was great meeting both of them!

Soon after, we called it a night and made sure to rest up for preparation of the rest of the weekend.

*OMG I just thought of an awesome game that could possibly be influenced by Bayonetta. You control a man with an epic beard that can change forms into different weapons and what-not to fight baddies. Someone make this happen!

PAX Day One:

On our first day of PAX, Smurfee and I got to meet some AWESOME people! First up, these Halo Spartan cos-players had some awesome spartan suits. They looked legit and I definitely had to get a picture of them.




This is a model of KAT from Halo Reach. It was pretty awesome.




Hamza met up with our group at the beginning of the day and accompanied us to Halo Fest. He was super nice (not surprised) and let me take a picture of him with Smurfee.



IT'S FUCKING SKYRIM!!!




Ken Levine was on the show-floor and I initially walked past him when I saw him because he looked busy talking to other people. However, I seen Mr Andy Dixon sticking around wanting to get a picture with him, so I decided to head back and do the same. I was so glad I did. He thought the idea of us adopting our friend's avatars was cool. He was really nice and I got to shake his magnificent hand. It was lovely.


You better believe I played this game at least 10 times at PAX




I saw Seth Killian at the Capcom booth as I just finished up a game of Street Fighter x Tekken. I was a little star struck. He's a great person and an amazing commentator. I shook his hand told him I was a big fan and asked for a picture with Smurfee. He was happy enough to do it, but I had one problem. Who was going to take the picture? I left my group to explore the convention for a bit and I was alone. So I was left to ask some random person to take the picture for me. It was kind of embarrassing because he didn't know how to take a picture with my phone, even after I showed him. He eventually figured it out and took the picture. I shook Seth's hand again and told him how much I was looking forward to SFxTekken and left him to his duties. It was awesome!


PAX Day Two:

I didn't get as many pictures this day, because I took more time to enjoy the convention. However, I did run into Mr. Destructoid, the guys from Mega 64, and some great Storm Trooper cos-players.



I believe it was Grumpy Turtle as Mr. Destructoid. Corduroy Turtle and I ran into him and got a picture which was pretty sweet (Thanks Grumpy!).



We then walked by the Mega 64 booth and had to get a picture with the guys. So Corduroy, Andy, and I whipped out the avatars and the cameras, and the guys were nice enough to take a picture with them.


These are some awesome Storm Troopers!


PAX Day Three:

On the last day of PAX, we attended the Dtoid Live Panel and it was nothing short of being hilariously awesome. The editors of Destructoid really know how to entertain a room full of people.

After the panel, we all made our way outside to ready ourselves for the group picture (which is posted below). Right after the photo I decided that now would be a good chance to get some pictures of some Destructoid editors and that's exactly what I did.



Besides Seth Killian, I was also starstruck when I met Niero. It's like he has this gold aura of awesomeness that outlines his body. He's an incredibly nice guy and he was more than happy enough to take a picture with Smurfee. I feel like I could've said more to him, but at the same time I didn't want to take up too much of his time. I just wanted to thank him for creating Destructoid, because without him, none of this would have happened. Because of him, we are all able to call Destructoid our home and I can definitely say I've met some amazing friends. Thank you Niero!



Seeing Chad and Jordan was also awesome. I was really glad to have met both of them at the same time. Jordan is one handsome dude and Chad has that amazing smile and both were extremely nice.



Jesse is another awesome person I was stoked to meet. His love for fighting games warms my heart, because I too love the genre. He was super nice when I met him at the indie mixer and when I asked for the photo. Also, he definitely knows how to rock that fedora. We definitely need to play each other in some fighting game more often!



Lastly, we have Tara. She is even more gorgeous in person than she is on camera. After taking the photo, she was even nice enough to have a chat with me and we talked about how great it was to be able to finally put some faces to a bunch of Dtoiders. It was such a great experience.

After most of the Dtoiders parted ways, I decided to spend my last few hours in Seattle with COM 01, Occams, Law, and Kraid. We hit up Pike's Place along with a bunch of nerdy shops and I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way.

We did a bunch of walking around Seattle and I now have a new-found love for the city. It's super gorgeous, there's lots of tall, beautiful buildings and the TREES! Lots and lots of green trees, made it feel so comfortable. I absolutely loved it.

6:00pm was approaching and that meant I had to be at the airport. I said my final goodbyes to everyone and I entered the airport as sad as can be, but I held the greatest memories anyone could have ever had.


Talk about a VIEW! Seattle is so gorgeous!

I hopped on the airplane and took off to a place called home; but it felt like I was also leaving a home.

I landed back in Sacramento that night, my dad picked me up, and we were headed back to a place where things would go back to normal.


Smurfee was exhausted after our trip

This past weekend was one of the greatest times I've ever had. I honestly didn't expect this trip to be this awesome. An amazing time was had and it's something I will definitely cherish for the rest of my life.

Rock Band at Knutaf's house was a big highlight of the trip. I'm sure there will be videos and picture floating around of our time there, but it was definitely something to be witnessed.

Getting to meet a bunch of you Dtoiders was so surreal. Even though it was our first interaction with each other in person, it felt like we were already good friends. It wasn't at all weird or awkward. We were just good friends being acquainted for the first time. It felt good. It felt right.

I remember in my first blog I had mentioned that I wanted to be apart of the Dtoid family and be in that PAX photo. Well I am there now, and I couldn't be happier. Thank you all for an amazing first PAX experience.

  read


10:20 AM on 04.15.2011

We Are Destructoid: You Are My Family

[Hey gang! Last week, I challenged some community members to tell us why Destructoid's community is so important to them. Don't let them be the only ones! Tell us how you feel in your own blog. -- Kauza]

When I think of the word community, the first thing that pops into my head is Destructoid. Ever since day one, all I had ever wanted was to be a part of this amazing community. Having lurked around the website for years, there had always been one thing that stood out among this site, more than any other gaming website I frequented: there were actual people behind the words being typed into news stories, blogs, and forum posts.

I spent some time lurking around the forums when I first started visiting Destructoid and it was a very common thing to come across pictures of fellow Dtoiders and editors enjoying the company of one another and reminiscing on their latest adventure. I wanted that.

These people were close to each other. It was as if they had been lifelong friends, but most had never met each other in real life. Even though I never personally knew the guy, I remember when The GHost used to be around and he used to make these awesome cards for various Dtoiders upon request.

Now this man didnít have to do that. He wanted to do it. He loved the people of this community and as you can tell from his blogs, this community loved him back. Thatís something I wanted.



Ever since my first blog post, I was greeted with open arms by the whole lot of you, and I thank you.

I know that this is constantly repeated, but I would have never imagined making such amazing friends over the internet had it not been for 360 FNF.

I remember when it started back up in the middle of 2010. I told myself that if I wanted to become a part of this community, Iíd have to get out of my comfort zone and play with these random strangers. And was I glad I did.

Not to sound like Iím a loser with no friends, but Iíve never really had friends that were as passionate about video games as I was. Itís a good feeling to know that I these guys and gals in my life now.

Friday nights have become a bigger highlight of my week now and many fun times are to be had. Normally my Friday nights would have consisted of me playing video games alone, but now I had all of these people to socialize with over the internet.



Receiving gifts and care packages were also something new to me. Iíve never before received a package in the mail, bearing amazing gifts, from a stranger over the internet. Seriously have you seen some of the things Iíve received?

Knutaf took my avatar to PAX Prime last year, got it signed by some awesomely amazing people and sent it to me. I was completely speechless when I received it.



A bunch of us decided to do a Secret Santa during Christmas time. Iíve never done a legit Secret Santa before. Corduroy Turtle was my Secret Santa. What better gift to give then an identical picture of yourself hand-drawn by our very own Turtle! I love it!



Iím not the only one who has received gifts from our amazing community saint, Occams Electric Toothbrush, but lord knows I was ready to tattoo this manís name into my heart after receiving this amazing graphic novel from him among the various other gifts I'll treasure forever.



Iíve also had the honor to be the lead character of this amazing Fan-Fic that our very own Fame Designer has created. Never would have I imagined that Iíd be the inspiration for the start of something as amazing as this. No words can express how flattered and grateful I am getting the opportunity to be a part of this. Thank you Fame.

I have spawned many wonderful friendships with various people on this website. I enjoy the many conversations we hold over Xbox Live, Twitter, and on this website. I want to refrain from listing off names for fear forgetting someone. However, you all know who you are. Through our various interactions with each other over the internet, weíve become much like a family. A family that loves and cares for one another; one that gets into arguments with each other, but always respectfully reaches common ground.

My time as a member at Destructoid has been worthwhile, and it hasnít even been a year yet (itís close though!). There are still many of you who I have yet to be acquainted with, and those who I have just built friendships with. I want to enjoy my time with you all.

I want to end with a huge thank you to everyone who is involved with running this website: Niero, Nick, Jim, Hamza, Dale, Jordan, Tom, Hollie, Max, Tara, Colette, Maurice, Conrad, Chad, Johnathan, JRo, Joseph, Matthew, Josh, Samit, Kauza, Zodiac, Mxyzptlk, the Programmers, those, past and present, who have made a contribution to the site one way or another; but most importantly, I want to give a big thank you to the COMMUNITY.

You are my family.   read


12:55 PM on 02.23.2011

Groundhog Day: Seven Legendary Stars



There is only one game that comes to mind when I think of that one game that I absolutely have to play again and again, more so than many others. Super Smash Bros. is a game I love to play with my cousins all the time, but surprisingly, that is not the game that came to mind. Neither is Phantasy Star Online, one of my favorite RPGs that I used to spend hours upon hours grinding in. I have many fond memories of many video games I played often throughout the years, but this game is one that I must play over and over, because I feel a special connection with it. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is that one game I played as a kid and continued to beat, year after year, and still get that urge to come back to.

This game, my favorite game of all time, is the one I choose to write about in this blog. Super Mario RPG has been with me since I was little kid. It has been there alongside me, watching me grow up. It used to taunt me as a kid, knowing how young and naÔve I was. The gameís difficulty was one of that I had never experienced before. I had never played an RPG game like Super Mario RPG before. I was used to playing platformers and side-scrolling shooters. The RPG mechanics in the game needed to take time and patience to understand. It continued to taunt me. It knew I would never be able to collect all of the Seven Stars and beat Smithy. It knew Iíd fail miserably, and I did. I failed numerous battles along the way. I even wanted to quit. I wanted to quit and save myself the shame from losing battles I had no way of winning.

But I couldnít let Mario and his gang down. After each unsuccessful bout, Iíd grow more determined to reach Smithy and put an end to him and his shenanigans. And eventually, I did. I beat Smithy and saved Star Road again and again and again and again.

Itís been about 2 years since my last play through of Super Mario RPG, and Iíve recently decided that now is a great time to jump back into that universe and take down Smithy once again. Iím currently playing through the game as of writing this blog in order to help refresh my memories of this wonderful game. My god how joyful this game makes me.

For my monthly musing, I want to discuss why I keep coming back to this game by breaking down the five key ingredients that makes this game so special to me: Characters, Gameplay, Visuals, Audio, and Story.


Characters



The characters of Super Mario RPG are unique and special to the story. Each individual character has been given a fleshed out background thatís critical to the story. It doesnít take a genius to figure out that Mario is the main character in this game. However, unlike his previous games, Mario is given a voice, except, without actually having a voice. He is able to interact with other characters through means of body language. He never ceases to make me smile each time he uses his body to communicate with others. For the first time, Mario was given a personality and it made me enjoy the game, and the character, even more.

The same goes for Peach and Bowser. We finally see the way they both live their lives at their respective homes. Peach is the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom and must be protected at all times. She is forced to stay in her fancy castle at all times, so that she doesn't get hurt. Bowser runs his own army of minions at his castle constantly trying to figure out how to best Mario. Both characters feel more alive and real then ever before which allows for an even deeper connection with them.

Other unique characters that are introduced and are a welcome addition to the game are Mallow and Geno.

Mallow is your typical character that has trouble transitioning from being a kid to becoming an adult. When you first meet him, heís crying because he lost his grandfatherís coin to a bandit. He tries to keep himself from crying, but ends up crying up a storm (literally). Throughout the game you see him learn more about himself in ways I choose not to spoil for those who havenít played the game. He eventually becomes that brave young man he always wanted to be, and once he reaches that point, itís such a satisfying moment. Mallow played a very important role in the story, because he feels more like a friend to Mario, rather than another party member, which makes him such a loveable character.

Now Geno is just one badass character. In his introduction, we see him as a star spirit flying around a room with toys laid on the ground. He decides to take the form of one of the dolls, Geno, and begin his adventure of finding the seven stars to repair his home, the Star Road. Now what makes Geno such a badass is his kickass attire and his ability to fight using his hand-cannon. He can also perform awesome special abilities that can obliterate enemies and buff up your party. Heís one strong character and is definitely a fan-favorite. I donít blame him; heís one character I love having in my party.

Gameplay



Super Mario RPG is considered to be an action turn-based role-playing game. At first glance, it may look like your normal turn-based RPG, complete with selecting commands for your team members and waiting your turn. However, this type of gameplay was given an additional function. Whenever youíre in battle and youíre attacking or about to be attacked, itís imperative that you press the ďAĒ button with correct timing so that you can either do more damage, or have the enemy do less damage on you. Itís a really simple function, but it keeps the battle more entertaining and engaging than your typical turn-based RPG. You want to be able to time you and your enemyís hits perfectly. It can definitely shape the way a battle turns out.

You gain experience after each battle that levels up your characters and allows you to unlock more special abilities for them. Special abilities are flashy skills your characters can use to attack the enemy, buff your party, or debuff your enemies. Whatís really cool about using special abilities is that the same concept of staying engaged during the action still applies. For instance, one of Mario special attacks requires you to repeatedly press the ďYĒ button to spam fireballs at the enemy. The faster you press ďYĒ, the more damage you do. There are many other controller inputs that are required when in battle which made this turn-based RPG unique for its time.



When youíre not in a battle, though, you are exploring the game world through the use of Marioís handy platforming skills. Itís only natural that the game contains platforming segments considering most Mario games before this one was a platformer. Mario is best known for his jumping abilities, especially by the many characters you meet with in the game. Youíre able to run, jump, and climb your way around the game world, searching for treasure and items that can help aid you on your adventure. There are even segments in the game that are sort of like mini-games. Thereís a part in the game where you have to collect couns hopping between barrels while flowing down a river, another where you're riding in a mine cart inside of a mine, and one where youíre on an island full of Yoshis called Yosíterís Isle and youíre competing in races against other Yoshis. Itís all super fun and awesome.

This game does a great job changing up the gameplay, causing for a varied and enjoyable experience.

Visuals



Super Mario RPG contains some of the best visuals ever produced on the SNES. The world is colorful and vibrant, which makes each and every town you visit feel alive and real, especially with 3D modeled characters walking around towns and running stores and inns. There are many locales in which you visit throughout your journey and all are given a unique look. You visit places like castles, sewers, forests, mines, ghost ships, volcanoes and even a city in the sky. Each locale is created to draw you into its world to allow you to subconsciously visit it with your imagination. (Iím not crazy).



The enemy character models also help immerse you into the world as well. Each locale contains its own theme, and the enemy character models abide by those themes. For instance, when youíre in the dark sewers, you battle against rats and ghosts and when you fight in the forest, you fight against mushrooms and those caterpillar things from previous Mario games. A lot of the boss characters look really good and are creatively designed. Youíve got bosses like Johnny, Czar Dragon and the weird but surprisingly lovable Booster.



The visuals truly shine when youíre in battle though. Not only do the character models physically touch each other when attacking(*cough* Pokemon), but each Special ability lights up the battlefield with nice special effects when used. Mario is able to unleash gigantic fireballs from the palm of his hand, Bowser can summon huge monsters to storm the battlefield, and Mallow can summon different weather-inducing powers. All of this not only makes battles fun and hectic, but it also makes battles a joy to watch and participate in.

Audio

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The music of Super Mario RPG really gets stuck in your head. And thatís a good thing! Everything from the battle music and the tunes you listen to during town travels is just amazing. Nintendo and Squaresoft did an amazing job with the music, because it captures the setting and overall atmosphere of wherever itís taking place. I never get tired of listening to the battle music each time I enter a battle. Itís very upbeat and instantly puts a smile on my face. I catch my self humming it once Iíve finished a fight, and itís the first tune I think of when I think of the music in this game. You spend the majority of the time fighting in this game, and Nintendo/Squaresoft couldnít have created anything more suitable and enjoyable to listen to.

Here are three of my more favorite tunes that are in the game:

[embed]194869:36593[/embed]

[embed]194869:36594[/embed]

[embed]194869:36595[/embed]

Story



This is the first time that a Mario game had been given some type of story. I had played pretty much all of the Mario games that were released before RPG by the time I got to this game, and while I enjoyed my experiences saving the Princess from the evil King Koopa/Bowser, I was thrilled to be able enjoy a new experience with my favorite video game character in a game where he was given a fleshed out story and a real purpose other than saving some chick from an evil horny dragon, turtle, lizard thing over and over again.

The story of Super Mario RPG begins like every other Mario game. Bowser captures Princess Peach and Mario is tasked with saving her from him. As soon as Mario believes he has rescued Peach, a new foe drops smack dab into Bowserís castle sending Peach and Mario flying away and kicking Bowser out of his home. This new foe is a giant sword called Exor and he is a part of ďSmithyís GangĒ. Smithy and his gang have broken through a place above the sky called Star Road, where peopleís wishes go to be granted, and causes seven star pieces to fall from the sky, spreading out in multiple locations around Marioís world. Smithy wants to collect all seven star pieces and rule the world, but itís up to Mario, and whoever he can round up to help him, to stop Smithy and save Star Road, and essentially his world too.

Now I know the basic premise of the story isnít the best story in the world and sounds very clichť to other stories that have a hero tasked with stopping an evil foe, but itís the smaller stories within Super Mario RPG that I really enjoy more. Mallow and his growth as a character throughout the story really was an enjoyable experience. Learning about Geno, who he really is and how he plays this big role in the story added more breadth to the overall story. Even Bowserís little story arc of seeing him losing everything and having to resort to working with his most hated rival in order to have a chance at redeeming all that he had lost made me feel bad for the guy.



What also helped push the story along was the humorous writing. Despite its more mature than usual story, Super Mario RPG is a hilarious game. The writing is always presented in a way that doesnít make you skip through lines of text in order to gain control of your character again. Iím playing through it for the umpteenth time and still continue to read through the text because itís still enjoyable and makes me chuckle. The writing is so well done for each character that you can distinguish each characterís style. In some games I feel that the writing for each individual character is so similar that I have trouble connecting with the characters, but this game makes sure that each character is unique by their actions and by their words.

These little story arcs and the hilariously great writing helped the game as a whole by being more engaging and it added deeper meaning and further insight into what became a very satisfying story.


Super Mario RPG is the product of everything I could ever want and need in a video game. The game has a wide range of unique characters that are all fleshed out and worth investing your time and emotions into. One of the aspects I truly look for in a game is if it can provide a fun experience for me from start to finish, and this game passes that test with flying colors. The gameplay is fun and varied and I never get bored of it. Iím also treated to a beautifully modeled world and characters each and every time I boot up the game. The same goes for the music. Iíve carried the sweet melodies of the music of this game with me for over a decade now and still enjoy it. And finally, thereís a fun and entertaining story that keeps me fully engaged as if it were my first ever play through each and every time I play the game.

I love this game more than this blog could ever express it and I couldnít have asked for a better game that keeps having me come back to it, over and over again.   read


2:30 PM on 01.26.2011

Unwinding the Mind: Writer's Block Sucks, These Games Don't

You know what I always have trouble doing? I have trouble starting up writing projects. It could be an essay thatís due the next day, a story that Iíll never write, or even a simple blog. No matter the material, Iím always caught with writerís block before any writing even begins! Once I do find a way to get started, however, I just keep going and going and eventually find myself at the end of my writing. Keeping that in my mind encourages me to fight through my writerís block, so Iím able to knock it out of the park.

Anyways, letís pick up where we left off.
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If you would have asked me about 5 months ago if Bioshock was a good game, I would have told you I hadnít played it nor had any intention on playing it. Enter the announcement of Bioshock Infinite. The trailer and previews for that game just had me in awe. The game looked incredible and I just had to go back and play the first two games before Infiniteís release, and boy was I glad I did.

Bioshock is such a unique game with such a unique world. The city of Rapture brings such an amazing atmosphere into the game. An underwater city filled with scary Big Daddies, creepy Little Sisters and people who have gone insane all set in an alternate history in the 1960s. Whatís not to love? I was also surprised at how great the game looked being over 3 years old. The graphics did a fine job immersing me into the gameís world.

The gameplay was also superb. I always appreciate shooters that incorporate elements found in role-playing games, especially when theyíre done so spectacularly. Shoot guns in your right hand, and perform upgradable ďmagicalĒ abilities, called plasmids, with your left. How awesome is that?

I was really satisfied with how my game ended and am eagerly ready to hop back into the Bioshock universe and do some things differently. Iím really glad I decided to give Bioshock a chance.

I definitely recommend this game to those who enjoy Shooters and/or RPG adventures.



Dead Space was another gem I would have skipped out on had I not seen trailers and previews of its sequel. This horror game looked too awesome to pass up. Iím not into horror games myself. Iíd like to say itís because they donít interest me, but the real reason is because Iím a big pussy. Iíve always watched my brothers play all the horror games and had an awesome time watching them, but wanted nothing to do with playing them. That all changed with Dead Space.

I couldnít have lost my horror-virginity to a better game. The scares are cheap, the score is creepy, and the graphics are oh so gruesome. However, unlike other horror games I remember, I did not once feel like I was helpless. Even though Isaac is an engineer, heís a damned good gun-wielder. Completing task after task proved that everybodyís errand-boy, Isaac, was a force to be reckoned with. Even though I felt like a super hero, I still fell for a lot of the cheap scares, and my heart jumped quite a few times.

This game was super fun and Iíll definitely be going back for another play-through. This game deserves a play if you have not played it!



If there were a genre called Crazy-Over-the-Top-ACTION!, Bayonetta would definitely be the first game I could think of that fits that genre. I donít think Iíve ever played a game thatís so fun and so silly at the same time. From gigantic demon dragon things to doing sexually awkward poses during combat, this game has all of the action and silliness in-between.

I could care less about the story; in fact, I have no idea what the hell is going on other than the fact that Bayonetta is a witch trying to figure out her past. All I care about is how fun this game is, and thatís all I want in my video games. The combat is so fun, seamless, and over-the-top, it makes Batman: AAís combat seam dry and dull. Bayonetta carries four guns, 2 in her hands and 2 on her shoes. Not to mention she can pick up enemiesí weapons, make time slow down with every successful dodge, and perform crazy-ass executions once she has enough magic. It feels so satisfying when you clear out an area full of enemies without getting hit once.

Iíve only gotten about half-way through the game, but from what Iíve played already, this game definitely deserves at least a try, especially if you like fun!



Still on my Sci-Fi fix thanks to Firefly, I decided to give Battlestar: Galactica a try. This show is awesome, plain and simple. The space combat action is some of the best stuff Iíve seen in a television show. The drama raises more and more each episode. Also, the entire cast of characters feels fleshed out and worth investing your time in, even the bad guys. Not to mention, Tricia Helfer is so damn sexy to me.

What really draws me into the show, however, is the premise of the story. Humanity is down to less than 50,000 people after an attack on their home planet, Caprica, by a robot force humanity created called the Cylons. Everyone thatís left alive is traveling the galaxy, with the military, in search for Earth in order to rebuild their civilization.

Even though this show is fictional, itís definitely presented in a realistic way that has me constantly thinking, what if this were to really happen?

BSG has become one of my new favorite shows in a while and Iíd be a fool not to recommend it to others.

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It looks like the format of this blog is, talk about a few games, recommend them, and then recommend a show on Netflix. I donít necessarily want the format of this blog to be like this all the time, but thatís pretty much how Iíve been spending most of my free time for the past few weeks.

Hopefully Iíll have more interesting or insightful things to talk about in future blogs, especially since the semester just started back up. Iíll be out in the wild more, and we all know all the interesting things worth talking about happens out in the world.

Anyways, thanks for reading!   read


4:31 AM on 01.15.2011

Unwinding the Mind: Happy New Year!

Jeez. How long has it been since I last wrote a blog? Itís been too long. I guess you can say Iíve been busy. Busy playing games that is. I just havenít had the motivation for writing blogs, especially after with everything going on with ďNew DtoidĒ. Anyways, Iím back and I promise to be more active in blogging and just around Dtoid in general.

I decided that I want to do a ďrandom thoughtsĒ type blog. Itís become a popular thing around here, and I just really like the idea of expressing whateverís on your mind inside of a blog, and then having a discussion in the comments about the various topics.

So without further ado, I introduce the first entry of Unwinding the Mind!

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Itís a new year and you know what that means! Making stupid promises to yourself that you know you wonít be able to keep for longer than a few weeks. My stupid promises this year consist of clearing out my backlog of games, stepping outside of my comfort zone in life and gaming, and the ever-popular, being more healthy physically and mentally. The latter two have been a bit tougher to get myself to do since the new year, considering Iím still on break from school and Iíve been a lazy fuck. I have, however, been doing good job on clearing out my backlog of games this year.



The first game I completed this year was Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood. I actually completed this game about an hour and a half into the New Year (does that count?). I absolutely LOVED this game. Itís pretty much an enhanced version of Assassinís Creed II, which is a great thing because I loved AC:II.

The gameplay was definitely given the proper polish. Everything from running across rooftops, scaling walls, and fighting felt smoother and seamless than previous titles. Rome is humongous and beautiful. It all feels very alive with all the happenings that occur throughout the city. Also, the whole process of recruiting and sending your assassins out on contracts to level them up is amazingly fun and addictive.

The inclusion of multiplayer was a step I was not expecting to see from an Assassinís Creed title, but I was glad to see it wasnít half-assed. Itís very thrilling trying to chase down your target while trying not alert your pursuer (or pursuers) by making obvious movements that only human characters would make. Iíve had a blast playing with gareth and SuperMonk, even though SuperMonk is a poison-abusing asshole (<3).

I definitely recommend giving this game a play.



Batman: Arkham Asylum was the most recent game on my backlog that I had completed, and boy, did I enjoy the hell out of it. I started Batman: AA without much expectation. I had played the demo and thought it was OK. I knew it was supposed to be good, and I wasnít expecting much after that. With that in mind, I started the game, and within an hour of play I was hooked!

Being trapped in a prison with all of Batmanís greatest enemies was an awesome set up for story and boss battles. By the end of it all, I really felt for him, because I had invested all of this time with this superhero, who is only human, and seen him basically live out his version of hell. Rocksteady did a great job bringing Batmanís hell to life with their look and feel of arkham asylum. They also did a great job with the combat. I truly felt like a bad ass super hero who could kick anyone's ass. Also, Batmanís gadgets that are used to help him search for clues and access new areas are so awesome. They really helped expand the gameplay making the game even more fun and unique.

TL;DR PLAY THIS GAME NOW!

Iím currently playing through Bioshock and will definitely offer my thoughts on the game on my next entry. Hint hint: I likey!



Netflix has been my new obsession lately and I have been going through some shows based off of recommendations from you fine folks who follow me on Twitter. MrAndyDixon recommended I watch Firefly, and thatís what I did. And I ENJOYED it!

Iíve heard nothing but great things about this show and some douche named Nathan Fillion, but I never had the interest to check it out. After seeing Andy gush about it over twitter, I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. I am proud to say that I am now a Firefly groupie (sorry Occams).

The show takes place in the future with space ships, but has an old western setting. Those two things sound like an odd pairing, but it feels so perfect. The dialog is funny, yet very serious, especially when it needs to be. All of the characters are lovable, except for River, in my opinion. I couldnít like her, not until I watched the movie based on the show, Serenity. She kicked ass in that movie. She was just too weird and did shit that made me say "what the fuck" several times while watching the show. Iím sure if the show wasnít canceled I wouldíve have come to like her just as much as the rest of the crew.

The 14 episodes of Firefly and the movie Serenity were very enjoyable and I recommend giving it a watch if youíre into the science-fiction/old western genre.

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Thatís all I got. Let me know if this was an entertaining read, if not, let me know what I could do to make it more enjoyable. Iíll try and put out one of these every 1-2 weeks.

Thanks for reading and happy New Year!   read


1:38 PM on 09.02.2010

So there's this guy named Occams, and he's kind of AWESOME!

"Always, I wanna be with you, and make believe with you, and live in harmony harmony oh love"

This quote from Erasure's "Always" is how completely how I feel towards Occams after what was mailed to me yesterday.

Before I explain, or rather, show you guys the magical entities of awesome Occams has decided to bestow upon me, I should explain why Occams has decided to send me anything in the mail at all. I mean, he could have just sent me anthrax, but no, he sent me the combination to his heart.



The combination is 514 if anyone's wondering.

So there we were, in the most intense game of Castle Crashers. I was down to a pint of health and Occams wasn't looking shabby himself. The Cyclops boss had his eyes set for Occams. I could see it's thirst for blood and vengeance in the Cyclops' eye. It took off dashing towards Occams . Occams stood there in frozen in fear as the Cyclops hulking body came ever so closer to hitting him. Being the stealthy ninja I was, I quickly took off toward the hulking beast and with all of my might, I shoved the Cyclops into the neatly dug, square pool of lava and the Cyclops was no more.

As a token of his appreciation, Occams offered to mail me gifts. The end.



Ok, ok. Maybe I stretched the truth a bit there.

Occams and I were just chatting over a friendly game of Castle Crashers, when he asked my what kind of music I liked. My music tastes are generally open. However, I frequently listen to bands like Silversun Pickups, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers, and the old Linkin Park for my Alternative fix and Gangstarr, A Tribe Called Quest, Blu & Exile, and generally anything from the late 80s-early 90s for my Hip-Hop fix.

Being the very kind man he is, Occams offered to send me a DVD full of his music recommendations. I was thrilled he would do such a thing for me. So I sent him my address and awaited the arrival of the DVD.

Now all I was expecting was to receive that DVD full of music. However, Occams had snuck in a few other surprises that I was like to share with you guys.



Whoa what's all this? A hand-written letter, a drawing,some loose Marvel vs. Capcom papers, a little Cthulu and.. wait.. is that.. the.. white ranger?



A sniper holding an axe calling him self an "axe murderer"? I don't get.. OHH! I see what you did there. Hehe.. :) (It's an inside joke from the FNF crew)



This was on the back side of that drawing up there. Is.. that a nipple? What the fuck?



OMIGAWD! IT'S A CUTE LI'L CTHULU!! Is it weird that this slept with me last night?



Now Occams knows I'm a fan of the fighting genre, so he decided to send me this Marvel vs. Capcom strategy guide ripped straight from a GamePro magazine. I love it <3



I don't even know what to say about these. They're Dinosaur and Garbage Pail Kids cards, a sticker warning me to not pour dangerous chemicals on my hand and a paper grenade from the Punisher movie. I totally gotta find a place to put these things.



As much as I love everything Occams sent me, the CDs were the real treat. But look! There's a treat on the treat!



*shriek* It's the White Ranger! Even though I agree with you Occams: Green Ranger>White Ranger, I'll take the White Ranger over no ranger anyday!



The name of this first CD is "Sniper are a thing God hates". I wonder why he decided to name.. OH! I get it again. Golly gee Occams, you're on a roll!



This one is entitled "Music for Steezy, A DVD's worth!, Great Stuff!". From what I've listened to so far, the title is sure is accurate.

There's a whole bunch of shit on both CDs that I've never heard of before, but there is also a good deal of songs I have heard of before. Regardless, I'm going to take things track by track and enjoy the sweet tunes.

Occams, you are one awesome character, and I'm happy to be able to call you a friend and I hope we meet up one day. Just not at your house because I'd be freaked out by all the dead shit you have in your house, and it'd probably have to be in public somewhere so you wouldn't try anything on me. And I'd have to bring a pocketknife. But other than that, I'd love to meet you.

Thanks for the awesome stuff and the music (which I'm currently listening to as I write this blog). I'll cherish it forever, or at least until I get alzheimers and forget everything. Which ever happens first I guess.

Also, Erasure's song was the first song that played on the "Sniper" CD, which is why I used that quote at the beginning of this blog. I laughed my ass off when I heard it play! It was such an amazing way to start off a CD.

And those who are curious about the contents of the CD. There's a bunch a Bad Brains, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Eels, Pixies, Sound Garden, Aretha Franklin, Smashing Pumpkins, The Smiths, and just a whole bunch of other shit.   read


2:44 PM on 08.06.2010

Adopt A Black Child for PAX

Ok, ok. I'm only half black and I'm technically an adult now, but still, how could you deny the cuteness of little leprechaun-looking me!

WARNING!: The last picture at the bottom of this blog is a little NSFW. Just a little heads-up.



So, I originally was supposed to go to PAX, but like everything I try to plan, things fell through and I found myself in the corner of a darkened room, crying my eyes out. Well, not really, but I can pretend I was if that'll make you adopt me out of sympathy. Seriously, I'll record it all on video. Just say the word.

Alright, so apparently the only way to sell yourself is to come up with a nice list of reasons to why you should sell yourself. So I'm gonna stick with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" method. Which means, YAY ANOTHER LIST!

Reason numero uno:

Steezy (my avatar) looks like a fucking leprechaun!

It's a scientific fact that leprechauns make everything better. I mean, come on, have you heard of a little thing called GOOD LUCK? Yeah, leprechauns invented that. If you take Steezy to PAX, I can GUARANTEE you will have some good luck. There's nothing like carrying a black leprechaun around a convention filled with video games and swag everywhere you turn. Steezy can help you take home some of those video games and swag, and not just because he's black either (I know what you're getting at).

Reason numero dos:

A canadian made Steezy look like a leprechaun.

Yes, garethxxgod MS Paint'd my avatar. Yes, he is canadian. Yes, this makes Steezy 10 times more awesome. Canadians + drawing + black person = Leprechaun. Do I even need to continue?



Reason numero tres:

Steezy looks innocent and cute.

Look at Steezy. He looks so cute and cuddly and you could just eat him up. Look at his dimply nose and that fluffy beard. How could you not cry tears of rainbows by looking at him. I mean, come on. Look at that smile! It has just enough curve to it to make you believe that he's hiding a secret. The secret ingredients used to make the Power Puff Girls of course!



Reason numero cuatro:

Just because Steezy looks innocent and cute, doesn't mean he can't hold his own.

You may not know this, but Steezy can handle his alcohol very well. He isn't the type to get shit-faced. Only to the point of a nice cool buzz is as far as he'll go. Getting shit-faced does NOT end well for Steezy or for who ever decided to tell him dirty secrets about hooking up with their best friend's mom. He keeps it calm and conservative for the most part, enjoying the time spent with buddies. Although, he'll have a killer time watching his buddies get shit-faced and making asses of themselves. Just sayin.

Reason numero cinco:

Steezy looks fucking intimadating.

I mean look at those glasses. He looks so mysterious. And those arms and hands. They look like fucking rakes. Now from what I recall, rakes can scratch the fuck out of you. Don't get too close, those rake hands will scratch your eyes out. Also, wtf, no legs!? He could totally be hiding a gat or a shank in either one of those pant legs.

With Steezy around, you won't have to worry about getting a pen jammed in your eye. One quick look at Steezy, and people will know not to mess with you.

Reason numero seis:

Steezy's father (me) just got a job at GameStop.

Yes, it is true. I am now an official employee of that store you love to hate. While I'm only a noob there, I still get to take advantage of all of the wonderful video games that lay within the store. Now what does this mean for the person who decides to take Steezy under their wing? Well, if he happens to become adopted, I may feel obligated to send a little gift of some sort from this magical store. Maybe a piece of the wrapper from a freshly bought game? Or how about that gum that little kid just stuck behind that 2 month-old copy of GameInformer? Yes, YOU can be the proud owner of that.

Reason numero siete:

When Steezy is equipped, your coolness raises by +20.

For example, when the base of your coolness is 30:

Steezy equipped ==> 30 + 20 = 50



Well there you go. That's seven reasons why Steezy deserves to be adopted. I could've stopped at 5, but I felt that wouldn't have captured enough reasons and I could've went up to 10, but that would have been dragged on. Seven felt just right. Also isn't seven is supposed to be a lucky number or something?

Look, I'm a horrible enough parent already for not being able to take him. Please someone, fulfill Steezy's dream of traveling the PAX grounds with his fellow Dtoiders. If it's sex your looking for, Steezy is good with the ladies and can also attract the men if that's what you prefer. If it's money you want, Steezy's a fucking leprechaun. Go find a rainbow, or better yet, a DOUBLE RAINBOW, and I'm sure Steezy can hook you up with a pot of gold at the end of it. If not, um, well, I don't know what the hell to tell you buddy.

So adopt Steezy and make everyone's PAX that much better. Thank you!

http://i.imgur.com/rJUZM.jpg   read


1:33 PM on 07.30.2010

Alternate Reality: Making the Right Decisions



[For my monthly musing, I decided to write a little story based on the Mass Effect franchise. It's something I cooked up over the past couple of days. In my alternate reality, I see myself as a Commander Shepard fighting to make the right decisions. Hopefully you guys like it.]

I woke up sore today. That battle on Hawking Eta really took a toll on my body. At least I got the mission done and my comrades out of there alive. I promised myself that I wouldn't lose anymore of my comrades after that battle on Akuzer. I won't. I refuse go through what I went through on that planet again. The guilt and the loneliness almost consumed me. I thought I had made the right call that day. If I did, I wouldn't have been the only survivor rescued off of that planet.

I finally have a chance to make things right. I've been promoted to Commander of this ship and was granted Spectre status by the council. I've got a well-trained crew at my side, ready to fight the good fight. But most importantly, she's on my ship. I've had my eyes on her the second I saw her handle herself against the Krogans on Therum. Marissa was a beauty to watch. Her exceptional adept powers make her all the more attractive. Now that she's on my ship, I want her even more than I could ever imagine.



"Commander, we've got an incoming transmission from Hades Gamma." said Ace from the intercom. I instantly told him to patch it through without giving it much thought.

"Hello? Is anyone there?" said a distressed voice from the transmission. I told the voice my name and asked what had been the matter. "The Geth has begun to invade our colony, but our soldiers aren't enough to hold them back. Their tearing through our defenses and it won't be long until they've wiped us out. We need some help." said the voice, sounding even more distressed. Before responding back, I took a second to weigh my options. I could have easily told the distressed voice that I had bigger problems to worry about than some space colony I had no interest in. I could have also decided to send another, smaller fleet to go check on the colony. However, I remembered my time back on Akuzer, how I was a Sole Survivor. I couldn't let anyone else go through what I went through. I had to help this colony. I requested that the coordinates to their colony be sent and I told the distressed voice not worry, we'd be there as soon as possible.

Ace came over the intercom again and recommended I checked up on the rest of the team to make sure they've gotten themselves prepared before we arrived at the colony.



I decided to go check on Ethan first. Ethan's a natural-born Infiltrator. I've heard stories of how he picked up his first sniper rifle at the age of three and obtained his first kill when he was only 9 years old. His father was known as the Piercing Bullet, due to his uncanny ability to line up a sniper shot on the weakest part of someone's helmet and have it pierce straight through until you were able to see right through the victims skull. However, Ethan's known as The Flash because of his quick, yet accurate shots on groups of enemies. Trust me, I've seen him take out a group of 8 Geth within a blink of the eye. His nickname's well deserved.

The scent of tobacco grasped my lungs as I approached his room. Laying on his bed staring at the ceiling, Ethan took a breath in, then as he exhaled, he watched the smoke flow out from his mouth and into the air. As I walked into his room, he let out a very smooth, "Hey boss." I checked in on him and then quickly briefed him on our mission. After getting caught up, he then proceeded to ask me something. "Do you ever think I'll have a home to go to one day?" With his colony having been overrun by the Krogan days before he was born, and due the high bounty on his father's head from his days as a bounty hunter, Ethan was always moving from place to place and never really had a home.

Having known Ethan for a few years now, I knew in the back of my mind what I should say. But I had to make sure I said the right thing or else he'd be in a bad mood, and I couldn't have him in a bad mood, especially not before a mission. It would ruin his performance and could cause harm to the mission. To be on the safe side, I studied my options. I could tell him that I'll always have a place he could call home right here on the ship, but I don't think he'd take too well to that idea. He also could have just been joking around and as a joke back, I could tell him to grow a shell and call that place your home. But if he wasn't joking, he'd probably be offended. So I decided to stick with what he told me when I first met him, "Your home is wherever your sniper rifle is, Ethan. When you have that sniper in your hand, that's when you feel the safest and that's when you feel closest to your dad." "Heh, I'm surprised you still remember I told you that Boss. I was sure you'd forgotten." said Ethan. I told him, "I never forget things that are important to my comrades, let alone my friends. Now get yourself ready for battle, we'll be at the colony soon." A smirk ran across his face as I headed toward the door.



I had decided that Jinx was going to be my next stop. However, heading toward his room, I noticed Marissa in the Observatory, staring out in to space. The reflection of her beautiful face on the glass had caste a spell on me, causing me to forget about Jinx. As I made my way toward her, I could smell the sweet aroma from her perfume. Her lips began to move and she said, "Hello Commander. You're looking a lot better today. That battle on Hawking Eta yesterday was tough, but at least we got through it in one piece." The melody of her voice almost put me in a state of trance. I had to say something, but I couldn't just say anything. I'm in love with this woman and I couldn't say anything that might jeopardize my chances with her. I could tell her how beautiful she looked even after that big battle on Hawking Eta, but that might be going too fast. I didn't want to rush this. I wanted to build a foundation for what our relationship could stand upon in the future. I could always have told her how exceptional she was in battle and that she was a valuable asset to our survival, but that's what any commander would say to a member of their team. I needed to say something that would nudge the idea of me being interested in her, but not go too far. I decided to go with, "You look good yourself. It's always nice to see you smile even after a battle like that takes place. It gives me something to look forward to after every mission." She responded with, "That's sweet of you Commander. It also helps that every time I see your face I know that everything will be alright. That's what keeps me smiling." It sounded like she was flirting with me. I almost confessed my love to her right then and there, but I couldn't. I'd be rushing into it, which is what I didn't want to do.

I took a glance outside of the Observatory and noticed that we were almost at the Colony and I still haven't checked in on Jinx. As much as I didn't want to, I had to end our chat and go check on Jinx. I had to make sure I ended our chat on the right foot, so that we could easily pick up where we left off when I got back. If I were to reply with a simple yet straight-forward "I should go", that would probably give her the impression that I had better things to do and that I had no problem brushing her aside. I decided to tell her, "I'm sorry to have to cut this short, but I've got to go make sure everyone's ready for the mission. I'd love to see another smile from you when I get back, then we can pick this up where we left off." She replied with, "I'll always have a smile for you Commander. I'll be waiting for your return." Damn I love this woman.



Jinx is one of the best engineers I know. He can fix any machine and build any defense drone to help aid us in battle. He works with what ever he has at his disposal and makes the best of it. That's a true engineer. He's a very resourceful type of engineer. You don't see too many of those type of engineers around. I guess when you come from a poor upbringing, you have to learn to rely on what you have.

He's a hero back on his home planet. He helped stave off numerous attacks from a rivaling colony by using of old military weapons and modifying them into turrets in which he built around his camp. He also repaired old security drones to keep watch over his camp while he's out helping me. He worries about the people of his camp day in and day out. I want to get him back home as soon as possible, but we all, even himself, know that he's needed on this ship.

I walked by Jinx's room and noticed that he wasn't in there. I figured he was in the Lab cooking up some new inventions, so I made my way over there.

I was greeted with, "Ah, Commander Savage. How are you doing today?" from Jinx when I entered the lab. "I'm good Jinx. What's that you're working on?" I replied. With his usual jittery movements, Jinx stopped his work to tell me, "This here is a mini robot that can shoot darts that will stun enemies just long enough to get the drop on them. I've been testing him out on my little test subjects and so far he's been a success, but he still needs a lot of work. Would you like me to demonstrate what he can do so far? It will leave you in awe." As much as I would have wanted to see Jinx's new project, I knew that I couldn't waste anymore time. We had to prepare ourselves. I couldn't flat out just tell him no because he might take offense. So I responded with, "I'll have to check it out later Jinx. Right now we have a mission that needs to be carried out." "Absolutely Commander. Missions take top priority. So what exactly is this mission Commander?" asked Jinx. "I received a transmission from a colony on Hades Gamma saying that they were under attack by the Geth and needed back up. We're going in to help them." I replied. "Hades Gamma? Last I heard, the last remaining colony there was wiped out years ago." Said Jinx suspiciously. He continued, "Are you sure you received a transmission from there? Because it's not very likely to ever receive transmissions from colonies in Hades Gamma anymore." I told him that I was positive and that we still needed to go check out what was going on. "Alright Commander. We just need to take caution while we're down there. You never know what could happen." said Jinx. Part of me wanted to snap at Jinx for second judging me on what I heard in the transmission and for telling me how I should proceed with the mission. I know what I heard, and I know how to take care of my team. But, Jinx had every right to be concerned. This was all very suspicious. I told him, "I appreciate your concern Jinx, I'll make sure we proceed to Hades Gamma with caution. Now go prepare yourself for battle, we'll be landing soon."

"Commander we are now approaching Hades Gamma. I hope you're just about ready sir." said Ace over the intercom. I told him that we were going to be ready by the time we arrived and to make sure to approach the colony with caution. Right before Ace ended the intercom, he let out an "Aye aye Commander."

I made my way back to my quarters to go suit up. As I was preparing myself, all I could think of was what if this mission goes bad. From what Jinx was telling me, it sounded like it could be a trap. But I know what I heard. It was a distressed voice in need of my help. I had to go figure out what was going on. If there was truly a colony down there, I just couldn't leave it to be wiped out. But if it was a trap, I also couldn't leave who ever was there to wait and spring a trap on another unsuspecting ship. The only way I could figure out anything was by going down there to see for myself.

As long as I took the time to make the right decisions, everything would be okay. Nothing should go wrong. Right?   read


5:53 PM on 06.30.2010

Adventures in the Amazon (& GameStop) Part Thrice


Thereís a reason why itís always good to come out to your family and tell them that youíre a gamer. That reason usually comes in the form of GameStop gift cards. Generally for my birthday and Christmas, my non-immediate family knows that GameStop gift cards are great gifts for me, because 1.) they know Iím very picky, and 2.) they know I love my video games. So every birthday and Christmas, I am blessed with multiple gift cards from GameStop and Iím able to go cash them in for some sweet games.

I recently was given a bunch of gift cards from GameStop. Now you may ask, ďHey Steezy, itís not Christmas yet!Ē or ďHey Steezy, Iíve been stalking you and found out your birthday has already passed!Ē And to this I say, yes, you are right. However, as I mentioned before, I just recently graduated high school, meaning money for me!

Now the majority of my family gave me straight up money for my graduation, but there were a select few who remembered the gamer inside of me. Those family members were the ones who gave me such gift cards. By the end of the gift giving, I found that I had over $100 in gift cards from GameStop and I was cursed with a tough decision to make. What the hell was I going to buy? Well you are going to see what I bought right now!

Also, I had received a couple hundred dollars from other family members, and being a natural-born gamer you know I had to go the gamer route and spend it all on something video game related right? Yeah, youíll see that below too along with some impressions.


First up! SSB:Brawl and Muramasa, two must-have games for almost any Wii owner.


Game: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Developer: Game Arts

Price: $49.99

Reason: Well first of all, I knew I could have gotten the game for a few dollars cheaper on Amazon, but that would have forced me to wait a couple more days for me to have this game. I said to hell with it and got it anyway. The Super Smash Bros. series are one of my favorite video game series of all time. My cousins and I literally spent days upon days across all three games. This game simply cannot be put down, even to this day. I used to own this game, but sold it when I got rid of my Wii the first time around. Now that I have (and am keeping) my Wii again, it was a no brainer that I definitely needed to get this game again. I will own any and all who are willing to face me in this game. Beware.


Game: Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Developer: Vanillaware

Price: $29.99

Reason: Muramasa was a game I missed out on having sold my Wii and I wasnít a happy camper when I first saw it. I love, love, LOVE the art style in this game. I absolutely love hand drawn sprites and backgrounds. They are my absolute favorite type of graphics for a video game. I was already sold on the game thanks to the art style, but the game play was icing on the cake. It looked phenomenal and downright fun. I love my hack n slash games and I love them even better if they incorporate some type of RPG elements into them, which Muramasa does. I immediately had to pick this up, no questions asked.


Item: Xbox 360 Hard Drive Transfer Kit

Price: $19.99

Reason: Oh I wonder why I possibly need this for. Hmm, I donít know, but letís keep reading to find out.

Well that about wraps up my time at GameStop. I still had some money left over in the gift cards, but I couldnít find anything else that interested me at that moment, so I decided to just leave with these three purchases.

Now the initial reason I went to GameStop was to get that Transfer Kit because I was expecting a certain ďsomethingĒ to be arriving in the mail soon, and to my surprise there it was waiting for me as I got home.


This box sure is bigger than the others. I wonder what could possibly be in it.

As I cut off the tape and open the box, I saw there, laying in this dark box, the thing I had ordered from Amazon.


BAGS OF AIR!!

With Global Warming happening and people killing of our trees, itís about time we stock up on bags of air to survive on.

As I was holding the bag of air, all of a sudden, it came to life and tried to suffocate me!


HELP! Ironically, I canít breathe because Iím being choked by air!

I was flailing around for about 3 minutes straight as I began to turn blue in the head. I looked around for something to help me but didnít find a thing. Then, I look upon my bed and found the scissors. I grabbed them and stabbed the son of a bitch until it was no more!


Me-1/Air-0

I peak into the box to see if thereís any more of these motherfuckers inside and to my surprise I find a second box with pictures of families enjoying themselves.


I wondered to myself what the hell could these bags of air be planning!? World domination?

I picked up the box and flipped it around and immediately remembered that this wasnít the workings of the bags of air, but the workings of Microsoft! It was the new Xbox 360 Slim I ordered a few days back. Silly me!


Item: Xbox 360 Slim

Price:

Reason: Now Iím sure everyone saw the end of Microsoftís press conference and was a little upset that everyone who attended the show received one of these bad boys for free. I know I was. Since my 60 GB Xbox was starting to become shitty and always running out of space, I had to have one of these. I remember first seeing the slim on the leaked advertisement online and thinking, I hope this thing is legit and if it is, it better be sold at an affordable price. After finally being announced, Dan Patrick said this thing was only $299 and was being shipped to stores that day. Seeing as how Iíd been pondering over an upgrade to my current 360, this couldnít have come at a better time. So I jumped for it.





Impressions: Now Iím going to break these impressions into three parts: hardware, performance, and side-by-side comparisons. Then at the end I will tell you if I believe you should make a purchase if you are considering getting one.

-Hardware-: Compared to the hulking fatty that is the original 360, this thing looks beautiful. Itís a little bit smaller, but not as big of a size difference like the PS2 compared to the PS2 slim. Itís still a noticeable size difference though and it is lighter, which is a plus. I love the glossy look to it, and even though everyone (including myself) was worried about it attracting fingerprints and dust, Iíve got to say after having set it up, I just wiped it down and it still looks brand spanking new. If you happen to get one, just wipe it down and everything should be fine.

The power and eject buttons are now touch sensitive which is pretty cool. They also make a neat little sound when pushed which is also a nice little addition. There are also 2 extra USB slots in the back of the console to satisfy your USB needs however you like. There are now 3 vents for heat to escape the console now, making it less likely to overheat. Also, those who purchase this console are treated with a hefty 250 GB hard drive, which is more than I will ever need but am glad to have.

Overall, the hardware looks very slick and is an improvement to the original. Also, it looks very nice sitting next to my black Wii.



-Performance-: Now I remember seeing somewhere online the speeds of both the Slim and the original Elite consoles were being compared. From what I saw, the Slim wasnít all that much faster than the Elite counterpart, but there was still a slight difference in some cases. Seeing as how I own an original 60GB console, I will be comparing the Slim performance with that console. So if you own an Elite console and want to know how big the difference in performance is between the two consoles, I say do some research.

The one thing I started to hate about my original 360 was that it started to slow down. Starting up and loading into different screens or games took noticeably longer than it used to and sometimes it would freeze up. It really frustrated me. Now the performance on the Slim is very noticeably faster. I noticed I loaded up the start screen after turning on the console much quicker. Quick jumping from game to game was also much smoother and faster, and even installing games were a little bit faster than before. Before, my original would take around 10-12 minutes to install a game to the hard drive. Now, the Slim takes about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the game of course.

The built in wireless has yet to disappoint me. Itís worked great online so far in games like Super Street Fighter IV, Red Dead Redemption, and Gears of War 2. I havenít experienced any type of lag that could have been caused by me, so thatís a big plus.

Overall, the performance is noticeably faster on the Slim than on my 60 GB console.

-Side-By-Side Comparisons-:







As you can see, the Slim isnít all that smaller than the original, but you can tell it is smaller.

Here are some other comparisons that you might not care about but Iím putting here anyway:


The slim comes with the standard A/V component cables. No HDMI :(


The power cords for both systems are identical in length and type and can be used in either brick.


The controllers are pretty much the same except for the guide button. No new D-Pad :(. The Slimís guide button is now chrome which is sexy!


The power brick for the slim is definitely smaller and lighter than the original.


The Slimís cord for the power brick is also different than the original.

And that's it for the comparisons!

-Should I Buy The Slim?-: I believe if you still own any iterations of the original Xbox 360s (Arcade, 20 GB, 60GB) and are considering getting this, DO IT! It is well worth the price. Youíll no longer have to worry about running out of space, itís a faster console performance-wise, and it just looks sexy. However, if you own an Xbox 360 Elite (120GB, 250GB), itís really up to you. If I personally had an Elite system before the Slim, I donít think I would have made the purchase. It all depends on if youíre able to afford the new console and if you really think everything I explained above appeals to you. If so, then go for it. If not, then you still have a great console.

Well that pretty much wraps up this post. Iíve got my new games and Iíve got my new console. I hope you all enjoyed this post and I hope my impressions didnít bore you. Thanks for reading!   read


1:22 PM on 06.28.2010

Adventures in the Amazon Part Deux




I apologize for scaring you with my big ugly mug.

You guys see this face? This is the face of a young black man being woken up by loud bangs to my front door at 9 in the morning. I WAS NOT HAPPY. However, my mood quickly changed after finding out whom, or rather, what exactly was at my door. I opened the door, and after being blinded by the sunlight (damn you 9am sun!) and hearing the screeching tires of the UPS truck, I looked down and saw a pretty little brown box labeled Amazon. I proceeded to invite the little brown box into my home, offering it treats and candy. The box gladly accepted the offers and leapt into my hands and we closed the door and proceeded into the kitchen.

Now the little brown box was expecting to receive its treats as we were walking into the kitchen; however, having been cranky from being woken up, I decided to cut to the chase and I grabbed the scissors. This is when the box started to realize that I had tricked it into coming into my house so that I could steal its gifts that were being held inside of it. It tried to escape the wrath of my hands but it knew that it was too weak to escape the force of my kung-fu grip. It finally decided to give up and we began to walk toward my room, where it would take its last, bated breath.


As its final request, the little brown box asked me if I could take pictures in the midst of me opening it and its little precious gifts and post them on the internet for the whole world to see. I think the box thought that it would help start a ďviolence against boxesĒ campaign, but I thought it would make a pretty cool blog here on Dtoid, so I went along with its request.


The box screamed in agony as I ran the scissors through the top of it and I began to cut away until I finally reached the innards of it containing its gifts.


As I opened the now dead box, the first thing I saw in it was this white paper with words and numbers on it. I quickly grabbed the paper and scanned the items listed on it. I then tossed it aside and found the real gems I had been waiting for.


Chrono Trigger, TWEWY, Okami, and Madworld. I had anticipated their arrival for 6 long days and now theyíre finally in my hands.


As I scanned the box covers of each game to make sure everything looked in mint condition, I noticed this sticker on Chrono Trigger. It taunted the words ďPoster InsideĒ and I eagerly opened up the game to see this ďposterĒ.


I quickly tore off the plastic and opened the game case. Sitting directly under the game manual and some other shit from Nintendo, laid a folded poster. I immediately grabbed the poster and opened it up to see the poster in its glory.


What a beauty isnít it? I was not expecting this poster inside of the game box, so this just made my day.


Game: Chrono Trigger

Platform: Nintendo DS

Developer: Square Enix

Price: $19.99

Reason: The only time Iíve ever had a crack at playing Chrono Trigger was on an emulator on my school computer a few years back. I was only able to get a few short hours into it, but I was immediately compelled by everything about it. Its story was a big factor in drawing me into the game, as were the characters and seamless transition into combat. I wanted to play more, I had to. I had to get this game. I may not have gotten it at launch, but I do have it now!


Game: The World Ends With You

Platform: Nintendo DS

Developer: Square Enix

Price: $15.82

Reason: Do I even need to give an explanation on why I decided to get TWEWY? Better yet, I should explain why it is I donít already have it in my collection. As I had stated in my previous post, I got caught in the method of trading in my used games after completing them, and TWEWY was one of those games I traded in (I totally regretted it).

TWEWY is hands down, to this day, the best game on the DS. I donít care what anyone says, this is my Game of the Platform. TWEWY had one of the best storytelling experiences Iíve ever found in a video game. The art style is very beautiful and unique. The music is fucking amazing. And the game play is that of its own with a learning-curve to it, but once you figured it out, it became VERY rewarding. Any DS owner NEEDS to have this game in their collection (NOT JOKING).


Game: Okami

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Developer: Capcom

Price: $14.27

Reason: By the time this game came out for the PS2, I did not own the system, so I was unable to experience the ďamazingnessĒ of Okami that people had been praising about. Then when it was ported to the Wii, I had lost interest in the game, and I wasnít too interested in dropping hard earned (lunch) money on the game. However, I now feel left out not having experienced the game for myself, and I just hate being the odd one out. So I decided it was time for me to check out why everyone loves this game so much.


Game: Mad World

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Developer: Platinum Games

Price: $6.90

Reason: I remember first seeing Mad World and thinking how much the main character looked like Hell Boy (I love Hell Boy) and how much the art style looked like Sin City (I love Sin City), but the game play looked a bit repetitive to me. It looked as if all you did in the game was try and find over-the-top ways to kill your enemies. I mean, sure that could be fun for about an hour or so, but I could easily see myself getting bored quickly. However, around the time when Jonathanís review of the game came out, I told myself not to write the game off and decided that Iíd wait for a price drop. Well, over a year later, that price dropped from $50 to almost $7, well at least on Amazon (Game Stop is selling the game new for $20). It was an insta-buy.


Four new games added to the collection! Now I need some more sleep!

Now before I end this blog post I wanted to share with you all the beginning stages of my collection and I want to continue to share with you all my collection as it grows more and more. I have a little over 30 games spread across three platforms so far.


The group (money?) shot!

I currently donít have a proper setup due to the fact Iím currently living with two nephews who will destroy everything. I think I might hold out on making one once my sisters move out and I wonít have to worry about my things getting ruined.

Here are individual shots of each systemís games so you can see what I have so far:


My SexBox 360! Despite being a loud motherfucker and only 60 gigs, I love my little (GIANT) box of fun!


Donít worry my little DSi, I wonít get rid of you once the 3DS rolls around. I just wonít be playing you as much(ever).


I forgot to include my 3 GameCube games in the group (money?) shot, so I decided to add them here.

Thanks for reading guys! Hope you enjoyed this post. Iíve got more coming real soon. So stay tuned!

Also, Iím definitely taking suggestions on what games I absolutely need to have. Besides the games you see here, what are some games that you would recommend? Iím currently only collecting games that are worth playing for the systems I own right now, so Xbox 360, Wii, GameCube, DSi (not some damn Imagine game).

Iíll also take suggestions on games for XBLA/Indie, WiiWare/VC, and DSiWare. Seeing as how I want to become a Video Game Designer, I want to play as many games as I can to get different ideas and whatnot.

Thanks again!   read


1:57 PM on 06.26.2010

Adventures in the Amazon



Iíve decided that I want to start building my video game collection. The most games Iíve ever owned at one time is somewhere around 10-15 games. Having been younger, I was hardly able to save any money to buy a new game. I either had to wait until my birthday or Christmas in order to get a new game. Other than that, it was always the frequent trip to my local Blockbuster. By the time Game Stop rolled around with their game trade-in system, I would always turn in games I completed to help pay for newer games and once those newer games were completed, the cycle would continue. This method kept me happy every time I got a new game, but I almost always regretted trading in my games because Iíd always miss them in the long run.

Fast forward to today. I admire Funktastic for his amazing hauls and wish to someday at least own a quarter of the games and swag he owns. He has inspired me to do this, and I couldnít think of a better time to start.

Amazon has some amazing deals on video games and I am starting to take advantage of them. Really, if you haven't checked out Amazon, I highly recommend it. The deals there make it seem like Game Stop is ripping off its customers with it's standard prices (seriously!).

Anyways, here are some of the things the mailman (Santa Claus) has brought me from Amazon:

[Side note: Everything shown was purchased new. These are not used game prices. The prices displayed below are about the same prices Game Stop uses for the same games but used.]


Two packages from Amazon!? Oh I wonder what could be in them!


As you can see Iím VERY eager to find out


Oh my Almighty Destructoid! What could I possibly be looking at!?


Game: Mega Man Zero Collection

Platform: Nintendo DS

Developer: Capcom

Price: $27.99

Reason: After reading a certain someoneís review on the game, I knew I had to get it. Iíve never gotten into any of the Mega Man Zero games and I felt that this was the perfect chance to get caught up on everything Zero had to offer. Thanks Jonathan!


Hmm.. This second box feels slightly heavier.. Wonder what could be in it!


OMFG! Iím 4 years late! But who gives a fuck! I got some games!


Game: Crackdown

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: Realtime Worlds

Price: $13.48

Reason: Since Crackdown 2 is due to be out within the two weeks, I thought it was about time I played the first game. Iíve been interested in playing Crackdown for a while now, but never got the chance to. Now I do!


Game: The Orange Box

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: Valve

Price: $19.82

Reason: The Orange Box was another opportunity Iíve missed out on for years now. Of the 3 (5) games, Iíve only played a little bit of Portal and the demo for Half-Life 2 and I enjoyed the little time I played with those two game. TF2 also looked pretty fun. So Iím glad that I was finally able to purchase this.


Game: Dead Rising

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: Capcom

Price: $15.01

Reason: Iíve pretty much heard nothing but good things about this game since it was released, and again, I never got the chance to play it. Dead Rising 2 is coming out this year and Iím pretty excited for it. So I thought Iíd brush up on the zombie killing experience before that hit shelves.

Now these next two items didnít arrive in the same packages as the games above did. They came a few days earlier but I decided to include them in this post.


Game: Mirrorís Edge

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: DICE

Price: $10.45

Reason: Unlike the games above, I actually did play this game, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I just loved the style, music, and innovative game play that I experienced with this game. It was an amazing experience for me from start to finish and I just had to have this game in my collection. Also, whenever DICE decides to announce the inevitable sequel to this game, Iíll always have this game to brush up on my parkour skills.


Item: Xbox Live 12 Month Gold Membership

Price: $34.44

Reason: Ok I know this isnít a game, and I know you PS3 owners are looking down in shame right about now, but itís ok. Even though Microsoft charges money for their online service, I still am willing to put my money down for it because what they offer me for my money has yet to disappoint me. Itís a great online service that I may not agree %100 with (wtf is Twitter and Facebook doing on my xbox?), but I have grown fond of it over the years. Anyways, I got this because it was on the CHEAP! Normally a 12 month Gold membership would run me $50 plus tax. Amazon gave me one for $34.44, no tax, no shipping. Iíd say thatís a steal!

So far my experience with Amazon has been pretty great. Iíve also got some more games that just came in and also something that rhymes with sexbox treesmixty schwim, but Iíll save that for another blog. Donít worry, I wonít make you wait too long.

Thanks for reading!

Now Iím off to play my new (OLD) games!



Also,


Put a smile on! .. Yes, I know that was dumb.. I'll leave now..   read


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