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HELLO there!

The name's James and I'm 20. I reside in the beautiful Bay Area in California. I've been gaming for as long as I can remember. Being a 90's kid, I of course grew up playing the Sega Genesis and NES being accompanied by Sonic The Hedgehog and the old school Mario Bros. I had so many games for my NES up until my NES broke and my dad decided to give the games away since I was busy occupying my new SNES. From there I pretty much owned any system that Nintendo made and enjoyed my childhood as a natural born gamer.

I now own all three consoles and try to be open-minded when playing various video games. Expect to see me write about my experiences with video games on this here blog!

Twitter:
http://twitter.com/SteezyXL

YouTube:
http://youtube.com/GamesTheJamer


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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.

---

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!
Photo








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.









[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.










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



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:







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.








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!
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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!
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