Community Discussion: Blog by StriderHoang | StriderHoang's ProfileDestructoid
StriderHoang's Profile - Destructoid

Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android

click to hide banner header

Fresh outta college, one of those stereotypical, bumbling jobless "journalists" wanting to become a "vidya gaems jarnalist". And so the hunt for a job he likes begins! And no, he's not going back to school to become a pharmacist technician, like his mom nags him to be.

I also have a YouTube channel (above image). Self-taught video editing! I'm still unemployed you know, potential hirers!

~ Favorite games
- Red Dead Redemption
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Psychonauts
- Mass Effect 2
- Yoshi's Island
- Pokemon
- Monday Night Combat
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Super Mario World

Also, twitter

Introduction post

10 things about me

Another goddamn 10 things about Strider

~Front Paged
- Downloadables: Every night is Monday Night Combat!
- eSports: Someone you know is hype
- Relaxation: Secretly training
- I calls dibs on Gaige!
- Let's explore space! My top 10 space games

~FAP Approved!
- A discussion about Catherine with my girlfriend
- So I applied for an internship at X-Play...
- Being Social: Cal State Long Beach's Gaming Club
- Persona 4: Ultimate and 4 other fighting games you probably don't know
- A new return to 3rd Strike Online part 1: Picking a main
- Top 6 somewhat natural disasters in gaming
- Villains: For me my dear, it was merely a Tuesday
- Let's talk about Phoenix Wright and Nova in UMvC3
- How I gave my girlfriend Tetris DS and loved every minute of it
- Let's talk about Rocket Raccoon and Frank West in UMvC3
- Xenophilia: The Universal Language of Mecha
- Asura's Wrath might get panned and I'm ok with that
- Acquisition: Solid Snake signed your what?
- A Valentine's Day reflection: two great loves
- Skullgirls and the art of combos
- 6 reasons why you should check out Legend of Korra
- Today, I thought about oversexualization
- Hype: Japan Time
- Objection! The story of an impossible gift for that special someone
- Cultural identity and Sleeping Dogs
- Finn and Flame Princess' big Disney Adventure Picspam
- FTL: Recovered diaries from a derelict spaceship
- Retaliation: Your guide to fighting the Collectors
-Handsome Jack, the father, the hero, the asshole
- Before StriderHoang, there was Marcel Hoang
- Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! You're not all that mathmatical
- Ralph wrecked his way into my heart
- The sixth generation wishlist from five time Pokemon Champion, Marcel
- Strider's big, fat, ride through 2012
- Being the best predator you can be
- The Striderhoang series Dtoid Trading Card Roundup
- Strider's top 10 Kirby powers

~Friday Night Fight Replays!
- 09/02/11
- 09/09/11
- 09/23/11
- 09/30/11
- 02/07/12
- 02/12/12

~The Write Stuff! Get to writing!
- 06/30 - The Beginning!
- 07/06 - Line breaks
- 07/13 - Tone
- 07/20 - Commas
- 08/06 - Balance
- 09/03 - Crossposting
- Write Stuff of September - Pride

~ The Cblog Fapcast!
- XCOM or bust!
- The show must Smurf on!
- ScottyG is on the line
- Hobo extraordinaire, Manchild
- The sorry game
- Girlfriend caps
- #1ReasonHow
- Holiday Revengeance
- My Hairy, Downstairs Fapcast
- bbreaking nnews
- Strider alone
- Oh the Injustice!

Also, check me out on Bitmob!
Player Profile
Xbox LIVE:Striderhoang
Steam ID:Striderhoang
Raptr ID:Striderhoang
Follow me:
Youtube:Striderhoang's Channel
StriderHoang's sites
Following (37)  

I've actually been emboldened from the state of the Animal Crossing thread in the Dtoid forums. Most people have dropped off playing the game, including the biggest AC player I knew, AlphaDeus. People chalk it up to burning out on the game too fast. Even I burned into it pretty fast. But my girlfriend kept me in it, asking me nearly everyday what my premium is, hoping that I'd get a perfect cherry premium for her to make an epic killing off of. I'd come back everyday for just a small routine to see how my villagers are doing and making sure my favorite wouldn't move away. A few have: some welcome like Limberg; others will be missed but a few were given to good homes. Lolly was one of my favorites and one of Harbor's original inhabitants but when the time came for her to move, I let my friend adopt her so I could keep her from forever disappearing into the ether. I'd like to think she still drops my name every now and then in the town of Plytown, just like how villagers I get through Streetpass talk about their hometowns.

Many seasons and holidays came and went. I participated in some like Halloween. Others I missed completely like Toy Day. But on many of them I'd have the simple joy and talking to others, especially my girlfriend, about what they did to celebrate some of Animal Crossing's quirky holidays. At the very least, I'd hop onto tumblr and see what mayor's around the world are doing to keep busy on the AC fandom.

No matter how far away I'd displace myself from AC though, I knew I had to at least come back on my own personal holiday, my birthday. Yes, on March 11, the town of Harbor celebrated my birthday with a cutesy little party held at one villager's house with a small enclave of my best villagers. Canberra the koala, the town big sister, greeted me as I booted up the game and invited me to the shindig where I found Teddy the bear and Jeremiah the frog. Canberra makes sense, because as the town big sister, its her job to know everyone and generally keep everyone in line whenever I'm not around. Jeremiah was a nice presence as he's one of the few original inhabitants still around. Teddy was surprising since I didn't know we were that close but then again, he's probably misconstrued my personality quirks and answers to be that of an exercise guru. He is one of my closer neighbors so I guess it makes sense that he rather likes me. But Hopper was a big no show. Where was he? I found out that he was sick again, for the second time this month!

If anyone's stuck around Animal Crossing long enough, they'd know that your poor ass animal villager's pool their meager bells together to splurge on getting you a birthday cake. While you can eat it, you can also display it as a rather sharp looking cake item for your home.

I've already explained a few character roles like Canberra being the town big sister who knows everyone. Teddy is the lovable meat head who's jacked as hell but nice too. He's like the guy at your local gym who's always ready to give you tips if you want but will never be overbearing about it.

Jeremiah is the small little eater who's obsessed with the color blue. All of his possessions are blue and the only things that aren't blue is th food he eats.

I was excited when O'Hare moved in. He used to be an island exclusive villager who was only available as a resident on your Gamecube island and wears a cool straw hat to show his island cred. He's a hipster who moved from his old island to a small town to find a connection with his own local community. He likes to wander the town bluffs with his favorite blend of java.

Annalisa used to live in my girlfriend's town of Yerba Bu. I once visited by sheer chance when she was packing up to move and I decided to invite her to Harbor to keep her memory alive. She now lives the live of the nice girl in town. She's into a bit of fashion and knits in her spare time but has recently gotten into Harbor's clothing craze. She hasn't worn anything besides the business suspenders I have displayed in the Ables Sisters. She also still has her catchphrase from Yerba Bu, which is ANTEATERS!

Snake is the aspiring ninja bunny. He's a bit of poser, acting like a jock but doing mostly goofy ninja exercises and dreaming of entering the American Ninja competition show. He's practically a Japanese weeaboo with his feudal Japan designed home and samurai armor but his obliviousness to gossip keeps his goofy grin and optimism on all the time.

Bonbon holds the title of the first bunny to arrive in Harbor and is credited with the boom of rabbit themed real estate that attracted O'Hare and Snake. She want to the same university as Lolly and has the same commitment to natural sciences as her too, fishing for marine biology and studying paleontology.

Gruff was a gift from a friend. She had been on the look out for adoption threads on Reddit since she knew Gruff was a favorite of mine as one of my first favorites from the Gamecube days. Nowadays, Gruff the green billy goat has lost his luster for music, instead letting his house clutter up with various knick knacks from his travels. Due to his habit of not letting go of his junk though, he has taken a liking to hiking around and enjoying Harbor's natural forests.

Lastly comes the new kid on the block, Marshal. This cute little white squirrel has the appearance of a grumpy little guy with his mean stare but he's actually a tsundere: harsh on the outside but nice on the inside. He's actually a horticultural artist and likes to garden around the town. He also built his home on the bluffs, following a tip that beach property was hot in Harbor. He's secretly learning how to swim but doesn't want people to see him with his white fur all wet.

So as the mayor of Harbor, I hereby thank all my loyal citizens for their continued support of the local community, Isabelle for her help on maintaining public order and civil advancement, and Kitty, mayor of Yerba Bu and my lovely girlfriend for keeping me in the game with her agriculturally advanced state and produce exports. While New Leaf isn't yet a year old, reaching my own birthday was still quite the milestone for me as mayor of Harbor.

Photo Photo Photo

After the realization that the 3DS turned three, reading this from Stephen Totilo, and by serendipity also AboveUp's foray into the 3DS, I think its time I shared my personal 3DS story and stats. In particular, someone who owns a 3DS and works at the Happiest Place on Earth (get out of here Disney World)!

I bought my 3DS at the onset of December last year. That was the point where the 3DS was lukewarm and starting to heat up. Announcements for Fire Emblem Awakening, Animal Crossing New Leaf, and the Year of Luigi with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon get everyone excited about what was in store for the 3DS. The special part is that I bought it as part of a limited sale at Best Buy.  bought a red 3DS XL for about $160. That meant of course that the stock 3DS was cheaper still but I think we all agree that once you've gone XL, you can't go back.

My 3DS is also adorned with Capcom's limited Mega Man 25th anniversary cover. Only supposed to be available at San Diego Comic-Con, I waited patiently on a tip from Capcom Unity's Brett Elston that the covers were coming to the Capcom Store at some point.

I also got a sweet carrying bag from Club Nintendo but I gave that to my girlfriend when my Mega Man cover came in the mail.

Everyone near me wanted to own a 3DS in preparation for Pokemon. I knew I was going to jump onto that bandwagon but I was more excited for New Leaf. Of course, all the games coming out before weren't exactly games I was going to skip. I bought a 32GB card this past Christmas but up until that day, I had been playing with a 4GB card. Every game before Animal Crossing was bought physically but with a big SD card, I buy mostly digitally now.

I meticulously organized my DSiware games, the original 3DS utility apps, and the revamped 3D classics into their own folders. My menu's actually magnified one level more than what I have pictured but I decided to zoom out to get it in one picture.

At Disneyland, I get an average of 8 to 10 streepasses every work day. A handful are regulars, both co-workers and guests visiting the parks. I've streetpassed a few people over 40 times and my world map is filled out pretty well for someone who doesn't travel much: 41 states, 26 Japanese prefectures, hits from Canada, Ireland, the UK, Brazil, Singapore, Aruba, Anguilla, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Spain, and Australia.

Despite sinking hours in Pokemon X and Bravely Default, by far Animal Crossing was my labor of love. I've even gone back recently in order to redecorate my second floor with Gracie's signature gorgeous line of furniture.

Speaking of love, I bought my girlfriend the special Animal Crossing edition of the 3DS XL. She might have a spec of disappointment from not owning a physical copy but she still enjoys it just as much as me, if not more. I know she's gone on to purchase Crashmo and Quetzal's Corridors herself.

And there you have it. I mostly play in 2D since most games aren't very proactive about it but when I do turn it up, I go all the way or why bother? How has your 3DS hijinks been since Nintendo's darling runner up caught its stride?
Photo Photo Photo

We've finally arrived at the latest generation. After combing through the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth generations of Pokémon with 20 years of games, we've arrived at X and Y with their sixth generation flavor. After about two months of battles and deliberation, people have arrived at some hard conclusions concerning some of the important updates and changes X and Y brings. But make no mistake, I'm personally having the most fun I've had in a long time with X and Y. The spectrum is just so wide, even if I'm left salty by unexpected strategies, I can still do the same with my own strategies.

The Sixth Generation: The Mega Factor
By far the easiest thing to write off about X and Y's new mechanics is the introduction of mega evolutions. Mega evolutions are more akin to in-battle buffs to stats and power rather than complete and permanent evolutionary stages. Mega evolutions for the most part of drastic buffs to a select few Pokémon with access to them and if megavolution is a part of your strategy, it'll happen without fail as it has the highest priority in battle, just below switching. For a few Megas, it can be compared to suddenly doing one or two Swords Dances for free before attacking, or an Iron Defense and Amnesia at once. Scizor for example gains more bulk to its defenses as well more attack. Scizor's mega form simply lends additional bulk to his Swords Dance sets but his Choice Banded Bullet Punch sets are pretty much unchanged.

Other Pokémon are much more extreme. Mawile, a long thought useless Pokémon, in the blink of an eye has 210 attack. It's new steel/fairy typing is also a factor to its strength but its ability also changes to Huge Power, making its attack monstrous before even boosting. Charizard gains two alternate mega forms, both with different abilities that differentiate their strengths. Charizard's X form gives it Tough Claws, enhancing its physical power while the Y form gets the coveted Drought in addition to a 170 sp. attack. This makes its Flamethrowers and Fire Blasts hit like cement covered dump trucks!

Speaking of Drought, its worth noting that weather has been nerfed to be only five turns, always. Even with Drought or Drizzle introducing weather effects, it only stays for five turns. This puts a damper on the rain dominated strategies of gen 5 and also puts a small nerf to incidental powerhouses like Tyranitar with Sand Stream. Weather strategies can still be implemented though. They just have to unfold at a blazing fast pace before the weather wears out.

These are only a few examples of just how drastically powerful Mega Pokemon are though. Two have already been quick banned to Ubers by the competitive school, Smogon, with another likely joining them in the Ubers tier. Pokemon like Mega Blaziken are so powerful that they can hang out with the likes of Mewtwo and Rayquaza! Kangaskhan of all Pokemon is being debated as to whether not he formally belongs in Ubers and I use it enough to know that discussion is not without merit.

The good news is that you can only have one Mega Pokémon on a team at a time, so there's no need to worry about preparing for a team of megas. Still, some of the more powerful megas are so powerful that you need ultra specific checks and counters just to hope to stop them.

from Smogon

Me First! The importance of priority
Priority moves have always been a crucial part of the metagame since generation IV. Being able to move first is an important part of any offense and guaranteeing that first move is what disrupts a lot of potentially match breaking strategies like sweeping after surviving with a Focus Sash. A disturbing trend has risen in X and Y though that adds to the importance of priority.

Coined as bulky priority, several keys threats lead by example on just how powerful it is to be able to take hits while still managing to move first with strong attacks. Azumarill has long been known as a bulky water type, capable of taking anything that isn't electric or grass type with ease but its speed was its main detriment. It now rises out of the depths of the UU tier thanks to a blessing in Aqua Jet being an egg move this generation. A Quick Attack but water-type and STAB for Azumarill at that, this nifty buff with similar success stories to other Pokémon, allow it to tank any damage it might incidentally receive while still being able to move first and dish out moderate to extreme damage. Give the water rabbit a Choice Band and his Aqua Jets are beyond painful.

With more and more Pokémon like Azumarill gaining access to priority, it becomes an arms race to see who is best at utilizing the power of speed in combat. Talonflame is making waves for being the sole recipient of Gale Wings, an ability which adds +1 to the priority of all flying attacks. It essentially turns Brave Bird, a 120 base power flying type attack, a super charged Quick Attack in Talonflame's hands, erm, wings. An important note to understand of about making priority moves a staple to your move set is that is makes training speed redundant, since your moves will go first unless your opponent does the same. By relying on priority, effort value points can be redirected from speed to bulk, letting you turn OHKOs into 2OHKOs and so forth while still pounding away at blistering speeds.

Another factor to the rise of priority is chipping away at the threat of set up sweepers. We've all been a victim of a set up sweeper at one point in our careers. Something finds the chance to get two or even one Swords Dances in and suddenly useless to stopping its +2 attack power followed by a natural speed advantage. Set up sweepers need time to get those boosts up though, but most are successful because they can calculate survival by the skin of their teeth then proceed to wreck shop unopposed. Most set up sweepers barely survive and sweep unopposed but a simple STAB Quick Attack or Extreme Speed acts as a hard check to anything looking to set up. No matter how fast a sweeper naturally is, it means nothing if Aqua Jet is guaranteed to go first due to +1 priority. Azumarill rose to prominence due to the need to stop Mega Blaziken in its tracks after a Swords Dance and its newly released hidden ability, Speed Boost. In any battle, trainers need to recognize priority users so that they can plan accordingly.

But of course, we need to talk about fairies and the type chart in general.

Fairy-type Pokémon!
The new Fairy-type was first introduced to hard counter dragons but also serves to counter the rising strength of fighting and dark-type Pokemon. This sudden shift in metagame is the reason people are saying ghosts are powerful this gen due to the taming of one of their best enemies, dark-types. Fairy as a type is mostly a defensive type, being able to soak up powerful fighting attacks like Close Combat while completely negating incoming Draco Meteors and Outrages. Fairies are also weak to poison and steel-type attacks, bringing interest to very offensively irrelevant types. When was the last type you thought to teach your Pokemon Sludge Bomb or Flash Cannon for coverage?

Most individual fairies also follow a defensive mantra, furthering cementing their status as walls and pivots. Unfortunately, most new fairies have weird fits: Sylveon demonstrates this with terrific HP and sp. defense but lacking in the defense department. The bad part is that most attacks Sylveon wants to tank are physical attacks, seriously hamstringing his defensive potential. A lot of fairies share this kind of obtuse direction, which reduces most notable fairy-types to a smaller, more easily predicted bunch like Azumarill or Gardevoir.

And yes, Azumarill. He shows up again on this list due to his new fairy/water typing. Most of the better fairy-types are retconned Pokémon. Azumarill is once again a big threat not only due to its power and bulk, but with his fairy-typing adds to its ability to wall just about anything that was a big threat in previous generations like Garchomp or well, Blaziken.

"Looks like its time to fuck shit up."

Notable threats
For purposes of simplicity, we'll be skipping Mega forms. Almost all megas are extremely powerful and warrant either specific counters or simply another Mega. Except for Mega Bannette.

In a move that surprised no one, Gengar is still at the top of the threats. In fact, while nothing particular has changed about him asides from an Uber banned Mega form, he's actually gotten more powerful due to the rise of ghost-types. With the introduction of fairies to disrupt dragons and darks, Gengar becomes stronger as dark-types shrink back and poison attacks are needed against fairies.

Speaking of ghosts, Aegislash is another example of the increased importance of ghost-types. With a very useful ghost/steel typing, Aegislash's unique ability, Stance Change, allows Aegislash to shifts its massive stats from an offensive state to a defensive one. By alternating between Kings Shield to go into defense form and Shadow Sneak for priority and offense form, most match ups with Aegislash boil down to 50/50 guessing games in order to bait Kings Shield.

I've already mentioned Azumarill and Talonflame. Both are priority based threats: one is a super bulky fairy while the other can basically priority smash anything due how universally useful flying-type is offensively. Whenever these two Pokemon arrive on the field, you'll most likely be switching to something that can take the hit because few will want to take a choice banded Aqua Jet or Brave Bird unless you intend to take them down with you.

Greninja has also made waves as one of the few starters with a lot of competitive potential. Its ability, Protean, changes its typing to its chosen attack. This effectively gives it STAB on all its attacks which is great because Greninja's offensive potential would've reached its limit early if not for STAB on all its attacks. With great speed and fragile defense, Greninja is a typical scout, especially with STAB U-Turn. Many successful Greninjas can successfuly hit with Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, and your choice of a third special move which is usually Dark Pulse. Most water-types use Ice Beam for coverage against grass but Greninja's can hit especially hard due to Protean. Because of Protean though, there are a lot of weirder sets like using Spikes to become ground-type and block an electric attack, or Shadow Sneak to become ghost-type and spinblock. Most of these unorthodox sets are underpowered compared to an all-out attack set Greninja's speed should always be its most valued asset.

Rotom's Wash and Heat forms have also received stealthy little buffs. Electric-types can no longer be paralyzed in any way, similar to how fire-types are immune to burns. With a distinct advantage to switching in on Thunder Wave, Earthquake and Rotom-H also switching in on Will-o-wisp, Rotom's the world over are usually trained to be bulky and with its typing, Rotom makes a very effectively pivot that fits into nearly any team. Not only can Rotom-W and H switch in Thunder Wave and Will-o-wisp, it can also return the favor itself, making it a defensive mammoth that's difficult to deal with by itself.

And there you have it. This article has been a long time in coming and that's because its a combination of gleening information from theorycrafting and personal experience, along with the fact that gen 6 has had quite the shake up, but we're finally caught up on the metagame for Pokémon as of 2014. If you have anything to add, I would love to hear your personal thoughts on Pokemon battles, not just for me but for any other readers! See you guys on the battle field and in the next generation!
Photo Photo Photo

What happens when you take the principle foundation of Sword Art Online and lessen the examination on humanity in a digital to increase the game fluff that was on top of it? Log Horizon is what happens when you have someone who decides that he isn't good at writing compelling human psychological thrillers but decides instead to crank up his personal experiences of playing video games and RPGs as far as he can. Basically, Sword Art Online crossed with World of Warcaft.

In Log Horizon, Elder Tale is a long running MMO of 20 years that has a global community of players. One day though, everyone suddenly wakes up inside the game as their game avatar with no memory of what happened and just like Sword Art Online, they can't log out. This even is coined as The Apocalypse but unlike SAO however, no one is distressing over player death since everything that makes Elder Tale a game is still largely intact. Player death is largely inconsequential since all it does is penalize you experience and you respawn at the last cathedral you visited. Even though the lack of death separates its stakes from SAO, that doesn't mean everyone kicks back and relaxes. The biggest problem The Apocalypse concerns in Log Horizon is that the playerbase, known as adventurers, is either in anarchistic chaos or resigned apathy: war parties roam the land PKing everyone or enslaving NPCs known as People of the Land or players simply loaf around trapped in a game that acts essentially like purgatory.

In fact, this is largely the biggest difference between Log Horizon and SAO. SAO puts a big emphasis on the reality of death ironically being in the game, and how its a constant thought in everyone's minds. In Log Horizon however, the very fact that players are essentially immortal is the biggest concern for most people. Imagine receiving immortality yourself but being trapped within your room for what could be forever. Your games and Internet connection can only sustain you for so long. How long could you go before you'd just give up?

"It feels like my life has been poisoned! Oh, cause I'm actually poisoned ok."

Log Horizon centers around a player character known as Shiroe who primarily resides within Akihabara of the Japanese servers. Shiroe is the intellectual type who is one of the few enchanters in the world of Elder Tale, which is a support-based mage class. Being an enchanter also defines his quirks well as he has trouble with social interaction and has a past of naively helping everyone regardless of their honest intentions. The series follows Shiroe and his friends as he they try to make sense of their problem, first dealing with the domestic problems of an un-unified Akihabara, slowly expanding outward and dealing with problems throughout the land with various outside communities and People of the Land. Being a thinker rather than a fighter, Shiroe will also explore the mysteries of Elder Tale along with how and why the players of the game are seemingly trapped in this new world.

I've always loved imagining my own idea and design documents for my own complex RPG and Log Horizon seems to have that same dream. For better or worse, Log Horizon has a large system of game mechanics that fleshes out a whole RPG game that I feel is genuinely interesting to learn how it'd function as an actual game. Of course, this is also a very obvious problem with the show too. Every little thing must be explained for the sake of mainstream viewers. Sure, people like me can understand that a whistle that summons rare griffon mounts would be from a high level raid, but for the sake of people who don't play video games, the show takes the time to have a character have an internal monologue explaining how such a rare item could only be owned by high level players who participated in a specific raid.

These status boxes are recurring, fleeting visual effects but it keeps you rooted in the game's reality.

This can happen a lot for many of nitty gritty RPG mechanics and tropes such as a tank character using a skill that draws aggro or what place an NPC has in the overall quest structure. This can really hinder the pace and pad out episodes but at same time I think its a charming point for the show just so you can gush about how certain things are accurate to any RPG you've played. It's crazy to think in Western media and entertainment, we still get things like the Resident Evil movies, Doom, and Gamer (starring the blockbuster movie star Ludacris) where producers and writers are wracking their brains on converting the narrative of the source games to be both faithful and mainstream. Meanwhile, Log Horizon started life as light novel where it was undoubtedly authored by a person who has played games and most likely had input in how their creative work would translate to the animated medium. The end result is an enjoyable show that is very much well informed of what its portraying while attempting to an outside audience.

Log Horizon's main draw is the world crafting which somehow hits the satisfaction of seeing a world from a series you're watching and seeing a world as it would be as a video game. Its intriguing to see characters who play as guardians and how they behave in the world of Elder Tale as both apart of the story and as a hypothetical game. We meet one samurai character, Tohya, early in the series and we see how he acts as the tank of the group using skills that involve attacking enemies and provoking them for aggro. But I'm also interested in learning more on how other samurai characters act like Soujiro, leader of the West Wind Brigade guild. Plus within Elder Tale's class structure, samurai are one of three tank based classes, others being the guardian which specializes in shields and the monk which specializes in combos and evasion. A viewer like myself who's interested in the game world wants to see more of how the monk acts in a group scenario or what other skills a guardian like Naogotsu, one of the main characters, has. There are other gamey elements such as the functions of guilds, roaming monsters, and even instances and events!

Holy crap he actually said PUG! The author and producers know what they're talking about!

Another big part of the series is sticking through to see what the mystery of The Apocalypse is. While the consequences of The Apocalypse are only lightly explored at first, later on the depth of the mysteries behind The Apocalypse truly hooks you in. I shouldn't really spoil it but despite that particular arc not having very much action, the revelations about The Apocalypse alone kept me in on the commitment to watching Log Horizon.

Politics is also strangely a big part of the anime. In between stretches of combat is political tension and intrigue. At first this is from the inter-guild dynamic of the existing players of Akiba. But soon we deal with the unknown element of outside kingdoms who fear the mysterious origins and immortality of the adventurers. One long arc feels like a dangerous game of poker, with the two factions trying to glean as much information about the other without revealing too much about themselves. Information is as powerful as brute force after all in high powered peace talks.

And of course, character development and growth has a special place. After all, great series develop their character so that they aren't the same person they were when the series started. But that's doubly important since we're talking about an RPG. We all know that a defining trait of an RPG is growing your character to be different then when you began. Usually that means they're stronger but it can also mean a change in alignment or a change in beliefs.

There are promises of character growth beyond what can be found from researching its past as a light novel. Two characters are comparatively newer to the game then game veteran Shiro. The previously mentioned Tohya has a twin sister, Minori, and both are about level 25 compared to Shiroe and friends being at the level cap of 90. As far as the series has progressed, the twins have shown growth in combat and understanding of the game. A more tangible example is one dungeon the party completes and the treasure at the end is a pair of bracers that strengthen magic attacks. With only one mage in their party, Rundelhaus Code takes them with pride and the very next episode, we see him polishing them with reverence. If it stays somewhat on track with the source light novels, the characters will indeed receive new equipment and skills to reflect their growth as warriors and indubitably, they'll be wiser as people too.

If you've watched Sword Art Online, will you like Log Horizon? Its hard to say since SAO can hit several notes on your taste. SAO has some great action scenes in it, plus the usually serious tone was a good change of pace from your usual bubbly anime. Log Horizon has much less action per episode and has typical anime tropes and exaggeration. But then again, Log Horizon has a consistent mystery vibe going about it, a very fleshed out game world to latch onto. Plus its built on a premise that should last longer then SAO's premise, which should have ended at episode 13. If you're in the market for a new anime to watch, give Log Horizon a try as a potential wedge in the Venn Diagram between anime and games.
Photo Photo Photo

I've saved a lot of Pokemon in my days of playing the series. I've held onto Pokemon I've caught in Emerald version way back with the GBA cartridges. But PokeBank has been delayed indefinitely, and with it Poke Transporter, leaving a lot of my favorites still sitting around in my Pokemon Black card. It's just salt in the wound that Japanese trainers got their hands while they could on Pokebank. Some people are swimming in Chimchars and Piplups.

Collecting Pokemon is a very personal story. No two trainers can raise the same Pokemon. At first I thought I wanted to write about the most interesting Pokemon you can transfer and introduce to the Kalos region. But when I get down to it, all I want to do is talk about my unique Pokemon that I want to bring into my Pokemon X game.

1. Shiny Rhyperior - HAKUSHO from Emerald's Hoenn region
I've told this story a lot before but HAKUSHO has always been one of my favorite success stories. One day while looking for a Chansey in Hoenn, and as tradition goes, Chansey has almost always been a rare Pokemon that's only found in the Safari Zone. If you've seen the Pokemon Origins anime, the fleeting scene of the Safari Zone is spot on, as its one of the most challenging, rage inducing areas in the game when it comes to catching them all.

You have to blindly decide between throwing rocks at your quarry, potentially pissing them off and making them bolt, or throwing food at them, potentially giving them a free meal which they will then dine and dash on you for. Both have their uses in luring your catch and making them lower their guard. Unfortunately, information regarding their catchability is completely hidden unlike normal battles with health bars. Its usually a nerve wracking experience when you finally find what you're looking for only to have them run away. Dratinis are another big perpatrator to being found in Safari Zones.

So imagine my shock and despair when I encountered a shiny Rhyhorn in the first Safari patch of grass. Great! This rare find is going to get away from me because I found it in the Safari Zone.

Then I caught it after throwing one rock and one piece of bait. Not only that, it was a Rhyhorn with the right ability that after transferring to Diamond, it got Solid Rock as its ability after evolving into Rhyperior. It may be slightly softer in terms of defense, but he'll hit harder than your average Rhyperior.

2. Shiny Roserade - Black Rose from Diamond's Sinnoh region
Roserade is chronologically the second shiny I'd ever caught and yet the celebration was comparatively more tepid. I caught Black Rose as a shiny Roselia but she didn't have anything amazing. She had a bad nature and an inadequate ability to boot. I figured Black Rose wasn't going to be the best Roserade she could be so I decided to build her a different way.

Believing her to have trouble trying a traditional spikes or support build, I trained Roserade to be a niche weather fighter. Since Roserade could learn Weather Ball, a special attack that changes properties based on the current weather, I thought to surprise opponents by slapper her onto a sun or hail team for the element of surprise with a sudden fire or ice attack Roserade normally can't have.

Bringing Black Rose into Gen VI though introduces the possibility of giving her an Ability Capsule, allowing her to have her coveted Natural Cure ability.

3. Gengar - MICHIE from Soulsilver's Johto region
Gengar is a Kalos dex native, so Michie doesn't appear to have much going for it besides a personal story. Gengar has always been a powerful Pokemon, ever since the first generation. The difference with Michie is that she's a success story of EV training and IVs.

I've trained two Gengars since putting down Soulsilver. None of them ever came close to Michie's ridiculous special attack of 190. The only explaination is that in addition to relentless EV training, when I caught Michie as a quiet, unassuming Ghastly, she actually had a perfect IV in special attack. I'm pretty excited to bring her into Kalos and try her hand at some annoying choice attacking sets or even a Gengarite set (even though that's uber now).

4. Nidoking - Kaijuu from Unova's Entree Forest
When's the last time you've seen Nidoking? He's universally panned most of the time but he's actually a potent force in the UU tier. That's because Nidoking has an expansive offensive movepool that allows it to super effective nearly anything it meets.

Nidoking's claim to fame is its hidden ability, formerly only available in the now defunct Dream World. Sheer Force removes an attack's secondary effect in exchange for 33% more power. It also removes Life Orb's only drawback, an item that drains health in exchange for 33% more power. My particular Nidoking uses Earth Power and Sludge Bomb for STAB plus Ice Beam and Thunderbolt for the infamous boltbeam combo: a combo with nearly perfect super effective coverage across the spectrum. Sure super effective hits combined with 66% extra punching power from a modest special attack focus are all benefits to Nidoking's useful defensive typing for ground/poison. As long as big threats to Kaijuu are removed, he'll tear holes in a team that can't take the hits well.

5. Kyogre - the sea basin Pokemon from Emerald's Hoenn region
Kyogre is by far my favorite legendary. A leviathan that creates a flood by simply appearing is quite the mythos for a whale-sized Pokemon. Kyogre is a great design and he also has the power behind it to really walk the walk along with the talk. Kyogre tends to make better use of its rain inducing ability too, with extremely powerful Hydro Pumps and Water Spouts going far beyond Groudon's Drought and Earthquake or Eruption.

Kyogre also has the honor of being one of the only Pokemon I've legitimately raised to level 100 through countless grinds against the Elite 4. My box of ubers has swelled over the years, so I definitely have enough Pokemon to construct a team for an uber's tier fight and I definitely want to focus on building around a Kyogre.

6. Duskinoir - TASHA from Diamond's Sinnoh region
Duskinoir has always been in an awkward position it received its new evolution. On one hand, Duskinoir has incredible mixed bulk and greatly upgraded attack compared to it's previous evolution. On the other hand, giving Dusclops eviolite makes it nigh unkillable with the exception to a lack of reliable health recovery.

Tasha to me has always been a great, flexible defensive pivot since its mono ghost-typing allows it decent switch ins. The thing to really be interested in the Duskinoir this generation is its new attack from TM, Infestation. Binding moves got a buff by inflicting 1/8 damage every turn and Duskinoir's epically low HP allows it to take a lot through Pain Split. Anything unprepared to stay through Infestation's trapping may be likely to die a slow, painful death if it can't punch through Duskinoir quickly enough.

7. Ursaring - YOGI from Diamond's Sinnoh region
I've always had a soft spot for normal-type Pokemon actually. They're often underrated due to the lack of interceding between powerful STAB attacks and super effective attacks. But normal-types often compensate by having strong stats in one area even at the risk of overspecialization and Ursaring is an example of one such.

I don't believe the Teddiursa line is available in Kalos but if you don't know what Ursaring is capable of, know that it has a ton of attack at its disposal without a whole lot of speed or even bulk to work with. It also has access to Guts, which can lead to frightening levels of overkill. Since Ursaring has no speed to speak of, mine has Guts and a Rest/Talk set. Sleep counts as a status ailment, even if self-inflicted so with some HP EVs, Yogi can refresh its health and hit super hard with a STAB, Guts boosted, status boosted Facade. Rest/Talk is of course a prolific but unpredictable set, so Yogi benefits from having possible counters removed, mostly ghosts and Pokemon who soar over Earthquake. But if there isn't a Pokemon that can ignore these two attacks, nothing is going to want to take either one with the amount of power Ursaring can draw on.

8. Whimsicott - Fluffee from White's Unova region
Back in the previous generation, Prankster was revered as a powerful ability but was limited to very few useful Pokemon. While Whimsicott got it, which elevates priority of non-attacking moves by +1, it lacked the bulk or typing to really make good use.

Whimsicott received one notable buff in gen VI though: a retcon to be dual grass/fairy typing. Fairy is an amazing defensive typing that allows Whimsicott to do a lot more shenanigans with its support movepool and Prankster. In fact, his movepool is so diverse that I actually have two Whimsicott with two different movesets. One is a defensive stall set while another is a Memento set to support setup sweepers.

Whimsicott is unobtainable in the Kalos dex, so I look forward to bringing my own little fluffy bastard into gen VI.

9. Omastar - Brorush from White Unova's region
Omastar was one of the original fossil Pokemon but it wasn't until the previous generation that I trained one in earnest. Its because Black/White was dominated by a weather metagame and Omastar was one of the more niche but destructive stars of rain gameplay.

My friend actually knows of Brorush quite well as I've sweeped his teams before in the past. With rain up thanks to a teammate and Shell Smash, Swift Swim and Shell Smash work together to allow Brorush to outspeed even certain Choice Scarfed revengers. Rain and Shell Smash allow synergize together to create extremely devastating Surfs. Anything that cannot resist water gets washed away easily.

Brorush needs a bit of setup but with the right support, you'll see that I named him that for a reason.
Photo Photo Photo

2013 was a goddamn great year for games if you ask me. And none of my reasons pertain to the new generations of consoles either! In fact, this year has been the year of the 3DS for me. Regardless of how much fun I was having on my 360 thanks to great, visionary games or the Games for Gold program really kicking in for me (Dead Rising 2 since Fall, Sleeping Dogs in January), the 3DS was what really brought a smile to my face this year.

So no more bibble babble! There's nothing more to talk about. Let's get on with the games of 2013 picked by Strider!

I remember early in the year the tension of waiting for Animal Crossing: New Leaf to be given a release date (spoilers!). Knowing ACNL wasn't coming late 2012 and only vaguely that it was planned for early 2013 was agonizing. Imagine my surprise when Fire Emblem: Awakening releases to very modest fanfare. Fire Emblem has always been a dark horse title with a cult following so that placed a great deal of expectations on Awakening when it became a high profile 3DS release to mark the beginning of its year.

And what a beginning it was because Awakening started off 2013 for me and it started a long, involving, month long obsession in min-maxing everyone in my party. If it's not the deep, tactical depth and strategy its the obsessive pairing and matchmaking between some of my favorite characters. I knew right away that I wanted my avatar character to pursue the bubbly Anna as a love interest and wanted Chrom to return Sumia's unrequited love. The relationships even pay off for more tactical choice! Waiting until the last minute to max Sumia's skills before entering her child's acquisition mission meant her and Chrom's child will have inherited both of their best skills like the epic Galeforce skill.

2013 was a busy year so I never got another chance to replay it but I know I wanted to start a new file with my avatar either pursuing Tharja because I love her or Aversa in DLC so my kid, Morgana, will inherit her Shadowgift skill.

I don't put a lot of value on developer names and pedigree. I know Ubisoft is very ubiquitous (huh?) and Activision is evil but asides from that, I don't have emotional attachment. The Behemoth is the exception and despite not understanding Battleblock Theater's concept at first, I patiently awaited what they could do to come back from Castle Crashers.

Mainly a grueling puzzle platformer, BBT has two hidden gems that make it a great experience: the hilarious narrator/announcer who provides constance ambiance and the co-op multiplayer stories you can tell. Death is a constant reality and Will Stamper's charming voice encourages you to keep going despite not actually being encouraging ("Try not dying next time!"). But when it comes to actual gameplay, some of the best puzzles do the best things to get the most fun cooperation/betrayal out of two players stuck in a theatric death room together!

If there's one comparison to make to Luigi's Mansion 2, it's that it's a modern point and click adventure game. Yes, that's right, Luigi is your cursor and you're clicking on everything with you vacuum cleaner in an effort to explore a variety of incredibly interesting mansions filled with hidden mechanisms, ghosts, and treasure.

But Dark Moon is more than the sum of its parts. It's more than a deep exploratory adventure with an extremely charming little bro who can't help but hum along with the music while he nervously romps through atmospheric halls. It was the beginning of the year of Luigi and began a year long look to re-examine what makes Luigi a cool character who's been long ignored in Nintendo's pantheon of Mario.

I've long been on the hunt for a fighting game that makes me feel at ease with the skill ceiling and my own skill. Marvel is crazy, nobody cares about Blazblue, and Persona 4 has really frustrating things to get used to (Narukami vortexes all day!) but in comes Injustice from Netherrealms Studios to show us their vision for the next iteration in fighting games.

At first, everyone could only complain about what Injustice brought to the table. Zoning was king and level interactables were difficult to work around. But given enough time, players who were dedicated to understanding Injustice's flavor gave rise to a new, stable metagame. Zoning was powerful but certain matchups and options allowed players to mindgame it to an extent. But best of all, interactive items became a new mindgame option not unlike learning wake up dragon punches and jump in attacks. One can easily avoid or break item usage with smart play or create inescapable damage opportunities on okizeme (wake up game).

The DLC plan was also well realized if not a little broken when it came to power creep. But there's still nothing quite like shooting someone out of the sky with Green Arrow's sky shot as they try to grab a TV screen to chuck at you.

Why did I care about Tomb Raider? I've never been a Tomb Raider gamer. Tank controls and weird puzzle platforming or whatever. But I heard a slow drip feed of buzz over the weeks after Tomb Raider released and when it showed up at my Redbox, I decided to jump in.

And I literally jumped in. To borrow another Dtoider's words about TR's impact, the trauma Lara goes through is so tangible that you can't help but get caught up in TR's flow for cinematic action and bodily injury. For every awesome set piece I burned through with Lara's survival skill and gunplay, there is a horrifying way for Lara Croft's fragile life to be snuffed out. Whether its sniping thugs with a bow, getting a tracheotomy with a tree branch, bashing heads in with your climbing ax, or getting graphically crushed by falling boulders, I felt for every moment of Lara's growth into a Croft. Every wall I climbed, every irredeemable criminal I blew apart, every wound I received and subsequently sealed closed was something that was brutally and viscerally displayed for full affect.

Games these days want to layer on more and more skills to progressively earn through a sense of growth in gritty worlds with gritty colors and gruff people. Blood Dragon recognizes that these things exist outside its world and decides to just make you an 80s cyber commando armed to the teeth with lever-action shotguns and a glowing Tron machetes and ninja stars. Where you have to be careful of minor falls in the main game, Rex Power Colt can fall from towering fort walls, driving his machete into the back of a nameless Cobra Commando reject before blasting two other red shirts with a laser rifle straight out of GI Joe, all in a world covered in a Tron layer effect on the mixing board.

Rather then appearing deep and thoughtful, Blood Dragon takes the shortest possible path to fun, even if that means getting rid of things like fall damage, running stamina, and realistic gunplay. Core Far Cry 3 might be just as ridiculous in how you dismantle your fellow man, Blood Dragon is an 80s homage made in the year 2013. Who knew $15 could get you so far?

Tell me if you've heard this before. While riding you bike down the Vinewood sign hills, you spot an exotic high end car. After stealing it and taking it for a high speed police chase down the Great Ocean Freeway, you notice you're passing a military base and use your superior horsepower to break in and dodge tank fire in order to steal a military grade fighter jet. You then take it for a destructive crime spree where you proceed to wreak havoc on San Andreas' highway system before crashing in burning from one too many stray bullets from ground police.

This was singleplayer. Asides from the bombastic crime drama that unfolds for the up-and-coming Franklin, the burned out Micheal, and the ever psychopathic Trevor, there's also the emergent stories that come out of playing online with random douchebags with the same idea as you: how do I fuck over my fellow man for shits and giggles using an automobile and copious amounts of explosives?

Better yet, grab a helicopter with a winch and see if you can snatch someone off the roads for an unexpected trip into the sky followed promptly by a swim in the sea.

I don't need to go too far to describe my love of Animal Crossing. I've had the fortunate history of playing each one save City Folk. I loved setting up shop in my town in being pleasantly surprised to see Hopper from my DS game, Wild World, in my New Leaf town. What's to explain about that inexplicable trigger to collect every pointless thing for your museum and catalog?

Should I describe how Dtoider AlphaDeus was a regular philanthropist on the forums, offering to visit your town with a variety of goods? Or how every day brought a new joy like a traveling art merchant, a washed up sailor, or a high fashion giraffe. How you can construct your own stories and headcanon like designing your own clothes, how two neighbors are secret best friends, or how the frog down the street has a house packed with blue things because he's color blind.

Or maybe I should mention how I bought my girlfriend her own 3DS with New Leaf pre-installed so that we could enjoy its tiny, magical moments together and make our long distance relationship that much more bearable. Sharing tiny moments like dancing in a club with DJ KK or introducing each other to our town's neighbors.

New Lead was a magical break from the usual blood soaked shooters or gritty stories of death, redemption, and emotional trauma. A place where you can go to break away from the mundane doldrums of life and talk to a perky bunny rabbit wearing an adorable peacoat who wants to eat a fresh orange together.

There's nothing particularly new worth mentioning to an outsider about Pokemon. The new fairy-type is interesting to the metagame, mega evolutions are a tremendous shake up to battle flow, and new moves create a new ecosystem for battles but the same turn-based battles remain and the fundamental remain.

What's interesting about Pokemon X/Y is that it is the perfect storm of features on the 3DS. Probably the most important change to the feature set and UI is the constant connection to the social features on your main screen. Rather than going to the Pokecenter to connect socially, the PSS screen allows you to seamlessly remain connected to the friends who are online and the people who are online with you so that you can quickly request trades, battles, and power ups without ever breaking the flow.

The new Super Training screen makes it more transparent to how well trained your Pokemon are so that you can have more competitive battles with friends and strangers alike.

Pokebank and Transporter aren't even out yet to help us see our favorite legacy Pokemon in glorious 3D.

Coming in last on my list for 2013 is a last minute entry. After receiving money for Christmas, I promptly decided to spend it on eShop currency to download the newest addition of Zelda onto my 3DS.

Everyone at some point knows what to expect from a Zelda game. You progress through a series of dungeons, collect relevant equipment to gain more diversity and strength, occasionally go on a sub-quest, and fight a great evil. And yet as I've found in LBW, the entire package is altogether more cohesive and efficient. You're fighting stuff in 5 minutes flat, everyone you meet has a point where you connect with them, and the dungeon design is amazing. The 3D is used well without being detrimental on something like the 2DS and the world is just fun and easy to move around in. 10 minutes in you receive your fast travel method.

Story has never exactly been something you praise in Zelda and yet LBW has subtle flashes of charm and interest. And most of all, it's also probably the most enjoyably challenging Zelda ever with its approach in item management. You can undertake the main quest in any order you want by renting important equipment from Ravio the rabbitman. And if you get a game over, alll rented equipment gets returned and you have to re-rent what you've lost. And believe me, the game ups the challenge in order to make the stakes matter. At the same time, this makes money actually matter for the first time in a longtime and creates a Zelda economy that's fun to engage.

Link Between Worlds is fun. It isn't simply fun because it's a Zelda. It's fun without the flash or fluff. It's a Zelda game that respects your time and legitimately fun while still being an epic quest tale. Every little thing, every mechanic, every layer of level design is made to be accessibly fun without any overbearing design flaws.
Photo Photo Photo