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10:39 AM on 03.28.2010

Signs of an Awesome Game

NOTE: Long story short: I don't have Photoshop right now. Hopefully my stand-ins work alright :)



This is what you've all been waiting for: the death knell for reviews full of dirty bias, horrendous unobjectivity and antiquated "opinions" is about to sound. Yes, the following is a divine mandate, a glorious and scientifically objective monolith whose shadow will forever cover up the repulsive and disfigured face of so-called "reviews" forevermore. These are the signs of an awesome game.



1. Cows murder at least one character.

Examples: Diablo II, Earthworm Jim

As obvious as it may be, this is a definitive list and so I have to mention it. Any game featuring bovines getting their murder on is an instant masterpiece. After centuries of having their teets pulled on by their cruel human overlords surely cows deserve some recompense. In fact, I don't understand how anyone can watch a mighty bessie overthrowing years of tyranny by straight up slaying the fools that used to oppress him/her and not find it MOOving!

*Drum fill, audience applause*



2. Your character wields a weapon at least as large as himself.

Examples: Final Fantasy VII, Marvel Vs. Capcom II (Iron Man's bigass cannon)

Nothing says "awesome" quite like a weapon that's so large as to be completely useless were it real. The reason for this is obvious: in game weapons, like real-life weapons, are simply penis substitutes. And as we all know: the bigger and the more metallic the better. You may notice that this entry is male-specific and that's because I honestly can't think of any female characters that fit the bill. If there is one, then she has a massive metal clitoris. And no, you can't have that gold mine of a domain name, but you're all welcome to visit massivemetalclitoris.com and pay for the premium content if you'd like.
SUPER hot, amirite?

(Ed: this was actually written before Byonetta's massive hair monsters hit the scene. I hereby declare that the above be read as gender neutral)



3. Infinite Ammo

Examples: Ikaruga, Contra

If your game does not give me infinite ammo at all times, then I am NOT INTERESTED. That's right, I can't even stand to look at a screenshot of a game that didn't have infinite ammo. I mean the mere idea that I would ever have to lift my finger off of the fire button makes me so sad/angry/aroused that I want to vomit.

That sketchy Chinese food I had the other night may also have something to do with it.



4. The title has a 'Z' in it.

Examples: Pretty much the whole "Imagine" series I'm pretty sure but can't be bothered to check,
Zoop, Zack McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders

As if you would need anymore proof than to feast your eyes upon my sexamples (those games are all DAMN sexy), also consider how many words you wouldn't be able to spell without the letter 'Z': hertz, zebra, eXistenz, zippity doo dah, bling steez, the list goes on. Would you want to live in a world without the letter 'Z'? I should think not good sir/madam!



5. It argues either that war has or hasn't changed.

Examples: Fallout series, Metal Gear Solid Series

The great debate rages on. Does war change or not? On one hand Snake tells us that war has changed and cites the encrochment of nano technology, genetic engineering and the advancement of technology as irrefutable reasons. On the other: Ron Pearlman tells us that war never changes and elaborates by highlighting the fact that the human component that guides the weapons and declarations of war remains unchanged by years of evolution and technical advancement.

I DUNO WHAT I THNK CUZ I LIEK XXXPLOSIONZ ADN THAT SCENE IN GOW3 WHER CRATOES BANGS THAT CHICK IS SWEET> HIGH 5 BRO!!!!!11!! HES THE GOW SO CRATOES NOS BEST RITE? WAR NEVER NOT BANGS HOT CHICKS THEN!111! WHATEEVER PEECE



6. The characters are well developed, the story an epic tale that touches the heart and teaches us all something about ourselves and the gameplay innovates while remaining accessible and fun for players of all walks of life.

Examples: Bloody Roar 2, ET, Golden Tee

Just kidding. No one cares about any of that.



7. It has bangin' in it.

Examples: A Litany of Bioware Games, God of War Series

The key here is the potential variety of Bangin'. It could be lady-lady or lady-dude or dude-lady bangin', just not dude-dude bangin' because baby Jesus wouldn't approve (PTL and PTL). The only thing that matters is that it gets you off. Thus, bangin' isn't so much an act as a frame of mind. See a dude handing a lady some ammo that she then slides into a gun and that that gives you an erection/wet lips? That's bangin'. Here a lady support character tell you to go do something painful and your teets start lactating/your man-boobs quiver with joy? That's bangin'. See a dude talk to an NPC and you start choking a puppy while masturbating/stab yourself in the kidney for sexual release? That's bangin'.

Remember: it takes all types to make the world go 'round.



8. It has a song that just won't leave your skull.

Examples: Persona 3: FES (basically every song, but especially the battle themes), 'Splosion Man (EVERYBODY LOVES DONUTS), Space Jam

There are two ways the above can occur: either the song is really catchy and the chorus gets stuck in your head or you hear the song so many goddamn times that you just can't extricate it. Even though it isn't bad music -quite the opposite in fact- the music from Persona 3: FES, which I have been exposed to for a whopping 180 hours at this point, will forever be etched into my memory. It's been a long road, but this week I will officially finish the game after almost 3 years of off and on grinding and perseverance so I figured I'd shoehorn all that into this article somehow.

So, what were we talking about? Right.



9. Here's a really simple but delicious Chicken Mango Curry. Don't be afraid to add more curry paste, it's a little bland without some more kick, and using peaches is also a good way to go. Just make sure that you taste as you go.

Examples: http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/Thai-Mango-Chicken-Curry-L904.html

Fried shallots is a good way to go if you ask me.



Conclusion

So as you can see, awesome videogames simply don't exist as one has not yet been made that contains all of the above. Therefore I would suggest that now that we have an objective scale on which to judge games (awesome or not awesome) that we retroactively give all games a 0 (not awesome) and whatever theoretical future games that may be awesome a 1 and call it a day.





Conclusion 2: The Concluding

Thanks for reading my material, I always appreciate it. I've been away from Dtoid for a while (used to post quite often) but had a night of freedom so I figured I'd finish an old article that I started a while back when I was in Singapore. I've been really busy for some time now, but I'd like to let all the people that know me on Dtoid that I'm still around. Even if I'm not posting or in IRC or on LIVE or whatever, I'm still here. Hopefully I'll be able to scam my way to another PAX this year to party with everyone again, but if not know that I still think of all of you from time to time.

-Cameron "The GHost" O'Connor   read


9:57 PM on 08.24.2009

Why I Love Destructoid



I used to be around a lot more back before I moved to Australia and started medicine, but I still love Dtoid and I try to stop by the front page/IRC/the forums whenever I get a chance. Hell, Iím skipping school and laundering money to go to PAX just to see everyone again (One more week. I CANíT WAIT!!!!1!!1!!). Anyways, hereís my short-list.

1- I can write c-blogs about things like how Katamari is the ultimate murder simulator and itís actually considered a good thing.

2- Retroforce GO! Is awesome and is actually how I first found Destructoid. Iím still listening and have managed to catch up just in time for the 100th episode. Unfortunately the ďweíre recordingĒ post goes up at a time for me thatís total ass, so I never get to comment or ask questions anymore :(

3- The never ending supply of art, articles and awesome that the community at large puts out. Thereís a ridiculous amount of free entertainment to be had if you have a few minutes to look through the c-blogs both past and present.

4- The various articles and discussions about videogames that look at some of the more interesting facets of both games and the industry in ways that I would never have myself.

5-


6- All of the incredible people that Iíve had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know through the site, whether itís just in the comments, in IRC, on the forums or in real life. Not only have I made some great contacts and had some cool opportunities, but when I was traveling everyone that I met was super accommodating and helped me find places to stay and things to do. I canít thank everyone enough for all of that.

I would list all the people that I love that Iíve met through Dtoid, but it would be like 1000 names long and Iíd probably leave someone out ;)

7- PAX. Last year was great. This year will be even better. SEPTEMBER 1ST NEEDS TO COME SOONER!


  read


11:30 AM on 05.03.2009

Deconstructing the Destructoid Game "Runner"

NOTE: Normally I would not cross-post on my c-blog and on the other site I write for, but as this is something quite specific to Destructoid, I'm going to go ahead and post it. If people get really pissy then I can easily remove the watermarks and change the font used in the pictures. If you would like to support Negative Gamer, which is the site that Wardrox of Podcastle "fame" runs and I write for, then by all means read this over there (it should be up relatively shortly, and I will post a link here when it does).



Intro

Runner is a game made by Destructoids own indie game specialist Revered Anthony Burch (better known in some circles as ďthe indie-fagĒ) with some help from fellow editors Ashley Davis and Jonathan Holmes. As this game is meant as an art project to be discussed and dissected, I figured that I would throw in my own two cents about the experience I had, and put out some theories as to what it all might mean. Prior to writing this I have not looked up any explanations, guides or any other information on the game. The only thing I knew about it going in was who made it and what it was called. Anthony promised a post explaining the game a few weeks ago and Iím not sure if it exists yet or not as I have intentionally not looked for it. Before you go any further, I would definitely suggest that you play the game. Itís very short (one play-through will take you less than 5 minutes) and will make the following make a hell of a lot more sense.

For the sake of paring down this great wall ĎO text that Iíve erected, Iíve decided to sum up my major feelings into an abstract. If youíve played the game and are just interested in hearing my baseline thoughts, thatís all you need. If youíre interested in either reading my more ďin-depthĒ analysis, head to the end. If you want a quick reference guide of my ďmajorĒ and ďminorĒ observations for your own interest, or to save time by not playing through the game again (to, say, remember which girl has what in her ďspeech bubbleĒ etc.), then check right after the abstract. Hopefully this format will be easy to understand and will let anyone reading to get at the information that he or she wants quickly and without burrowing through my verbal diarrhea (howís that for a mental image?).

All descriptions about the various emotions depicted in the art and the musical cues are, of course, up for personal interpretation. But enough preamble...



Abstract

At the end of the day I have a tough time coming up with a single, unifying storyline to tie the various women and events together. But I feel that the game is a commentary on the futile exercise of running away from ones painful memories of relationships past (as represented by the women chasing The Runner and their associated ďspeech bubblesĒ, which show specific events) and how those memories accumulate over time. I would also reason that there is a message about the use of escapism, as represented by both the typewriter and the relationship with Blondie. Both of these events give the player a brief respite, but end up simply making the problem worse in the end. With the typewriter, the game becomes more difficult as the women move up the field and the obstacles become more difficult to dodge, and the relationship with Blondie ends with more women chasing The Runner, again presumably making the game harder if it werenít to end at that point.

Speaking of which, the abrupt ending suggests to me that there is an implication that this process will repeat, as the player is not given any indication that things are any different from the beginning of the game, except that there are now more women chasing The Runner. Again reinforcing the theme of a man trying, and failing, to escape from his ever-growing number of potentially crippling memories of botched relationships.

I also see the obstacles as various events that, if The Runner isnít careful, end up damaging him mentally, thereby causing the unpleasant memories to move closer and his relationship with the blonde woman to fail. Finally there are the speech bubbles, which I would lean towards being moments where The Runner is recalling specific negative events, making the game harder, which is a way of communicating to the player the frustration, annoyance and possibly desperation that The Runner feels.


(The Rev Ant on the right was drawn by the super talented Mr.GrumpyTurtle!)


ĒMajorĒ Observations

- The name of the game is Runner

- The game begins with the player running away from three women while avoiding walls and knee-high barriers

- A mournful piano concerto plays in the background throughout the entire game

- Every time the player hits an obstacle, the women move forward slightly

- The women chasing the player are all semi-transparent (I will refer to the individual women based on the colour of their skirts: Purple, Green and Blue. The woman that appears near the end of the game will be referred to as Blondie)

- Once the game begins, the women float up one by one and a speech bubble appears in the field of play. These obscure the players view of the player character (hereby referred to as The Runner), thereby making the game more difficult

- Each woman has her own unique series of pictures within her respective bubble. They are as follows in the order in which they are displayed if the player ďcompletesĒ the game...

- Purple: the first to go airborne. Her bubble contains herself looking angry with a ninja behind her. She knocks the ninja out. There is then a picture that shows the player filming the whole thing and looking happy. Purple looks angry throughout

- Blue: the second to go airborne. Her bubble contains her kissing a blonde man while The Runner looks on in dismay). When this bubble comes up the game seems to get a bit tougher. Once the typewriter is collected, the scene changes to The Runner and Blue spooning. The Runners face is obscured and Blue looks content. (more on the typewriter after this)

- Green: the third to go airborne. Occurs after the typewriter ďwears offĒ. This bubble is the most elaborate and contains several scenes: Green looking happy sitting on a swing next to The Runner, The Runner looking angry, possibly disappointed, and is looking at Green whom is holding two bags and a backpack while looking a little concerned maybe? Next is a shot of Greens head and over a few frames her hair grows out, then a picture of her hanging out and looking happy with two guys and another girl. The next frame is the Runner looking angry and yelling into a phone, followed by a sequence of Green holding the phone away from herself while looking a little surprised and then slamming down the receiver with some measure of determination

- For most of the game if the player falls too far behind, or the women catch up to him/her, then the game is over and one of the women will grab onto the player character (hereby referred to as The Runner) and hug him. When this happens the woman looks happy and The Runner does not. All of the women also become opaque at this point and the women that are not hugging The Runner display their respective speech bubbles
- As Blueís bubble of her kissing a man while The Runner looks on finishes, the music increases in tempo and urgency. A typewriter then appears and it cannot be avoided. Once The Runner grabs the typewriter, he looks frantic as he begins to type away, with pages flying out behind him. At this point Blue lifts into the air and the bubble of her and The Runner spooning appears in front of her. While this is happening, The Runner also lifts into the air, and the bubble disappears from in front of Blue, suddenly appearing in front of The Runner

- While The Runner is in the air typing, all three women line up next to one another (they were staggered at the start) and advance up the field of play

- While The Runner is in the air, obstacles are still whizzing by down below

- After a minute, the bubble in front of The Runner begins to flicker, and eventually it disappears as he is lowered to the ground

- At this point Green lifts into the air and her bubble appears over top of the player. The game enters its most difficult phase as the player and the women are both obscured by the bubble and the pattern of obstacles becomes more difficult

- Once this section concludes, Blondie appears (she is opaque like The Runner at this point). She comes in from the front of the field of play and moves slowly backwards. At this point the player can either run into her, in which case the final phase of the game begins, or the player can avoid her, which causes the game to end once she is off the screen

- Assuming the player has The Runner bump into her, Blondie takes up position in front of The Runner and the other women slowly back off from the field of play off the screen. It may be worth noting that the play can no longer ďloseĒ the game from this point on and -regardless of what he/she does- will now see the game through to completion

- The player is then beset by obstacles again, but this time The Runner cannot jump. Instead, when the spacebar is pressed The Runner and Blondie kiss, causing a large heart to appear in front of them while they are both enveloped in a rainbow effect. This heart actually causes the various obstacles to disappear when they touch it

- Over a relatively short period of time, the heart becomes smaller and the obstacles are still nullified, but are made to be semi-transparent instead of completely gone, and the rainbow effect stops happening. Eventually the heart becomes tiny and then disappears thereby forcing the player to crash into the knee-high obstacles

- After a few crashes, Blondie leaves the player and slowly leaves the field of play by going off the screen behind The Runner

- Shortly after Blondie has left, she returns with the other women, all of whom are now semi-transparent

- Blondie then floats into the air and her bubble appears displaying the following scenes
-The Runner comes up to her, they both look happy and start holding hands
- She then hits a wall, with The Runner still holding her hand

- The Runner then helps her to her feet (there is a corresponding animation earlier in the game when Blondie hits an obstacle when she is with The Runner)

- Both look happy and are holding hands again

- Blondie hits another wall. Followed by the same scene that just played out with The Runner helping her up

- A shot of Blondie running away with her eyes closed, looks like she might be about to cry

- Another shot of Blondie, looks flushed, but her eyes are now open

- Shot of The Runner, eyes closed, looking hurt possibly, running in the opposite direction from Blondie

- The game then ends abruptly

Thatís pretty much it for the ďmajorĒ stuff. There are quite a few obvious things in there for the sake of completeness. Iíve left out any ďoutsideĒ information that I know about the people who worked on the game, the credits and the dedication to Ashley Davis on purpose in an attempt to look purely at the game itself. Letís move on to some of the more inscrutable things that may or may not be important (which is not to suggest that my above list is guaranteed to be complete or correct).

ĒMinorĒ Observations

- The loading screen contains all the controls necessary to play the game. This is most likely just a practical design decision, but I figured I may as well mention it

- The background is extremely simple, contains no colour and is obviously urban

- The whole game takes place on one long road

- The women are staggered at the start of the game. Pink is in the back, Blue in the middle and Green at the front

- Green is the one that grabs you if you get caught. When Green is in the air, itís Blue that grabs you

- One time Blue actually ran off the right side of the screen while The Runner was in the air with the typewriter. I was never able to recreate that, so maybe itís a glitch, or maybe I just havenít figured out what triggered it. During that play-through I got caught after landing by Purple, so Iím unsure as to whether Blue leaving would affect anything later on

- At the end of the game, Blondie is suspended in the air, but her bubble has disappeared and you can take The Runner off the screen by running to the right

- The obstacles shatter apart when you run into them

Thatís pretty much it. Iím sure there are a bunch of small things that Iíve missed, but hopefully these two lists should give a pretty thorough accounting of what happens in the game. Letís mosey on over to get the money shot: the analysis.



Thoughts and Interpretation

Considering the way things play out with Blondie later in the game, I believe the semi-transparent women to be embodiment of memories of past relationships. The reason is that when The Runner first meets Blondie their relationship is obviously a romantic one, and after she returns her bubble depicts what just happened within the game. In other words: the bubbles are The Runner recalling specific memories, while the semi-transparent women are memories in the background of The Runners mind.

Using the above to orient ourselves, we can start to break down the specific memories contained within the bubbles.

- Purple: She punches out a ninja and then itís implied that The Runner is filming it. Note that the shot of The Runner filming her does not have the ninja in it anywhere, but Purple has the same stance and look on her face that she had just before and after punching the ninja. Without some more context I canít make heads or tails of this one. Is it supposed to be that Purple is acting and a fond memory that The Runner has is of filming her? Is it a comment on a voyeuristic relationship? Maybe itís a depiction of a real event that had some personal meaning to the designer? (which would be cool because then he knew a girl that punched out ninjas) I have no idea and it kind of flies in the face of part of my interpretation for the rest of the bubbles.

- Blue: Kissing some guy while the Runner looks on, appearing totally dismayed gets some context when Then Runner gets the typewriter and that memory is replaced by one of Blue and he spooning. I believe that the first bubble is a memory that occurred chronologically after the second one. That is to say that Blue and The Runner were in a relationship, but she ended up either leaving him for someone else, cheating on him, or he ended up seeing her get into another relationship after they broke up, and it really bothered him.

For the sake of this interpretation, my gut feeling is that she left The Runner for another man simply because he looks distraught rather than angry while he looks on. Itís also interesting that the music picks up and the game gets harder when The Runner recalls her kissing the other man. After The Runner gets the typewriter however he becomes effectively invincible by flying over obstacles and above the women chasing him as he recalls what is presumably a happy memory for him. This further suggests that the world around The Runner is a representation of The Runners mind, and his feelings of desperation followed by relief are conveyed to the player through the changes in the game, such as the music and difficulty.

Having said that, the typewriter only offers the player a brief respite, and once The Runner has landed, the women have moved up the field and the game becomes even harder. I believe that this suggests that in order to stave off a painful memory, The Runner attempts a form of escapism by frantically writing, possibly about happier times. But ultimately itís a futile effort, and things only get worse for him when he stops writing.

- Green: of my assessments of the bubbles, I feel fairly confident in my interpretation of this one as a long distance relationship that breaks down. The establishing shot with the swing shows Green and The Runner in a happy relationship, the shot of Green with the bags is her moving away and her hair growing out represents changes in her life and or personality over time. The shot of Green hanging out with others is her enjoying her new life away from The Runner and the phone call from The Runner is him giving Green crap for not calling, or possibly accusing her of cheating. Finally, Green hangs up on The Runner, and the relationship ends.

- Blondie: the most straightforward one of them all. As I mentioned before: her bubble describes events that the player just played through, and Iíve used it to help me understand the other aspects of the game. Basically Blondie allows us to watch a relationship unfold in real time. At first their love is powerful and completely eliminates all obstacles, but over time it becomes less and less powerful, until finally there are barriers that canít be dodged, and these cause the relationship to fall apart. Also important to note is that when The Runner joins Blondie (or is it the other way around?) the memories of the other girls disappear off screen. Between this and the destruction of the barriers leads me to believe that the relationship with Blondie is also meant to highlight how new love can push unpleasant memories away and can overcome pretty much any obstacle, but that over time the magic fades and that new love can become just another sad old memory.

As far as the obstacles themselves go, I would posit that they represent events occurring to The Runner that negatively effect his mental state. When he hits a barrier one of two things happens depending on which part of the game the player is at: he either loses some ground to the unpleasant memories, or it is implied that crashing into the barriers cause his relationship with Blondie to go sour. Keeping this in mind, I think it would make sense to say that the obstacles have a direct relationship with how The Runner thinks and behaves, both within his mind and in the ďreal worldĒ, as represented by Blondie. Having said all of that, the barriers are fairly abstract, and I feel like Iím reaching a bit more than Iíd like in the above explanation.

Closing Thoughts

Not much else to say really. Hope that this was at least interesting, informative or entertaining to you in some way shape or form. Iím looking forward to seeing how close/far off I was about all of my thoughts and
feelings. But regardless of how correct I am, I did like how the game conveys some of the feelings that The Runner is experiencing to the player strictly through the gameplay and some basic art. Anyways, keep on rockiní in the free world kids!

P.S. Thank you for reading :D   read


5:03 AM on 04.01.2009

Nintendo to Purchase Microsoft Console Division, Remove Naughty Parts

This article was originally written for NegativeGamer.com. Usually I wouldn't post anything from another site that I wrote, but here I just couldn't resist since this is such big news and all ;)

Note: I did this in a hurry so spelling and grammar may be suspect :(



Sources within Nintendo have finally spilled the beans on what they call a ďlong overdue project to remove nasty, hate-filled things from this worldĒ by announcing that the family friendly company will be buying Microsoftís console gaming division. According to our high-level source inside the Big N, the move is not being made with profit in mind. Rather it is the next step to further cleanse the world of all hardcore gamers, which Ė as our source was quick to remind us Ė are nothing but violent time-bombs waiting to go off in a hedonistic flurry of destruction and death. When asked to elaborate, we received this response...

We at Nintendo have been trying extremely hard to get rid of ďhardcore gamersĒ by introducing such titles as ďWii FitĒ and ďWii MusicĒ and discouraging the sale of violent 3rd party games by slipping subliminal messages into their commercials and box art. Unfortunately we can only do so much when there are other companies out there that encourage the scourge of ďhardcore gamersĒ, those ner-do-wells, and it is up to us to stop them. We feel this way because not only are we the only company with the moral fibre to carry out this crusade, but we also had a hand in creating those monsters with our previous products.

The details of the takeover include all new XBox 360s being painted bright primary colours with pictures of ponies and rainbows on them, as well as being renamed ďElectronic Family Fun MachinesĒ. The entire catalogue of 360 games will also be removed from both store shelves and personal collections via roving Nintendo-approved death squads, which will torture and kill any man, woman or child foolish enough to try and stop them. Those games will then be replaced with new casual and family friendly titles, such as ďPositive Outlook: Train Your Soul In Minutes A Day!Ē and ďSenior Citizen Games Fun PackĒ.

Also announced were some major changes to XBox Live. Word has it that the service will still function, but all XBLA and store content will be removed along with voice chat, text chat, the party system, and the ability to play games online. Avatars will also be replaced with Miis, all Gamertags will be changed to inoffensive default names such as ďSunshineRainbow257Ē and friend codes will be a requirement. Added features will include a daily message of praise designed to lift up the players spirits, such as ďYouíre a very special person!Ē and ďWow! You look really good today! :DĒ.

Personally, I approve of this new direction. With the release of such sick, violent titles like "Childrenís Miracle Network Family Game PackĒ and ďMadagascar 2: Escape to AfricaĒ Microsoft has clearly stepped over the line and must be stopped before they train another generation of ďhardcore gamersĒ. If even one of those sickos gets a hold of a redeemer or a BFG 9000, thereís no telling how much damage he could do.

When asked for comment on future plans, our source simply said...

We are currently developing a game based on the Bedazzler for the Playstation 3. Or should I say, the Tween-Machine 3! MUHAHAHAHAHA!!   read


6:51 AM on 02.15.2009

Why Intimidation Can Kiss My Ass



Dtoid card booster 16 is still coming, just be patient :)

Ever hear someone tell you that they wonít play a game because they donít think they can handle the pressure? Maybe you went to hand someone the controller and that person told you that he/she wasnít interested because he/she didnít think that he/she was smart enough or had enough coordination to handle the game? I know I certainly have. And it isnít always my non-gaming friends that I get it from either. There are plenty of people that I would consider to be fairly well seasoned gamers that refuse to play certain titles because they see someone else play and think to themselves ďIíll never be able to do thatĒ.

All together now: YES YOU CAN!



Of course thinking like that is complete crap. But more times than I care to count Iíve had to really insist that someone play a game, because whenever I hear the old excuses about not being able to handle the pressure or whatever I get pissed off. I really hate it when people assume that theyíre no good at something before they try it. Years ago I let my intimidation get the best of me and I was denied many great games because of it. These days I walk into the arcade and proudly fail at DDR with crowds looking on, I push myself to play difficult games that I know will be great fun once I get over the hump and understand the game, I also try genres that I used to assume were ďtoo complex for me to understandĒ. The only difference between the average gamer and some gaming virtuoso is practice.



The take-home message is to not be intimidated by any genre or game. Whatever it is; you can play it, and youíll probably find that it takes a lot less time than you thought to get into it. Those 90 hours spent playing Persona 3 or even the 20-30 hours playing something like God of War (or whatever game/genre youíre already comfy with) could just as easily be used to test out something different that may very well catch your attention. Those guys and girls (lol becuz gurlz dun play gaemz!!!11! lolololol!!!1) that play professional Starcraft using seemingly inhuman speed just practiced a whole bunch until they could do it. Maybe you might take longer to get to that point (if thatís what you want to do), but you could be that good/crazy too.

Remember kids: donít let intimidation happen to you! Or anyone else that you know for that matter. Encourage non-gamers to stretch out and play stuff that normally intimidates them and test your own boundaries while youíre at it. You may just find something you really enjoy! :D   read


11:51 PM on 02.03.2009

(NVGR) The GHost's 1 Year Destructoid Anniversary Post!

Welcome to my wankfest! Consider this a fair warning: this post is all about how Dtoid has influenced me in the last year and my Dtoid related traveling. It includes the extreme overuse of the following words:

Amazing

Awesome

Incredible

Unbelievable

Sternocleidomastoid

Well, maybe not so much the last one. But you get the idea.

Originally this post was pages upon pages of text. It got to the point where Iím pretty sure that even Hideo Kojima could have been more concise. So in the interest of not making you read for an hour, Iíve decided to do an audio-blog for most of the content.

10 Minutes of your life that you will never get back.

Hopefully you are either downloading that right now, or are enjoying it as we speak. Or not enjoying it. Whatever, itís my anniversary and Iíll do what I want :) Regardless, here are some things that I missed on that recording...

- Technophile, Dexter and lvl99Ron were at the Kyle/Momma Donna party too!

- I made a complete ass of myself by dancing during the LA karaoke night!

- Lips is the gayest game ever!

- Husky Hog is also fucking awesome and is the secretary of good ideas for team awesome!

- That multiplayer pac-man game at Dysons with everyone was bad-ass

- Dyson and I could not beat Ridley in Super Metroid for some reason :(

I wonít attempt to recall ever thing that I did and didnít mention in the audio portion and put it on here. Suffice to say there were many parties and lots of good times were had during my Dtoid related travels. Enough reading and listening to me blather on and on. Letís look at some pictures chronicling my journey back from Africa and into Australia!

WARNING: Iíve posted many of these pictures in various places already and you will probably hate looking at me (and by extension you will of course hate me) by the time you've seen them all.

First: hereís a great picture of Aerox doing his favourite thing in the whole world



Myself and Suff0cat dancing. Soon after this I head out to the dance floor... alone. Iím super cool.



Everyone wants a piece of Chad!



I honestly donít remember getting on stage. I was reeeeeeaaaally drunk.



Party at Kyle Gamgee and Momma Donnas place. Chad faces for everyone!



Alex shows up and I tell Kyle that either the Mexican goes or I go.



Despite my threat, we both stay. But I AM UNAMUSED.



I CONTINUE TO BE UNAMUSED, EVEN WITH TACTIX STANDING RIGHT OVER ME.



Staying with Naia and Zero Atma. Plushies and slime hats FTW!



ZOOM! Off to San Francisco to see the bridge with Ben Perlee! (Topgear Gorilla)



Me being a tourist.



The OFFICIAL team awesome trophy!



Blurry shots at Dysons place! Husky and I look fucking retarded in the first one.





Dyson jerks off a nutcracker!



CTZ sees Gutless wonder with his pants down. Starts salivating!



Sushi time group shot!



Arcade night with Dysons friends!



IRC asks for a picture. Ben, Dyson and I deliver!



The last thing I do before leaving North America? Hug DJ Duffy.



Now Iím in Australia with Liz, her boyfriend and their friends!



Hoo boy. Iíll bet youíre sick of me after all this, arenít ya? Well fortunately for you Iím all done. I also pledge not to post another photo of myself on Destructoid for at least a few months because these last few days I've been uploading like crazy :P

Thanks again everyone (espcially you Niero!) and remember to stay classy Destructoid :)   read


10:06 PM on 01.31.2009

(NVGR) 10 Things You Don't Know About The GHost



Iím going to keep the ball that Silver Dragon, Jesus H. Christ and Y0j1mb0 got rolling with another ď10 things you donít knowĒ c-blog. So if you care to get some insight to what makes me tick, by all means stick around!

10. I prefer the PC version

Very rarely will I buy a game for a console when I can get it for the PC. The reasons are pretty simple and practical: nine times out of ten the PC gets better DLC and patching support, often the PC version gets the major bonus of having an actual online community that makes mods etc., the keyboard and mouse are my preferred method of control for most games because of its accuracy and versatility and I find that multiplayer games on the PC tend to have fewer jackasses playing them compared to the console version.

9. I used to be a Biochemist

Before becoming a medical student, I was a biochemist. I worked in genetics and proteins for about two years on two major projects (breast cancer and tuberculosis) before deciding that I didnít want to spend my career in a lab. After that I took off for Africa to do volunteer work for 6 months or so before traveling around for fun for a bit. Now I'm all settled in Australia and ready to get a new life started... again :)

P.S. I'm Canadian

8. I replay Earthbound every few months

It was the game that changed my perspective on all other games and convinced me that titles that werenít ALL ACTION ALL THE TIME!!!1!!1! could be really fun. More than that, it showed me that games can actually be emotionally engaging. Although the story isnít super complex and the characters arenít well developed, I found myself caring about their journey. That was the first time that ever happened to me.

Iíll probably also start playing through Mother 3 every few months now too :)

7. My first time posting anything online, text or otherwise, was about a year ago

Thatís right. Iím new to the internets! I had never posted in any forums or anything until I started playing TF2 on the www.themachine.org server. I started posting there and then shortly thereafter started posting on Destructoid, and Iíve been here ever since. I really need to go back and start posting on themachine again. Lots of good people over there...

6. I must 100% every Metroidvania game that I play

I donít know why. But for some reason if I play a Metroidvania game I will not stop until I have the awesome ending, the map completely explored and all of the little side-missions and extra content finished. Although Iíve done the 100% thing before in other games, in no other series do I feel compelled to explore every little nook and cranny like I do in all of the Metroidvania games.

Itís weird.

5. The first game I ever finished was Super Mario Land for the Gameboy

Not much else to say except that Super Mario Land fucking owns your ass.



4. I miss having a dog to play games with

Back in the day my family had a dog, and that pooch used to sit down next to me on the couch while I spent countless hours honing my skills and throwing controllers across the room. Whenever I got frustrated I would just pet my faithful companion and that would relax me enough to pick up the controller and try to get past those goddamn medusa heads/spike traps/bottomless pits etc. Now that sheís gone, and Iíve been living in places that donít allow pets, I find myself reaching over to pet a phantom doggy sometimes when I play games for long periods of time.

R.I.P. Mocha :(

3. I think that Kurt Vonnegut is fucking awesome

Kurt Vonnegut is probably my favourite author. He writes incredibly weird and imaginative books (most famously Slaughterhouse 5), but thereís a method to his madness that draws me to his work. I would highly recommend reading his short memoirs called ďA Man Without A CountryĒ. Itís incredibly short. So short in fact that you could probably read it while standing in the book store if youíre determined enough, but man is it ever good.

2. I keep imagining what PAX í09 will be like

Itís fucking months away, I have a very slim chance of going (plans are in place, but they are pretty stupid. Unless they work, in which case they are brilliant) and I really shouldnít be thinking about it so much, but PAX is on my mind almost all the time right now. I just keep thinking about what could happen and how awesome it would be to see everyone again and I keep creaming myself. My pants are constantly covered in semen and itís making my life very difficult. Moreover, I find myself browsing all of my PAX and Dtoid world tour pictures (which will be chronicled in my upcoming 1 year anniversary blog) and sighing wistfully almost every time I get bored. If the stars align and I do make it to Seattle, Iíll have dozens of elaborate plans arranged because Iíll have spent the last 12 months doing nothing but thinking them up.

If you are thinking about going to PAX stop reading this right now and go book your goddamn flight and hotel room. You will not be sorry.

1. Iím going to be writing for Negative Gamer!

Next week my first post will be going up. Woo hoo! Thanks Wardrox :)

  read


5:11 AM on 01.29.2009

(NVGR) The Forums Are Back: My Reaction

I've put this up in the forums, but I wanted to share it with all of you that never leave the front page :)

Here are the major events that made up my evening:

Just another lame-ass day...



Until...



OMG! FORUMZ IZ BACK! CEEEEEELABRATE GOOD TIMES, CíMON! :D









But something is missing. This isnít a proper celebration yet. Oh no, now itís...



So I put on my backpack and headphones and went to the liquor store of course!





After a few drinks I wanted to spin a beautiful woman around while we both laughed long into the night in shared joy. But Iíve only been in Australia a short while and have yet to convince any beautiful women that
Iím dateable, so I made due.













Hurray!

P.S. FooLizís boyfriend showed me that beer that I bought. Itís James Squire and itís the fucking TITS.

P.P.S. If you're an Australian and have yet to sign up for the Dtoid Australia Google group. DO IT NOW! :D   read


4:39 AM on 01.23.2009

Destructoid Cards: Booster Pack 14 (NVGR)

GíDAY MATE. PUT ANOTHER SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE EDITION

Not much to say intro-wise other than Iím slowly working on blogs in between moving to Australia, getting everything set-up for school and getting a place to stay, so things are moving sloooooowwwllly. If all goes well Iíll have a bunch of free time next week just before classes start, in which case Iíll be able to finish this little project.

Also, I miss my forums :(

Booster 14: Rape Closet



Eternalplayer2345 card notes: Now I donít now this guy all that well, but I think itís safe to say that heís a Retrofan GO! :) For any curious parties, the portrait is Detective Conan, which coincidentally is also his avatar of choice. Eternalplayer is also a brave soul, and he proved it by jumping in front of the angry masses to defend the notion that there is hope yet for Nintendo. His weakness was especially easy to come up with because itís the same as mine: Earthbound and Mother 3. Interestingly enough heís also a fan of Anticipation and since he seems to have similar taste in games to myself I think I may have to check it out (the box art alone pretty much sold me, just look how much FUN theyíre having! :D). Not content to just sit around and read the site, Eternalplayer has also hugged Jim Sterling in an inappropriate (or appropriate depending on who you ask) location during the great hug-off of í09.

Also, boo homophobes!



Mikey card notes: Okay, so he may not have the most clever screen name, but one look at his art and all is forgiven. Not since Ceark and his awesomeness has there been an artist in the community that has taken on a big Dtoid project like this amazing comic. Not only is he rocking the aforementioned comic, but Mikey has also been taking requests on what to draw from the community. If you havenít stopped by his blog yet, youíre missing out on one of the best things happening in the community right now. Iím not fucking kidding, this guy rules. Something that his art may have overshadowed is his dedication to high quality costumes, which has been chronicled in Mikeyís first blog. Keep up the great work Mikey!



Counting Conflict card notes: If you donít know, then Iím here to tell you: Counting Conflict is a drunk, heavily bearded, crazy-ass, cool-ass motherfucker. He is also the mastermind behind the drunken IRC based community awards. Unfortunately he has also experienced several traumatic losses, specifically heís gone through five XBoxsí, hence the red ring ability icons. Did I mention that he and Yojimbo have something of a beard rivalry? Well here are some pics of Yojimbo for reference. If you ever want to feel the awesome of Mr. Conflict, just hop on IRC and get your pants down, heíll probably be there to give you a nice warm greeting.
FYI: In IRC, rape is the customary greeting.



Tactix card notes: I actually had too many things to put on one card here, so Iíll put the big one that I missed up first. Tactix started a little something called Dtoid Community Discusses, which is a great little idea that parallels the semi-regular Dtoid Discusses front page posts. Check it out and let Tactix know if youíre interested in participating!

OK, Iím done with the boring stuff. Letís get to the rape closet :)

I had the immense pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with Tactix both when I was in LA, where we both stayed with Aerox, and in San Francisco, where I stayed in his apartment one night. Now you all need to understand something. I love Tectix, heís an amazing guy, no doubt about it. But I did get a bit weirded out when I saw his rape closet. Itís in his bathroom, and itís a trap door about head level that opens into a room with a bed. I cannot stress how strange this room is or what horrors go on in there. Unfortunately I donít have pictures, but trust me. Itís strange. Letís abruptly change subjects shall we? Methinks a whole new paragraph is in order!

Thatís better. Now as everyone in IRC knows, Tactix is the source of all things science. Just head into the channel and yell SCIENCE! And Tactix will be there in a flash to answer your no doubt ridiculous question. On top of that you can always count on Tactix to drop the high-class fashion bomb. Wherever he goes he sets the scene with his trademark fedora, which has spawned a series of imitators, but we all know who started it. Something else you should know is that when Tactix gets drunk, he gets gay. Itís crazy to watch, but believe you me: it happens. Heís also a big Chad Concelmo fan and has a thing for Squirtle. Something that he advertises via his Rio made Squirtle hat. I could go on for several more paragraphs, but I donít want to gush too much. All you need to know is that Tactix is a bad-ass motherfucker and he WILL rape you in Street Fighter II (using a pink T. Hawk), Marvel Vs. Capcom II and his rape closet.



Ben Perlee card notes: Another awesome guy that I got to hang out with in San Francisco. You may also see Ben moonlighting as TopgearGorilla (his old account) or just Topgear (in IRC). Donít be scared, he only bites if you ask him to.

Ben also seems to have two fetishes: chickens (cocks) and aviators. The aviators I can understand, but you got me as to why cocks. Well thatís actually not true, I think we ALL know why cocks :) Anyways, he and Tactix both attend the same school, so Iíd bet dollars to donuts that he holds the record for seeing the inside of the legendary rape closet.

Ben is also a fanboy for gaming industry people, something that springs from his great love of not just games, but the people that make them and write about them. Heís also trying to break into the industry so wish him luck! Heís a great guy and I hope that he makes it :)

Afterthoughts

Stop. Donít do it. Donít ask me for a card, please. Iím still getting requests (and re-requests) from people almost daily and thereís no way that I can make it through all of them. Asking me for a card wonít get you moved up the list.

Thatís all I have to say about that. So, uh, stay in school kids!

Random quote... EXECUTE!

"I am Grimm Shado," said Grimm Shado, his triple wand claws extending. "And I am here to take it to the limit."
-The Song of the Sorcelator, page 179 (Penny Arcade)   read


2:36 AM on 01.21.2009

Super Dtoid Swag Postification!

I was going to include all of this stuff in my upcoming first birthday/Destructoid world tour (wherein the world consists of the UK, Canada, the US and Australia) wrap-up post, but once I had finished writing that thing it was 8 pages and that was without any pictures. Seriously, Hideo Kojima is more concise than I am. Anyways, while Iím busy cutting that thing down into something more manageable I figured that Iíd put up a post featuring some of the cool swag that I was sent in the last while. Hope you all enjoy coveting my stuff! :D

First I wanted to put up a new picture of my laptop, which Iíve been getting Dtoiders to sign since PAX. Unfortunately some signatures have worn off, but shortly after PAX I was able to get a hold of a clear adhesive sheet, so even though some of those signatures faded a bit before I got it on the rest are now totally safe. Iím trying to find another sheet to protect the other signatures. But havenít found anything quite yet. Hang in there little black felt marks!

(click the image for a larger version)



The next picture is me and some of my swag that has been arranged all pretty like.



Included in the swag are Detryís Dtoid secret Santa presents that he sent me (Ninja Gaiden II and Legend of Zelda), which are both fucking awesome games that I didnít already own. Thanks Detry! The Boo-Mario and copy of Dynamite Headdy I picked up while looking through some import/used game stores in LA with Naia and Zero Atma. The Super Metroid cart was generously donated to me by Dyson when I stayed at his place and we almost managed to beat it in one sitting with Topgear (Ben Perlee) looking on in amazement (fuck you Ridley!). The rest of the stuff I received from Colette and Niero just as I was heading to Australia. Iím not sure what else to say other than THANK YOU!!!!! :DDDDD Included in the package was a game gear, a copy of Legend of Illusion Featuring Mickey Mouse, a new Dtoid shirt (which replaces the one that I lost while I was in Africa), a Ninjatown sticker (which I think Iíll be putting on my backpack), and best of all: a Dtoid condom! Now that Iíve taken a picture of it I can go get laid. Iíll be right back...



I just want to once again thank you all for being fucking rockstars, especially the random swag bag from Colette and Niero; that was like Christmas all over again, but sexier and with more robots. While Iím at it Iíd like to publicly thank Aerox , Dyson, Naia and Zero Atma for giving me places to stay while I was in LA and SF. You guys made that amazingly awesome trip possible for me. Iíd also like to thank a number of other stupendous people for a number of other incredible things, but Iíll save that for my 1 year post where Iíll do a run-down of all the Dtoid related traveling that Iíve been doing lately.

Also, apparently...



I love you too Dtoid. I love you too :D

P.S. <3

P.P.S. Relevant image: what Aerox does for fun.



P.P.P.S. Another relevant image: Gutless Wonder drops his pants at Dysons place. Look how happy CTZ is!



WE NOW RETURN YOU TO THEM VIDJA GAEMS THAT ALL THEM CHILLUNS BE PLAYIN THESE DAYS. OH LAWD!   read


2:34 PM on 01.06.2009

For Those About To Tyra Tuesday: I Salute You

Tyra will be the first female president. She already has our childrens educations in mind.



When she takes over your internets THERE WILL BE NO ESCAPE.



She cups the balls and sucks like a hoover.



She gives people free cars.



She is a goddamn DOCTOR.



She writes under the pen name "Chad Concelmo" here at Destructoid.



She was on The Man Show
.


Never forget the true reason for Tyra Tuesday: Raptor Jesus, whom went extinct for our sins.

  read


12:32 PM on 12.26.2008

(NVGR/Slightly NSFW) Destructoid Cards: Turkeylicious/Forums LIVE! Edition

DESTRUCTOID CARDS: JOLLY SNOWFLAKE DAY EDITION

If you don't know what Snowflake day is, please educate yourself.

Anyways, I hope that everyone is enjoying the holidays as this will probably be the final holiday season before the complete and total collapse of the world economy sends us spinning into the dark abyss of anarchy and destruction. Considering that, what kind of pre-apocalyptic holiday would this be without some more Destructoid cards? A depressing one, that's what.

Enjoy!

Booster Pack 14: The One Where Banj and Serp Corrupt Everyone That Comes Into Contact With Them



Banj card notes: This was a tough one because it's like trying to make a card for a force of nature; a force of nature that makes some of the best sexual innuendo you've never heard. Seriously: he takes it to places previously explored only in the most sensual and elaborate poetry. If you've never heard of this guy, then you've never been in the forums, in which case you've been missing out on another awesome facet of the greater Destructoid community. Case in point: if Destructoid was a city then a must see attraction would be the interplay between Banj and Serpentish. Just be careful that you don't get caught in the middle, unless of course that's what you want.

Unfortunately Banj has recently been reamed out by the man for the holiday season. At least it led to an awesomely derailed thread!

Sometimes Banj and or Serp will toss out an awesome quiz that will no doubt make you its bitch. Don't be afraid; just let it happen.

I know he rubs some people the wrong way, but I love this guy :)

Oh yeah, here's a related picture...





Serpentish card notes: Speaking of related; Serp and Banj are the second cards that I've ever added some sort of interaction between (the first being Atheistium and Pheonix Blood), which just makes a lot of sense. As I mentioned in Banj's card writeup, these two guys make the forums a much more interesting place to hang out, and by interesting I mean erotic. Both Banj and Serp were supposed to show up for PAX '08, but Banj decided to piss in an alley. Do you believe the story? WE REPORT: YOU DECIDE. (I've been away for a while, does FOX still use that slogan?)

The time warp thing is a reference to both the phenomenon of some forum posts appearing above previous posts (you reply to someone before they put their post up) and Serps ability to go back in time and bang your mom.

Who's your daddy?

Portrait picture was provided by Detry/Aerox, and is fucking AWESOME, and the ability icons are the ubiquitous foxes that Serp uses as his avatar. Did I mention that I love this guy too?



Anus McPhanus card notes: There seems to be a running theme here. You see, I also love this guy. You see, when I went to the UK, McPhanus was basically a case study in how to be an awesome person. He was very accomodating, allowing myself and Justice to stay at his place when the tubes were shut down for the night, he was a lot of fun to hang out with and talk to, and I beat him in some wacky Japanese arcade game using only one hand. PERFECT! :)

Not only is McPhanus awesome in the real world, but he's pretty great with them innernets that the kids seem to like. For example: take a look at his deconstruction of Rev Ants deconstruction, or his feel the hatred article, which might look at reviews a little differently than you might be used to. Really all you need to see though is his MvC drinking gam to realize that this little AZN packs plenty of win with him.

Now many people qualify for the "Best Of Both Worlds" ability, but I figured it's as apt in this case as it is in many others, so why not use it here? We also talked a bit about that whole subject in person when I was in the UK, so that also makes me associate the idea with him a bit more than others. Regardless, as the ability (and really most of the rest of this booster) suggests: the forums are a fine place to hang out too :)

P.S. For your protection I've removed my ugly mug from the picture :)



Nintendoll card notes: One of the coolest ladies of both Destructoid and Negative Gamer, something I can personally attest to after having met her at the amazingness that you're all sick of hearing about: PAX '08. On the interwebs Nintendoll holds it down by posting front page worthy memories of Harvest Moon 64 and giving us powerful insights into the workings of her sometimes booze addled brain.

Nintendoll is also a founding member of what I'm going to call the Black Yoshi Brigade. It's a coalition of coolness made up of Nintendoll, Suff0cat, Wardrox, and ScottyG, all of whom bought matching Black Yoshis at PAX.



Black Yoshi also has his own blog!

Now, on her c-blog sidebar Nintendoll says that she hates the Atlantic Ocean. I can only guess as to why that is :)

Afterthoughts

I had some stuff that I was going to write here, but it's Christmas eve and I'm going to go get drunk now instead and post this on Christmas day*

*Or the day after, whatever.

Random quote... EXECUTE!

"MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

-Me   read


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