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TheDRMaster
4:06 PM on 04.13.2011

I lost my gaming V-Card at the tender age of 3, when I was spoiled rotten with a new Nintendo 64 and a slew of titles. Since then I've been an avid gamer, constantly itching to get my grubby toddler hands on a new game. And a good four years later, I was ready for my next big gaming purchase: a brand-spanking new PS2 for Christmas, along with a few launch titles, including the then-new SSX. When I popped in the shiny blue-bottomed disc (Anyone else remember how cool the old blue PS2 CD's looked?), I had absolutely no idea that I was about to experience the single most important gaming moment of my life.



SSX, for those who are unfamiliar with the games, is a series of arcade-y snowboard-based racing games featuring a colorful palette of locales, music, characters, tricks, and general "Holy crap, that just happened!" experiences that set it apart from other snowboarding/skateboarding games. It was colorful, fast, challenging, and crazy. Although the original game's sequels SSX Tricky and SSX 3 are much better received and MUCH more popular, SSX 1 was my first, and it will always hold a place in my heart for being the first video game to make my eyes widen and my jaw drop.



After a rather dazzling intro (at least it was for me at the time), I got myself through the menu and onto a simple race on the first course, Snowdream, my mind was instantly blown from the game's graphics. I had never seen a game so damn pretty in my life, and the race hadn't even started yet. Once the timer counted down, my snowboarder was propelled forward along with 5 other racers. It truly felt like a party, with all 6 snowboarders plummeting down the slope all together. As we careened down the powder, I could hear the fans to both sides of me cheering us on, feel the cool night sky above me, and hear the banter of DJ Rahzel talking about the race as we sped on. The music bumped as we banked through the turns, and just up ahead was the very first BIG jump of the race. And that's when it happened.



As the six racers and I flew over the jump, the game makes the music cut out as I'm in the air. Some of the racers are doing flips and spins, some are flying forward just to land as fast as they can, and some fail their attempted maneuvers and end up biting it as they land. And as this is all happening, [i]fireworks are blowing up in my face[/b]. Talk about overload of the senses. My 7-year-old brain was absolutely astounded. I was completely blown away by how any game could process all of this and deliver an experience as downright beautiful as this.

You can watch the very moment HERE.


At this moment, something in my brain "clicked". I had always loved flipping on my N64 as a littler kid, but I hadn't developed a passion for gaming until then. SSX turned me into a gamer. SSX is the reason I'm here on this website right now. Since then, I've always had a soft spot for the series, and with the upcoming release of a sequel for current-gen consoles, I'm even more excited. Although the announced new direction for the series has turned my "extreme excitement" into "cautious optimism", I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still excited for the game. Please, EA. Don't screw it up.
Photo Photo Photo








Since the wee age of three years old, I have been obsessed with racing games. Ever since I booted up my Nintendo 64 and played Cruis'n USA, racing games have always had a special little place in my heart. I loved the absolute flexibility of the genre; you could race any sort of vehicle and the additions of various special features like awesome power-ups (a-la-Mario Kart) and amazing set pieces (a-la-Hydro Thunder), the racing genre was a bit wacky and VERY fun.

Unfortunately, we have come upon a saturation of racing games that aren't very wacky at all, and the fun level has plummeted. After the release of Midnight Club: LA, we have seen a lot of generic racers out there. Sure, Forza 3 was pretty and racing your dream car in a realistic manner was pretty cool, but the "cool factor" was overshadowed after the, say, 5th lap. Racing sims seemed to almost dominate the market, and Bizzare Creations only worsened the issue with the extremely generic Project Gotham racing series. Instead of further contributing to the massive over saturation of generic racers, they decided to take a different (and risky) approach to the racing genre. And that's why, my friends, Blur might just get my GOTY vote.




Blur is not your typical racing game. It's got a very smooth, neon look to it, no doubt inspired by Geometry Wars. Blur contains real cars with semi-real physics on tracks inspired by real-world locales. However, a huge variable is thrown into the mix: power-ups. These power-ups include Shunt, which is a rather devastating (and slightly frustrating) homing energy ball thing that resembles Mario Kart's Red Shell. Then there's Shock, which fires out three bursts of energy in front of the lead car, which can be very helpful if you're trying to reach that number one spot. Then there's Barge, which shoves all nearby cars out of the way. There's Bolts, three little slivers of energy that nudge a car off the track, causing them to lose very precious momentum. Then there's Mine, Repair, Shield, and Nitro, and what they do should be quite obvious.

The power-ups are very devastating and are definitely the main focus of the game. If Split/Second can be compared to "the first person shooter of racers", then Blur can definitely earn the same moniker. You will have to be an excellent multitasker; you have to focus on actual driving while evading/using power-ups. These power-ups can prove VERY frustrating at times, and words like "cheap" and "unfair" can come into play. However, you can easily dish out what you're being given, and evening the odds is very rewarding. When it's bad, it sucks, but when it's good, it's great.



Now onto the tracks. The tracks of Blur take you all around the globe, and there are around 30 in all. They're all radically different and the background scenery is pretty cool, even though it's the last thing you'll want to focus on during a race. What's also interesting is that some courses are offroad, and you'll need to pick vehicles tailored to offroad racing, which is a great way to mix it up a bit.

Now the cars. I have to say that the cars are really cool looking (for lack of a better word) in Blur. They're not nearly as detailed as other racing games, but they capture the game's smooth, polished look very well. The car choice is neat too, there are some very interesting cars that I honestly haven't seen in other racers, which is quite impressive considering the massive scope of cars in Forza 3.

Single player is pretty fun, there' s not much to say about it. The story is the generic "I'm a new racer and I gotta take out all the other established racers" motif. You earn fans and unlock cars on the way to the top. The AI is good and make use of the power-ups just as a real-life player would. In speaking of real-life players...



...the Multiplayer is fantastic. With a sleek Leaderboard system, comparable to that of Geometry Wars 2, fast Matchmaking, and 20-player online racing, it's an awesome experience. I cannot think of a more polished, fun multiplayer racing experience. If you've played the VERY popular Beta, you know how addicting it is to Shunt and Barge opposing cars. The game also includes 4-player splitscreen which is a nice touch as well. The total Multiplayer experience is fun and should be experienced by veteran racers and newcomers alike.

And for those who are lazy and would like a score, it gets a 10/10 in my books.


PS: OBLIGATORY SPLIT/SECOND COMPARISON








Hello everyone. Today I recently purchased this filth known as "Splinter Cell: Conviction". As many of you know, the story follows this asshole named Sam Fisher while he searches for his daughter in a race against time. Along the way, you'll be killing a bunch of other douches sneaky-style and you'll go to Iraq and kill some other douches. This would have been an interesting and creative story and gameplay mechanic, but Ubisoft and all their retarded devs failed to realize one little thing: Gears of War 2 did all of this already. Allow me to elaborate:


Both games feature stealth-based gameplay



Back in 2008, Gears of War 2 revolutionized the stealth genre. It included a core mechanic that drained all color from the screen when your character was hidden from the enemies, slimming down the HUD and making stealth more accessible. This feature, however, was criticized by so-called "hardcore" gamers, stating that the game was "always" like that. Maybe these "gamers" should get their eyes checked, because I can tell the difference. Unfortunately, two years later, a little game called "Splinter Cell Conviction" copied this very mechanic. Shame on you, Ubisoft.

The "WHERE'S MY [Loved One]" Meme




Gears of War 2: WHERE'S MY WIFE

Splinter Cell Conviction: WHERE'S MY DAUGHTER

Such drama.


Deep religious overtones




In Gears of War 2, Marcus Fenix (the main character) is a devout Christian. While he is slaughtering Locust in all that is good and holy, he constantly stops for prayer and worship. This sparked quite a controversy, causing the game to sell millions worldwide. In a hasty attempt to steal Gears of War 2's fame, Splinter Cell Conviction carries deep religious messages as well.


Zero-DRM Policy



Since I am The DRM Master anyway, I feel as though I am the most well-educated on the subject. I know for a FACT that Gears of War 2 for PC did NOT have any DRM whatsoever. Everyone knows that DRM stands for Devil Rights Management, and the nice people at Epic Games did not ship the PC version of their masterpiece with any of these satanic restrictions. And guess who followed suit right after Gears of War 2? That's right: Splinter Cell Conviction. When Splinter Cell Conviction was shipped for PC, it didn't contain any DRM either. Nice try at winning our hearts, Ubisoft, but this Master is not fooled.









Hell yes!


Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to commemorate one of the most amazing and deadly weapons found in the modern shooter: the automatic shotgun. Often overlooked and unfortunately replaced by longer-range weapons (read: LeetSnipers), these weapons are the true man's guns. Whether it be the Modern Warfare 2's AA12, Bad Company 2's USAS-15, or Borderlands' many "Sweeper Shotguns", these guns are all around you. Here is why YOU should be the badass motherf*cker using these deadly pieces of machinery:

1) It takes just enough skill to not be considered cheap


Follow the Vladov rule: you don't need to be a better shot, you just need to shoot more bullets! Precisely. You can run into a room and clear it of several enemies in seconds flat with an auto-shotty. After you're done annihilating the enemy team, one whiner can call shenanigans, claiming auto-shotties are "cheap". The great thing with auto-shotties is that you can have two points to rebute his statement: A) Auto-shotties have low ammo and B) Auto-shotties have poor range (but that's no problem for YOU!). Now the whiner's argument has been nullified and you can proceed with killing him a multitude of times.


2) It's hilarious to kill snipers with an auto-shotty



Did some asshole sniper just put a bullet in your noggin from across the map? Does the bastard deserve payback? Hell yes he does. And there's no better way to do so than putting 350 12-gauge rounds in him per minute. But to do so takes some skill. You gotta be sneaky, you gotta be stealthy. You gotta get in close. Even though it may be difficult, the end result is extremely satisfying.


3) You feel like a badass (it's because you are)



You are holding 7.3 kg of hot, automatic death in your hand. Screw those wussies with their pump-action Spas-12's or their SEMI-auto Strikers. No, your gun shoots fully auto. And that makes you about 200x scarier, and about 9001x more badass. So they can shoot you once, that's cool. In the same time it takes for them to pump, you can shoot them 4 times already. That's possibly the best thing ever and you know it.

4) They mount them on unmanned tanks



Hell yeah they do.








Hey guys! This is Corporal Coolkid of the 22nd Sniper Squadron. Today I'm going to teach you MY way of playing Bad Company 2. You know, the right way. I hope these tips and tricks help you on the Battlefield (lol), as they surely helped me.

1: Be a LeetSniper (tm)



K guys, the first thing you gotta do is get yourself an awesome sniper rifle. Screw all that needless C4 and Mortar-strike stuff. Snipers only have one goal: to kill people. Let all the Medics and the other wussy classes deal with all of the objective junk. All that REALLY matters is your K/D.


2: Huddle in a group with other Leetsnipers (tm)



Strength in numbers, right? Trust me, I know from experience that if there are a bunch of grass-people camped up on an obvious ledge, no one will find you/shoot a 40mm grenade at you. It is the ultimate strategy. But if that somehow doesn't work...


3: Wait for the Helicopter to spawn



Sure, it may seem a bit "unnecessary", but trust me, you will help your team more when you get the helicopter. It's a well-known fact. In the case that you don't know how to drive the helicopter, take it anyway. When you get in it, you'll automatically learn how to pilot it and lead your team to victory. But if that doesn't work...


4: Wait for the UAV to spawn



Using the UAV is an intricate process. Be sure to fly around for a few minutes just to get a feel for it (and have tons of fun, of course). When you're ready to take it on the battlefield, be sure you fly as high up as possible so that no one can spot you. If your UAV gets shot, be sure to fly it right back to your base. Just be sure to use it as defensively as possible. I mean, it can't possibly kill anyone, right? If for some impossibly odd reason that doesn't work, you can always...


5: Switch to Medic



Represent, bitches.








There's an arcade about 20 minutes from where I live. It's a very quaint place; and by quaint I mean awful. Half of the machines don't work, there isn't a single game more recent than 2005 (seriously), and it's almost always barren. This beat-up galleria of near-obsolete technology, however, is my home-away-from-home. I go there on occasion, get a $20 dollar game card, and get to dick around for an hour or so.

To the far left are the racing games and the Skee-Ball, next to that are the skill/ticket games, and in the far right corner is where I like to call home: the "Shooting Gallery".



The Shooting Gallery is comprised of 5-6 different machines, like Time Crisis 2, House of The Dead 2, and some other really obscure Konami shooters (L.A. Machineguns or Crisis Zone, anyone?). House of The Dead 2, although an extremely fun game, loses it's luster due to very poorly-calibrated Light-Guns. L.A. Machineguns is pretty fun, and Crisis Zone (a Time-Crisis-style game with automatic guns) would be great if the light guns' rumble functionality would work. Then there's Time Crisis 2, which is a totally different story. My arcade's Time Crisis 2 machine works excellently, they even sprang for custom light-guns that work like a charm. This machine is my dojo; these plastic gun-shaped controllers are my weapons.

I'll quickly pop in my card, the allotted points will be deducted, and it's my time to show these horribly-rendered terrorists who's boss (it's me, by the way). I'll skip the first cutscene and spring into the first room. Around 6 enemies pop out of their respective covers, I can shoot each of them in less than 4 seconds without a miss. I aim down the sights, I quickly pump the "cover" pad to reload, and yes, I even quickly tap the trigger during the fights with a tank/armored vehicle where quick damage is a must. Yes, I am that guy. I am also the guy who takes up every spot in the top 10 on the leaderboard. After a couple months without playing, I went back to my arcade a few days ago to play. I only had to use 4 continues, and that was when I was rusty. It was pretty amazing.



Why do I love these games so much? Well, it's simple: it's as close as you can get to shooting a gun at terrorist without, you know, shooting a gun. I am a total pacifist in real life, but when it comes to games, I find it really fun and enjoyable to shoot at crappy, poorly-rendered terrorists and be the hero. I am an avid player of Airsoft, and playing any light gun game is both good practice and stress release. I'm just glad I have the reflexes (and patience!) that these game require. I have high hopes that my arcade can some day redeem itself and get updated games.

Until then, you can find me rocking some face at Time Crisis 2.