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About


Twitter: @TheDustinThomas

Greetings and salutations.

TheDustinThomas here, you probably don't know me, but I write things here on Destructoid from time to time. Occasionally I get on the front page:

The Most Inexplicably-Often Rented Games At Blockbuster

The Top 10 Videogame Pro Wrestlers

A Retrospective of Pro Wrestling Videogames from the Perspective of a Pro Wrestler

I'm also the host of a pretty sexy gaming podcast that I do with a couple buddies of mine. You can download and subscribe to it here. You should totally do that.

All of my games writing you can find on DToid, but I also write about other things on my personal blog. Here's my top 5 most read blogs:

Let Me Tell You About My $250 T-Shirts

Tempting of the Doon

5 Ways Getting in Shape Has Messed with my Head

Tim Lambesis: A Fan's Struggle to Understand

Why I Already Dislike Planet Fitness

You may notice that most of those blogs are somehow related to pro wrestling. Why? Because I spent 10 years as a professional wrestler before retiring in October 2013 due to back injuries. I actually wasn't too bad.

A bit about me? Well, obviously I love to write. It's not a paying gig yet, but I'm certainly trying to make that happen.

I'm a happily married man, and my wife is smokin' hot.

I have a huge, manly beard.

God comes first in my life above all else. I'm a leader at my church, as well as the head of our media department.

I've been a metalhead pretty much my entire life.

I'm also a die hard fan of The Simpsons.

Other miscellaneous fact.

-Dustin
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Special guest and PStoid host Nanashi joins the Error Machine Podcast this week. We discuss things like the New 3DS, Amiibo news, Kmart phasing out games, Lemmy Kilmister, how hardcore Dustin was in high school, and much more. Topics and time marks below.

Intro 00:50
Nanashi enters the arena 01:20
Erik New 3DS impressions 02:45
Majora's Mask 3D discussion 05:35
Chris gets a new car 10:20
Remembering Dustin's high school car 11:10
Nanashi's Diablo III addiction 13:00
Nanashi's GOTW – Eliot Quest 16:00
Erik GOTW – Shinobi 3DS 20:45
Revengeance discussion/sequel rumors 22:00
Chris GOTW – Halo Master Chief Collection 24:50
Schwarzenegger training techniques 27:20
Dustin GOTW – Hyrule Warriors/Captain Toad 28:50
Luke GOTW – Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8 Bit Land 31:20
New Releases 34:50
Error Machine Describes: Gas Guzzlers Extreme: Full Metal Zombie 41:55
Link is the most popular Amiibo 47:40
Nintendo confirms Amiibo cards 49:00
Kmart phasing out games 51:00
Goodbyes and plugs 57:50

Thanks for listening!

-Dustin









Hey everybody! Welcome to the new episode of my recent adventures in video content! An exciting new venture, for sure.

This week, in anticipation for Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, I took a look at one of the finer titles on the original Game Boy: Kirby's Pinball Land.

This video is a bit different than the previous two. For one, despite how much I love the game, it's a simple game, so this video is a bit shorter than the others. Also, this time I don't appear in the video at all. I always intended for these videos not to feature me at all, but some people seemed to like that stuff.

Anyway, give it a view and let me know what you think.

If you're interested in our YouTube channel, check it out here.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think.

Be on the lookout for a new Weekly Top 5 later this week (probably tomorrow).

And, as always, give my podcast a listen:

-Dustin

Photo








Hey everybody. Some of you may remember that I posted this video last week:

A lot of you left me some great feedback, which I took into consideration when creating the new video, posted below. In the first episode of "Hall of Game" I talk about Mega Man 2, which is undeniably a fantastic game. This week, however, I went with a rather bad game in 8 Eyes.

I wanted to try something that I had never played before, and also wanted to see if I could take a bad game and make a funny video about it. It's not in the same vain as a AVGN or JonTron, I still try to be both funny and informative. 

Plus, a lot of you said you'd be interested in watching future episodes, so here it is. Again, let me know what you think, any feedback and/or constructive criticism is appreciated. As always, stay awesome.

-Dustin









I know that there are a lot of hardcore PSP fans out there, and for the life of me, I really wanted to give the PSP some love on this list, but when I got to thinking about all the games I played on mine, they were all big titles from Sony's flagship franchises like God of War and Metal Gear Solid. I even did a Google search and read several forum threads trying to find a hidden gem on the PSP that I had played, or for that matter, heard of. I'm really sorry, guys. And I should go ahead and let you know that if you're expecting things like Jeanne d'Arc or Valkyrie Profile Lenneth to be on this list, then you should probably go ahead and hit the back button on your web browser.

Don't take that to mean that I didn't love my PSP, because I really did. But the niche titles you find on the PSP (and on the Vita today), just aren't my thing. The Nintendo DS, however, was totally my thing, and I found so many hidden gems that this was a hard one to whittle down, but I managed to do it, and here are my choices:

Honorable Mentions: Elite Beat Agents & Retro Game Challenge

Elite Beat Agents is probably one of my top 10 Nintendo DS games, period. So why wouldn't I put it high up on this list? Because everyone lists EBA as a hidden gem on the DS, to the point that it's really not that hidden anymore. EBA is one of the most addicting games that the system has to offer, and several times I would accidentally-on-purpose keep myself awake in bed, saying that I was only going to play a song or two, knowing good and well that I was going to wind up playing for over an hour.

The game is quirky, and has a decent song selection if you like pop music. All I know is that it has both a Queen song and "September" from Earth, Wind, and Fire (which is one of my favorite songs ever, not even kidding), and those two songs alone made up for every time I had to play the levels with Hoobastank, Good Charlotte, and Avril Lavigne songs. It was one of the early games on the DS that justified the need for the second screen, and to this day is one of the best rhythm games you can find.

I really wanted Retro City Rampage to do to me the same thing that Retro Game Challenge did, and that is to make me feel like a kid again. Now, I'm not here to debate the value of Retro City Rampage, but I'll just say that I personally wasn't a fan. Few games are able to capture the same nostalgic lightning-in-a-bottle that Retro Game Challenge did so brilliantly. Everything from sitting in front of a television with your friends, to yelling at your mom to leave you alone, to thumbing through game magazines to find secrets are all beautifully replicated here.

The worst part about Retro Game Challenge is that it was given a sequel that was only released in Japan due to the original's poor North American sales. Retro Game Challenge is much more than meets the eye. Like the recent NES Remix releases, you're given specific challenges in 8 different games inspired by early NES/Famicom games. But the big difference here is that instead of just getting challenges, all 8 of those games are full games that can be unlocked in free play and played to your heart's content. You have a Galaga-like shooter, a vertical-scrolling space shooter, a series of three platformers (the first two being sort of like the original Mario Bros., and the third looking and playing very similarly to Ninja Gaiden or Shinobi), two racing games that are a cross between R.C. Pro Am and Super Off-Road, and a full-blown RPG akin to 8-bit Final Fantasy and Dragon's Quest games.

You can still find RGC used for around $20, but that little cartridge packs a big punch, and is well worth the cost for my fellow retro-enthusiasts.

5. Super Princess Peach

I understand why this game came under some heat when it was released. Yes, you basically use Princess Peach's PMS as a way to progress in the world. I completely understand why that upsets some people, and I respect everyones opinion who was. But at the end of the day, I don't play games for their political correctness; I play them to have fun, and Super Princess Peach is a ton of fun. Despite the controversy, it's still a very well made game and, in my opinion, the best platformer that Nintendo released on the DS.

My only real complaint about Super Princess Peach is the same complaint I had with Kirby Mass Attack: mandatory collection. Every level has 3 Toads for you to find, and if you get to the final castle and didn't collect every single one, then you aren't getting into that castle. When games do that, I get to the final level, discover that I can't play it, and say "Well, I guess I just beat the game." I seriously hate collection as a progression mechanic.

4. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

Even though this game also appears on other platforms, the definitive way to play it is on the Nintendo DS. If I remember correctly, the game was only $20 at launch, which I'm pretty sure is the only reason I decided to buy it in the first place. But I'm glad I decided to take that chance. The game is a puzzle RPG, and you wind up playing as five different heroes over the course of your adventure. I'm not even going to try and explain the story. For one, most stories in fantasy settings bore me to tears, but also because the game takes place between two other Might and Magic games, which is a series that I've had zero experience with before or since I played this game.

The gameplay is somewhat tricky to explain, so I'll just leave this video here for you to watch at your own discretion.

It may seem complicated at first, but there's something extremely satisfying about making one move and causing a chain of several of your units to link together for extreme damage. The final area does boost the difficulty quite a bit, almost do an unfair degree, so I would suggest leveling up your characters to the max in each section before advancing. You're going to get at least 20 hours of gameplay regardless of how many side quests and bounties you do, so you more than get your moneys worth.

3. Ninjatown

I'm very thankful that my friend Luke was a diehard Nintendo DS fan, and had a goal of collecting and playing every single game released for it. If it weren't for him, I would have completely overlooked Ninjatown. Going based on the cover art, it's hard to imagine it being anything but a kids game, but once you start playing, you realize right off the bat that it's much more than that. It may look cute, but don't take that the wrong way, the game definitely has some pretty difficult sections.

When Luke told me I should play it, I was expecting some sort of action-platformer, but what I got instead was a tower defense game. I've never been a big fan of tower defense, but Ninjatown just did it for me. There are modifiers for your ninja huts, special abilities to help aide you when the going gets tough, and tokens that can be collected and used to summon special ninja classes in dire situations.

The game has a great sense of humor, an adorable yet simple art style, and is just a joy to play. Even in the harder levels, I never got to the point that I wasn't having fun, which is sometimes a hard thing to pull off.

2. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

Again, thankful for Luke on this one. I love a good story in a game just as much as anyone, but I would prefer if that awesome story also had some compelling gameplay to go along with it, which is why I've never minded the length of Metal Gear Solid cutscenes. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (999, for short) is in the visual novel category, and there's little in the way of gameplay outside of some rudimentary puzzle sequences. While the puzzles may not be difficult, they're little more than a small distraction before letting you get to the piece of dialogue that will hopefully let you in on just what is going on.

So what's so good about the story? While I won't give spoilers because it's something you need to experience for yourself and also because there isn't enough time in the day to properly explain it, think of it like a Saw movie, except the twists are actually really good. There are a total of six endings, and you can skip any section of the game you've already experienced. Over the course of your six playthroughs, details slowly unravel themselves and knowledge about your fellow prisoners is revealed. The true ending is pretty mindblowing, and while the game does have a "true" ending, all of the endings actually take place, which is even more of a noodle-scratcher. There is a sequel on the 3DS and Vita called Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, which takes the story in even more outlandish directions. The story is still incomplete, however, and development on the final game has been halted due to the poor sales of the other two games, but I'm still holding on to hope that we will one day find out how this story ends.

1. Aliens Infestation

Even though I kind of hate the term 'metroidvania,' I must accept that it's not going anywhere. But I also can't deny that it's probably my favorite genre of game. One of the greatest tragedies about the Nintendo DS is that we didn't get a 2D Metroid game, but that doesn't mean we didn't get a ton of great metroidvanias. The three Castlevania games are all excellent and receive my highest recommendation. But where else can you go to get your metroidvania fix on the DS after you've blown through those? The answer is simple, you go to the company that has mastered 2D games in the past decade: WayForward. While the company has had some duds in the past, it doesn't take away from how great their games are when they're firing on all cylinders. That brings us to Aliens Infestation.

I had actually never seen an Alien film prior to playing this game (I've seen both Alien and Aliens since then), but that wound up not mattering at all, the game is simply outstanding and I enjoyed every second of it. And after seeing the movies, I was able to go back and appreciate it even more. The game is fairly short, I wound up beating it in under 5 hours, but it's the kind of game that you could restart as soon as you finish it, which is exactly what I did. At the time, this was easily the best game based on the franchise, and even though Alien Isolation gives it a run for its money, I still prefer Infestation. While it's not a straight up survival horror game, there are definitely some good jump scares, especially considering that you'll be playing on a Nintendo DS and likely have the screen closer than you would a television.

While you do have a limited number of Colonial Marines to choose from, and you can wind up losing them all and having to start the game over, the game was never too difficult that I was worried about that actually happening. You can find new marines to recruit, as well as saving some that had been previously defeated, so you usually have a pretty good stock. Overall, Aliens Infestation was probably the kind of game that you looked at and thought "meh," but I would encourage you to give it a shot if you are a fan of Aliens or the metroidvania genre.

Hey! Thanks for reading. Don't forget I have Twitter, a podcast, and now, a YouTube page (featuring videos!).

-Dustin









Alright, everybody. In case you didn't see it mentioned in my latest CBlog, I recently began doing some video editing/content. I, along with the guys I do my podcast with, are venturing out into the YouTube space. I just posted my first video to our page.

Now, I don't intend to post all of my video content on the Cblogs (unless you guys seem to enjoy it), but what I'm looking for is feedback and/or constructive criticism from my favorite community on the internet. The video is short, it's just a few seconds over 5 minutes long.

The reason I'm asking for this is because I don't have much video editing experience, so everything you see in the below video is stuff that I self-taught myself, which means it'll only get better from here. So do me a solid and let me know what you liked about it, what you didn't like about it, etc. I'm a big boy, and if you think it sucks, tell me how to improve. I always want to get better at everything I do, whether it be blogs or videos, so help a brother out.

The idea behind this video series, which I've dubbed the "Hall of Game," is for them to be short (between 4-5 minutes), funny, and informative. So do me a solid and just check it out, and leave any feedback in the comments or PM me. And if you're wondering, the software I use for editing is Sony Vegas.

And, as always, stay sexy, everybody!

-Dustin









Whenever you commit to writing a weekly/monthly/whatever series, you get a bit burnt out, just ask OpiumHerz. I can only write so many Top 5 lists before both I and the reader need a break, though I do appreciate all the feedback I get from those. I've recently dove headfirst into video editing, and I've basically been self-teaching myself, but I've managed to create some decent stuff. Because of that, I found myself with little time to write, but don't worry, the Top 5 lists will resume next week. But due to my lack of free time this week, I thought I would do something fun.

About a year ago, my wife and I moved into our first house, and after a brief hiatus during the moving process, I returned with this blog showcasing my game room/collection. That was about a year ago, and time has really flown. So I decided this week I would just update you with some new pics of my collection. There are some new goodies, and I've done a bit of rearranging. I've also included some "then and now" pics. Enjoy!

I have both a modern game room and a retro game room. Let's start with the modern room, as it's where I spend the majority of my time.

As soon as you walk in, the first thing you'll notice is this:

 

 

This is probably the biggest change you'll notice from last year.

 

It was mostly just a matter of rearranging things in order to make room for that big, black monstrosity that now houses my modern systems.

 

 

 

Of course, we have the television itself and a few things that are housed beneath it.

 

 

 

These couple of pictures showcase some of the cooler findings I got this past summer at the flea market. You might notice that small shelf to the left of the television, that's an officially branded Nintendo Wii shelf. It's missing one of the shelves that would enable me to house more games, but it cost me $5, so I can't complain.

And in that lower picture, you may see (though it's obscured by shadows) a Nintendo Power #1. Right underneath it is Nintendo Power #2, which is the Castlevania II: Simon's Quest cover that many parents complained about back in the day. They came in a stack of Nintendo Powers that I managed to grab for $1 a piece. Pretty sweet.

Now let's move on to the game shelf itself.

Right above the shelf are a few gifts I've received from friends and family, as well as my senior prom picture where myself and three buddies are all doing wrestling poses. Yes, I'm doing John Cena's "Word Life" hand symbol, but this was 2003, and John Cena was awesome back when he was still rapping.

 

 

 

 

Even though I haven't watched a new episode of The Simpsons in almost a decade, my love for the series is still enough to ensure that I buy every single season on DVD. Unfortunately, in order to make room on my DVD shelves, I moved them down here, and some of them still reside on the shelf itself since there just simply wasn't enough room. I'm currently deciding what to do with them in order to display them better.

 

 

Here's a comparison of my knickknacks from last year.

 

To your immediate right from the game shelf is a closet that houses all of my miscellaneous boxes.

 

 

I have a hard time disposing of stuff, you never know when you'll need it. That brown shoe box up top is where I keep my slim PS2, but if you look to the right, that thing is pretty cool. I can't remember its exact name, but I think it's called a "Retromini." It's a portable NES. No, not an emulator and something that has NES games built it, I mean it's an actual portable NES. You slide the cartridges in on top like an original GameBoy, and it can actually be hooked up like a real NES, complete with two controllers and a light gun. It was a wedding gift from my buddy James (who hosts the Action Features podcast). I don't have a lot of uses for it, as I usually carry my 3DS if I'm traveling, and I have two different models of the NES, as well as the FC Twin which can also play them, but it's still a really cool piece of my collection.

Oh hey, here's my couch with a Mario blanket.

 

 

Let's take a look at my toy shelf in the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

This is kind of my "pride and joy." It's such a cool little area in the room. Those wrestling figures on the bottom are the same ones I had as a kid, and I've spent a lot of years and a lot of money on those Simpsons figures. I actually stopped for a long time, but I managed to find quite a few new ones at the flea markets last summer. Here's a comparison.

 

At first glance, you may not notice many new additions. They're mostly up front on the lower shelf. My personal favorites are Lurleen Lumpkin and Boxing Homer. Boxing Homer is from the episode "The Homer They Fall," a fantastic episode from season 8, and probably a top 20 episode of all-time.

Right next to it is my newfangled work station.

 

 

This is where I record my podcast, as well as the majority of my writing, and now, my video editing. It's slightly obscured by my podcast mic, but behind it is one of my favorite figures in my collection: my Simpsons figure of Bret Hart, which combines two of my passions in life.

The workstation itself is pretty bare bones, and I also need to get a more comfortable chair, but I'm a pretty simple guy and it gets the job done. Plus, it has plenty of room for my coffee to sit.

Alright, that's pretty much it for the modern room. There's some art and stuff on the walls that I've shown in several other blogs, so just go to those if you want to see them.

Moving on, let's head to the retro room. Please excuse the lighting on the wide shots. It was a bit of a dreary day and I needed to have the light on.

First things first, here's my favorite part of my entire home: the retro game collection.

 

 

But before we take a more in-depth look there, let's tour the rest of the room. Every person has to have a bookshelf, even if the majority of your books are strategy guides and pro wrestler autobiographies.

 

 

 

And yes, those are Goosebumps books. I loved those books as a kid, and that's the entire 62-book run of the series before it transitioned to Goosebumps 2000.

 

 

This is where I've spent a lot of time lately, capturing some retro footage. And every collector has to have a Power Glove.

 

 

Around the borders of the ceiling are shelves with some of my favorite action figures.

 

 

 

 

I used to be a huge collector of all of NECA's video game licensed figures. I literally had 5 boxes full of them before I decided to finally purge that collection and pick up a nice chunk of change in the process. I kept my favorite ones, like Claptrap and the Headshot Locust from Gears of War, and the ones you see here are pretty much the only ones that remain.

There's also a shelf in the corner that contains some other books, bobbleheads, random figures, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Here's a couple comparison photos to 2014.

 

 

And lastly, the retro game shelf.

First, let's compare it to last year.

 

I first got into collecting back in 2008. I started off by just collecting NES, then I progressed to collecting for everything. Then, like an idiot, I decided to sell off a great deal of it in order to focus on the NES again, and now, I'm back to collecting everything. The only problem is that now, collecting is huge, and I refuse to pay the kind of prices that re-sellers ask for, and eBay is a lost cause at this point.

At last count, my NES collection was at 387. I'm right around the halfway mark as far as licensed NES games go (licensed games being my main focus, though I do grab unlicensed stuff for the right price). What's crazy is that at this point, it's really difficult for me to find anything I don't already have. It's not that they're expensive, it's just that there are some cheap games that are extremely hard to come by. Like Volleyball. Plain, boring, black box Volleyball. I can't find that game anywhere.

Here's a quick look at what sits on top of the shelves before I move on to the games themselves.

 

 

 

 

There are some cool little things there. Some random Club Nintendo prizes (R.I.P.), the NECA retro figures, the RE4 chainsaw controller, some mini Terminator figures, and of course, the Michael Jackson Barbie.

Alright, now let's take a closer look at the game collection. The pictures aren't close enough to make out every title, but you should be able to make out a few.

 

 

 

There aren't any "holy grail" games in there like Little Samson or Bubble Bobble 2, but I do have a few that I managed to find cheap a while back that have skyrocketed in recent years. Games likeDuckTales 2, Contra Force, Fire N Ice, Chip N Dale 2, etc. Definitely games that I'm glad I managed to find when I did. Below is some close ups my SNES and PS1/PS2 games.

 

 

 

 

Again, nothing too spectacular. When it comes to systems other than the NES, I typically only search for the games I want. You know, the classics. So, naturally, there's things like Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Secret of Mana, the Donkey Kong Countries, and then things like Final Fantasy VII/VIII, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil 4 on the Playstation side of things.

And there you have it: my game collection, one year later.

I hope you guys enjoyed this stroll through my home. I feel so much closer to you guys now.

New Top 5 next week. In the meantime, listen to my podcast.

Thanks for reading/looking.

-Dustin