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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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Hey everybody, the Error Machine Podcast turns one year old this week. What better way to celebrate than by having no idea what to use as our discussion topic?

Anyway, we'll think of something. We always do. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't send us questions and/or topics to discuss. We'll be recording around 6:30pm (EST) tonight, so send those questions our way.

In the meantime, you can listen to our latest episode right below this sentence!









2014 comes to a close later today, so what better way to close it out than by giving you a games of the year edition of my weekly top 5 series? But before we do that, I've assembled some random categories and assigned each of them a winner. Because of the nature of the blog, each entry is a bit shorter than what you have come to expect from my normal top 5 lists. I hope you enjoy it, and let's get started with my biggest disappointment of 2014.

Biggest Disappointment

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

I love Borderlands. I've written about Borderlands probably more than any other game. The Pre-Sequel doesn't even feel like a Borderlands game until the second half. That being said, I did enjoy this game, it was just a disappointment when coupled with my expectations. Every area looks the same, every character is analogous to a better character in one of the other games, and overall it just felt like a halfhearted effort.

Biggest Surprise

South Park: The Stick of Truth

I used to be a huge fan of South Park, I had every box set of the show up to season 16, then a few years ago I just kind of lost interest. But this game reminded me why I loved the show for so many years. I was a little scared for it when considering the type of development it had with the death of THQ, but it turned out to be a solid RPG and a great compliment to the show.

2014's 2013 Game of the Year

Super Mario 3D World

I was late to the party getting a Wii U, only receiving it this past Christmas. Not being able to playSuper Mario 3D World for so long was really starting to irk me. But alas, my lovely wife pulled through with a Wii U/Super Mario 3D World bundle. Saying I love it would be an understatement. I still enjoy Super Mario Galaxy more, but that doesn't take away from just how good this game is. It's pure joy from top to bottom, even if the cat suit does entirely break the game.

Best Moment

Shadow of Mordor empowerment

It's 99.99999999999% likely that this moment only happened in my playthrough, as it was non-scripted, but when it happened, I felt like jumping off my couch and pumping my fist (I may or may not have actually done that).

I was stalking a Warchief's captain, waiting to pounce on him from a rooftop above. Doing so resulted in a great deal of his health being depleted. But as soon as we began our official battle after the initiating trash talk, another captain made his way into the fray. Before I even had a chance to figure out how I was going to change my strategy to accommodate for two captain, the action stopped and I was greeted by a third captain. Needing to think fast, I noticed the caged caragor nearby. I shot open his cage with my arrows, and focused by attention on the first captain, who was nearing death at this point. After taking the head off of the Uruk, which was met with a satisfying slow-motion death, I was almost immediately shown a second death screen, as the caragor had dispatched of the second captain. Now, it was down to just the captain that was left...or so I thought.

This captain had a fear of caragors, which sent him running to the hills. But instead of running to the hills, he actually ran into the fire pit that was right behind him, killing him seconds later. I had never had such a quick turnaround from feeling outmatched to empowered in my gaming life.

Best Retro Game

Super Metroid

I've covered this in a previous weekly top 5, and I've also dedicated an entire episode of my podcast to talking about my experience with it. There's nothing I can say about Super Metroid that hasn't already been said a thousand times over. I finally got around to playing it for the first time this year, and it was just as good as everyone said, it certainly lived up to the hype.

Best/Worst Name

Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Alpha

So stupid.

Best Club Nintendo reward that took 6 months to get to my house:

Mario Hat Pouch

Seriously, it took 6 months.

Free game I still felt ripped off by.

Proteus

A "game" that was free on PS+ earlier this year, I'm sure this "game" has its audience, but it's definitely not me. When I play a game, I want a game, not an experience. Get out of here with that garbage. It very well may be my least favorite "game" I've ever "played." Instead of "playing" this walking simulator, how about you just go to an arboretum and walk around? You'll get some vitamin d from the sun and burn a few calories. It's a win-win.

Game I'm giving an award to just for being awesome.

Kirby Triple Deluxe

Awesome...and adorable. Easily one of the most overlooked titles of the year.

Game I'm most sad about not playing this year.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

It pains me that I haven't yet experienced the Layton finale. Once I knock out some of these games I got for Christmas, I plan to go back and finish the story for my favorite professor.

 

Game that gets an award because my wife is hogging the 3DS and I haven't been able to play it yet, but she says it's really good

Fantasy Life

I sure would like to play Fantasy Life, I just can't right now.

Now that I've gotten those out of the way, let's get on to my Top 5 Games of 2014

Final games to be cut from the list: South Park: The Stick of Truth, Infamous: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes

5. Shovel Knight

This is how you do a retro-styled videogame in this day and age. It has music that rivals the original Mega Man games, a difficulty that was challenging and sometimes frustrating but never felt unfair, tons of secrets, great codes, beautiful sprites, and great humor. I purchased it on the 3DS and couldn't put it down. And now, with the recent announcement of a PS4 and Vita version on the way, I'll definitely double-dip on this one.

4. Mario Golf: World Tour

I hate golf, but I can't get enough golf when it comes to videogames, the more cartoonish, the better. Funny enough, this is the first Mario Golf I've ever played, and I enjoyed it so much that I wound up getting rid of the one physical Vita game I had: Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational. I even purchased the season pass so I could get all of the extra characters and courses. The single-player challenges are a great time-waster while I'm waiting for new online tournaments to arrive. I would rank this as best sports game of the year if I had made that a category.

3. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

I may only have had the Wii U for less than a week now, but I've been playing more Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze since Christmas than I have anything else. My favorite genre of game is the 2D platformer, and this could possibly be one of the best ones ever made (perhaps that could be a future top 5 list). It has the trademark tight controls that one expects from Nintendo, great humor without the use of words, fantastic music, and the game just looks beautiful. It also gives you both Dixie and Cranky Kong (in addition to Diddy) as companions, each with their own unique abilities. I've only made it through the first 4 worlds so far, but I have no doubt that this game belongs on my list.

2. Far Cry 4

This was probably my second most anticipated game this year, but unlike Borderlands, Far Cry 4never came close to disappointing. At this point, I'm 30 hours in and my completion percentage is just over 70%. There are a lot of things to do in this game, so much so that it almost circles back around and becomes its biggest detriment. There's almost too much to do, but I'd rather have too much than not enough. I wasn't as into the antagonist, Pagan Min, as I was Vaas in Far Cry 3, but near the end of the game, I became more and more interested in him, and (SPOILERS) at the end of the game, despite having multiple free opportunities, I just couldn't bring myself to kill him. The last mission was very well done. Also, screw those eagles...and the demon fish.

1. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

This is the game that I purchased when I got my Playstation 4, and what a great first impression the system made on me because of it. I'm not at all a Lord of the Rings fan, and I had very little interest in the game prior to release. In fact, if I didn't work at a game store, I probably wouldn't even have known that it came out until I scanned the front page of Destructoid to find a review. I already spoke about how empowered the game made me feel, and that was just one brief moment. Those moments are all over the game, and I wound up beating the game 100% before it was all said and done. The clock told me I had played for 30 hours, but it felt like a very short 30 hours. I started the game on a Thursday and then had to go to a friend's wedding who lived about 4 hours away. That whole weekend I was just waiting in anticipation to get home so I could continue playing. I haven't had a chance to play the recently released DLC yet, but once I knock out some of these other games I need to get to, I'll definitely be going back.

Thank you guys so much for reading, and thank you for an awesome 2014. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter, and you could listen to my podcast, where we also did a Best of the Year episode.

-Dustin









Episode 38 - Game of the Year 2014 (85:22)

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Welcome to the Error Machine Podcast Game of the Year Awards for 2014! Instead of doing a top 5 or top 10 list, we just decided to have a boat load of categories and have one winner for each. Each award is time-marked below.

You'll also get to hear some Christmas stories, as well as a very entertaining story about how Dustin used to shave his legs.

Biggest Surprise - 10:00
Biggest Disappointment - 16:40
Best Retro Game - 22:20
Best 2013 Game We Played in 2014 - 25:30
Dumbest Name - 26:45
Best Name - 29:45
Biggest Mess Up of the Year - 31:55
Game We Wish We Would Have Played 37:00
Game We Wish People Would Shut Up About - 44:15
Best Overall System - 47:15
Best Value - 52:00
Coolest New Weapon - 56:40
Why Doesn't This Game Exist Yet? - 1:01:10
Why Does This Game Exist? - 1:06:45
Game of the Year Honorable Mentions - 1:11:55
Game of the Year - 1:14:05

Don't forget to rate and subscribe on either iTunes or Stitcher Radio

@TheDustinThomas
@FakeChrisCramer
@BygJuce









For those of you who don't know, I recently joined the recap team for the Destructoid community blogs, and my recap from this past Friday was met with some controversy. And by “controversy” I mean “a couple people didn't appreciate my (fake) policy.” When I posted by first recap, I put a GamerGate blog under the Failtoid section with a description to the effect of “I don't know much about GamerGate, but I know I'm sick of reading about it.” That became a running gag that I've done ever since.

Well, I kept the gag going last week and the author of said blog was not pleased. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to Code Name Crono. For those of you that have seen me around the Cblogs or read my writing, you know that I am two things: 1) a man of strong faith, and 2) one of the most positive and upbeat people you'll see hanging around Dtoid. Because of those two things, my character is very important to me, and even if you believe I have nothing to apologize for, I feel like I do.

This is less a matter of “being the bigger man,” and more a matter of righting a wrong I feel I've made. The blog I'm referring to is actually a very well-written piece that I wound up not giving the proper credit to as a result of continuing a personal gag, and for that, I apologize, and would like to encourage anyone who overlooked this particular blog on account of me placing it in the “Failtoid” section of the recaps to give it a read. Those of you who know me know that nothing I say or write here on Destructoid, whether it be a blog of mine or a comment I make on someone else's, is done so with vindictiveness or malice.

So, again, I encourage you to read this piece from Code Name Crono, and in the future I will look at the big picture and place blogs where I feel they need to be, rather than placing them according to a personal joke.

-Dustin

 









A Very Error Machine Christmas Special (32:14)

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Merry Christmas everyone. Luke, Chris, and I certainly hope that all of you are enjoying your holidays. And what better way to celebrate than by sitting back and listening to the three of us recount some of our fondest memories of the cherished holiday.

We talk about some of our favorite presents from the past, the joys of seeing our families open their gifts, as well as our favorite Christmas movies. It's guaranteed to be the best half hour of your Christmas season.









Good morning everyone, TheDustinThomas here. A very Merry Christmas to you all, I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays as much as I am. As I'm writing this, Christmas is 3 days away, and I'm so excited I can almost taste it. What exactly I'm tasting, I'm not sure, I may need to get that checked out because it's kind of weird.

Anywho, I just wanted to do a top 5 this week where I recount some of my favorite Christmas presents from the past. These days, I'm much more into the giving aspect than the getting, but I've still received some pretty sweet gifts in my days, so let's check some of them out, shall we?

5. A portrait of my late, great pup.

Every year, my wife and I get together with friends and family and do the whole Secret Santa thing. My brother-in-law has been one of my best friends from the moment we met, and he knows my tastes pretty well. Last year, he got me a NECA two-pack of Rocky and Apollo, which is proudly displayed in my game room.

By happenstance (or maybe not at all), he wound up drawing my name again this year. If you've read some of my recent blogs, then you already know that I lost my best bud, my boxer Muldoon, back in October. This year, rather than spending money, my brother-in-law went with the sentimental approach and painted me an awesome portrait of my late, great pup:

It's pretty dead on, and I'd be lying if said I didn't thank him with a tear in my eye.

4. The Eliminator TS-7

Before I say anything, just watch this commercial:

 

How could a child of 7 possibly resist this thing? There's seven different weapons in one! Don't you understand what kind of value that is? In one box you get: a knife, a bigger knife, a...round knife?, a machine gun, a machine gun with a knife, a machine gun with a bigger knife, and a machine gun with a...round knife? AWESOME!

Not only was there 7 weapons, but they all had super rad sound effects. The knife had two buttons on it, one button made a "slice" sound, and the other (I believe) made a "thrust" sound. But, when you plug that bad boy into the machine gun attachment, you feel like you're back in Vietnam!

3. Resident Evil 3

I think Resident Evil 3 is the most underrated in the series. Nemesis is such an awesome villain, and the feeling of having an enemy that was pursuing you instead of the other way around was something new and different. Even though Resident Evil games never used to make you feel empowered by any means, whenever you found yourself staring a boss enemy in the face, you felt like you had the firepower necessary to take it down. But with Nemesis, my first thought was "How do I get as much space as possible between Jill and this guy?" Plus, he carries around a rocket launcher, how was I supposed to defeat an enemy who's carrying the very weapon that I probably needed to defeat it?

My love for the Resident Evil series is well documented. At the time of this game's release, it was probably my favorite series. I remember seeing the commercial for it leading up to Christmas and waiting with frothing anticipation for Christmas day to finally arrive.

Alongside RE3, I also received NCAA March Madness 2000 and Driver: You Are the Wheelman, but I spent far more time with Resident Evil 3 than any of them. In fact, I probably wound up playing more Resident Evil 3 than I did the previous two in the series. It had branching paths, and I loved going through and making new decisions and seeing where it would lead. I never got tired of delivering those final bullets into the body of Nemesis before escaping Raccoon City in a helicopter piloted by Barry Burton, which is sadly Barry's last appearance in the story of a Resident Evil game. Perhaps that will change with Resident Evil Revelations 2.

2. Real Ghostbusters Figures

When I was a child, the two cartoon series that I absolutely loved were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (duh), and The Real Ghostbusters. Don't be fooled, as there were actually two Ghostbsters cartoons back then. There was one just called Ghostbusters, which, inexplicably, had a gorilla as part of the crew. But then there was The Real Ghostbusters, which was the true cartoon based on the films. Naturally, there were tons of action figures based on the show, and I specifically remember Christmas 1991 where I received all kinds of them. I missed out on the original run of figures, but I got in the game with the "Super Fright Features" line of toys.

In addition to the Ghostbusters themselves, I also received a lot of the ghost characters, my favorite one being this guy:

Then there was a bunch of the appropriately titled "Monsters" line.

Of course, no Ghostbusters fan can get by with just the Ghostbusters and a few ghosts. How were they supposed to get to the scene of the incident without their trusty Ecto-1?

 

And lastly, the grand finale of the whole show was the Ghostbusters Firehouse HQ playset. I was never the kind of kid to get huge playsets, I was always satisfied with just the figures, but imagine how wide my eyes got and how far my jaw dropped when I opened up my largest present under the tree and saw this thing:

Out of all of the presents that I've received in my life, this is the one that I wish I still had, because it would be prominently displayed in my game room right now if I did. December 25th, 1991 was areally good day for a six year old Dustin Thomas.

1. Nintendo 64 with WCW/nWo Revenge

The Nintendo 64 isn't the best videogame console ever. As a matter of fact, I consider it a letdown. I wasn't very savvy with the gaming industry back then, so I didn't know what games were good and which ones weren't. But I played an N64 for the first time at a friend's house on his birthday the previous month, and we spent the entire evening playing one game: WCW/nWo Revenge. That was enough for me to ask for an N64 and a copy of my own for Christmas. It's still, in my opinion, the best wrestling game ever made. I was always more of a WWE/WWF fan than WCW, but I had actually already gotten rid of the console by the time the allegedly superior WrestleMania 2000 and WWF No Mercy were released.

I was coming off of the PSone wrestling games, which were a mixed bag. There was WCW Nitro (awful), WWF War Zone (the most average wrestling game ever), and WWF Attitude (pretty alright). So when I went from those three to Revenge, it was like I was playing a wrestling game for the first time again. It felt like what a wrestling game was supposed to be. I spent hours upon days upon weeks upon months playing Revenge. It was one of those games that I would start playing when I got home from school on Friday and continue to play until I passed out. So many times I woke up with an N64 controller in my hands and my television screen informing me that I had lost the match.

The highlight of the game was the 40-man battle royals, and it was always a great way to earn bragging rights among my group of friends when you won a few of them, especially if you were able to run the table and win with the wrestler you originally started with. I was such a beast with Kevin Nash, you simply don't get up from a Jacknife Powerbomb.

I still think that Revenge is the be-all and end-all of professional wrestling videogames. There wasn't a better one before it and there hasn't been a better one since. If the WWE2K series would go back to controlling like these THQ classics, I would buy them on day one.

Merry Christmas everyone, and thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter and you can listen to the latest episode of my podcast, where we finished our retrospective on the PSone.

-Dustin